Complete guide to Eixample Barcelona

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.

Eixample Barcelona

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.

Architecture

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

Shopping

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. 

Eixample Barcelona - Passeig de Gràcia
Passeig de Gràcia

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.

EIXAMPLE -THE NEW MERCAT DE SANT ANTONI

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!

Top 10 places to visit in Barcelona

Choosing the places to visit in Barcelona in a city so rich in culture and entertainment, can present quite a challenge, particularly if your time here is limited. In order to help with this dilemma, we have compiled a helpful list of places to visit in Barcleona.

Top 10 places to visit in Barcelona during your stay

La Sagrada Familia

No visit to Barcelona would be complete without a trip to Antoni Guadí´s spectacular church, La Sagrada Familia. The structure, although still incomplete, is a UNESCO world heritage site which welcomes nearly 3 million visitors a year. With this in mind, it is worth buying tickets in advance as queues can be lengthy. Places to visit in Barcelona - sagrada familia

La Pedrera

Continue along the Guadí trail to Casa Milà, commonly known as La Pedrera. This beautiful building, complete with roof terrace, attic space, courtyards and exhibition hall, provides ample opportunity to admire and understand the work of this architectural genius.Places to visit in Barcelona - La Pedrera

Parc Güell

Set on the hillside, Park Güell boasts beautiful views of the city. Originally, commissioned by Eusebio Güell for Barcelona´s aristocracy, this space reflects Guadí´s passion for nature, colour and unique architectural form.

Places to visit in Barcelona - Parc Güell

La Rambla

Stroll down Barcelona´s vibrant, street La Rambla and you´ll find live performances, artists, human statue art, a Miró mosaic and stalls. Spanish poet Federico García Lorca once commented, “It is the only street in the world I wish would never end” and, after a walk down this leafy, pedestrianised street, it’s easy to see why.Places to visit in Barcelona - La Rambla

La Boqueria Market

Located off La Rambla is one of Europe´s most famous food markets. Whether you simply want to peruse the specialist food stalls or pull up a stool at one of the bars for a snack, this venue is definitely worth a visit.Places to go in Barcelona - La Boqueria Market

Montjuïc Hill

Escape the crowds and head to Montjuïc hill. The area plays host to several museums such as the Joan Miró Foundation, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya and the castle, which is an old military fortress dating back to 1640.

Places to go in Barcelona -Montjuïc Hill

The Magic Montjuïc Fountains

At night witness the Magic Fountain Show. This explosion of colour, water, movement and light set to music lives up to the name and provides a truly magical experience. By the way, this is one of our favourite places to visit in Barcelona, you will love it!

Places to go in Barcelona -Montjuïc Fountain

Poble Espayol

Located near the Montjuic Fountains is Poble Espanyol (Spanish Village). The village, built in 1929, has 117 buildings resembling architecture from across Spain´s regions and offers a variety of shops, eateries, stalls and craft workshops. poble-espanyol-barcelona

Camp Nou

For football fans, no visit to the city would be complete without a trip to Camp Nou, home of the legendary Barça. Even if you aren´t able to coincide your stay with a match, it is worth taking a tour of the impressive 99,354 seat stadium and museum. Camp nou

Barri Gòtic

Finally, take time to meander the winding streets of the Gothic Quarter and admire the beautiful Roman and Medieval architecture. Dotted among impressive buildings such as the cathedral and iconic squares are plenty of bars and cafes for you to take time out and sample the local cuisine or simply sit back and soak up the atmosphere.

Barcelona Gothic quarter, Carrer del Bisbe

This  Top 10 places to visit in Barcelona, are a must during your visit, but also they are just an starter. Also remember we will be pleased to help you finding your apartment in Barcelona.

Also you can check the places to visit in Barcelona depending on the days  you are going to spend in the city:

Barcelona is waiting for your, are you ready for the trip to one of the most amazing cities in the world? Let’s go!

6 ways to enjoy the culture of Barcelona from your home

Although life as we know it has changed these past two weeks, you don’t have to forgo the wonderful cultural proposals that Barcelona has on offer.

