Barcelona is chock-full of uncommon surprises.
From the erotic museum to the sewers below the city, and from the bunkers to the supercomputing centers, there are a ton of quirky activities you can join in the Catalan capital.
This guide with 44 unusual things to do in Barcelona will show you the city’s peculiar side.
Ready to explore places and sights not many people discover in the Spanish city?
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Discover Barcelona’s Quirky Museums
What do chocolate, erotica, funerals, and European art have in common? Well, you can find all of them in Barcelona’s unusual museums.
- Face mortality at the Museum of Funeral Carriages of Barcelona. This intriguing museum will introduce you to the Spanish funeral ceremonies typical for the 1870-1940 period. You’ll find funerary and horse-drawn carriages on display. The hearses inside Museu de Carrosses Fúnebres de Barcelona feature the Rococo details typical for funeral ceremonies back in the day. After exploring the museum, head to Montjuïc Cemetery. On the hillside, you can admire the tombs and pantheons of the most notable and wealthy families of Barcelona. Neo-Gothic, modernist, and realism architectural masterpieces co-exist in this massive monumental cemetery.
- Immerse yourself in the virtual reality of IDEAL Centre d’Arts Digitals de Barcelona. In IDEAL Centre, you can lose yourself in a virtual world of art through 3D displays and hi-tech audiovisual projections. IDEAL Centre d’Arts Digitals de Barcelona has organized many art exhibitions, bringing the fantastic creations of great artists such as Picasso and Dalí to life. Currently, you can explore Salvador Dali’s interpretation of quantum physics, the parallel universe, DNA sequencing, sacred geometry, and the fourth dimension through top-notch visuals.
- Blush at the Barcelona Erotic Museum. The Museu de l’Eròtica de Barcelona offers a peculiar collection of artifacts that will spark your curiosity and make you blush, too. Japanese Shinga-themed exhibits and pieces related to Kama Sutra are only a small part of what’s on display at this archive of ancient erotic and sexual desires. Erotic art and sexual records wrap up the collection. You’ll find the museum at La Rambla across from the famous Mercado del La Boqueria.
- Raise your dopamine at the Chocolate Museum. Learn more about the history of chocolate, beginning from the times conquistadors brought cocoa to the Spanish shore more than 500 years ago at Museu de la Xocolata. The insanely cool chocolate statues will make you salivate during your entire visit. Many of Gaudi’s most famous works are recreated in chocolate, such as the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. Workshops for adults and kids, as well as a chocolate bar, will steal your heart. Even the entry ticket is made out of chocolate!
- Learn from hands-on science experiments in Museu de la Ciència CosmoCaixa. CosmoCaixa is a highly interactive science museum that gives you a chance to experiment, observe animals, plants, and objects, and learn using your senses. From physics to biology, and from geology to astronomy, the museum packs a punch of scientific thinking for adults and kids alike. The most striking feature of Museu de la Ciència CosmoCaixa is the flooded Amazon rainforest. You’ll meet over 100 living species from fish to birds and from plants to mammals on your walk through the forest.
- Appreciate beauty at the European Museum of Modern Art. Located in a stunning 18th-century palace, Museu Europeu d’Art Modern (MEAM) houses works of European artists from the last two centuries. The gallery’s collections include contemporary figurative art and captivating temporary exhibits. If you’re an art geek, we’re sure you’ll fall in love with the museum’s exclusive collections. Watch out for the concerts organized by MEAM on a regular basis as well.
- Explore Barcelona’s nautical culture at Maritime Museum. Learn more about the rich naval history of Barcelona at the innovative Maritime Museum. Start with Ictineo I – the first ever engine-powered submarine, launched off the coasts of Barcelona in 1858. The majestic museum uses cut shipping containers to encapsulate legends of the sea. Don’t miss the adventure of walking over the breathtaking replica of the royal galleon from the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. The conflict between the Holy League and the Ottoman Empire decided the division of the Mediterranean.
- Get your mind blown by contemporary art at MOCO. At this privately owned museum, modern and street artists will shatter your visual perspective into tiny pieces. The unusual gallery occupies a 16th-century palace in the Borne District of Barcelona. The shows, installations, and exhibitions feature popular names from the last 50 years. Creations by Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, and Banksy coexist peacefully to challenge your perceptions at MOCO. You can also explore Europe’s first exhibition space dedicated to the NFT phenomenon (non-fungible tokens).
