The Best Things to See and Do in Gràcia, Barcelona

Photo of Mark Nayler
25 June 2021

You’ve marvelled at the Sagrada Família and soaked in the atmosphere of Las Ramblas. If you’re ready for a change of scenery on your next visit to Barcelona, head to the friendly district of Gràcia, just outside the city centre. Here’s our run-down of the top things to see and do here.

Just north of the main city centre, Gràcia has managed to keep its villagey feel, despite increasing interest in the area. The relaxed, bohemian atmosphere – it’s dotted with eco-shops, yoga studios and vegan-friendly cafes – makes it a great neighbourhood to explore.

See sculptures at Park Güell

Park
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Park Güell is one of Barcelona’s most popular attractions
© pictureproject / Alamy Stock Photo
Catalan industrialist and entrepreneur Eusebi Güell commissioned Antoni Gaudí to design this park in 1900, by which point the architect had already built a house, winery and church for his wealthy friend. Gaudí standouts include the 3D dragon mosaic at the entrance, the serpent-shaped bench on the main terrace and the colonnades and corridors carved from locally sourced stone. Its highest point is a stone hill featuring three large crosses, from where you can enjoy panoramic views of Barcelona and spot birds such as parrots and eagles.

Catch a film at the Verdi

Cinema, Theater
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Most foreign-language films in Spain are dubbed, but the blockbusters and independent movies at the Verdi are shown in their original language. Viewer comfort is enhanced by big chairs, inexpensive refreshments and discounted tickets on Sunday evenings and Mondays. The cinema also runs opera matinees of legendary performances, kids’ programmes and themed festivals throughout the year. Post-film, there are plenty of places nearby to eat and drink.

Shop sustainably at Olokuti

Shop
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The range of products available at Olokuti – a champion of ecofriendly, sustainable consumerism in the heart of Gràcia – makes it absolutely impossible to categorise. As well as kids’ and adults’ clothing, yoga gear and homeware, its colourful shelves contain books, woven baskets and organic ingredients. Drift towards the back of the store and you’ll find yet another surprise – a small, walled garden in which to enjoy a responsibly produced drink or participate in the frequently organised cultural events, discussions and workshops.

Marvel at Plaça de la Virreina

Building
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Church of St Joan in Placa de la Virreina.
© PjrTravel / Alamy Stock Photo

Plaça de la Virreina is one of Gràcia’s main squares and extends northwards, on a slight ascent, from Carrer de l’Or to the late 19th-century Iglesia Saint Joan. It was developed at the same time as the church, on the site of the 18th-century La Virreina mansion, the summer residence of a Catalan aristocrat and military leader. There are a few cafes with terraces out on the square and a fountain topped by a bronze statue of the biblical character Ruth by artist Josep Maria Camps.

Find some shade at Rabipelao

Bar, Venezuelan
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Featuring walls of psychedelic wallpaper decorated with FBI wanted posters, vinyl records and gothic candlestick holders, Venezuelan bar Rabipelao wears its Gràcia credentials proudly. Tuck into South American dishes such as empanadas, arepas (crispy discs of cornbread with a variety of fillings) and deep-fried cheese sticks known as tequeños. The bar’s also sought out for its cocktails, especially its powerful mojitos, and for its shaded garden out back – a rarity in densely packed Gràcia.

Watch live music at El Col.leccionista

Bar, Spanish, $$$
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Tiny El Col.leccionista is one of the best spots in Barcelona for live indie, acoustic and rock music. Artists perform their sets on a sparsely lit stage that would fit in your bedroom, surrounded by vintage fridges, typewriters and wall-mounted instruments. It’s a great spot for the midpoint of a Spanish night out – after dinner, but before the nightclub where you’ll stay until breakfast – and its reasonably priced beers and copas (spirits and mixers) draw in plenty of students and travellers on a budget.

Browse the shops on Carrer Verdi

Architectural Landmark
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If you’ve only time to stroll one street in Gràcia, make it Carrer Verdi. Running straight from south to north through the heart of the barrio, it’s lined with vintage clothing stores, independent bars, restaurants and second-hand bookshops. Must-visits include La Trini for tapas and vermouth (no 30), Taifa Llibres for new and used books across all genres (no 12) and the Mercat de Lesseps to browse some of Catalonia’s finest produce (nos 200-210).

Go to a yoga class at Yoga Con Gràcia

Yoga Studio
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This non-profit studio is one of the top spots in Barcelona for learning and practising yoga, especially if you’re after pre- or postnatal classes. In light, airy rooms with polished wooden floors, a team of volunteer instructors also lead workshops in hatha (both fluid and classic) and yin styles, which can be adapted to all levels of experience. Once your session’s over, stay in the chillout zone with a stroll around Gaudí’s Park Güell, just a 10-minute walk away.

AdmissionGet close to Gaudí at Casa Vicens
From $19 per person
1 hour 30 minutes
5 (1)

In 1883, Catalan businessman Manuel Vincens asked Gaudí, then 31, to build his family a summer residence in Barcelona. When it was completed two years later, the architect’s first house established itself at the vanguard of European modernism, displaying an audacious fusion of raw materials and a playful mixture of neo-mudejar and oriental features. In the second floor museum there’s a reproduction of a document in which Gaudí sketches his plans for Casa Vincens, as well as expressing his opinions on architecture and design.

Visit the Mercat de la Llibertat

Market
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Fresh fish are sold inside the Mercat de la Llibertat
© Frank Bienewald / Alamy Stock Photo
Opened in 1883 and substantially renovated in 2009, the Mercat de Llibertat is Gràcia’s premier food market. Within a cavernous, echoing structure of exposed brick and iron, dozens of stall owners loudly tout goods such as cured and fresh meat, cheeses, fruits, vegetables and spices. Rather than just passing through, set yourself up with a small beer and fresh prawn tapas at El Tast de Joan Noi (no 111) and watch Gràcia’s street life at its very best.

This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Mirva Kemppainen.

These recommendations were updated on June 25, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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