From virtual museum visits, talks, shows, concerts and more, we’ve put together this list that will lift your spirits and ensure Barcelona’s cultural soul stays strong during this time.

So, this evening instead of watching another Netflix series, why not gather together with your family or housemates, and check out some of the Catalan’s capitals brilliant cultural experiences from the comfort of your sofa. 

Virtual visits to museums

Despite the city’s museums having closed their doors during this period of confinement, you can still explore their corners with these virtual visits. From the Picasso Museum, the Barcelona Museum of Design, the Catalonia National Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and much more, pick your favourite and get lost in their diverse collections. Here you’ll find a list we’ve put together with links to access the virtual visits.

Barcelona e-library

The libraries of Barcelona have opened their shelves to the public during this extraordinary time to share their collections online. There are more than 100,000 titles available in Catalan, Spanish, English, French and German that you can lend virtually. Enjoy e-books, magazines, films, audiobook, documentaries and much more with your Catalan library card. Find out more here.

VIDA Festival live

If you’re like us, you’re already thinking about those long summer nights and outdoor festivals. We recommend checking out the “Vida at Home” cycle of concerts. The festival – which is scheduled to be held in Vilanova i la Geltrú this July – will be streaming live performances every day this week at 19h on their Instagram page. Enjoy acts from Ferran Palau, Enric Montefusco, The New Raemon, Núria Graham, and many more. 

Virtual Gaudí

If you were planning a trip to Barcelona and are craving the city’s masterpieces, here we have your Gaudí pick me up. Check out these virtual visits of La Pedrera and Casa Battló. These 360º tours are almost as good as the real thing! Get up and close to two of Gaudí’s masterpieces and discover the history of modernism in Barcelona from your home.

Opera in your living room

The Liceu theatre has launched a special initiative to bring its latest opera extravaganzas straight to your living room. Normally you have to get dressed up to go to the opera, but not any more! Don your favourite pyjamas and get ready for an evening of Madam Butterfly, Aida, Normaor Rigoletto. All you need to do is register at this link and enter the code ‘OperaEnCasa’ (OperaAtHome).

Science, art and technology

The Open University of Catalonia and the libraries of Barcelona have come together to offer a series of five videos that explore the relationship between art, science and technology. Put together by the OUC professor, Pau Alsina, this conference raises questions that have been explored throughout history to help us to understand more about the world around us and how we, as humans, create within it. Discover the conference here.

Find more exciting ways to spend your time at home with this programmeof cultural initiatives you can enjoy from home, put together by Barcelona City Council’s Institute of Culture.

Let us know, how have you been spending your time at home? 

10 virtual visits to Museums of Catalonia to discover without leaving home

Virtual visits to Museums of Catalonia, the Museu Dalí

1. Museu Dalí – Fundació Gala

Virtual visit here

2. Museu d’art Contemporani de Catalunya (MACBA)

Virtual visit here

3. Museu Picasso

Virtual visit here 

4. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC)

Virtual visit here

5. Museu Egipci de Barcelona

Virtual visit here

6. CosmoCaixa

Virtual visit here

7. Museu Martítim de Barcelona

Virtual visit here

8. Museu Frederic Marès

Virtual visit here

9. Monestir de Pedralbes 

Virtual visit here

10. Museu del Disseny

Virtual visit here

6 great reasons to visit the neighbourhood of Gràcia

The neighbourhood of Gràcia has become synonymous with Barcelona and it’s most likely that if this is your second or third trip to Barcelona, you’ve already fallen under its spell.

Located in the northern part of the city, a 20-minute walk from Plaça Catalunya along the city’s famous Passeig de Gràcia will take you into the heart of this charismatic district.

For those of you that are yet to discover its charm, we’ve put together this article explaining just why we love the neighbourhood of Gràcia area of Barcelona so much. From things to see and do, to its history and local traditions, this small guide will ensure that you won’t miss out on a thing.

A plaza in the Barcelona neighbourhood of Gràcia

Its village charm

Gràcia first emerged as a small rural community with three convents and a small population. It wasn’t until around the 19thcentury that Gràcia began to grow, becoming the most important village in the area thanks to its agricultural production.