Explore Barcelona’s Unusual Landmarks
Barcelona is famous for Camp Nou, Sagrada Familia, and the Gothic Quarter, among others. But the Catalan capital has so much more to offer. This section will show you the city’s most bizarre attractions.
- Admire Torre Bellesguard, one of Gaudi’s most unusual creations. What differentiates Torre Bellesguard, also known as Casa Figueres, from Antoni Gaudi’s other creations is that the exterior follows predominantly a neo-Gothic style. The architect wanted to honor the original medieval castle, which stood on this site. Gaudí blended the neo-Gothic feel of the tower with the interior’s Modernist design. Inside, the famous architect’s naturalistic approach shines in all its glory. Colored glass, plastered walls, and iron details flirt with each other. He also hid a mythical creature on Torre Bellesguard’s roof. You’ll have to discover it for yourself, together with the breathtaking views of Barcelona.
- Explore the secrets of Barcelona’s Baby Drop-off. There is a hardly noticeable wooden opening in a building’s wall in the middle of El Raval District. It hides some disturbing secrets. Anonymous people left church donations and even orphans via the inlet, hence the name. Between 1853 and 1931, hundreds of infants were abandoned through that hole.
- Find the FC Barcelona Coat of Arms. Santa María del Mar is a 14th-century church that suffered fire damage in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. The renovation took more than two decades. FC Barcelona’s management agreed to donate funds if the club’s coat of arms was featured on one of the stained-glass windows. Try to spot it among the other geometrical figures.
- Compare sizes with the Giants of Santa Maria del Pi. Els Gegants at Santa Maria del Pi church are lurking from behind a floor-to-ceiling glass case. What’s curious about them is that they’re actually puppets that highlight different parades and celebrations. The bigger giants are more than 400 years old while the petit gegants (the smaller ones) were introduced in 1780. The giants were restored in 1951 and are used to this day.
- Marvel at 700 years of history in Monestir de Pedralbes. The 14th-century Monestir de Pedralbes dates back to the time of King Jamie ll of Aragon and Queen Elisenda de Montcada. Today, it’s a museum and home to different art exhibitions. Besides that, the courtyard garden of Monestir de Pedralbes adds more beauty to the already gorgeous house of worship. The chirping of birds, the big palm trees, and the sound of water from the Renaissance fountain make the environment serene and help wash away your stress.
- Gaze at the extravagance of the Woman and Bird statue. The gorgeous 72-foot Dona i Ocell statue is mounted in the heart of a park named after its sculptor, the world-famous Joan Miró. He teamed up with Joan Gardy Artigas to finish the small details of the work of art. The curious statue is surrounded by eucalyptus and pine trees. An artificial lake compliments the beautiful scenery.
- Dare to stroll through the Sewers of Barcelona. These sewers have quite a history. An aqueduct supplied the water to the ancient Roman colony of Barcino. Barcino later became Barcelona. The city council introduced sewers in the mid-14th century. Today, some of the preserved tunnels are accessible. You can join one of the several guided tours.
- Experience the panorama at Bunkers of Carmel. There’s hardly a better place to admire the beauty of Barcelona from above than Bunkers del Carmel. The area is a former military facility on top of Turó de la Rovira. It’s situated on a hill and offers a bird’s eye view of the entire city. Visit at sunset for a mesmerizing panorama.
- Enter the future at Barcelona Supercomputing Center. The former church Torre Girona now houses this high-tech hub. The facility’s main attraction is MareNostrum, one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe. When researchers need to solve complex problems and calculations, they use this mighty machine. Seeing the equipment behind glass panes in the middle of a 19th-century church is like a glimpse into the future.
- Admire the incredible design of Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau. The Catalan architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner created this unbelievable Art Nouveau mix of statues, arches, and stained glass. He redesigned the building after its former owner Paul Gil i Serra died. Serra’s will stated that his estate had to serve as a hospital. Although the fascinating edifice no longer functions as a hospital, you can still explore the mind-boggling architectural masterpiece. Since 1997, Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Get Lost in Barcelona’s Peculiar Green Spaces
The parks and recreational areas in the Catalan capital seduce with their architecture and fascinating stories. Roam the pathways, have a picnic, or get lost in Barcelona’s most extraordinary green spaces.
