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7 Differences Between Tourists and Locals in Barcelona

Insider Guides
by Karin Swanson Sep 25, 2014
1. Tourists drink Sangria. Locals: Tinto de verano.

Tinto de verano, a summer red wine with a sweet kick, is more refreshing than the signature sangria and generally preferred by locals.

2. Tourists wander La Rambla. Locals: Montjuïc.

Escape the hecklers selling knick-knacks and overpriced paella on La Rambla and seek refuge in one of the reclusive gardens scattered across the hill of Montjuïc.

3. Tourists drink at Chupitos. Locals: Xampaneria.

While plenty of tourist groups can be found crowding the narrow cava bar on any given sweltering afternoon, you’ll find locals in the back, catching up in Catalan over a bottle of brut and plate of croquettes.

4. Tourists go to La Sagrada Família for a tour. Locals: Mass.

You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the artistic sanctity or the incredible acoustics during Mass at Gaudí’s famed church.

5. Tourists drink beer at the beach. Locals: plazas.

Cheap cerveza is a staple at Barcelona’s crowded beaches. However, local youths take to the numerous plazas scattered across the city to socialize, participating in botellón, a Spanish term referring to drinking together in public.

6. Tourists eat bocadillos at Bo de B. Locals: Mendizabal.

Located on an offshoot street behind La Boquería, Mendizibal is a modest open-air bar offering delicious sandwiches and beer at a good price. Fair warning though, stay away if you’re allergic to cats: there’s a bizarre enclosed cat “playground” nearby.

7. Tourists associate September with Ibiza. Locals: La Mercé.

A foreigner traveling to Barcelona in late September would be wise to ignore the lure of Ibiza’s late-summer club scene and partake in the native celebrations — parades, musical acts, sardana dancing, firework show — of the annual festival of La Mercé.

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