In 1850 it was established as a municipality with 13,000 habitants, but it wasn’t until 1897, with almost 67,000 habitants, that it became part of Barcelona itself. Gràcia was flourishing yet it still lacked basic services and facilities. Over the years it has become the thriving hub it is today, boasting markets, cultural, sports and historical centres, medical services and schools.

Its cobbled streets and enchanting squares

Despite being located a stone’s throw away from the centre of Barcelona, the streets of the neighbourhood of Gràcia still conserve that charming allure often only found in small villages. 

Stroll along its streets lined with flowering trees, take a break in one of its many squares with a freshly brewed cup of coffee, or explore the Plaça de la Vila square with its 19th-century bell tower and Plaça de la Virreina with its beautiful stone church.

The Festes de Gràcia

Every August the streets of the neighbourhood of Gràcia come alive with locals and tourists alike. The Festa Major de Gràcia constitutes a weeklong celebration in which the streets of this charming area are decorated with recycled materials in every colour.

The residents of many streets and squares in the neighbourhood come together as a community to choose a theme of their own for their respective streets in a fun-filled family-friendly event that cannot be missed. Read more about this tradition in one of our past articles here.

Neighbourhood of Gràcia, a street decorated to look like Moscow Red Square

Alternative stores and independent boutiques

Gràcia is home to a plethora of shops that sell locally made products, ethical goods and gifts galore. With something for everyone, after exploring its streets, why not browse its second-hand book stores with faded armchairs, discover its designer boutiques with clothes designed in Barcelona or choose a custom-made piece of jewellery at one of its many workshops.

Casa Vicens

Opened to the public only a few years ago, many still don’t know that Gràcia boasts its very own piece of Gaudí. Constituting great architect’s first project, Gaudí was commissioned to build Casa Vicens as a summerhouse for the family of the same name. 

This wonderful building will surprise you with its range of influences from far and wide, its varied palette of colours and its spectacular design.

Neighbourhood of Gràcia - Casa Vicens

The history beneath your feet at Plaça del Diamant

On first glance, Plaça del Diamant may appear to be just your normal square, however if you look a little closer you’ll discover the history it houses. 

Underneath the square is a bomb shelter that was built during the Spanish Civil War with a capacity for 200 people. Tickets are only €3 and must be booked in advance. 

Plaça del Diamant - Neighbourhood of Gràcia

We hope you love the area as much as us! Let us know, what’s your favourite thing to do in Gràcia?

A Guide to Barcelona’s Civil War Bomb Shelters

Almost 82 years on, you’d never know that Barcelona was once the target of repeated and systematic airstrikes during the Spanish Civil War. 

It’s 16 March, 1938, and 41 hours of non-stop bombing is about to be unleashed on the city. Over three days, there were 670 deaths and 1,200 wounded during the Bombing of Barcelona by the Italian Aviazione Legionaria Italiana, upon the orders of General Franco and Mussolini. 

With attacks every three hours, the panic and terror was real. Luckily, over 1,400 bomb shelters were constructed in the city primarily by Barcelona’s very own citizens. Men were tasked with the construction, whilst women and children excavated the labyrinth of underground tunnels.

Despite over thousands of air-raid shelters being built, still many of Barcelona’s population struggled to find shelter. In these cases, the metro tunnels and stations were also used as makeshift shelters, with the station at Universitat being an example of this. 

We propose an alternative route that is often overlooked by tourists and locals. If you’re looking for route that will open your eyes to Barcelona’s history, this is it!

Refugi 307

One of the largest and most fascinating shelters in the city, Refugi (Shelter) 307 is located at the foot of Montjuïc mountain. It was the neighbourhood of Poble Sec that was one of the city’s most badly affected areas.

Get ready to discover over 400 metres of narrow tunnels with space for up to 2,000 people, plus a kitchen, bathroom facilities and even a pharmacy.

There are guided visits ever Sunday morning at 10.30 in English, 11.30 in Spanish and 12.30 in Catalan. Tickets are €3.50 and prior booking here is necessary.

Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 175

Refugi Antiaeri de la Plaça del Diamant

Around 90 shelters were built in the neighbourhood of Gràcia, with the Plaça del Diamant Air-raid Shelter being the most well known, with 250 metres of tunnels and capacity for around 200 people. 

