Unusual Barcelona

Barcelona is full of many hidden, unique and surprising places. Here are five must-see spots for your next visit to Barcelona with Renfe trains.

Laberint d'Horta Gardens

One of the city's oldest parks and perhaps the least known to tourists. Its name derives from the labyrinth of pruned cypresses in the lower part of the enclosure. It was created at the end of the 18th century by a Catalan aristocrat who wanted to convert an old family estate. The garden was designed, built, planted and decorated by the Italian architect Bagutti, together with the French gardener Delvalet. The extension midway through the 19th century added the flair of the romantic period. Will you be able to find your way out?  

Experience the relief of walking through the groves and alongside the small streams on hot summer days, encountering over twenty different water elements such as lagoons, ponds and fountains. There's even a waterfall, the ideal backdrop for a romantic or group photo. Hooray for the refreshing effects of water! 

Laberint d'Horta Gardens

Refugi 307 Bomb Shelter   

Looking to learn more about Barcelona's history? Explore the city underground, through its subterranean pathways, one of the city's best-kept secrets. 

These bomb shelters were built during the Spanish Civil War to protect against Franco's air raids. Metro stations were used first but soon proved insufficient and other shelters had to be dug. There are still two shelters open to visitors today.  

We recommend visiting Bomb Shelter 307 (known as Refugi 307), located in the Poble Sec district, between Passeig de Montjuïc and Carrer Nou de la Rambla. This shelter had a small washhouse, rooms for the children and an infirmary.    

Sant Pau Hospital  

Known to many Barcelonians primarily for health reasons, it has recently been opened to the public and can be visited. It is a jewel of modernism designed by Domènech i Montaner. It has been a World Heritage Site since 1997 and is considered one of the world's finest Art Nouveau complexes. The hospital is a real city, with streets, gardens and buildings. It covers an area equivalent to nine blocks of the Eixample district.  

Surrounded by gardens, the pavilions are interlinked by a two-kilometre-long network of underground passages. Domènech devised a radically innovative hospital, breaking the building down into a series of cells, with plenty of sunlight and fresh air. This provided patients and medical staff with a much healthier natural environment than the old medieval hospital. 

Sant Felip Neri Square   

Sant Felip Neri square is a singular landmark in Barcelona. Nestled in the Gothic Quarter yet not exactly along the tourist trail, it remains hidden and secluded. Time seems to have stood still in this beautiful place.  

The square is framed by Spanish Renaissance houses. It is also the site of the former houses of the Brotherhoods of Boilermakers and Shoemakers, now the Museu del Calçat (Shoe Museum). Visitors will see shoes of princesses and musketeers, boots, and even a shoe for the statue of Columbus, which made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest in the world. A fountain with an octagonal base lies in the centre of the square.  

The walls of the San Felipe Neri church still bear the scars of the shells from a bomb dropped by Franco's air force during the Civil War. The bomb exploded on 30 January 1938 on the spot where the square now stands, resulting in 42 fatalities.   

Poble Nou Park   

The Sun and Shadow Park, conceived and created by the famous architect Jean Nouvel, is another secret of Barcelona. It lies on the edge of the Diagonal avenue, number 130, in the Poble Nou district. The park is incredibly bright. Its exterior walls are covered with Mediterranean plants, creating a natural green lung for the neighbourhood. It is also a perfect place to take a break under the shady willow trees after a walk through the city. And when travelling with children, this will be the icing on the cake of the day: They will have a great time playing in the huts nestled in the centre of the park. Leisure and relaxation for everyone.   

Discover a little more and let yourself be seduced by Barcelona. The return train will drop you off at Barcelona Sants station. 

Travel to Barcelona by train

Can't wait to hop on a train to Barcelona? Now you can do just that on AVE France, our international high-speed trains between France and Spain. The most comfortable, fastest and sustainable way to travel is by train! You can also take advantage of our discounts and get the best price. 

Did you like our suggestions? Well, there is a lot more where that came from! Discover more original tips about what to do in Barcelona with Renfe.