Located on the very edge of the city on the foothills of mount Tibidabo, Sarrià is one of Barcelona‘s richest, most exclusive neighborhoods. Once an independent town, it joined the city of Barcelona in the early 20th century and has largely kept a village feel and strong independent spirit. Read on to find out what do, where to eat, and what to see in this most extravagant of Barcelona neighborhoods.
Located on the edge of the city of Barcelona, Sarrià has for most of its history been an independent town and was only annexed to the city as recently as 1921 (much later than nearby Gracià, which joined the city in 1897). In the earliest days of its existence, the village was largely inhabited by farmers and those working in winemaking, owing to its proximity to both exploitable land and Barcelona. However, as time passed, the town began to attract a richer crowd of noblemen and merchants who wished to live outside the crowded city below them.
By the time Sarrià joined the city of Barcelona, it was established as a highly affluential and exclusive neighborhood where some of the city’s richest residents lived. Today, things remain largely unchanged, and house prices in Sarrià are among the most expensive in Barcelona, and the area counts famous artists, celebrities, and politicians among its residents.
Compared with some of the other neighborhoods in Barcelona, Sarrià has relatively few historic landmarks or tourist attractions. However, much of its charm derives from the village-like atmosphere, which can still be found when walking along the streets of the old town, most notably down the main street – the Carrer Major. The Plaça del Consell de la Villa – Town Hall Square – is a perfect place to grab a coffee and admire scenes of daily life, especially when the square fills with playing children from the nearby school.
Another option is to get out and explore the many great outdoor sights which are on Sarrià’s doorstep, including the Tibidabo Amusement Park – one of the oldest in Europe – or take the funicular up to the Carretera de las Aigües to enjoy a walk with one of the best panoramic views of Barcelona.
Perhaps somewhat ironic, given the neighborhood’s prestige, the most famous of places to eat in Sarrià is a humble cafeteria that goes by the name by Bar Tomás. The reason for its fame being that it is said to serve the best patatas bravas in the whole of Barcelona, and many locals travel far and wide for a mouthful of these spicy spuds.
However, if you’re looking for something a little more substantial, the Vell Sarrià is a traditional Catalan restaurant famous for its authentic rice dishes and paellas. For something a little more modern, try El Canalla, a modern bistro which specializes in locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. If you’re in the mood for something more exotic, then visit Ken, a sophisticated Japanese restaurant which has been open for over 15 years and is a favorite with many of the neighborhood’s residents.
Find more places to eat in Sarrià here.
Unsurprisingly, there are a number of great luxury hotels to choose from in Sarrià, including some of the most prestigious in all the city. The five-star AbaC Hotel is located on the outskirts of Sarrià and boasts a peaceful outdoor area as well as a two-Michelin star restaurant run by the famous Catalan chef, Jordi Cruz. Another five-star hotel to have its own oasis of peace is the luxurious Gran Hotel Florida, which underwent a total makeover in 2011 at the hands of a team of leading Catalan designers.
For something slightly lower key and with more of a boutique feel, the rooms at the Pol & Grace Hotel each have their own distinctive décor, and the staff at this family-run business are always happy to help you plan your stay. In a similar vein, the Hotel Primero Primera is still inhabited by the family who has run the business since the 1950s and has all the charm of a stylish family home.
Find more places to stay in Sarrià here.