It was discovered in 1992 during the construction of a power station in the square, thanks to which it was restored and opened to the public in 2006. 

Guided visits include a tour of the underground shelter with actors playing the roles of locals seeking shelter in order to survive the bombing. Visits in Spanish and English (upon request) are every second Sunday of the month and can be booked here

Plaça del Diamant

Refugi del Palau de les Heures

Despite being the smallest air-raid shelter on our tour, this one is, without a doubt, the best preserved. Discover its 40 metres of tunnels lit by the same lights that were used over 80 years ago, thanks to its restored electrics system.

Located at this stunning palace in the north of the city, the shelter was constructed specifically to protect the then President of the Government of Catalonia, Lluís Companys. Visits can be arranged by contacting the University of Barcelona, the current owners of the building. 

Passeig de la Vall d’Hebron, 171

Bomb Shelter Barcelona- Palau de les Heures

An additional tip to complete the tour: One of the most devastating events during the attack was when a bomb was dropped on the corner of the streets Balmes and Gran Vía, hitting a truck filled with TNT. Today, you can visit a cross in the place where it fell in memory of those killed and wounded during these days that Barcelona will never forget. 

Let yourself be amazed by these never-ending underground tunnels beneath the streets of Barcelona.

Barcelona is replete with history, don’t miss it on your next visit!

6 Curious Facts about the History of the Sagrada Família

Over the years, Barcelona has become synonymous with Gaudí’s Sagrada Família: its magnificent yet unfinished towers, its captivating sculpted exterior, its light-filled interior…

The Sagrada Família has been bringing people from far and wide to Barcelona for decades, yet what is it that fascinates visitors so?

Have you ever wondered why Gaudí built the Sagrada Familia? And when, after over 100 years, it will eventually be finished?

In this article we explain these six curious facts about the history and the construction of the Sagrada Família that are sure to make you even more curious about it.

Gaudí did not lay the Sagrada Família’s first stone

It was in 1881 that the Saint John Devotee Association (Asociación de devots de Sant Josep) bought a plot of land measuring 12,800 m2 on which to build the temple. However, it wasn’t until 19 March, 1882 that the first stone was laid – not by Gaudí – but by the architect Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano. In fact, Gaudí inherited the project from said architect in 1883 with a much more aspiring outlook than his predecessor.

Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano - Sagrada Família

Gaudí dedicated 43 years of his life to the Sagrada Família

As we have mentioned, Gaudí’s plan for what would be the Sagrada Família was highly ambitious. His original plans were for a temple with 5 naves, 3 facades, 18 towers. This would be, by far, his most ambitious project to date, and also the one he sought the most perfection in. From the year 1914 onwards, Gaudí stopped all other work and focused exclusively on the Sagrada Família.

Plans for the Sagrada Família, sketched by Gaudí


Gaudí lived only to see the construction of the Nativity Façade

The Sagrada Família boasts three façades, each dedicated to a moment in the life of Christ: his birth, his suffering and resurrection and his eternal glory. It was in 1925 that he managed to finish the bell tower of the Nativity Façade, a mere year before his tragic death.

Gaudí knew that he would never see the Sagrada Família finished, therefore he left dozens of plans, sketches and instructions so it could be finished exactly how he had imagined. However, this information was tragically lost and burnt during the Spanish Civil War.

Phot of the Nativity façade in 1899
Nativity façade, 1899. Author: Aleu

The temple represents the life of Jesus and will be the tallest building in Barcelona

With the construction of the Sagrada Família, Gaudí’s wish was to represent the life of Jesus. The soon-to-be 18 towers will be dedicated to his disciples, the four Evangelists and the Virgin Mary. The tallest tower of all, scheduled to be finished in 2022, will be dedicated to Jesus Christ and topped by an impressive cross. 

With this, it will reach a total height of 172.5 metres, becoming the tallest building in the city of Barcelona. What’s more, it will also take the title for the tallest church in the world.

