Discover the Darker Side of Barcelona

May 12, 2015

Barcelona is an amazing Spanish destination which seamlessly combines elements of both city and beach break. It’s a popular cruise ship stop as it’s got everything going for it, from culture to shopping to a brilliant beach scene and the best bit is that you can cruise right up to its doorstep as a city with a central port.

If you’ve got a Barcelona stop off on your cruise itinerary why not cross over to the dark side of the city?

At we love anything that little bit mysterious, exciting or unknown. If you’ve got a dark side too (haven’t we all?), follow us on a magical mystery tour of Barcelona to see what’s hiding in the shadows, away from the beach bars, flower stalls and chocolate shops:


Dark Fairytale

The entire city has a dark fairytale feel running through it thanks to the smattering of Grimm-esque gothic architecture by 19th century architect and artist Antoni Gaudi.

Take in the twisted turrets of the Sagrada Familia cathedral, wander up the Passeig de Gracia to see the skeletal features of buildings Casa Batllo and La Pedrera then head to the home of the Count of Guell to see Gaudi’s intricate dragon gate.

If that’s not enough to spook you your next stop has to be the Colonia Guell crypt and the serpentine caverns at Parc Guell.

Sagrada Familia cathedral


Wander the Labyrinth

If you watched a tights-clad David Bowie in the movie Labyrinth as a child you’ll feel a sense of deja vu in this sprawling city. Barcelona could be described as one big labyrinth – put it this way, set off without a map or a clear idea of where you’re going and you might, quite literally, miss the boat!

The Gothic Quarter, however, is a particularly atmospheric area of the city, obligingly located just off the city’s most famous street, Las Ramblas. Find hole in the wall bars hidden away in dark corners and tiny trinket shops lining the narrow alleyways. Just make sure that you can also find your way out when you’ve finished exploring!



Creepy Characters

What could be creepy about a stroll down Las Ramblas, the most touristy spot in the city? The characters you’ll meet on the way, that’s what. From devils to angels to dragons to robots, you’ll run a gauntlet of weird and wonderful characters (street performers) daring you to drop a penny in their hand and see what happens. The pet shop stalls with hanging cages full of all kinds of creatures are pretty creepy too! Holiday-souvenir rabbit anyone?

street performer


Head for Heights

Forget goblins and ghouls – if heights are the scariest thing in the world to you then the Montjuic cable car is going to be your most terrifying encounter yet.

Running from March to October, these glass sided cable cars are guaranteed to give you sweaty palms as they take you high above the city to the top of Montjuic Hill (where you can feel free to disappear to be sick before braving the ride back down again).

Heading For Heights


Funfair in the Sky

If you’ve ever thought that there’s something a little spooky about a funfair – think halls of mirrors, ghost trains, old carousals and creepy clowns – then the Mountaintop Tibidabo fairground will make your hairs stand on end.

This isn’t an Alton Towers type amusement park – you’ll find no CBeebies Land here!

This funfair, sitting on the city’s highest mountain, opened in 1868 and still seems to belong to a different time. With rides like the Mystery Castle, an original Carousel and the 1920’s Talaia which takes you to 550 metres above sea level, it’s an atmospheric place definitely worth climbing a mountain for.

Fun Fair In The Sky

Unravel in Raval

The Raval neighbourhood really is one of Barcelona’s darkest corners, one that boasts its own vampire and serial killer – pleasant place for a holiday stroll then!

Join a tour or pick up a guide book to learn more about the secrets of the streets that have been hidden behind a modern façade of charming vintage shops, boutiques and tapas joints. Take the time to pop into the MACBA Museum d’Art Contemporani while passing – a wander of its white halls is a like a surreal trip through one of your weirdest nightmares.

The Raval Neighbourhood

Of course, there’s plenty about Barcelona that’s all sweetness and light – the tapas, the beaches, the parks, the shopping, the list can go on and on – but sometimes it’s more exciting to explore the darker side of a city!

Step into a gothic fairytale on a Barcelona cruise and indulge in a wonderfully wicked Spanish city adventure.


Learn more about cruises to Barcelona here