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

  1. 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

  1. 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

  1. 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
  1. 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

  1. 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

  1. 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
  1. 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
  1. 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

  1. 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

  1. 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 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. 

8 Best viewpoints in Barcelona

Barcelona is a beautiful city that is full of many interesting and peculiar sights, but one of the best ways to see Barcelona and truly be able to appreciate it is from above. Here we’ve compiled a list of the eight best viewpoints in Barcelona, so you can truly appreciate this wonderous and vibrant city in all its glory, taking in its unique skyline.

Mirador d’Horta

On the road from Cerdanyola to Horta, you will find this little observation deck with a sweeping view of the city to the left, and the district of Horta right in front spreading all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. One of the quirkiest features of this dazzling spot, and one of the best viewpoints in Barcelona, is a little wooden swing – if you get the angle just right you can take an original looking picture where it looks like you’re swinging out over the whole city.

Mirador de Colom

You may have seen the giant Columbus Monument that stands proudly at the end of La Rambla, but did you know you can actually go up it? Built in 1888 in tribute to Christopher Columbus, the column houses a lift that will take you up 51 metres to the top for just €5.40. Based on the columns positioning, you will get a unique view of the city, with the mountain of Montjuïc to one side, the Olympic Marina to the other, and the bustling craziness of La Rambla and the Gothic quarter behind you.

Mirador de Sarrià 

Collserolla park, the natural beautiful hilly park that surrounds Barcelona is an area you should visit if you want to get away from the city for a breath of fresh air. It is at the gateway to this park that you will find Mirador de Sarrià, for a spectacular view of the sprawling metropolis framed by nature. About 250 metres high, this viewpoint takes a little walking but there is also the option to take a cable car up to enjoy the view. Once you are up there it is worth exploring the rest of the natural park as well for a nice day trip without leaving the city.

Mirador Torre de Collserola

If you’ve ever looked up toward the magical site of the Cathedral that sits at the top of Tibidabo, there is no doubt you have also seen the telecommunications tower that stands just to the side of it. The tower stands at 288 metres tall, making it the highest structure in the city. That combined with the fact that it’s high up on a hill above Barcelona, you can just imagine the kind of views it provides. Climb to the tenth floor to reach the observation deck where you can enjoy these spectacular views for just €5.60. 

Mirador Turó de la Rovira

More commonly known as Bunkers del Carmel and known to be one of the best viewpoints in Barcelona, this is a fantastic viewpoint of the city to go and relax with some drinks and snacks. A beautiful vista of the city laid out in front of you, the relaxed atmosphere here, where you may find yourself surrounded by locals, is the perfect spot for a date – as long as they’re not put off by the short climb. Mirador Turó de la Rovira is also not a place short of history as it contains the remains of an anti-aircraft bunker that was used to defend Barcelona from air attacks during the Spanish Civil War, as well as the remains of a shantytown, that was closed in 1990.

Mirador from the Castle of Montjuïc

An old military fortress that stands atop Montjuïc mountain, with roots dating as far back as 1640, the view from the top is almost as spectacular as the location itself. Some 173 metres above sea level, from here you can see the city and sea stretching in front of you in all its glory. If you don’t fancy the climb up the hill, don’t worry as there are fun cable cars you can get to the top.

Mirador at Las Arenas

Located in Plaça Espanya, you will find Las Arenas shopping mall, its unique round structure because of its former incarnation as a bull fighting arena. Rather than just shopping here, the mall also has an option to take a lift up to the roof for an interesting 360-degree view of Barcelona. If you want a more relaxed visit you can visit the first floor of the viewpoint which hosts a number of bars and restaurants, which allow you to enjoy the view while having a drink or even dinner. 

