While Barcelona is an incredible place to explore, it is also renowned for its flocks of tourists, with more than 9 million visiting in 2019 alone. But that doesn’t mean a trip to this cosmopolitan Catalan city has to be a tourist trap. In this article, discover some of the places where locals hang out in Barcelona and how you can enjoy a more authentic traveling experience in Spain.
Playa del Coco or Playa Badalona for a beach day
While La Barconeta’s beaches are conveniently located near some of the city’s top cultural hotspots, they also have a reputation for being very touristy. Escape the chaos by heading a bit further out to beaches like Playa del Coco and Playa Badalona. Not only will you dodge the hawkers and club promoters, but you’ll find plenty of room to spread out and play beach volleyball with the locals. Rentola properties near Playa del Coco and Playa Badalona offer authentic beachside living, all just a short bus or metro ride from the city center.
Book a private rental for an authentic stay in Barcelona
One of the simplest ways to experience Barcelona like the locals is by renting a private apartment or house at Rentola. This trustworthy online platform boasts a huge choice of rooms for rent in Barcelona, whether you want a space to call your own or the experience of staying with a local. Registered users at Rentola can search based on location, price, and number of bedrooms, ensuring you can find a place to stay in the Barcelona neighborhood you prefer and at a price that suits your budget. Another benefit of Rentola is the opportunity to chat directly with landlords and get all their insider tips for visiting the city.
At Rentola, you can find holiday rentals from as cheap as 130 euros a week, although most average around 135 euros a night. Apartments in central l’Eixample tend to be the most sought-after and expensive while prices in Gracia and El Born are slightly more affordable. Prices are cheaper during the winter months compared to the busy summer season when up to 3 million tourists descend on the city.
Església de Santa Maria del Mar for a spiritual experience
Despite being in central Barcelona, this majestic church still attracts more locals than tourists. Generations have been baptized and laid to rest in this Gothic masterpiece while grand Catalan weddings take place beneath its vaulted ceilings. If you time your visit to the Església de Santa Maria del Mar right, you may even get to experience classical music being performed within its peaceful interior.
Mercat de la Boqueria for gourmet produce
Visit in the early morning hours to experience this market at its liveliest, with local moms shopping alongside some of Barcelona’s most innovative chefs. Everyone is looking for the freshest offerings – juicy shrimp from the Costa Brava, creamy Cabrales cheese, and even dried insects (for the adventurous). It’s one of Europe’s most exhilarating markets, with vendors spruiking in both Catalan and Spanish to attract shoppers’ attention.
Parc del Fòrum for a family-friendly day out
This urban oasis provides a refreshing getaway for families, particularly on Sunday afternoons. At the peak of the summer season, a classic carnival takes place, complete with bumper cars, arcade games, and cotton candy. Kids can roam free on the playground equipment while parents wander through the gardens and admire the spectacular Photovoltaic Cell. Surrounding the park are plenty of vacation rental properties perfect for family stays.
Mont Juïc for cityscape views
Barcelona’s iconic architecture and hilly landscape make for striking city views, which are best enjoyed from Mont Juïc. This hilltop park boasts sweeping panoramas across the city that are just as appreciated by locals as they are by tourists looking to spot their holiday rental “home”. If the weather’s fine, why not pack a picnic and make a day of it.
Carrer de Blai for tapas
Tapas are a quintessential part of Spanish cuisine, with most flocking to the overpriced bars along La Rambla, one of the most popular spots for holiday rentals in Barcelona. Locals know that the real tapas action happens off the beaten path in authentic neighborhood spots, such as Carrer de Blai. This pedestrian-only street is lined with small bars and restaurants that specialize in delicious Spanish bites that won’t break the bank. Another top contender is La Xampanyeria in El Born, where the tapas pair perfectly with bottles of cava sparkling wine.
Palau de la Música Catalana for a musical experience
A masterpiece of Modernista architecture, this Barcelona landmark is also a premier destination for music enthusiasts seeking a memorable night out. Within the ornately decorated concert hall of the Palau de la Música Catalana, you can experience everything from classical compositions to soulful Portuguese fado. It offers an authentic taste of Catalan culture and an experience that proves travel is the best form of education.
Carrer d’Aribau, María Cubí and Santaló for a night out
For those seeking an authentic night out in Barcelona, head to Carrer d’Aribau, which offers a diverse range of options from Thursday through Saturday nights. Revelers can sample everything from swanky cocktail lounges to raucous bars and Colombian dance halls, then easily walk home to their nearby vacation rental. Alternatively, experience the buzz of Carrer María Cubí and Santaló, two vibrant avenues packed with pubs, bars, and clubs that are open into the early hours.
Stay like a local in Barcelona
Enjoying a more authentic stay in Barcelona doesn’t mean missing out on iconic experiences, such as eating Spanish tapas, exploring cultural sites, and soaking up the sun at the beach. By seeking out local-friendly places, you can still have a quintessential Barcelona experience, just without the tourist crowds.