My insider tip for the best secret places in places, that not everyone knows.
The personal space requirements to strangers is about half a meter. In summer in Barcelona, you might have to settle for less. Sometimes the city centre can get crowded, especially in summer time. Then it’s good to know where you can find a quiet place for a quick break and some energy refuling.
Insider Tip: Fundación Frederic Marès
Just about two minutes away from the Cathedral in the centre of Barcelona, is a lovely little patio with orange trees, a little fountain and a small café. When you have had a busy day, it’s like dipping into another world of quiet. You can bring a meal or take away coffee and just eat on one of the benches or or if you’re not the preparation type, have a snack in the small café.
History Close up: Plaça Felip Neri
Also in close proximity to the cathedral, but a little more hidden away, you will find the Plaça Sant Felip Neri. It is build on top of a medieval cemetery and surrounded by Renaissance style buildings. The highlight is the fountain located in the middle of the park, where, coincidentally you can also find the Barcelona’s Shoemaker Museum.
On the walls of Felip Neri Church you can still see shells marks of a bomb that was thrown by the rebellion side in the Civil War in January 1938. It exploded right where now the plaza now is and killed 42 people. Most were children who died from the blast that had taken refuge in the basement of the church. The houses that were standing near by back then, where completely destroyed. Adolf Florensa was in charge of rebuilding them and decided to create the plaza.
The plaza is also nice from above: in the Hotel Felip Neri you can enjoy the view while zipping on a coffee or a glass of wine.
Courtyard of Santa Anna Church
Close to Plaza Catalunya, if you take a few of steps to the right of the Hard Rock Café you will reach to a little patio that connects to a small street called Santa Anna. To those of you who read “Shadow of the wind” by Carlos Ruiz Safón, this will sound familiar. It’s the street where the protagonist Daniel Sempere lives with his father. On this patio you can find a small fountain to sit by and take in the scenery and smell the flowers of the nearby flower stand. And if you fancy a coffee or a snack, there are a few bakeries in Santa Anna as well. It’s a nice and quiet place to wind down for a little bit, after being overwhelmed by the usually crowded centre.
El Antic Teatre
The patio of the old theatre “Antic Teatre” feels like a small oasis. I looks a bit like a German style Biergarten, with a huge tree and improvised furniture. It’s very cosy and if you need a break in the centre, this is definitely a good place for a beer or a coffee to recharge your batteries. They also sell Bocadillos (sandwiches) and some snacks.
5. Insider Tip by the port: Museo Maritimo
The patio of Museu Maritim is close to the old port, towards Raval. It’s a very little patio with a fountain and a café or canteen. Perfect for a coffee break, when things get overwhelming. In the restaurant they serve coffee, snacks and lunch menu. It’s also a good option when it starts to rain as you keep dry cosy while you can see the rain out from the big windows.
Whether on the terrace or inside, thanks to the huge windows you always have the same great view. Insider tip: Come here when its raining and cosy into the sofas or chairs and watch the raindrops fall outside with a coffee. They also have a lunch menu for about 16,50 €.
Great views: Terrace of the Museu de la Historia de Catalunya
If you are around the port or close to the beach in Barceloneta, do take the time to have a coffee at the roof terrace of the Museu de la Historia de Catalunya, The Catalan History Museum: it’s a real beauty with a fantastic view of the old port from above. Coffee is regularly priced and the view is definitely worth it.
From here you can watch the yachts and the people going by. Montjuic and Tibidabo are best admired from here. Tip: Wait until sunset and watch the sun disappear over Montjuic with a glass of wine.
A hidden gem: Mercadillo und el Jardi
In the street Portaferrissa, one of the main shopping streets, you can find a small hidden gem. A little café or bar, hidden behind a Hip Hop style shop. Enter in the shop and walk all the way to the end to go up the stairs. If that is not quire your style, don’t get put off, as there is a secret roof top café with hanging chairs and lots of trees and greenery. The perfect place for a caña (tap beer) or a coffee break.
The Pati Llimona “courtyard of lime”, is the patio of the Centro Civico in the centre. Centro Civicos offer al kinds of evening classes for adults and can be found all over Spain.
On the patio there are a few tables and chairs that invite you to take a moment to pause and enjoy the tranquility and the beautiful lemon tree. Those interested in art, can also go inside the Centro. Once inside, if you turn left, there is a small gallery with works of the students.
Plaza del Rei
The Plaça del Rei, the plaza of the Kings, is the historic seat of the Counts of Barcelona and the Kings of Aragon. It was originally the site of the marketplace, which has then been moved in order to make space for tournaments. Nowadays, thanks to the special acoustics, there are often concerts or events taking place here. Fridays during spring and summer time (from April to July) at around 22h free workshops and demonstrations of traditional dances take place. The program is available here.
During the day the big stairs invite you to sit for a while and watch the people down at the plaza. There is also a small café.
Antic Hospital de Santa Creu
Behind the Boqueria, the famous market near the Ramblas, you will find a small idyllic courtyard, the old hospital Santa Creu “Antic Hospital Santa Creu”. The hospital was built in the 15th century and was in use until the 30s. It was considered one of the best hospitals in Europe and became famous mainly due to Antoni Gaudí dying here in 1926. Today you can find the Biblioteca de Catalunya, the Institut d’Estudis Catalans and the renowned Conservatory Massana along the courtyard, orbiting a beautiful garden with orange trees. There is also a small restaurant and in the chapel of the former hospital, where there are often modern art exhibition
Terrasse der Olokuti Boutique
Another ‘secret’ terrace, hidden away behind a store, is the terrace of the Fair Trade shop Olokuti in Gràcia. The boutique is less than 2 minutes from the metro station Fontana en route to the middle of the hipster district Gràcia. If you go into the store, simply walk through to the end of it and you will see some steps leading into the little gem of a terrace. Although there is no café or bar here, you can find a vending machine, where you can stock up on supplies. Lectures and workshops are often organised here as well.
All spots on a map:
Dear Pinners, this is for you!