One of Barcelona’s largest and most emblematic neighbourhoods, the Eixample is found in the very heart of the city.
Pronounced “ay-sham-pluh” , its name can roughly be translated as “expansion or extension”. Read on to learn more about this iconic and unique area of Barcelona.
The History of Eixample Barcelona
The newest part of the city stretches north of Plaça de Catalunya and to either side of Passeig de Gràcia in six exclusively diverse areas. The most well known of these areas are referred to as Eixample Esquerra and Dreta de l’Eixample located to the left and right of Passeig de Gràcia as their names respectively indicate.
In the mid 19thcentury, the Catalan architect Ildefons Cerdà was chosen to extend the city beyond its medieval walls. His plan extended the city to the surrounding small towns and villages (including Gràcia and Les Corts). This was due to the impact of the Industrial Revolution and Barcelona’s increasing need for more space and sanitation, given its rising population.
Cerdà’s architectural vision took great inspiration from straight lines and geometric shapes. If you have visited Eixample Barcelona before, you are sure to have noticed its uniform grid layout and distribution in blocks.
What’s more, at the intersection of each of its roads, you’ll find the iconic “chaflán”. The architect in charge of the expansion project opted to remove the typical right-angled corners from his plan in order to allow for a place for horse and carriages to park, to ease movement, and allow for better visibility at crossings.
For this reason, it’s very hard to get lost in the Eixample Barcelona and it’s very easy to find places. Keep reading to discover what to see and do in this fantastic district that has something for everyone.
What to visit in Eixample Barcelona
Now home to the city’s mot renowned sights, luxury boutiques and exclusive stores, plus an array of stylish restaurants and bars, Eixample Barcelona is an unmissable district on your visit to Barcelona.
Traditionally where the residences of many Catalan bourgeois were located, Eixample Barcelona is synonymous with modernist and neoclassic architecture.
The best way to explore this district is on foot – look up and you’ll be amazed by its towering façades, glorious buildings in an array of colours and intricately designed balconies and terraces. Look down and you’ll spot Barcelona’s famous flower etched into the pavement below your feet.
Eixample Barcelona is also home to Gaudí’s most famous works. La Pedrera and Casa Batlló can be found on Passeig de Gràcia in walking distance of one another. What’s more, Avinguda Gaudí (one of the few streets in Eixample Barcelona that doesn’t follow the grid layout) joins the Hospital de Sant Pau and Gaudí’s masterpiece: the Sagrada Família. Read more about this epic monument in our article here.
Take a stroll down Passeig de Gràcia and La Rambla for a luxury shopping experience. Here you’ll find international and local designer boutiques including Adolfo Dominguez, Chanel, Loro Piano, MaxMara and Louis Vuitton. Also located in this area are some of Europe’s largest stores of well-known high street brands such as Zara, Mango and H&M.
What’s more, Eixample Barcelona is teeming with bookshops, artisan boutiques, florists and markets.
Culture and art
For lovers of art galleries and museums, located in Eixample are the Fundació Antoni Tàpies dedicated to the local artist, the Egyptian museum of Barcelona, and the Fundació Mapfre with various temporary collections of modern art and photography.
You’ll be thrilled to know that the Eixample district doesn’t end here! We thoroughly recommend exploring the other districts within Eixample Barcelona.
Sant Antoni, located to the left of Raval, is famous for its newly renovated market, its numerous bars and cafés and traditional bodega-style restaurants. Head here during the weekend to take in its buzzing, lively atmosphere where locals and tourists alike come to let off some steam.
Whether you’re discovering Eixample Barcelona for the first time or exploring its streets on your second of third visit, you’re sure to be inspired by its legacy. Eixample Barcelona has it all, from stunning examples of Catalan architecture, a cosmopolitan vibe and the best of international fashion. We hope to see you there soon!