- Explore the Labyrinth Park of Horta. The Parc del Laberint d’Horta is Barcelona’s oldest garden. The Neoclassical part of the park was constructed in the 18th century. Here’s your chance to roam around a hedge maze. The labyrinth offers a challenging 2,000 ft. (610 m) of pathways leading toward a lovely pond and a collection of statues. The historic garden’s theme loosely follows some of the most bizarre stories of the Greek mythology.
- Discover the Tibidabo Mountain. The 1,680-ft. (512-m) Tibidabo Mountain towers over Barcelona. The area accommodates a historic theme park and a Catholic church named Sagrat Cor, which took six decades to complete. At the top of the church, nests a statue by Josep Miret Llopart called Sacred Heart. You can access Tibidabo by a railway built in 1901. Don’t miss visiting some of the original amusement park attractions, such as the Mechanical Museum (Museu d’Autòmates).
- Stroll in the peaceful Gardens of Mossèn Costa i Llobera. Despite covering 6 hectares of the Montjuïc hillside, the Gardens of Mossèn Costa i Llobera are one of the most serene places in Barcelona. Due to their location on a hill foot next to the sea, you can experience a magnificent view of Barcelona’s coastline. The gardens are known for growing over 800 cactus plants gathered from all around the world. You can find a range of Mexican, Australian, Brazilian, and South African cacti coexisting together. From desert plants to tropical highland trees, the Gardens of Mossèn Costa i Llobera have it all.
- Feast your eyes on the beauty of Parc Diagonal Mar. Water is the primary feature of Parc Diagonal Mar. The huge 14-hectare green space projects positive energy and is a must-visit spot in Barcelona. Kids have a separate play area in the lush green park, so you can savor every moment and watch your stress melt away. The sight of water spraying out of the intertwining tubular structures in the lake is jaw-dropping. More so, witnessing the rainbow created between these tubes when sunlight hits the water drops and reflects is a breath of fresh air after an exhausting day.
- Let your inner child go wild at Parc de Les Glòries. In this glorious park, you can free the kid inside you and recreate your childhood memories. Parc de Les Glòries offers basketball hoops, table tennis tables, and a domed play space with wide slides, chase-me tunnels, and daredevil climbing blocks. La Gran Clariana, a lush grassy esplanade inside the park, makes Parc de Les Glòries the new green lung of Barcelona. On the side of the park, you can marvel at the imposing, 474-ft. (145-m) high skyscraper, Torre Glòries, famous for its nocturnal illumination.
- Lose yourself in the Gardens of Ca n’Altimira. Josep Altimira was an eccentric millionaire known as the “Count of Monte Cristo” for his gigantic wealth. The Jardins de Ca n’Altimira are no regular gardens. They feature a zoo, a hypostyle room, subterranean galleries, and a pillared hall with mysterious symbolism. The hall’s columns remind of those in ancient temples and are similar to another hall in Park Güell.
Dive into Barcelona’s Rich Culture and Diverse Neighborhoods
The Catalan capital teems with cultural activities and festivals. In this section, you’ll discover what not to miss while exploring its cultural aspects.
- Learn Spanish at Camino Barcelona. This was one of Naddya’s coolest travel and educational experiences. The teachers, the staff, and the students provide a great community and an unforgettable learning process. The school’s daily activities include tours around the city, wine tastings, dancing and cooking lessons. The rooftop terrace invites for a relaxed afternoon with your fellow students. If you want to refresh your high-school Spanish or tackle a new challenge, studying Spanish at Camino Barcelona is the best way to spend a few weeks in the beautiful Catalan capital.
- Explore the culture of El Raval. The Raval area was anything but a popular tourist attraction until a couple of decades ago. The area was full of cabarets until 1988. It was Barcelona’s only red-light district. The 1992 Olympic Games changed that, and Raval became an important cultural and social hub full of cafés and bars. Today, there’s no sign of El Raval’s past nightlife. On the contrary, it’s one of the best areas to stay in Barcelona. If you visit the neighborhood, make sure to have a drink at the 23 Robadors bar or enjoy the 360° panorama of Barcelona from the rooftop bar at Hotel Barceló Raval.
