Guide to the Districts of Barcelona
We hope you will find the perfect place for you!
Districts of Barcelona
Are you thinking about coming on holiday to Barcelona? It can be overwhelming trying to decide where to stay in a new city, especially if it's a place as diverse as Barcelona. It is a city made up of neighbourhoods, each with its own individual character and atmosphere. We hope this guide will help you to understand each neighbourhood a little better, so you can make the most informed choice possible when choosing where to stay on your city break.
In terms of accommodation, here at ChicRoom Barcelona, we have that covered! We offer the best luxury holiday apartments in the city to make your stay as comfortable as possible. All of our apartments are beautifully furnished to the highest quality and in excellent locations. Whatever your taste is, we are sure we have something you will love. Start your search for your luxury holiday apartment now!
Gothic Quarter - Barrio Gótico
More commonly known as the 'old city' (as it is the oldest part of the city, of course), this is the place where Barcelona started. This area is characterized by winding, narrow streets, hidden squares, authentic restaurants and cafes and picturesque architecture, such as Barcelona's 13th Century Cathedral. It is popular with tourists thanks to its historic and unique atmosphere.
Shopping is great in the Gothic Quarter, from the more commercial area of Portal de L'Angel to the traditional shops on Portaferrisa to the little boutiques along Calle Avinyó. You will not have trouble finding places to eat out here either as restaurants, often with beautiful, ancient interiors, can be found around every corner. If you fancy dining in the open air, make your way to Plaça Reial on Las Ramblas, which is full of restaurants, bars and terraced cafés to enjoy while you sit and take in the view. The Gothic Quarter also has a number of museums with something to interest everyone- from the History Museum of Barcelona and the Gaudí Exhibition Centre to the Erotic Museum and the Hash, Marihuana and Hemp Museum.
Las Ramblas runs along the edge of the Gothic Quarter, seperating it from the next neighbourhood of El Raval. It offers a mile of restaurants, terraces, artists and street performers. Every hour of the day, there is always life to be found on Las Ramblas!
At the south end of the iconic street, you will find the port-side statue of Christopher Columbus. If you venture up towards the north end, you will find yourself at Plaça de Catalunya. Along Las Ramblas you will find some pretty buildings such as the Liceu theatre and La Mercet de la Boqueria, where you can enjoy fresh and local produce that you can either take back to your chic apartment or enjoy right there. You may also come across Plaça Reial which is a square famous for its mediterranean ambiance and the various bars and restaurants surrounding it.
Plaça de Catalunya, at the north end of Las Ramblas, is widely known as the centre of Barcelona as some of the most famous streets surround it. The square has some beautiful fountains and sculptures and is home to many transport connections, including tourist buses, metro, train, aerobus and many of the night buses. There are plenty of restaurants and shops that surround the square.
Las Ramblas gives you excellent access to the very heart of the city, serviced by three metro stops along its length, making it a superb place to easily access the entire city.
El Born is another quarter of the old town with good quality night life, restaurants and bars. The beach is just 10 minutes walk away and it is on the edge of the Parc de la Ciutadella, so you can easily escape and find a perfect relaxing spot to enjoy the Barcelona sun. If you take a walk through the park, you will find a beautiful oasis of palm trees, ponds and the beautiful Cascada de Gaudi- a large, ornate fountain in the centre of the park. The Picasso Museum is also located in this area which is famous for both the building and the artwork within it. You will also find the Arc de Triomf standing tall at one end of the avenue to the park and you won't miss it! The Parc de la Ciutadella is also home to the famous Barcelona zoo, a great day out for all the family.
Santa María del Mar is a spectacular cathedral also in the district of El Born. It is built with a traditional Catalan-Gothic façade and both the exterior and interior are extraordinarily beautiful. Inside, it is famous for the spacing of its columns, as they are the widest in Europe, meaning that the cathedral has impressive acoustics and is home to many concerts.
El Born district can be considered the 'cool' area of the city centre. It is one of the most fashionable places in the city because of its young professionals, trendy stores, cocktail lounges, etc. Among this there are many impressive medieval buildings and most of the streets are pedestrianised. It is a very popular area with tourists and locals alike.
