No summer trip to Barcelona would be complete without taking a stroll around the beautiful seaside town of Barceloneta. Best known for its long beaches, turquoise Mediterranean waters and fine golden sands, this is one neighborhood that certainly gives visitors a taste of all things ‘Barcelona’. The atmosphere in this quaint yet lively town differs somewhat from the other districts in Barcelona, and you’ll find that Barceloneta has its own distinctive and quirky artwork, is home to some of the best seafood restaurants in the city, and is famous for its wild nightlife near the Olympic Port.
Read on for our suggestions on where to experience the best of ‘little Barcelona’…
There is something for everyone at the Barceloneta Beach, from the most popular ‘chiringuitos’ and beach bars in Barcelona (more on this later!), to table tennis and beach volleyball courts, to sun loungers for those who want to kick back and relax with a good book! Named ‘third best beach in the world’ by the Discovery Channel, this strip of sand gets quite busy in the summer due to its proximity to the city center, so do make sure to grab your sunscreen, towels and beach balls and head down early, or you may be left without a spot to soak up the sun!
Sightseeing: Some Gaudí Alternatives
In preparation for the 1992 Olympics, the city of Barcelona underwent a revamp, so most of the distinguishable art that you’ll find along the coast was designed for this huge sporting event. From the enormous ‘Golden Fish’ by Frank O. Gehry, to the memorable ‘Estel Ferit’ cubes by Rebecca Horn, a walk along the Barceloneta promenade will give you no shortage of equally inspired alternatives to the Gaudí works you may have already admired in the Catalan capital.
Technically not in the center of the Barceloneta neighborhood, but located on an artificial island in the nearby Port Vell area, those in need of some retail therapy should make their way over to the Maremagnum Shopping complex. With more than 50 stores offering everything from souvenirs to swimsuits, the whole family can find a place to cool off in this shopping haven.
But, if you’re looking for something a little more authentic, head to the Mercat de la Barceloneta in the center of the neighborhood, where you can browse the stalls, and maybe even pick up a few fresh ingredients to try out some Mediterranean recipes in your apartment.
For those wanting to see everything that Barceloneta has to offer, we suggest renting a bicycle from one of the many stores in the area such as Barcelona Rent a Bike on Passeig de Joan de Borbó. Here you can take a guided tour of this lovely ‘barrio’ or simply ride at your leisure, taking in the sea air and the sights of Barceloneta’s cozy streets and its grand promenade.
Dining: A Fresh Experience
The area may be best known for its beautiful beaches, but it is also home to some of the best seafood restaurants in Barcelona offering the freshest fish and some of the most delicious paella in the city. Situated right on the beachfront, restaurant Cal Pinxo is ideal for those looking for a taste of some delectable seafood dishes and it offers a great choice of paella, too.
If you prefer something to nibble on, rather than an all-out meal, Jai-Ca tapas bar on C/ Ginebra is for you. With a range of Spanish snacks and ice-cold beers to wash them down, this is a great place to dine if you’re looking for a quick bite an authentic setting.
Feeling adventurous? Check out Somorrostro on C/ Sant Carles. Offering an unusual variety of less-than-typical delicacies, such as Kangaroo with mango compote, this restaurant sets itself apart from the rest as fruits of all kinds are incorporated into every dish…Worth a try!
Bars and Nightlife: Barceloneta is the Place to Be
Barcelona is home to some of the best nightlife in Europe, and many of the bars and clubs that the city is renowned for can be found towards the north of the Barceloneta promenade, at the Olympic Port. Nightclubs such as Opium Mar and Danzatoria offer patrons a wild atmosphere, especially during summer, ensuring that those seeking a memorable night out won’t be disappointed.
For a chilly experience, make your way to ‘Icebarcelona’, a venue made completely of ice! You’ll be given gloves and a coat upon entry, allowing you to fully enjoy your drinks served in ice-glasses, while you sit on the Gaudí-style ice benches. Brrr!
For those who wish to be seen with Barcelona’s beautiful people, Shôko club is the only choice! This super chic and stylish locale is a top-class restaurant by day, an exclusive lounge during the evening, and after the clock strikes midnight, the most sought after place to be in Barcelona. If you’re heading to Barcelona during the warmer months, don’t forget to hit one of Shôko’s awesome beach parties!
If it’s a few drinks in the evening you’re after, then look no further than the chiringuitos of Barceloneta. These beach shacks on the sand are open from morning ‘til night, serving snacks, beers and a variety of cocktails. Chiringuito de Sol is one of our favorites as the prices are reasonable and you can get a great view of the Mediterranean sunset if you head there in the later hours of the day!
For an all-round experience that includes delicious delicacies, distinctive sights, and a mesmerizing nightlife, not to mention the beautiful beach, Barceloneta is a must-visit ‘barrio’ of Barcelona.
How to get to Barceloneta: Take the L4 (Yellow Line) to the Barceloneta stop, or any of the following buses 14, 16, 17, 39, 40, 45, 51, 57, 59, 64 and 157.