For generations, Spain has been one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, especially for European travellers seeking a Mediterranean, Hispanic atmosphere as the setting for their summer holiday. Whilst the various Spanish islands become a playground for those wanting a slice of intense beach partying and nightlife, those who are in search of similar vibrant fun,with an added dash of history and culture, often find themselves setting foot in Barcelona, the crown jewel of Catalonia. With several low-cost airlines offering shortflights from the UK, and affordable advance taxi bookings from HolidayTaxis, it’s no wonder it’s such a popular destination.
Barcelona and The Secrets of Spanish Summer
You might think that at this point you know everything there is to know about such a world-famous city, but Barcelona still has a few things up its sleeve to surprise you! Here are some of the best kept secrets of Barcelona and the Spanish summer.
1. Roman Barcino
Situated just a short taxi ride away from the popular Las Ramblas nightlife district, the Roman Barcino is a perfectly preserved Roman necropolis that will transport you back to an ancient time. On Sundays, the area is a mass of activity, with the square being filled with local Catalans dancing the sardana and listening to a wonderful cobla band. It provides a real slice of ancient life in the Catalan capital.
2. Museo Nacional de Arte de Catalunya
This is a fabulous museum in the city that covers everything from Romanesque, gothic architecture to more of the amazing modern art that Barcelona has become known for over the years. One particular secluded spot not to miss is the room of silver murals painted by Josep M Sert for the London ballroom of none other than Sir Philip Sassoon. A true hidden gem!
3. Fonda Espana
Barcelona is known for its strong food culture, but one particular hidden gem not to be missed is the restaurant owned by Martin Berasategui at the historic Fonda Espana. For some of the best prices in the city, you can enjoy a Michelin level meal consisting of sumptuous favourites like cannelloni, beef stew, and a citric sauced fish with a special Catalan twist.
4. Hidden Synagogue
Back in 1996, a historian named Juame Riera y Sans found paperwork that showed payments made by Spain’s Jewish populations to an address at 5, Carrer Marlet. The first sighting showed nothing of interest, but subsequent excavation work discovered a small, hidden ancient synagogue underneath the ground. All that could be seen from the street was the top of an arch!
5. Crypt At Sagrada Familia
More than four million people visit Gaudi’s amazing Sagrada Familia every single year, but less than one percent of them take the time to visit the crypt underneath the Basilica. This is where Gaudi’s tomb rests, and the décor and architecture down there is just as awe inspiring as the familiar work above ground. Make the most of your trip to Barcelona’s most iconic visual landmark by exploring the underside of the building; the side that so few people ever make the effort to see for themselves.