There are no straight lines in its architecture

In the entirety of Gaudí’s magnificent temple there is not one straight line. This masterpiece is an imitation of nature at its purest – from columns that emulate trees to an abundance of diverse flora and fauna. It was Gaudí himself who said: “The straight line belongs to men, the curved one to God.”

Current state of the construction progress

It will be finished in 2026 to coincide with the centenary of Gaudí’s death

A mere 144 years since it was started, the Sagrada Família is scheduled to be finished in the year 2026, marking one hundred years after Gaudí’s death in 1926. However, just because the construction is finished doesn’t mean that the temple itself is finished. There is still many a decorative element to add!

This date will be considered even more special if Gaudí obtains sainthood from the Catholic Church, the proposal for which was initiated in 2000 by an association of his devotees.

Vintage photo of Antoni Gaudí

So, whether you’re visiting the Sagrada Família for the first or umpteenth time, we hope these interesting facts will open your eyes to the history behind it. 

6 parks in Barcelona you will love to visit

We’ve put together a list of 6 parks in Barcelona where you can reconnect with yourself and nature without leaving the city.

When it comes to parks and Barcelona, many of us immediately think of Parc Güell, however, Barcelona has much more to offer. From secret mazes to charming parks with sea views, you can visit them all, it’s worth it!

Parks in Barcelona that you will love

1. Laberint d’Horta

This historical garden is perfect for young and old alike. Get lost in its enchanting cypress-tree maze or wander its romantic gardens with hidden ponds, pavilions and sculptures. The oldest park in Barcelona can be visited at any time of year, but is especially magical in the autumn.

Note: It’s a very good plan for a romantic date or also for a photo shooting day.

Labertin d’Horta: Passeig dels Castanyers, 1

2. Parc de la Creueta del Coll

This expansive park offers three hectares of green space, flora and fauna to explore. Located in Gràcia, it is particularly popular in the summer thanks to its large family-friendly outdoor swimming pool. What’s more, with picnic areas, play parks, toilets and locker rooms, it makes for the perfect family day out.

Parc de la Creueta del Coll: Passeig de la Mare de Déu del Coll, 77

3. Turó Park

One of Barcelona’s most emblematic parks, discover art, architecture and nature all in one place. Unwind and relax on a Sunday afternoon with a book under one of its shady trees or go for a stroll around its many peaceful trails and paths.

Turó Park: Avinguda de Pau Casals, 19

4. Jardins de Joan Brossa

Named after the renowned Catalan Poet, Joan Brossa, this park was once home to the Montjüic theme park. This now expansive green area boasts beautiful gardens that bloom in spring and summer and three play areas for children. Don’t miss the fantastic views over Barcelona and its coastline.

Jardins de Joan Brossa: Plaça Dante – Avinguda Miramar

5. Parc de la Ciutadella

Another of Barcelona’s most popular green spaces, the Ciutadella park is located in the old quarter of the city. To get there, take a walk through the magnificent Arc de Triomf and inside the park discover its cascading waterfall, artificial lake with rowing boats, the “Three-dragon” Castle, the city zoo and much more.

Due to its location very close to the center of Barcelona, ​​robberies are common in Parc de la Ciutadella. Pay close attention and also check our article 10 Barcelona safety tips to avoid pickpockets.

Parc de la Ciutadella: Passeig de Picasso 21

6. Parc de Cervantes

If you’re looking to escape the crowds and discover a side of Barcelona that even many locals don’t know about, head to Parc de Cervantes. You’ll fall in love with its over 2,000 kinds of roses scattered around the park and adorning trellises. It makes for the perfect plan on a lazy Sunday afternoon. 

Parc de Cervantes: Avinguda Diagonal, 706

Parks in Barcelona - Parc de Cervantes

Theses are our 6 favorite parks in Barcelona, but there are 90! Check here the official website from the Barcelona City Council to locate all the parks in Barcelona and the closest to you.

What better way to welcome the end of lockdown than with a breath of fresh air. Unwind, stroll, relax or play in the heart of the city. 

We hope this list of 6 parks in Barcelona has helped you to build your route through the city. If you need more ideas you can check here our Top 10 places to visit in Barcelona article.

What’s your favourite park in Barcelona to relax and reconnect with nature? Let us know!