Sunday, 25 January 2015

5 Pictures of an Untouristy Barcelona

If you're tired of the usual posts on Barcelona, featuring the Ramblas, a bunch of buildings designed by Gaudi, and a poorly-cooked paella served in a restaurant owned by Chinese people, read this. In the past six months I have had the opportunity to take long walks in this wonderful city. I came across all sorts of things: ugly, boring and dull neighbourhoods, but also incredibly vibrant places that tourists don't even know about. As any great  European city, Barcelona has enough things to keep you busy for a lifetime. Here are five pictures of a Barcelona that the tourist usually does not see.

Sarrià is a residential neighbourhood in the north of the city. It is a wealthy area close to the hills to the north, quiet and a bit posh. There are no tourists there, yet it is a charming place, with old buildings, churches and cafés. It still retains that pleasant and relaxed atmosphere of village life that has been lost in many other neighbourhoods. There was a small flea market in the main square when I visited, and I spent my time just looking at balconies full of plants and Catalan flags, passing by modernist villas whose name I had never heard of.

Old buildings in Sarriá
In Sarrià I  came across this shop of organic products by chance. For a second, I thought I was in London.
Is this London?

The neighbourhood where I'm currently living is called Clot. It has an urban feeling, it is popular but not sketchy, full of locals but no boring. The main park of the area, called simply Parc del Clot, has been redeveloped using parts of the old RENFE workshops.  I particularly like this piece of street art near the park: I think it encapsulates the atmosphere of this area of the city very well. This is not El Born, the trendiest part of the city where expats live and which they never seem to leave, it is quite different and it has its own vibe.

Barcelona: sometimes it's cute, sometimes it's badass!

The tiles are one of the most charming things in Barcelona for somebody with an eye for details. There are many different kinds of tiles in Barcelona, but they always have a design. These ones are probably the most famous: they were designed by Gaudi, and they are not all the same: being hexagonal, they form a complex pattern that is very nice to see. You can find them in Passeig the Gracia, if you manage to take your eyes off the shop windows!



The neighbourhood of Gràcia is often ignored by hasty tourists, too busy on visiting the Casa Battlò and the Park Guell. Yet Gràcia is stylish, charming and a damn good place to grab a bite. Whether you want Vietnamese food, an Italian gelato or just some tapas to share with your friends, to head there is always a good choice. There are cute little squares, nice cafés, charming modernist buildings and much more. In August there is a festival, Fiesta Major de Gràcia, that attracts crowds. I particularly like this tall green building is Plaça del Sol. What do you think, would you put Gràcia in your sightseeing list for Barcelona?

All of these pictures are deatured in my Instagram account. Follow me: The_Italian_Backpacker


  1. Great post, thanks for sharing! I'm returning to Barcelona for the second time in May so I'm definitely bookmarking this. Will you still be there? If so, definitely send me an email!

    Happy travels :)

    1. Yes, I'll be probably here in May. It'd be awesome to meet up. Barcelona is such a great city, I have many more things to discover!

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  3. I've never been a big fan of Barcelona, to be honest, but maybe if I knew about places like Sarria I'd have enjoyed the place so much more! I'll definitely check it out next time I go there!


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