It’s easy to get caught up in checking all of Barcelona’s most iconic sights off your list.
However, some of your most rewarding time here in the Catalan capital will be spent taking it easy and enjoying some much-needed R&R. You’re on vacation, after all—might as well enjoy it! If you’re wondering how locals relax in Barcelona, these insider tips will help you make the most of your downtime.
1. Hit the beach
With kilometer upon kilometer of sandy shores just a quick walk or train ride away from the city center, it’s easy to see why so many opt for the beach when it comes time to relax in Barcelona. The most popular is easily Barceloneta, but if you’re looking for some down time, you probably don’t want to have to worry about crowds. Head out to Bogatell or Sant Sebastià to soak up the sun among locals in a more laid-back environment.
2. Relax in the park
Green spaces are unbeatable when it comes to relaxation, and luckily, Barcelona has plenty of them! Head to one of the dozens of beautiful parks in Barcelona, seek out a shady spot under a tree or an unoccupied bench, and settle in for some reading or people-watching. Despite its popularity, well-known Parc de la Ciutadella is large enough that you’ll easily be able to find a quiet corner. Want to get off the beaten path? Try a lesser-known yet equally beautiful park, like the tranquil Laribal Gardens or the quirky Gardens of Mossèn Costa i Llobera.
3. Seek out a terrace or rooftop bar
Nothing says “relaxation” like sitting outside on a sunny terrace, drink in hand, chatting away with good friends or simply watching the world go by. And if you head up to one of Barcelona’s best rooftop bars, you’ll get all of the above plus once-in-a-lifetime views. It’s no secret that this is one of our favorite ways to relax in Barcelona and enjoy fabulous food and drinks while we’re at it.
4. Treat yourself at the hammam
Remnants of Spain’s Moorish past aren’t just restricted to the museums. In fact, you can step back in time at a gorgeous Arab-style bathhouse and experience the ultimate in pampering and relaxation. Here in Barcelona, there are several different hammams offering luxurious spa treatments and the perfect R&R experience, among them Aire de Barcelona and Rituels d’Orient. If you’re still not convinced, we think you will be as soon as you walk into either of the above and take in the magical Moorish design that encompasses the world-class spa services available.
5. Explore Montjuïc
Yes, it’s one of Barcelona’s most popular tourist destinations, but bear with us. What we love about Montjuïc is the fact that you can easily explore the different areas at your own pace, and there’s something for everyone. Want to check out some of Catalonia’s best artistic masterpieces? Spend a lazy afternoon wandering around the MNAC. Curious as to how people in other parts of Spain live? You’ll love wandering around Poble Espanyol. Just want to sit back, relax, and take in the views? Book a ticket for the cable car. With so much to see and do, Montjuïc makes it possible to relax in Barcelona without missing out on the city’s rich culture.
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Life is too short to speak one language and stay in one place. In 2015, this philosophy took her from familiar Ohio to sunny southern Spain. Usually drinking tinto de verano, reading Lorca, or attempting to dance flamenco (not all at once). Follow her blog, Viatic Couture, for more.