Art Outside the Box: Barcelona’s Alternative Culture

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Joined: Sep 02, 2016
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Barcelona has something for everyone, from families to stag and hen parties to culture vultures and everyone in between. The place is particularly suited to bohemian types: with music festivals of every conceivable type, a lively bar scene and some of the world’s best museums and galleries (including work by Picasso, Dalí, Gaudí and Miró), whatever you’re searching for, it’s here.

Look off the beaten track, though, and you’ll find some hidden places that more than reward the effort…

Hash, Marijuana and Hemp Museum

More precisely, the world’s largest museum dedicated to the cultivation and consumption of cannabis. With more than 12,000 artefacts and paraphernalia from throughout the history of hemp and its products, this is an eye-popping study into how cannabis is grown and consumed around the world. Barcelona has been intimately associated with hemp for centuries – just look at the monument to Christopher Columbus at the top of Las Ramblas, which is covered in hemp leaves (not so much a tribute to his wacky sense of direction, as to the sturdy cloth and rope fibres that the hemp provided, which were crucial to the success of his voyage). There’s hope here for the future too – some exhibits show how hemp can be used to confront problems we face today in healthcare and the environment.


For a (mostly) smoke-free alternative, Eixample’s own Artte combines two of life’s great pleasures by serving top-notch cocktails while you take in some equally excellent musical performances. Jazz, soul and world music are specialities, and world-famous exponents can be seen here up to five nights a week. And it wouldn’t be a bar in “Barna” if you couldn’t find some excellent tapas. Artte is no exception.


Barcelona has no shortage of places to grab a drink or five. This is a personal favourite: both established talent and up-and-coming artists exhibit their work here in a variety of media, with a lot of it on sale if something takes your fancy. Local poets and musicians frequent the open mic night on Tuesdays and a Balkan jam session on Thursdays (in case you remembered to pack your duduk). Catch it on the right night, and you could see anything from theatre, poetry to cinema or even interpretive dance. Check the listings, and something’s bound to tickle your fancy.

How to get there

Barcelona is a hub for culture across Europe, so fittingly, it’s extremely easy to access. There are three airports in the area, two of which (Reus and Girona) are a bit of a stretch away – for which inconvenience you may be rewarded with a cheaper fare. It does, however, make it trickier to arrange transfers. Barcelona Airport (El Prat) is the handiest, and if you time your booking well, you’ll get a very reasonable rate. It’s around 12km to the city centre, and a pre-booked transfer should have you to your lodgings within half an hour. Then it’s straight on to find your own hidden gems.
About author: Desiree Michels

Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re looking for affordable transfers, Barcelona airport is well served by Shuttle Direct. Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely. 


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