To say something about Barcelona is not difficult, it has a lot to see, live and feel, furthermore it has a lot of famous monuments that no one wants to miss, but today I am going to make a more personal post. I will talk about four charming places that I love, that are not known for the vast majority of tourists.
1. Santa Anna Church
I discovered this place not long ago. It is a church next to Plaça Catalunya, but the amazing thing about this place is that even it is as near of a main point of Barcelona where thousands of persons passes by and there are some events like the ice ring in Christmas time, it is an oasis of silence where you can relax and enjoy the place that, for sure, will surprise you.
The style of this church is Gothic, but it preserves the initial Romanesque structure. It was founded in 1141 by the Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, but in 1936 there was a huge fire and they had to rebuild the church. The cloister, a very beautiful place, has two entrances, one on the street and another one inside the church, and to enter to the chapter you have to pass by it. In the center of the cloister we found a well that contains a stone from Jerusalem, as in the Holy Sepulchre chapel, the main point of the church due that there a stone of the Holy Sepulchre is venerated.
The people usually enter to this church by the Santa Anna street, but I recommend you to enter by Plaça Catalunya: next to the Hard Rock Cafe, there is a passage that seems with no exit, but if you enter there is an access to Santa Anna church. The sensation that I had when I entered for this access is difficult to describe.
2. Petritxol street
It is a street that I never forget to visit. Known by the famous “xocolateries” where you can find chocolate, cakes and confectionery, and by the art galleries and some of the stories that you can find on this street.
The best known chocolate shop of this street is La Pallaresa, one of the few places where you still can taste the “menjar blanc” or white food in catalan, that is an almond cream with a touch of cinnamon and lemon. In Granja Dulcinea, that you can find in the same street, we can find the best “chocolate con churros” of the city, moreover, it used to be frequented by artists like Salvador Dalí or Angel Guimerà, who had a flat in this street. Montserrat Caballé, soprano, had her studio in Petritxol street, as you can see in a plate next to La Pallaresa. Another “xocolateria” that I recommend to you is Xocoa, the best choice if you prefer a cake instead a cup of hot chocolate.
This street is also known for having the first art gallery in the country, the Sala Parés, where the artworks are exposed with natural light. In this gallery, big artists have exposed their works, as Pablo Picasso or Santiago Rusiñol. But this is not the only art gallery of the street, this is a place that you cannot miss if art is your passion.
Moreover, you only have to have a walk for the street to notice how amazing it is and how many art can be seen in these walls, because there are some mosaics along the street that show you the history and traditions of this street.
3. The Carmel viewpoint
Also known as The Bunkers or The Turó de la Rovira, it is a viewpoint a little remote of the city, in the Carmel neighborhood, that offers to us an amazing panoramic view of Barcelona.
The popularity of this place is increasing, and part of this is due to a film called Tengo ganas de ti, where this scenery doesn’t appear only as a part of a scene but as part of the poster of the film. Formerly, it was an anti aircraft bunker created during the Spanish Civil War, in 2011 it was inaugurated as the current viewpoint.
This viewpoint is part of the MUHBA (Barcelona History Museum), but its access is totally free.
While I was investigating a little bit about the history of this place, I found another MUHBA space, the Refuge 307, an anti aircraft refuge built during the Spanish Civil War to protect the citizens of the bombing. A very interesting place that, without any doubt, we cannot miss. Here you can see an image of this place to see what I am talking about.
4. Horta’s Labyrinth
We have talked about this place before, in the post of The other Barcelona. It is the oldest preserved garden of the city. A park with a lot of history as kings’ receptions, classic theater representations and it has even been part of a scene in the movie Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. Nowadays it is a high school for training in gardening.
Along all the park, we find a lot of mythological references. For example, at the entrance of the labyrinth we find a sculpture of Ariadne and Theseus, so if you like this theme, you will enjoy the park.
In this garden we can find more than 20 water elements as waterfalls, watercourses, fountains or ponds that help to grow up a big variety of plants, flowers and trees, but it is not the only thing that asks for your attention in this place: this garden is in the Amphibian Protection Program of Barcelona. For this reason we can see some of the ponds and fountains with green water, because they keep the water without chlorine to recover some amphibian like the green frog or the toad.
These are four spaces of Barcelona, some of them with more “fame” than others, but that usually are unnoticed if you don’t know the city. In fact, I am discovering new things of the city that I didn’t know, even they have always been as near from me.
I hope you enjoy this post and please, feel free to give us your opinion of this places. Do you think there are more places that have to be on the list?