Have you been to Barcelona before but you feel like you’ve exhausted your options of well-known places to visit, like the Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell and Montjuic? We’ve come up with a few ideas of lesser-known places that you could visit if you’re in the mood to see something that’s not one of the typical ‘must-see places in Barcelona’.
Parc del Laberint d’Horta
The Parc del Laberint d’Horta is the oldest garden in Barcelona, and covering 18 acres, it is absolutely huge. Located on the northern edge of the city, this is a great example of the extravagance of the Spanish monarchy in Catalunya. Designed in 1792, the Parc was originally used for cultural events and open-air theatre performances.
Nowadays, the highlight is the labyrinth. With 2-metre tall hedges and lots of dead-ends and places to make wrong turns, it can be quite difficult to get to the middle. But if you are lucky enough to find the middle, you are met by a statue of Eros, the Greek god of love. There are statues throughout the labyrinth, of gods and goddesses from Greek mythology, and the design of the hedges mirrors that of the original labyrinth mythology. While the maze is the main feature, water is also a fundamental element to the Parc, with waterfalls, streams and charming ponds with swans and ducks.
If you are looking for something slightly different to do during your visit to Barcelona, we would definitely recommend this place. The gardens have touches of Arabic, Neoclassical and Romantic styles, that make them a really impressive place to wander through. It’s a great place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, to disconnect for a few hours and challenge yourself to reach the centre of the maze!
Prices: General ticket 2,23€, free on Sundays and Wednesdays
Opening hours –
April-October – everyday 10am-8pm
November – March – everyday 10am-6pm
Location – Passeig dels Castanyers, 1, 08035 Barcelona – Just 25 minutes from ACYH
Sant Pau Recinte Modernista
The Recinte Modernista is housed in the Hospital de Sant Pau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Serving as a hospital until 2009, this is an incredible architectural complex with an interesting history. Designed by Lluis Domènech i Montaner between 1905 and 1930, he believed that trees, flowers, fresh air and colours had better healing properties than plain, sterile surroundings. So he designed the hospital wards among gardens with colourful brick façades with extravagant shapes and mosaics, in the hopes of promoting healing. At the time, this was an ambitious project in health and hygiene, and unlike any other hospital known today.
No longer a functioning hospital, nowadays many of the buildings have been taken over for other purposes. It is a knowledge centre and is home to the headquarters of various international institutions, such as the United Nations University Institute on Globalisation, Culture and Mobility.
This art-nouveau complex is an icon that embodies Barcelona’s innovative spirit. Now open to the public, this is an underrated space in Barcelona with impressive colourful mosaic detailing, beautiful gardens and stained-glass windows. It’s definitely worth a visit if you are interested in history and art, because it’s not like your typical museum, and the architecture is really stunning.
Prices: Standard self-guided ticket 15€, guided ticket 20€
Opening hours –
April – October: Mon-Sat 9:30am-7pm, Sunday 9:30am-3pm
November – March: Mon-Sat 9:30am-5:30pm, Sunday 9:30am-3pm
Location – Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site, C. Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167, 08025 Barcelona – 20 minutes from ACYH
Built between 1900 and 1909, the Torre Bellesguard is probably one of Antoni Gaudí’s least-known works. Located in the Sarrià-Sant Gervasi district in the foothills of Tibidabo, the tower is actually private property, owned by the Guilera who have lived there since 1944, however, it is still possible to visit it.
It’s real name is Casa Figueras, however it better known by the name Torre Bellesguard which means ‘beautiful view’. This is because in the 15th century this place was a small castle from which you had incredible views of the city. Later, Gaudí designed a new building over the ruins of the old castle, which came to be the building we know today. Gaudí combined Modernism with the Catalan Neo-Gothic style, and included some of his most characteristic structural elements that can be spotted in his more well-known designs Casa Batllo and La Pedrera, such as an attic with brick arches.
You can have a more relaxed visit at the Bellesguard Tower because it is less crowded than places like the Sagrada Familia, yet it has a really interesting history that is worth finding out about. And it is one of Gaudí’s most fascinating works, because essentially it is a semi-modernist, semi-gothic castle – an interesting combination!
Prices: ticket with audioguide 9€, guided tour 16€
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10am-3pm
Location: Carrer de Bellesguard, 20, 08022 Barcelona – 30 minutes from ACYH