Barcelona is a really great city. On previous visits to Spain we weren’t as enamored with the country, but spending time in this city really changed that for us. We left Barcelona saying “We need to come back!” And one of my favorite ways of getting to experience an area is by finding things to do with locals.
There are various ways of doing that, and here are just some of the activities and tours I think would be really fun ways to get to experience Barcelona with locals.
Activities with locals in Barcelona
- Contemporary painting workshop: I took a painting class in Bali, and it was really quite enjoyable. When you spend time with others while creating something, it’s such a great and memorable experience.
- Running: While I no longer run regularly, if ever, it is a great way to see more of a location. It’s even better when you can run with other people.
- Cooking classes: There are all sorts of these classes being offered. Everything from preparing tapas to Indian cooking to a “master” class. I’ve taken these types of classes in many countries, and they’re always a fun way of meeting people and connecting.
- Tours: As you might expect, there are tons of tours one can take in a large city like Barcelona. While most professional tour guides are good and entertaining, I find these smaller local-led groups to be more enjoyable. Often locals will show you places that many tourists miss. It’s also nice not having to be part of a group that is so large you have to keep your eye on a flag or something to make sure you don’t lose your group.
- Market tours: These are some of my favorite things to explore when traveling. Sure you can always go to a market and check it out yourself, but local markets provide a special insight to the culture. A local can explain the history, the cultural parts, and even some of the stories behind certain foods. Also, sometimes neighborhood markets can be a bit hidden so they can easily be missed when on your own. These types of tours are often connected to cooking classes as well. Those are even better.
- Photo tours: During guided tours, I often feel pressured because I’m busy taking photos from various angles, getting macro shots, etc., while everyone else is kind of waiting. Photography tours combine the best of both worlds. You often get a mixture of the history and interesting information about a place while being given plenty of time to get your shots in without annoying the rest of the group. You can also pick up tips on how to improve your photos.
Dining with locals
In addition to cooking classes, you can find situations where people open up their homes and offer meals. We attended a “pop-up restaurant” in Budapest, and it was such a great experience that I look for more of these opportunities when we travel.
Not only do you get insight into the local culture, but you get exposed to traditional home cooking. Some of these are from family recipes that have been handed down for generations. Often you can’t find these foods in any restaurant.
In Barcelona, you can find incredibly varied offerings: organic superfood vegan, organic Thai dinner, seafood paella, Cuban, Basque-Asian fusion (while dining in a penthouse), and so on.
They aren’t simply dining experiences, they’re cultural and social events as well usually lasting at least a few hours.
What’s your favorite way to meet and spend time with locals when you travel?