From exploring La Sagrada Familia and the Picasso Museum, to looking for a garden that can’t be described as ‘Gaudí-esque’, Barcelona is crammed with cool stuff to do. But for something more fun and perhaps a little bit different in Catalonia’s capital – look no further!
1. Join in a massive pillow fight
It doesn’t get more fun than walloping people about the head with giant pillows. In Barcelona, the annual Pillow Fight is usually on the first Sunday of April in Plaça Catalunya. Pack your fluffiest, feathered pillows and get ready to duel, but stick to the rules – leave the zips behind and don’t hit anyone who’s pillow-less. Might be something worth planning your trip around?
2. Color your white bits on a nudist beach
Barcelona’s residents are used to bronzing their white bits in public and they won’t bat an eyelid if you join in. Avoid the tan lines and take yourself to Mar Bella beach, or San Sebastien – the Southern stretch of Barceloneta in the direction of the W Hotel. Thirsty? Check out the chiringuitos for some cocktails, but you might want to put your shorts and shirts back on for those.
3. Taste a Catalan sensation at the Chocolate Museum
Just like Willy Wonka (kind of) the mission of the Chocolate Museum (Museu de la Xocolata de Barcelona) is to spread the word about the benefits of chocolate – as if we needed any more temptation. This initiative of the Barcelona Provincial Confectionery Guild aims to keep the traditional values of Catalan confectionery in our hearts, thoughts, and mouths. Once you’ve learnt about the nutritional and medicinal values, head to the coffee shop on site for one of the best hot chocolate drinks in the world.
4. Go under the sea at Barcelona Aquarium
They’re rightly quite proud of the fact that they’re the largest Mediterranean-themed aquarium in the world. This aquatic wonderland whisks you through tropical oceans and past dazzling coral reefs, all while explaining life in various Mediterranean marine communities. Explore 35 aquariums and 11,000 animals across 450 species and don’t miss the 80-meter long shark tunnel – the perfect way to get up close to the apex predators without becoming anyone’s breakfast.
5. Eat your dinner in the dark
You can gorge on tapas and beer all you like, but for a truly different dining experience in Barcelona, head to Dans le Noir. Blasting you out of your comfort zone, this restaurant employs blind waiters to serve a secret menu in pitch blackness. You’ll have to wear a bib, and maybe even be led to your knife and fork, but you’ll be talking about this experience for years to come. There are Dans le Noir restaurants all over the world but this one serves up excellent Catalan-French dishes. You’ll be amazed when the lights come on.
6. Take a ride on a Steel Donkey
The ‘Steel Donkey’ in question is a normal bicycle – but these Steel Donkey Bike Tours are special. Heading off the beaten tourist track you’ll swap Gaudi monuments and Las Ramblas shoppers for fun flea markets, squat houses, and artist’s workshops on the back streets of El Borne. Pedal through the old industrial ruins of Poblenou and observe life in the village district of Gracia. An excellent chance to see a different side to Barcelona on two wheels.
7. Get wet and wild at Caribe Aquatic Park
If you’re all Gaudi’d out and the sun’s too hot to handle, get yourself over to Caribe Aquatic Park. This is probably one of the most fun things you can do in Barcelona in the searing heat of summer. There are over 50,000m2 of twisting slides and rides here, including the highest freefall slide in Europe! Raft along the rougher waters of El Torrente or ride a tube on the lazy river. There’s also heaps of cool stuff for the kids and plenty of pools and beaches for chilling. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
8. Get the clackers out for Arte Flamenco
Olé! Olé! Olé! Barcelona is the home of flamenco, and you’ll find the best of the bunch just around the corner from the central Plaza de España. It’s actually a former bullring turned modern shopping centre, but there’s no bull here now – just good, honest, traditional flamenco. Experience the passion, seduction, and all the Iberian sangria you can handle. Get yourself some tapas, sit back and let your toes tap away to the rhythm of the Spanish night.
9. Bring out your inner artist at Arte Bar
Drinking is a Spanish pastime but if you’re looking to pair your boozing with something more creative, take your crew to Arte Bar for a painting party. This hip spot will hand out the paintbrushes and walk you through creating your very own masterpiece, all while you sip on wine, beer or soft drinks, and nibble on tapas. At the end of the night you get to take your painting home.
10. Join a summer street party
Clubs and bars are one thing but you can’t beat the community spirit of a street festival. From May to the end of September there’s an epic fiesta on every corner and you’ll see mums, kids, grandmas and even their dogs gathering for fun and traditional Catalan activities. Don’t miss the correfoc (fire runs), for which pyromaniacs in demon masks wave giant sparklers, or the towers of men and women standing on each other’s shoulders, known as castellers (human castles). They can get up to 10 stories high! Look out for live music, street theatre, great DJs and plenty of fabulous food and dancing.
Got any more fun Barcelona suggestions? We want to hear them!
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