Searching for unique activities in Spain? Look no further.From diving with cormorants, to full moon concerts, to the world’s most endangered cat: This is Spain!
Living in a city such as Barcelona is not always hearts and flowers, I keep saying.
For one, there are the ever growing, ever annoying hoards of tourists – most of which don’t know how to travel without disrupting the locals’ daily lives (I’m looking at you too, boozy bachelorettes)
Then of course, you have all the petty thefts which have been turning violent recently, and – perhaps worst of all – the beach sellers baiting you into making your holiday better with a mojito, coco fresh, and other e-coli laden foods/drinks. (Stop buying their crap!)
And let’s not forget, you also have to deal with the all too frequent and annoying questions regarding the strangely low degree of sunburns (oh, you meant tan?). Look, I do like a healthy dose of color, but I’m not looking to fast forward my skin’s aging process just yet.
Anyway, I figured that as my 3 years in Barcelona come to an end (I know, I still haven’t told you all about that! Come back this evening) they’ll will need to be properly celebrated, so I planned to not go quietly into the night. Here’s how my last month in Barcelona looked like.
I don’t have the rude audacity to call myself the local insider, nor an expert in all things Barcelona. However, I do believe I have some real goodies for you here, all up for grabs if you’re looking for unique activities in Spain and Travel.Differently
Set Sails for the Perseids
Yes. There will be options galore for whoever’s looking to spend a few hours out on the water, gazing back at the Barcelona shore. The city with over 30 million tourists/year has something for everyone: from the boring Pirate ship, to the sunset jazz outings, to the private yacht rentals. And then there is that something else.
If what you’re looking for is some unique activities in Spain, my something else is setting sail at 4 AM for a few hours of shooting stars (if the sky is feeling generous) and a couple of glasses of cava – plus the privilege of a sunrise like most of us have never seen before:
From a small, six person sailboat, orange orb crawling out of the aquatic horizon on the soundtrack of lapping waves and the occasional seagull.
Read about the experience here.
Piano Concert at Palau de Musica
You can go visit the stunning modernist building anytime, but why not experience the real magic of the stained glass reflecting against the sunset, while listening to Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff? Heart, be still.
Tickets are typically cheap, so zero excuse to Not pimp your trip with a bit of culture. Looking for unique activities in Spain ? Then get your tickets on palaumusica.cat
Reliable Tossa De Mar
There will be many saying that Tossa de Mar has nothing to do with the real gems of Costa Brava: those hidden calas that locals know and enjoy and which you will only reach after a good hike. But I don’t want to give those away to the real world; as much as possible, I won’t be contributing to spoiling yet another beautiful slice of Eden.
Instead, I’ll urge you to go visit reliable Tossa de Mar. Why reliable? Because, if you’re a first timer of Costa Brava, Tossa will give you everything you expected, with good measure:
- easy access (Moventis bus from Barcelona takes 1h20 to get to Tossa)
- clean, clear waters of playa Es Codolar . There’s always going to be a crowd small local, but by Barcelona crowdedness standards, you’ll feel like Gulliver
- stupendous views of the walled 12 century medieval town – and its castle!
- access to kayaks and snorkel/diving
Make sure you beat the crowds getting to the Es Codolar beach – the insanely turquoise jewel you can see from atop the the walled enclosure of the Vila Vella or Old Town Centre.
You’ll want to be there at around 9 AM, be prepared to don your snorkel gear and brave the chilly waters – but oh, the reward you’ll get!
The clear , cool water – with schools of fish hovering just below the warmer surface water as they too wait for the sun – and the National Geographic worthy performance of cormorants dive-fishing their breakfast ! Talk about unique activities in Spain! This view alone can compete with exotic snorkeling, any day.
So bookmark this post for next summer’s inspiration.
Oh, and if you can get all this from a slightly crowded cove in Tossa de Mar, just imagine the possibilities waiting out there on Costa Brava. Now, of course the prerequisite is to be there early, and lose the crowds. Once the homo sapiens arrive, your chances of, well..everything , diminish.
Sevilla and Safaris
Sevilla is a definite Spanish Must. The infamous Plaza Espanya, the Alcazar, the modern Setas, we’ve seen plenty of that on Instagram.
If you know anything about UpsideDownTravels by now, then you’ll wait for the punch line – some of those unique activities in Spain. The something else. Something Nature, perhaps? Something Different?
Something like a full day safari trip in the protected area of the Doñana National Park wetlands, searching and hoping for an encounter with the most endangered wild cat in the world: The Elusive Iberian Lynx. Bingo.
Good news is, while 2019 figures count a mere 686 individuals in Spain, it’s a sharp and optimistic increase from the population of 100 individuals struggling to not go extinct, back in 2004.
As for encounters, we’re not taking anything for granted with mother Nature (as it should be), but a girl can dream.
A Piece of Italy in Spain
This well-preserved, ancient Roman city ruins are to be found just outside Sevilla; yet the site receives only 150,000 visitors a year (2017 data). One of the great things about the Italica ruins is they haven’t been built upon by modern ages, so they had the luck to be preserved better than in most places.
To put some context, Italica’s amphitheater was the third largest in the Roman Empire at the time. I’m a sucker for archaeology anytime. If you know what I mean, put this on your list.
Full Moon Rooftop Concert at Casa Batllo
Forget about Thai Full Moon parties – this select event tops full moon parties everywhere.
I loved Casa Batllo’s Magic Nights last year, and loved it even more this year. If you’re hunting for unique activities in Spain, here’s one of the best ways to mingle with the locals and mix the popular with that something else. Picture the following:
- an augmented reality visit of Gaudi’s Batllo
- TIP: make sure you let everyone go up, so you can enjoy a rare glimpse of the Great Hall of Casa Batlló free of people.
- a live guitar and Flamenco show on the Dragon’s back (each night has different performances)
- sipping on cava and watching the moon rise above the Gaudi signature chimneys
With Magic Nights running for 5 months straight, from June 3rd to November 3rd, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to try it out and confirm its Wow level.
Barcelona Rooftop Hopping
Following our announcement that we’re closing shop in Barcelona, we obviously had an urgent flow of last minute visitors. So we did what any good hosts would do: Rooftops! Here are my personal Top 3 choices:
- Barcelona Edition Hotel – with expansive views of the city from all sides
- Hotel Colon rooftop bar – and it’s picture perfect panoramic view of the Barcelona Cathedral
- 1881 per SAGARDI – and the views over the harbor at sunset
Exploring – with The Locals
If you feel like letting yourself go and be surprised for a change – I recommend you try out the offers on CityUnscripted, offering personalized city tours and food experiences with locals.
I wrote about my experience here: Interview with CityUnscripted : How to Go From Traveler to Discoverer