Barcelona is a city with thousand years’ history, stunning architecture and a world-renowned gastronomy, it enjoys a fantastic all year long weather and is populated by open-minded people. The perfect match for the curious traveler who wants to discover beyond the imaginable. As we are usually sightseeing the city while uncovering new and old corners by foot, we decided to put together this Barcelona free walking tour routes, which include quirky spots and savory food haunts.
EL BORN: medieval stories, trendy people and secret old taverns
El Born is one of the most vibrant neighborhoods of the city with plenty of tapas bars and restaurants, chic boutiques and a unique medieval flavor that surrounds it. All in all it includes a bunch of top things to see in Barcelona. Its name dates back to medieval dates and it means ¨jousting field¨ and its history and stories can fit one of those huge books stored in old libraries. We walked around, talked to friends, did some research and built this quirky free walking tour route for you to get a glimpse of today and yesterday´s life at El Born.
1. Start sightseeing the exciting piece of public sculpture: Tribute to Picasso located at Passeig Picasso and Passatge Mercantil crossroads. This is an assembly of modernist furniture reminiscent from the time Picasso lived in Barcelona. The sheets on the inside have inscriptions by himself. This piece was built by Antoni Tapies in 1983.
2. Head inside the Born Cultural Center and grab a glass of the Barcelona oldest beer: Moritz, or simply their water called aigua de Moritz while uncovering the rest of the modern city from S XVIII which was destroyed by King Felipe V who built a military city on top: The Citadel.
3. Go and find Papamoscas at Flassaders and les Mosques (flies) crossroads. The later street name refers to the fact that in medieval times warehouses use to store leftover foods from the markets there, and in summer flies just occupied the entire street which happens to be the narrowest in Barcelona. And that face hanging just on top of you is called Papamoscas, the medieval sign given to brothels. Neighbors use to joke ¨al carrer de les mosques, fa funcio a les fosques¨(at the flies street there is a dark show).
4. Standing in front of building #16 you will notice that one of the windows is just cut in half. This is the living sign of the district´s destruction by King Felipe V to construct the Citadel, which was later destroyed (S XIX), and modernist buildings constructed around.
5. Now you are on your way to our favorite tavern in Barcelona, but before admiring El Fossar de les Moreres, were combatants where buried – old stories say that at night one can hear the click/clacks of their bones as they keep fighting with each other. As well you will pass by stunning Santa Maria del Mar church built in 1383 at the height of Catalonia´s maritime and mercantile supremacy.
6. Find Bodega Maestrazgo and talk to his friendly owner, Jose, who will recommend you a glass of wine that you might not find easily in the rest of the city as they only work with small organic wineries. Enjoy and soon a plate of superb tapas will be on your table and another one…. Be sure you leave some space for dessert, you deserve it!
7. Il Gocce de latte is one of the best ice-cream shops in town, closer to what you find in Italy rather than Spain, but who argues against Italian gelato?
8. And to finish your route pay a visit to the modernist shop of Cafes el Magnifico, one of the ancient and best coffee houses of Barcelona. In case you prefer tea, across the street they opened Sans I Sans, another of our favorites!
This Barcelona free walking tour at El Born District has around 1 km and it could last around 2 hours (depending on your pace and time you spend eating). The area is easily accessible via Metro stops Jaume I or Barceloneta.
THE SCULPTORS AND TASTES FREE WALKING ROUTE
This is a Barcelona free walking route based on the writings of Manuel Vazquez Montalban, a renowned local writer who on one of his best books “Barcelones” encourage the reader to visit Barcelona through iconic Statues. “It’s the history of history and history of taste” he used to say. The route its long but worth the effort, along the way there are plenty of nice stops to fill your belly and refill your energies that we selected with care and the passion that let drive Barcelona Eat Local Food Tours.
- You start this route by jumping on the Funicular de Montjuic, then walk towards Dante’s square where you will find a naked and beautiful woman, then the nearby Olimpic Stadium considered one of the most beautiful in Europe.
- Go down the hill through the winding Santa Madrona street and uncover the Arqueologic Museum´s gardens where you will find ¨Marinada Dansarina¨ from modernist artist Antoni Alsina Amills.
- Down the road you will find plenty of options for a drink or tapa, we do recommend you to stop for a drink at El Sortidor Square (El Sortidor or La Tomaquera), and leave some space for sweets at Spice Café or Pasteleria Lis (best xuixos in town!).
- Already inside Ciutat Vella you will get to the Padro Square where one of the old medieval doors to enter the city was located. Here artist Frederic Mares built a monument for Santa Eulalia, patron of the city to whom the Cathedral adopts her name.
- On your way up, Vazquez Montalban recommends to go through Joaquin Costa street you will pass the eclectic area of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) and the old church Sant Pere Nolasc (1714) until you arrive at the last sculpture to contemplate: La Font del Trinxa, the oldest and most unique one.
For the adventurers, once you reach the end of the route, go inside the University of Barcelona building, visit its gorgeous gardens and continue a foodie adventure through Enric Granados street, you will find a nice variety of mouthwatering cakes, tapas bars, and restaurants.
This Barcelona free walking sculptures tour has around 5 km and it could last around 3-4 hours (depending on your pace and time you spend eating).
The above Barcelona free walking tours are written based on personal experiences, some reading and facts shared with friends, so feel free to drop yours and we will see how it can fit here, and in case you are looking for more things to see in Barcelona we also invite you to check our insiders’ city guide. And now, walk!