19 Jan Barcelona’s best kept secrets
We present to you the Barcelona’s best kept secrets, those lesser-known places that you must visit to fall in love with the city
Barcelona is full of emblematic buildings, squares and monuments that are visited every year by millions of tourists: The Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Camp Nou for football fans, etc. But the charm of the city goes far beyond these icons that are featured in every travel guide or tourist bus. We propose you a tour throughout the less known treasures of Barcelona.
1. MIBA, the museum of great ideas
Barcelona has the only museum in the world dedicated to inventions and innovation, the MIBA. Located in the heart of the city, it has a very original and avant-garde staging which converts the building itself into an invention. Inside you can find the most hilarious creations such as a mop with a built-in microphone, a taxi-umbrella, or a pot that moves by itself looking for the sun.
But MIBA is not just about fun and laughter. In addition to display inventions of independent companies and creators, the center is also an engine of innovation and a meeting point between inventors and companies.
In addition, the museum has a space for children where they can create their own inventions and a store where you can buy replicas of some of the best inventions featured in the museum.
2. The breathtaking anti-aircraft shelters
The bombing that suffered Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) forced the construction of nearly 1,000 anti-aircraft shelters to protect the civilian population. Today it is possible to visit some of these subterranean bunkers, which serve as historical testimony of the cruelty of the war and the anguish suffered by the people of Barcelona during the war.
In the Gracia district you can find the anti-aircraft shelter of Plaça del Diamant, built at a depth of 13 meters, with a length of 250 meters and capacity for 200 people.
Another example is the anti-aircraft shelter 307 (Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 169) which allows the visitor to explore 400 meters of tunnels of 1.6 m wide and 2 of height (constructed by the neighbors of Poble Sec themselves), and between these tunnels you can still distinguish Stays such as toilets or a nursing. A journey that will take you back in time to discover the living conditions and the struggle to survive in Barcelona during that time period.
3. A piece of New York in Barcelona
Unknown even for most of its inhabitants, Barcelona has its own Statue of Liberty. The Library Arús (Passeig de Sant Joan, 26) houses the smallest of the three original copies that were built in the late nineteenth century, along with the one in Paris and the most known in New York.
This one is just two meters high and built in bronze. Visiting the statue is the perfect excuse to discover one of the most beautiful libraries in the city.
4. FC Barcelona crest in Santa María del Mar
The basilica of Santa Maria del Mar hides a secret that remains unnoticed by most of its visitors. More than one observer has been surprised to discover the FC Barcelona crest camouflaged in one of its beautiful stained glass windows. The reason? It has little to do with the football enthusiasm of his parishioners.
In the 60s the Catalan club collaborated economically in the restoration of the stained glass windows of the temple, devastated by fire a few years before. As a gesture of gratitude, the crest was included on the second floor of this elegant Cathedral, a gem of the Catalan Gothic that also served as background to the story for the famous novel “Cathedral of the Sea”, by Ildefonso Falcones.
5. An “erotic” sculpture in the Born
Very close to the basilica in the small street Mirallers, is located the sculpture of a woman’s face steeped in history and full of symbology. Carved in stone, her intense expression represents the female orgasm and used to serve to indicate the nearby presence of a brothel, when this type of premises were common next to the seafront city wall and in which many of its visitors couldn’t read.
6. The cat of the Raval
The statue known as “Botero’s cat” has already lived and traveled throughout half of the city. After being bought by the Barcelona city council, this huge sculpture by the Colombian artist Fernando Botero in 1987 was first placed in the Parc de la Ciutadella, near its partners in the zoo of Barcelona.
From there it was moved to the Olympic Stadium on the occasion of the Olympic Games of Barcelona 92, and then to Plaça Blanquerna. Finally, after 15 years looking for a home, this giant bronze cat found its definitive location (at least for now) in the Rambla del Raval, where it has become an icon and the mascot of the neighborhood.
7. La Casa de les Punxes, a modernist castle in the heart of the city
Avinguda Diagonal hides one of the best kept secrets of the Catalan modernism. After more than a century closed to the public, La Casa de les Punxes (the House of the Spikes) has opened its doors after a remodeling that has returned its entire splendor.
The building, declared National Historic Monument in 1975, owes its name to the six skewed towers (“punxes” in Catalan) that preside over its impressive façade.
In addition, this castle-museum located in the heart of Barcelona has the incentive of a 3D recreation of the Legend of Sant Jordi and the Dragon with special effects and magic mirrors. Are you going to miss it?
8. The urban beach of the garden of Torre de les Aigües
Despite being a city bathed by the sea, Barcelona has its own urban beach during the summer. Designed for the little ones, the waters of this artificial beach are just over half a meter deep and become an ideal choice for those who escape from the salt water and the crowds from busy beaches.
9. The 13 white geese in the cathedral cloister
The Barcelona Cathedral receives every year millions of visitors attracted by its majestic beauty. But what just a few know is that the cloister of the temple hosts 13 white geese in honor of Santa Eulalia, the martyr which gives the cathedral its name.
The religious young woman was condemned to suffer 13 martyrdoms, one for each year she had, for refusing to renounce her Christian faith.
This is just a short a guide with some of the Barcelona’s best kept secrets, but there are many more! Tell us if you find any and do not hesitate to ask any questions to our staff!