- Become part of the Festa Major de Gràcia festival. The Gràcia district offers one of the best and most unusual things to do and see in Barcelona in August – the Festa Major de Gràcia. The festival involves a lot of celebrations, but the Street Decorating Competition literally transforms the area. The vibrant colors and music, as well as the social events, performances, and other cultural activities, provide an unforgettable atmosphere.
- Witness the talent of the Street Performers of Las Ramblas. Don’t be puzzled if you see a levitating Satan or a skeleton riding a bike while you walk down Las Ramblas. The busy city area serves as an arena for many talented street performers. All of them gather crowds regularly. The boulevard offers more than a few shows daily. Once you set foot on Las Ramblas, pay attention to the street mosaic created by Joan Miro. As a further Barcelona travel tip, please be aware of your belongings. The street is notorious for pickpockets.
- Admire the authenticity of Sants. Although Sants is an ancient district, it doesn’t host popular tourist attractions. In fact, its vibe is what makes it unique. Diving into the everyday hustle and bustle of Sants will make you feel as if you’ve become Catalan yourself. If you’re visiting Barcelona in August, you’ll witness the Fiesta Major de Sants, a fun blend of music, dances, and fireworks.
Discover Barcelona’s Peculiar Urban Lifestyle
If you’d like to sightsee the city’s unusual urban lifestyle, this section offers you ideas on what can tickle your travel fancy.
- Take a ride on the Tramvia Blau. Hop on the beautiful blue cars at Plaça Kennedy (Kennedy Square) and enjoy the ride to Tibidabo Mountain. The Tramvia Blau tram line is almost a century old. It’s great for sightseeing, as the route passes near many Noucentista and Modernist façades.
- Marvel at the miniatures traded at the Model Train Market. The timeless design of the Estació de França train station becomes the scene of a model train market. You can find it all here: tracks, figurines, accessories, and cargo. Train model enthusiasts are not the only ones who find this place special. Locals and travelers also enjoy visiting this market.
- Discover the Gardens of the Three Chimneys. The graffiti park Jardins de les 3 Xemeneiesis an important place in Barcelona for its urban culture. You will find it near Montjuïc after you see the distinctive three chimneys standing in its middle. They’re part of a former power station from the 1920s. Artists repaint graffiti murals several times a month using new patterns and designs.
- Grab a souvenir at the Els Encants flea market. The Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes becomes a picturesque flea market every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Hundreds of vendors offer their goods at the oldest flea market in the city – Els Encants. Chances are you’ll discover something you want to take home, and get a bargain for it, too.
- Buy sheet music at Casa Beethoven. There’s no other feeling like standing inside an 1880 sheet music store offering more than 125,000 titles. What the heck is sheet music, though? It is a notation that indicates the rhythm, pitch range, and expressivity of a musical piece. Casa Beethoven has it all – from the classic composers to the modern performers. Even if you’re not entirely sure what to choose, the friendly staff will guide you through the large collection. If you happen to visit on a Saturday, you’ll have a chance to see how locals gather at the shop to sing and have fun.
Devour Catalan Cuisine and Enjoy a Drink at Barcelona’s Unexpected Bars
Ready for the most delicious part of the unusual things to do in Barcelona? Let’s explore the city’s exploding culinary scene.
- Try scrumptious tapas on Rambla del Poblenou. Originally called Paseo del Triunfo, La Rambla del Poblenou is one of the longest boulevards in Barcelona. This avenue is more authentic and more vibrant than the notorious La Rambla in the center of Barcelona. Great bars and restaurants dot the street. You can immerse yourself in a culinary tapas adventure at El 58 or enjoy homemade ice cream at Tio Che. Elegant shops, aesthetic sculptures, and modernist buildings will keep you company during your walk on La Rambla del Poblenou.
