There are plenty of sights and attractions that make Barcelona one of the world’s most visited cities. You could forever gaze at the beautiful and intricate architectural designs that are all around you, or take endless amounts of pictures to upload to social media when you get home. Although there is no denying that these sights – such as the well-known Sagrada Familia – are a must-see, there are a lot of lesser known attractions that are just as good and offer many cool things to do in Barcelona.
Ice Barcelona (Ice Bar)
There is no doubt that Barcelona’s Ice Bar is definitely one of the more cool things to do in Barcelona, pardon the pun. Located right on the beach at Port Olimpic, you can go from one extreme to the other. One minute you could be almost melting in the scorching heat of the Mediterranean sun while the next you’re putting on an Arctic-style winter coat and gloves while you submit yourself to temperatures of -5°C. It’s not just the stunning sculptures that are carved out of ice; the stools, shot glasses, and even the bar itself are constructed out of ice, making this a truly unique and unforgettable experience. You can give the Ice Bar a try for the very affordable price of €16.50, which includes a free drink and coat and gloves.
The Steel Donkey is just a euphemism for a bicycle, which sounds quite simple, but there is undeniable logic behind this simplicity. Steel Donkey Bike Tours take you on a quieter route that you would not typically experience while on a city tour bus. You will get to visit the industrial ruins of Poblenon, flea markets, squat houses, the back streets of El Borne, and much more on this tour. It will give you a real insight into Barcelona’s true history. One thing about these tours that definitely make them one of the cool things to do in Barcelona is that no two trips are the same. They are not your standard scripted and ‘one routed’ tour, as are many of the walks Barcelona is famous for; your guide is a local who has immense knowledge of the area. Prices for a four-hour tour is around €35, which many who have participated have said is generally a good price for the sights and information you take in.
Dine in the Dark
Barcelona’s Dans le Noir? will take you out of your comfort zone in an experience that will put your senses and culinary knowledge to the test. Blind waiters will take you to a pitch black room, where you sit down to a meal and learn to eat without your eyesight. Without your vision, simple tasks such as eating become an entirely different experience; according to many, it really does bring out the flavours of the food. You’ll never see tapas in the same light again. Prices range from approximately €35 to €65, depending on what menu you opt for. It is definitely an unforgettable experience if you can make it there, but you should look into it if you get the time and you can budget for it.
Barcelona’s very own Booze Cruise is an excuse to get as drunk as a sailor as you set sail around the nearshore waters of Catalonia’s Mediterranean Sea coastline. Several times a week during the warmer months, you can hop aboard one of these party boats with up to 149 other revellers and enjoy music, soak up the sun, and most importantly drink beer, cocktails and sangria to your hearts content. Featuring DJs, barbeques, and games, this really is one of the cool things to do in Barcelona by fun-loving partygoers. Due to its success in previous years, there are now three different events to choose from – the Legendary Booze Cruise at €40, the Champagne Sunset Cruise at €45 and the BBQ Boat Party at €47. The prices are slightly more expensive than some of the other things to do in the city, but for the younger crowd, it may not seem such bad a price as it includes free drinks for the duration of the trip. On top of this, the friendly staff will provide you with free entry to some of Barcelona’s hottest night clubs so that you can continue your adventures when you dock back in port.
Be a Winemaker for a Day
If you want to do something that is both cool and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, take advantage of one of the cava making tours that originate out of Barcelona. Cava is Spain’s version of champagne, and they’ve been making it in and around Barcelona for several centuries now. Board a train and travel out to a vineyard that could be as old as a thousand years, where you will learn the fine art of making cava. You will get to bottle your brew when you’re done, along with creating a custom-made label that expresses what your wine is all about. Even after you drink it, you’ll still have the bottle and its label to keep the memories alive.
Go Skateboarding at the Contemporary Art Museum
While people looking for a quiet holiday experience will go inside the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona to view paintings, sculptures and the like, I bet you’re looking for something a little bit more energetic. You’ll be pleased to know that Barcelona is considered one of the hottest skateboarding cities on earth. And guess what? Both the city and the art museum welcome the fact that skateboarders love the massive plaza outside the building. All day long you’ll find skaters honing their craft, soaking up the sun, and perhaps enjoying a beer (those were old enough, of course). There are several skate shops in the general vicinity where you can get a board and a helmet.
Pretend You’re a Ferrari Racer
The truly adventurous holidaymaker might consider getting behind the wheel of a powerful Ferrari for a high-speed run around the Circuit de Catalunya. The circuit just happens to be the official track of the annual Spanish Grand Prix. It’s expensive, at £549 for a party of four, but it’s well worth it if you like fast cars and F1 racing.
An Urban Treasure Hunt
You and a group consisting of at least ten players can race against the clock and/or other teams in an exciting urban treasure hunt that will take you through the streets of the city. Look for hidden clues, solve cryptic puzzles, and use your compass to get where you’re going before anyone else. The team that completes the treasure hunt first wins a delicious bottle of cava. Of all the cool things to do in Barcelona, this is one of the best for larger groups.
Learn to Dance the Flamenco
Lots of tourists will visit Las Ramblas for its history and Flamenco dancing. But if you want to take it to the next level, book a Flamenco lesson at Tablao Cordobes. For under £70, you will get a 2.5-hour experience that includes a one-hour lesson and an outstanding show provided by local professionals. It is an opportunity to be part of a cultural event that is unique to Spain.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
Another cool thing to do in Barcelona is to take a hot air balloon ride over the region. It’s very affordable at less than £150 per person, and you’ll get to see Barcelona and the Catalonia area in a way very few people get to see it. The best kind of tour is an early-morning tour that lasts about five hours. Climbing up to about 3,000 feet as the sun is beginning to rise is incomparable. Flights are complete with a champagne brunch and a flight certificate upon landing. If five hours is too long for you, you can book a one or two-hour flight instead.
As you can see, there is more to Barcelona than the typical tourist attractions. Whether you’re looking for a more relaxed day trip or an adventure on the high seas, there are plenty of cool things to do in Barcelona.
And while you’re in the region, why not visit Salou. For lots of attractions to visit and things to do in Salou, check out our dedicated Salou page by clicking on the preceding link.
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- Ice Barcelona: http://bcnshop.barcelonaturisme.com
- Steel Donkey: http://www.steeldonkeybiketours.com
- Circuit de Catalunya: By Mutari 10:51, 21 September 2007 (UTC) – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2788326
- Vineyard: By Mick Stephenson – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2683529
- Balloons: http://barcelonaballoonflights.com/