El Born is known to be one of the trendiest neighbourhoods of Barcelona. In the old town, there’s plenty to explore as you wander through the narrow cobbled streets, lined with historical buildings and fashionable boutiques. Pop into an art gallery or relax in the park, with our list of the eight best things to do in El Born you won’t miss out on anything.
1. Santa Maria del Mar
One of the most breathtaking buildings in El Born is Santa Maria del Mar. A cathedral built between 1329 and 1383, the Catalan Gothic style is truly a beautiful sight to behold. For those interested in the history, there’s even a fictional serie detailing the building of the cathedral and the lives of the people at the time.
2. Parc de la Ciutadella
One of the favourite parks for locals to hang out in, Parc de la Ciutadella has much to offer. On a sunny day there are plenty of grassy spots to set up camp and have a picnic or just relax in the sun. As well as that, the park houses the city zoo, the Palau del Parlament de Catalunya, a small lake on which you can go rowing, museums, and a large and beautiful fountain designed by Josep Fontserè. However, it’s important to be careful when hanging out there as many pickpockets operate in the area. Check out our top tips on how to avoid being pickpocketed here.
3. Arc de Triomf
Just above Parc de la Ciutadella you will find Barcelona’s very own Arc de Triomf. Built by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas in 1888, the Arc de Triomf was originally made as the main access gate for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair. Along with being a stunning piece of architecture, the Arc the Triomf is also a great place to take a picture underneath for a memorable shot from your Barcelona trip.
4. Picasso Museum
No trip to Barcelona is complete without taking in some art by one of the many famous artists who have called Barcelona their home, with one of the most renowned being Pablo Picasso. Housed in five adjoining medieval palaces, the museum has the world’s most extensive collections of the famous 20th century Spanish artist’s works, along with various temporary exhibitions throughout the year.
5. Born Cultural Centre
Walk up Passatge Mercantil and you can’t help but notice the looming building of Mercat del Born, built in 1873 and showing off the Modernisme catalan style. The inside is just as intriguing as the beautiful outside, as it houses the Born Cultural Centre. Underneath the building an archaeological site was found, revealing the ruins of streets and houses in Barcelona from the 1700’s. Stop by here to view them and learn more about the history of the wonderful city of Barcelona.
6. Fossar de les Moreres
Whilst you are visiting Santa Maria del Mar, make sure to also check out Fossar de les Moreres, which lies adjacent to it. The Fossar de les Moreres is a memorial square dedicated to those defenders of the city who dies during the Siege of Barcelona at the end of the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714. The memorial features a torch with a flame that never goes out, as a touching tribute to those who have fallen.
7. Museu de la Xocolata
For those with a sweet tooth, there’s nowhere better to visit than the Museu de la Xocolata in el Born. Here you can find out all about the history and the chocolate making process, as well as seeing various well-known sites from around the city, created in chocolate form: a feast for the eyes and the tummy!
8. Casa Llotja de Mar
As the name suggests, you will find Casa Llotja de Mar located towards the sea front. Built during the 14th century, the beautiful architecture is another representative of the Catalan Gothic style. Having many different purposes over the years, the building began life as the seat for the Consolat de Mar, now serving purpose as the Official Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Shipping of Barcelona.
With these sites in mind, your exploration of one of the most beautiful and historical districts of Barcelona will allow you to discover the city’s hidden secrets.