- Have a whopping 30-course meal at Disfrutar. Dining at this Michelin-star restaurant is one of the most unusual things to do in Barcelona due to its 30-course tasting menu. Such a culinary experience will transform your idea of fine cuisine. It takes about four hours to devour all the courses. It’s not cheap but there is hardly a better way to tickle your senses and enjoy the local cuisine.
- Enjoy an interactive dinner at Opera Samfaina. The Roca brothers are famous for making it to the top of the world’s best restaurants list. Their establishment named Opera Samfaina will introduce you to the secrets of Catalan food traditions in an interactive way. The combination of food, colors, and atmosphere will turn your dinner into an unforgettable experience.
- Taste the oldest hot chocolate recipe at Chocolate Amatller. The gourmet chocolatier was founded in 1797. This is your chance to have an artisan hot drink at a modernist palace. Located inside the historic Casa Amatller, the cafeteria has a long and impressive history. The family made its fortune by importing cacao and preparing scrumptious delicacies out of it. The modernist townhouse has always been open to innovation, so brace yourself for an amazing experience.
- Sip on a refreshing drink at The Fairies’ Forest. The wacky design of Bosc de las Fades makes it one of the quirkiest bars to visit in Barcelona. As the name suggests, the spot will make you feel as if you’ve entered an enchanted forest full of fairies and gnomes. Enjoying a beverage while admiring the unique atmosphere will make you never want to leave Bosc de las Fades.
- Learn how to prepare paella. One of the most unusual things to do in Barcelona is to join a culinary class. The city offers a huge variety of cooking workshops and courses. Spending a few hours discovering the secrets of making the perfect paella the Catalan way is something you would likely never forget.
- Grab a bite or hit the sack at the unique Mercer Hotel. A curious story surrounds the Mercer Hotel. During its construction, workers discovered parts of an ancient Roman wall. This caused a 10-year delay in the original plan. The wait was worth it as it turned the establishment into a national monument. Mercer Hotel’s restaurant is nested around a former Roman defense tower, offering a unique dining experience. The accommodations at the hotel are unparalleled as well. You can book your stay here.
- Witness the sunset at Unlimited Barcelona – Mirador Urbano 360º. Sipping a drink while looking at Barcelona from above is nothing short of spectacular. Even more so if you do that from the glorious Mirador Urbano 360º. One of the most fascinating attractions of Mirador Urbano 360º is the panoramic view of the city from the 20th floor. And what’s even more stunning is watching the sunset. Apart from the heart-pumping vistas, you also get an audio guide that helps you identify different landscapes and tells you interesting facts about Barcelona.
- Enjoy the marvelous Cathedral of Barcelona from the rooftop bar in Hotel Colón. You’ll find Hotel Colón opposite the 13th-century Cathedral of Barcelona in the Gothic Quarter. The sight of the 230-ft. (70-m) high dome from the hotel’s terrace is phenomenal. Whether you visit it during the day or at night, Hotel Colón’s terrace is the perfect site to gaze at the breathtaking vistas all over Barrio Gótico. You can see the rooftops of the Gothic District, the ancient Roman walls and fortified towers, and the Cathedral’s svelte towers rising in front of you. The sweeping view of Montjuïc in the distance adds an extra punch to the stupendous panorama.
- Admire the majestic Sagrada Familia from the rooftop bar in Sercotel Rosellón. Just a block away from Sagrada Familia, you can enjoy a dazzling glimpse of the gigantic architectural wonder from the Sercotel Rosellón rooftop bar. Away from the city commotion, the close-up of spikes and turrets of the basilica from the wooden-decked terrace is a treat for the eyes. Besides that, the Sercotel Rosellón rooftop bar is equipped with sun loungers for you to relax and let the Mediterranean breeze caress you.
44 Unusual Things to Do in Barcelona – Weird, Quirky, and Unbelievable
Jaw-dropping architecture, incredible museums, exploding food and drink scene. The majestic capital of Catalonia offers surprising activities for every taste.
We bet you’ve already chosen a few unusual things to do in Barcelona next time you’re there. A word of advice: don’t rush to do them all. Much like most other cities, the Mediterranean pearl is meant to be explored slowly.
Before you hurry to book your flights and tours, we’d like to know:
Which will be the first unusual thing you’ll do in Barcelona?