Last updated: November 2017
Barcelona’s most popular attractions are concentrated in the Ciutat Vella old town district, which includes the Gothic Quarter, Born, Raval, and Barceloneta, and in the Eixample district with Gaudí’s Modernist masterpieces. This leaves eight other Barcelona districts for the more adventurous to discover; off the beaten track and just waiting to be explored.
1. Ciutat Vella: History unfolding with every step
If the stones of Barcelona’s old town could whisper they would tell of its Roman past, when administrative buildings surrounded the Forum in what is now Plaça St Jaume, and the remaining columns of the nearby Temple of Augustus stood in all their glory. The Medieval streets, Gothic churches and fishermen’s taverns of the Gothic, Raval, Born and Barceloneta neighbourhoods within this district are just a few of the unique details you will find in Barcelona city centre.
2. Sants-Montjuïc: From the mountain to the sea
The seven neighbourhoods of the Sants-Montjuïc district shine like a rainbow through a prism, each with its own unmistakable essence. Discover the cabaret bars, creative restaurants and multicultural vibe of Paral•lel and Poble Sec. Surprise yourself at the Cactus Garden and historic castle in the open green spaces of Montjuïc mountain. Or explore the industrial area of Sants-Badal.
3.Les Corts: La “dulce vida”
Well-to-do locals enjoy summer pool parties in their Pedralbes villas, whilst visitors can appreciate the natural elegance of the public garden of Palau de Pedralbes. The other neighbourhoods in the Les Corts district of Barcelona invite you to savour the rural flavour of their past, especially in the cosy squares and friendly cafés of this residential district.
4. L’Eixample: An Art Nouveau urban expansion
When nineteenth century Barcelona expanded beyond the walled city, creating roads that connected up nearby villages such as Gràcia and Sants, it did so with an elegance and style that is still admired today. Barcelona’s Eixample district is a grid of streets includes intimate gardens and local cafés, and listed buildings such as Gaudí’s spectacular masterpieces, and Art Nouveau bakeries and chemists.
5. Sarrià-Sant Gervasi: A different point of view
Once an independent village, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi still feels worlds apart from the city it was absorbed by. Stretching up towards the surrounding Collserola Natural Park, you’ll find breathtakingly beautiful areas with unique views over the city below. The Tramvia Blau tram was opened in 1901 and climbs the steep hill from Plaça Kennedy to the foot of Tibidabo. This district is also home to the CosmoCaixa science museum, Barcelona Observatory, and Tibidabo amusement park.
6. Nou Barris: Multicultural
Industrial growth in the Nou Barris district of Barcelona took off between the 1950s and 70s, resulting in a community of immigrant workers with a strong fighting spirit that was nurtured by the post-Franco transition, after the dictator’s death in 1975. You can eat well and cheaply here, and enjoy open spaces such as the 12 hectares of Park Can Dragó.
7. Gràcia: Bohemian chic
You’ll immediately know if Gràcia is your kind of district, and if it is you won’t ever want to leave! Creativity and culture spills out onto its tree-lined streets, from workshops and galleries, innovative boutique window displays, and multicultural bars and restaurants. Relax in its squares and absorb the energy both by day and after dark.
8. Sant Andreu: A spirit of tradition
Sant Andreu in Barcelona is a district that will never forget its independent past, and will continually surprise you with local festivities and parades that bring together its community throughout the year. From Roman remains and sprawling old farmhouses to its more recent history of trade unions, its unique ambience is an experience that awaits you.
9. Sant Martí: Silicon Valley by the sea
A district that continues to attract innovation and cutting edge technology; many international companies and local start-ups can be found below the shadow of the Agbar Tower. Sant Martí has a fascinating contrast of architectural styles as old factory spaces are being replaced by cutting edge buildings. Arts and cultural centres abound, and its beaches are more tranquil than Barceloneta.
10. Horta Guinardó: Green and gracious
One of the city’s best kept secrets can be found here; the pine forest of Guinardó Park is crowned by the anti-aerial defence bunkers of Turó de la Rovira which date back to the Civil War. There are spectacular 360º views. A walk through the El Carmel neighbourhood reveals an eclectic working class area with quirky houses and local bars.
2 : Antonio Lajusticia, Ajuntament de Barcelona
3, & 5: Vicente Zambrano, Ajuntament de Barcelona
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