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The town of Sitges, outside of Barcelona.
The town of Sitges, outside of Barcelona.

Photo: Shutterstock

Places

When in: Barcelona

You’ve done the must-sees, such as the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s masterpieces, Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter, so what next? Here are a few alternative tips.

The Dancing Egg

June sees one of the most unusual celebrations in the city and its environs, L’ou com balla (“The Dancing Egg”). Generally believed to have started at the Barcelona cathedral in about the 15th century, all around the city, eggs are emptied, refilled with wax and placed in running fountains, appearing to “dance.” There are many theories about its origins, but most seem to believe it was some kind of ­pagan fertility ritual. It’s an awesome, quirky sight that you can catch each year on the holy day of Corpus Christi, always 60 days after Easter Sunday.

Bunkers del Carmel

The views from Sagrada ­Familia and the Tibidabo are well known. Less so are the Bunkers del Carmel, but if you make the effort and survive the 30-minute walk from the Alfons X Metro station, the reward is more than worth it with a vista you won’t forget over the Mediterranean and the city. Originally built as anti-aircraft battlements, the bunkers became squats until shortly before the Olympics were held in the city in 1992 and have barely been touched since. They are currently being restored though, so catch this unusual sight while you still can.

Bunkers del Carmel

Carrer de Marià Labèrnia, s/n, 08032 Barcelona, Spanien

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Torre Bellesguard

Torre BellesguardThere’s Gaudi – and then there’s Gaudi. Most first timers in this magnificent city will most likely have visited the master’s work at Casa Battlo and Parc Güell, but if you’re after something a little less known, but that captures the artist’s playfulness in the best possible way, Torre Bellesguard, also known as Casa Figueres, fits the bill perfectly. The manor house dating back to the beginning of the last century is worth a visit anyway, but it’s the roof that makes it stand out – only when you climb to the top do the two windows make sense, and the penny drops.

Torre Bellesguard

Carrer Bellesguard, 20, 08022 Barcelona, Spanien

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Raval neighborhood

It may not be the first place listed in a guide to Barcelona, but this area has changed beyond recognition in recent years, as its previously somewhat seedy side has been transformed into an edgy, bright, color­ful and cultural area packed with great bars, galleries and shops.

El Raval

El Raval, Barcelona

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Sitges

When the temperature rises, a trip to the beach is a good way to cool down. Barceloneta has a well-earned reputation for being one of the world’s best city beaches, but why not venture out of the city and head for ­Sitges? This charming little town is easy to reach by public transport, oozes charm, is far less crowded and feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Sitges

08870 Sitges, Barcelona

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Last edited: June 13, 2018

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