Gràcia, like many of Barcelona’s neighborhoods, was once a small village that was incorporated into Barcelona. Unlike other neighborhoods, Grácia has retained that village feel, you will find narrow pedestrian walkways, rustic storefronts, and smiling locals as you walk through the neighborhood. Gràcia is home to young families and working artists, as well as several delicious restaurants and boutique shops, and Grácia’s most famous attraction is Gaudi’s Park Güell.
In Catalan, Eixample means ‘Expansion’. The reason for this name is that Eixample was built outside of the original Barcelona city walls to connect old Barcelona and the surrounding towns, like Gràcia. Plan to take a long walk in Eixample, perhaps from the Sagrada Familia to the other end of the neighborhood. The architecture is what brings so many tourists and locals to Eixample, many of Gaudi’s buildings and other modernists structures are here.
The neighborhood of El Born began as a site for medieval jousts, and though today it is much less violent, it hasn’t lost its festive character. El Born’s Passeig de Born is a nightlife hot spot in Barcelona, with many bars competing to make the city’s best mojito. There are plenty of things to do in El Born during the day. Culture lovers will find themselves at the Picasso Museum, and those more inclined toward leisure will be impressed by the boutique shops. El Born is a great place to stay while in Barcelona because there are plenty of cafes and restaurants, and it is only a 10 minute walk from the beach.
For those looking to stay in the heart of Barcelona, consider Barri Gòtic. The Gothic Quarter is the site of the old Roman village that once stood in present day Barcelona. Ancient buildings alternate with recently built ones, making Barri Gòtic a blend of the old and new. It is hard to get bored in this neighborhood, as there are many bars, shops, restaurants, and clubs. If you aren’t staying in Barri Gòtic be sure to at least take an afternoon walk through it’s small winding streets, and you will eventually find little plazas called ‘plaças'” which are a fantastic place to relax and admire the classic architecture.
El Raval is one of the most authentic and vibrant Barcelona neighborhoods. Like Gràcia, it is a home to artists, but the artists in El Raval tend to be younger and more energetic, often performing or producing their art on the streets. The Museum of Modern Art is located in El Raval as well. Beyond the art scene, El Raval is home many authentic restaurants of many different cuisines. Though El Raval is a fantastic area to explore in Barcelona, it is also a place where you need to keep your eyes open and your wallet safely in your front pocket.