Read brief descriptions of the quarters espacially worth visiting and how and when to best discover them. Gain an appetite for more.
Barcelona’s oldest neighbourhood, the Gothic Quarter. But not every stone origniates from mediaeval times. In the Middle Ages there was a citywall where you nowadays find the strolling promenade Las Rambles – but the smell was quite different, and not in a positive way. The cathedral and the Plaça del Rei tell of greatness and glory of the then superpower of the Mediterranean: Catalonia. You’ll find the narrowest alleys in the Jewish Quarter. Walk in Pablo Picasso’s footsteps, who lived in Barcelona as a young man. You also see filming spots of the literature adaptation “Perfume. Story of a Murderer”.
Discover e.g. Plaça Reial, Santa María del Pi, Catedral, Plaça del Rei, Plaça Sant Jaume, El Call (The Jewish Quarter), Carrer d’Avinyó, Plaça George Orwell, Plaça Mercè
Ideal for guided tours by foot and Sightjogging. It’s highly recommended to start the sporty sightsseing tour in the early morning. Bike tours should be avoided in the narrow and winding lanes, nevertheless some sights are easily accessible by bike as well.
El Raval derives from Arabic and means Suburb. For centuries El Raval was the neighbourhood to which many immigrants came to Barcelona. First from other regions in Spain, later from all over the world. Although in El Raval you won’t find as many old walls as in The Gothic Quarter on the other side of Las Rambles, but here you’ll see the many different faces of Barcelona. El Raval is multicoulored and vivid, sometimes it seems to be a quarter under construction, somewhere between tradition and gentrification.
Discover e.g. MACBA, Rambla de Raval, Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu, Sant Pau del Camp, Les Drassanes, Liceu, Palau Güell, Mercat de la Boqueria
When Barcelona was bursting at its seams during the industrial revoultion, the long hated city walls had been knocked down. From 1859, the city expanded into a gridiron pattern. L’Eixample was born, the extension. Tremendous richness was exhibited, the best architects were hired by industrial tycoons. Antoni Gaudí the best known. The Modernisme style is still fascinating today. If there is one must see in Barcelona, it’s Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia.
Discover e.g. Plaça de Catalunya, Passeig de Gràcia, Casa Batlló, Casa Amattler, Casa Milà, Sagrada Familia, Casa de les Punxes, Diagonal, La Monumental
Discover many of the 1992 Olympic venues, and see how the 1929 world exhibition also left its mark on this area. Did you know that until 1975 the Montjuïc mountain hosted F1 races? Enjoy stunning views only few tourists will experience.
Discover e.g. Plaça d’Espanya, Palau Nacional, Pavelló Mies van der Rohe, Poble Espanyol, Olympic Stadium, Castell de Montjuïc
EL BORN / PARC DE LA CIUTADELLA
Ciutadella contains the word citadel, fortress. Where the park is now situated, was until 1868 the fortress. And what a jumbo example of a fortress – the biggest one in Europe. In former times this place was the symbol of fear and terror, today it’s used to stroll around or to visit the zoo. The first universal exhibition held in Barcelona took place there in 1888 and even in this public garden you’ll find traces of Antoni Gaudí. The El Born neighbourhood, around the church Santa Santa María del Mar, was the pulsating economic centre of a medieval superpower. Nowadays the quarter is worth a visit, if only because of the Picasso Museum.
Discover e.g. Passeig del Born, Santa María del Mar, Antic Mercat del Born, Estació de França, Parc de la Ciutadella
PORT VELL / BARCELONETA / PORT OLÍMPIC
Barcelona’s harbour was situated directly below Las Rambles until the end of the 1980s. The city was considerd to have turned its back to the waterfront. Almost unbelievable: there was no beach! Everything changed when Barcelona, in 1986, became a future Olympic city.
Barceloneta was mainly home for fishermen, dockworkers, sailors and their families – a quite shabby quarter. Today Barceloneta is valued a top quality location – due to the proximity to the Mediterranean. Via the Passeig Marítim you’ll arrive at the Olympic Harbour where Felipe, then the crown prince, now the Spanish King, participated in the Olympic sailing regattas in 1992.
Discover e.g. Rambla del Mar, Moll de la Barceloneta, El Cap de Barcelona, Mercat de la Barceloneta, Passeig Marítim