Mirador at Jardins de Miramar

Another viewpoint that stands atop Montjuïc is the Jardins de Miramar. From here you can see all of the city sights starting with the neighborhood of Poble Sec located just below the mountain and then spreading all the way to the outer edges of the city. This spot can be especially nice at sunset on a clear day when the setting sun casts a golden hue over the city. If you’re looking for something a little more relaxed, why not stop off at Terraza Martínez, a trendy Mediterranean restaurant that’s the perfect location for lunch or a drink with a view. 

Whatever it is you’re looking for, be it a viewpoint set in a beautiful natural setting, or a place to relax with a drink and take in the beautiful city, with our list of the best viewpoints in Barcelona, you can be sure to have an amazing experience. 

A tour of the Gaudí buildings of Barcelona

Barcelona is a destination known all over the world for being synonymous with the name of this epic artist and architect. He dedicated his entire life to his work and his buildings are some of Spain’s most spectacular examples of architecture. Yes, we’re talking about Antoni Gaudí – the king of modernism in Barcelona, the Catalan genius.

A trip to Barcelona would not be complete without discovering the work of an artist ahead of his time. Gaudí defied the rigidity of formal architecture until he found his own colourful, imaginative style, through which he and Barcelona flourished.

Here we have put together a guide to some of the most well-known and not so well-known Gaudí buildings in Barcelona. Discover the essence of Gaudí through his most emblematic works.

Portal Finca Miralles (1901-1902)

The Miralles gate to a no longer existing housing estate is perhaps one of Gaudí’s lesser-known designs. Between the years 1901 and 1902, Gaudí constructed the entrance and the wall that today surrounds a quiet residential area. If you’d like to admire Gaudí’s work but avoid the crowds, this is for you.

Col·legi de les Teresianes (1888–1889)

Another one of Barcelona’s better-kept secrets, this Gaudí building was first built as a Teresian nunnery. Even though the building is today a school and cannot be visited, you can still pass by this Gaudí building – inspired by a neogothic castle and religious symbolism – to catch a glimpse of its stunning exterior.

Torre Bellesguard (1900–1909)

Steeped in history and legend, this Gaudí building was constructed upon the ruins of the palace where the ancient king  “Martin the Humane” resided. Also known as Casa Figueres, this manor house captures both gothic and modernist styles.

Parc Güell (1900–1909)

Many have heard of this monumental Gaudí building and park, however few know its story. Parc Güell was originally designed to be a city-garden for the bourgeoisie of Barcelona, home to green courtyards, exquisite chapels, beautiful homes and sprawling pavilions. Despite these plans of grandeur, given its distance from the city, Parc Güell became the public park we know it as today.

Casa Vicens (1883–1888)

Located in the neighbourhood of Gràcia and only recently opened to the public, Casa Vicens is the very first of the Gaudí buildings. Built as a summerhouse for the Vicens family, this exquisite work of modernist architecture is an example of a blossoming Gaudí who aimed at bringing nature and all its splendour to the inside of his structures.

Sagrada Família (1883–1926)

It may be unfinished but the Sagrada Família is, without a doubt, the most renowned of all the Gaudí buildings. Started in 1882, Gaudí dedicated over 40 years of his live to the basilica. This icon of Barcelona and Gaudí’s greatest masterpiece is simply a must-see!

Casa Milà (La Pedrera) (1902–1912)

Known as “La Pedrera” (The Stone Quarry) due to the stony appearance of its façade, the shape of this Gaudí building is reminiscent of the sea. Over the years it has served as a consulate, an event hall and a hotel for the city’s most illustrious guests.

Casa Batlló (1906–1910)

Built on top of an already existing building, Casa Batlló is Gaudí’s most colourful and imaginative work. This Gaudí building is inspired by nature and possibly even based on the legend of Saint George and the dragon. Why not visit for yourself to find out more!

Casa Calvet (1888-1890)

Perhaps one of the subtler of the Gaudí buildings, Casa Calvet was originally built as an apartment block for Pere Mártir Calvet. The textile manufacturer commissioned Gaudí to design a space where he could live, with a ground floor dedicated to his commerce.

