An adventure to Barcelona is a journey into the historical, architectural and gastronomical wonders of the Catalonian city. Here are the best Barcelona neighborhoods that will definitely make your adventure most fulfilling. Be sure to hang out at:
1. El Raval
Right in the heart of Barcelona, El Raval was historically infamous for its vibrant nightlife and cabarets. The closest of the city to the port – now the historical Museu Maritim, Raval saw a lot of large-scale immigration that brought along diversity and charisma to the neighborhood and was transformed into a melting pot of cultures. For all hipsters and art-enthusiasts out there, drop by the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art and the nearby Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) to check-out the latest cultural happenings. After decades of development, El Raval today is popular among seasoned travelers for its adventurous and edgy vibe, some dub it the Bronx of Barcelona. Check out the famous La Boqueria market which houses hundreds of stalls selling fresh fruits and seafood. Check out The Ultimate Guide to Eating in La Boqueria for our best picks for dining at the world’s best market! Beware of pickpockets and other unsavoury characters at night, especially when you are alone, but otherwise, come revel at El Raval – Barcelona’s el cor de la ciutat.
2. Barri Gòtic
Just across the La Rambla Boulevard from El Raval, the Barri Gòtic, boasts the juxtaposition of ancient and modernity. You can find both the bustling and serene side of the city here at El Gòtic’s many Plaça. Fans of the glorious Roman history can quench their thirst for knowledge at the History Museum of Barcelona (MUHBA) and the remains of Temple d’Augustus, which overlooks the historical Plaça del Rei that once graced by Christopher Colombus after his journey from the Americas. Just a stone throw from the Museum is the 700 years – famed Gothic Barcelona Cathedral, home to the 13 geese that represent the Patron Saint Eulalia of the city. If you have an appreciation for the finer things in life, stroll along the La Rambla Boulevard from the north and visit Plaça Catalunya for its designer boutiques and Gaudi modernism architecture. Spend the night partying away at the hippest and flamboyant bars along Carrer d’Avinyo and the nearby Plaça del George Orwell (dubbed the Trippy Square). Feeling hungry? Satisfy your hunger pangs at the many restaurants in the area, or choose to dine with friendly locals like Pablo in his unique Dine in the Dark experience. Why not immerse yourself in the blurred lines of past and present in Barri Gòtic ?
3. El Born
Retreat from the bustle of the city centre to the calm and peaceful El Born, located just ten minutes’ walk from the La Rambla Boulevard. Once a medieval residence for the rich, El Born has transformed into the home of the arts, notably with its association with the famous Cubist artist Pablo Picasso. Pay homage to his works at the Gothic-styled Museu Picasso, where you can find over 4000 works and discover his early bond with Barcelona. Check out the Palau de la Musica’s wide range of musical events that will quench your thirst for sophistication and culture. Another destination for art enthusiasts is the Textile Museum that home to the fashion history exhibit that will take you through the fabric of time, from the Baroque era to modern history, including some of the most elaborated Hispano-Arabic textiles. Take a walk south towards Passeig del Born– once a jousting arena and now a popular nightlife destination of young locals. If you are in the mood for some good Cava – the Catalan take on French Champagne – visit El Xampanyet, located midway from the Museu Picasso and the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar. Feel the rebirth of your love for arts at El Born- Barcelona’s corner of tranquility for your soul.
4. El Poble Sec
Enclosed by the busy El Raval and the scenic Montjuic hill, El Poble Sec is largely unbeaten track that is untouched by tourist activity, but this doesn’t mean that it is any less exciting and vibrant. Check out El Molino, a nightclub with both historical significance as well as current popularity for modern caberets. Take a stroll along the busy Avinguda del Parallel, from the magnificent Plaça Enspanya which was built for Barcelona World Fair in 1929, to the modern boat-shaped World Trade Center right at the habour front. Retreat to the serenity of El Poble Sec as you walk up Montjuic and visit the myriad of Jardins (Gardens) in the area, like the Jardin de Laribal, designed by French landscape architect Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier. Sports fans will be excited to find out about the grand Anella Olímpica (The Olympics Ring) that was home to the 1992 Olympics. Do check out the nearby Sant Antoni Market which will spoil you with food products rivaling that of La Boqueria. And if you feel hungry, stop by Quimet i Quimet, a renowned tapas bar that will sure whet your appetite, or try out the unique Asian-Mediterranean fusion cuisine with our lovely BonAppetour host Luna. With all the experiences available, you will not regret one second in El Poble Sec.
L’Eixample is the Barcelona center of Catalan modernism architecture. The area is graced with modernist buildings and structures, notably along the Passeig de Gracia, home to some of Antoni Gaudi and Domenech i Muntaner – two of the most famous modernist architects – works such as Casa Batllo and Casa Lleo Morera. Gaudi’s magnum opus, however, is the unfinished La Sagrada Familia with its enchanting lightshow and dancing ground, while Domenech i Muntaner’s most well known building, World Heritage Site Hospital de Sant Pau, is situated a few blocks to the North. L’Eixample is also Barcelona’s shopping paradise – Arenas de Barcelona and Mercat dels Encants Vells – Fira de Bellcaire flea market to name a few. The heart of L’Eixample are streets that are lined with international designer shops and art galleries unique to Catalan culture. Wind down at night with your favourite cocktails at Dry Martini, a bar that serves enormous Gin and Tonic while soaking up the atmosphere of L’Eixample right at the heart of Catalan modernism.
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