Palau Güell (1886–1888)

This opulent mansion built for the Gaudí’s friend Eusebi Güell is located in the heart of the district of Raval. It was opened to the public in 2011 and was the first of Gaudí’s most significant works.

Barcelona would not be the destination it is today if it weren’t for this ground-breaking modernist architect and his pioneering buildings. The above Gaudí’s buildings have become icons of Barcelona, which one is your favourite?

9 Things To Do in Ciutat Vella – Barcelona Travel Guide

Barcelona’s Ciutat Vella — ‘old town’ in Catalan — is overflowing with rich cultural and historical heritage. 

The streets of the Ciutat Vella tell the story of the city’s origins right up to the present day: from ancient monuments and historic buildings, to bars and restaurants, alternative boutiques, and sun-drenched squares buzzing with tourists and locals alike.

With so much on offer, it’s no wonder this area is one of the city’s most popular tourist hotspots.

The Ciutat Vella of Barcelona, once surrounded by medieval city walls, covers four of Barcelona’s main neighbourhoods — El Raval, El Barri Gòtic, El Born and La Barceloneta. With such a sprawling area to explore, it’s difficult to know where to start. To make sure you don’t miss out, we’ve put together a list of the top nine things to do in Barcelona’s Ciutat Vella.

1. La Rambla

No trip to Barcelona is complete without a visit to the city’s most emblematic street: La Rambla. 

Take a stroll down this lively promenade, which joins the iconic Plaça Catalunya with the Columbus Monument, and discover historical monuments, flower stalls, live statues, outdoor restaurants, and much more.

2. El Mercat de la Boqueria 

Located on La Rambla, this is a world-famous food market brimming with historic tradition. With Catalan modernist-style architecture, la Boqueria is the link between Barcelona’s past and present.

Take in the colours and aromas of fresh fruit and vegetables, seafood, meats and spices, or grab a seat at one of the stalls and order tapas of seafood or cured Iberian meats.

3.Gran Teatre del Liceu

Keep walking on La Rambla and you’ll stumble across another of Barcelona’s iconic cultural symbols, El Liceu.

Since its opening in 1847, this opera house has heard the greatest tenors and sopranos of the times. It can be enjoyed from the outside, on a guided tour, or by reserving tickets for the next show. Check out what’s currently on here.

4. Plaça Reial

Just a few metres from La Rambla, you’ll find Plaça Reial. Seek shade below its towering palm trees and take in the stunning central fountain. Don’t leave without snapping a photo of the square’s exquisite lampposts, which are some of Gaudí’s earliest works.

5. Museu d’Història de Barcelona (MUHBA)

If you’re curious about the origins of Barcelona, visit the Museum of the History of Barcelona (MUHBA) and take a journey through time. Wander the Roman streets of Barcino and discover medieval ruins, most of which are located below Plaça del Rei.

6. Cathedral of Barcelona

With its unique Catalan gothic style, the cathedral of Barcelona is not to be passed by. Let yourself be amazed by its numerous gargoyles and towering spires found right in the heart of the city’s Gothic Quarter. 

7. Plaça de Sant Felip Neri

Escape the crowds and seek peace and tranquillity in the quaint and romantic square of Sant Felip Neri. Yet what is unique about this square is its tragic history. The damage to the church’s walls after a bombing during the Spanish Civil War is still visible to this day.

8. Palau de la Música Catalana

The Catalan Concert Hall can be described as no other than the city’s jewel of modernism. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this exquisite form of modernist architecture will not disappoint. 

9. Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)

Enter the creative world of Barcelona’s Museum of Modern Art and discover an array of thought-provoking exhibitions by both local and international artists or simply marvel at this outstanding contemporary structure. What’s more, entry is free every Saturday from 4 pm to 6 pm.

Delve a little deeper into the history of this beautiful city and discover Barcelona’s most fascinating side. With so much to choose from, Barcelona certainly has a little something to offer everyone.