El Raval has a controversial reputation. It is an interesting and exciting area of Barcelona, however, it also has a darker side that you ought to be aware of. It's reputation is that it is not the safest or the cleanest area of the city however it is slowly changing to become a more lively and trendy area, rich in artistic culture by day with a young and lively atmosphere by night. It is definitely the heart of the alternative scene in Barcelona and is popular with students, hipsters and young artists. There are many quirky bars and popular restaurants up La Rambla del Raval. You can also find the MACBA art gallery and the national library here.
This is the closest area to the beach from the city centre as it is situated along the marina and the beachfront, which is always full of people enjoying the long days of sunshine in the summer. It is also home to some of the beachfront nightclubs including Pacha, Opium and Shoko.
Attractions in this area include Barcelona's Aquarium, which is the largest Mediterranean-themed aquarium in the world, the IMAX 3D cinema and the History of Catalonia Museum so you can learn a bit about the capital whilst you're here. It is also said that this is the place to try the freshest seafood and paella as it is located in the heart of the harbour and there are many beach front restaurants and bars to explore. It is a desirable area to stay for people that want to stay close to the centre of the city but also in a bright and airy apartment near the beach.
Eixample - Esquerra | Dreta
The Eixample district is split into two separate areas, Eixample Esquerra (left) and Eixample Dreta (right). It is famous for being home to the majority of Antonio Gaudi’s masterpieces such as Casa Mila, Casa Batlló and the Sagrada Familia- considered Barcelona's most important landmark. La Pedrera (also known as Casa Milá) has a wavy façade and is constructed of natural stone. It has a rooftop which you can access with views over Passeig de Gracia and the rest of the city. There are several exhibitions held here as well as activities and concerts on the rooftop terrace. Just along from La Pedrera, you will find Casa Batlló, which is very impressive as it is covered in small mosaic tiles of several colours that resemble dragon scales. Here there is another rooftop terrace where you can see the beautiful roof mosaic and more wonderful views of the city. Approximately 15 minutes walk from here is the most famous of Gaudi's masterpieces and an iconic Barcelona monument- the Sagrada Familia. Currently the church is expected to be completed between 2026 and 2028 and is roughly 55% complete at the moment. The façades and towers are extremely impressive and both the exterior and interior should not be missed!
Passeig de Gracia is also in the heart of Eixample – an upmarket boulevard full of all the best international designers and expensive brands in the world. Along this road you will find the best luxury apartments to rent in Barcelona to make your stay here an unforgettable experience. Eixample is popular among those who want to enjoy a luxury trip to Barcelona with its trendy cocktail bars and Michelin star restaurants.
The Eixample Dreta still maintains its tranquillity within a busy metropolitan area. Renting a holiday apartment in this area is ideal, as you will always be close to impressive tourist sites. It has also maintained its reputation of being one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in Barcelona and it has a good standard of living amongst upmarket bars and restaurants.
Gracia was an independent town until the late 19th century and feels like a whole different world. The area is popular with artists and has a generally bohemian crowd with lots of quirky bars and cafes to explore, as well as many boutique stores and independent shops. There is always something exciting going on that is worth checking out. There aren't many tourists in Gracia so you may feel like you have discovered a more local area where you can see traditional Barcelona.
'Festa Major' is held here every year during mid-August and has become one of the city's landmark celebrations. Each street competes to win the prize of being the best decorated street and it is taken very seriously. You will be amazed by the beautiful canopies that are hung in every street, especially as they are all made by the locals. There are also various concerts and shows as well as market stalls and games. Click here to find out more about Gracias famous Festa Major.
Gràcia has 4 main metro stops: Joanic and Verdaguer on L4 and Lesseps and Fontana on L3. This means you can get into the centre of the city in less than 10 minutes!
We can't forget to mention one of the most visited attractions in this area: Park Guell. The park is the work of Antoni Gaudi and is located in the upper part of Barcelona so there are some amazing views of the city. Definitely something you can't miss on your visit to Barcelona.
Poble Nou is an area that has been on the rise in Barcelona since the 1992 Olympic Games. It is a desirable location as it is more or less on the beach with La Rambla de Poble Nou winding its way down to the seafront from the city centre. It has beautiful parks, innovative architecture and is well connected to the centre of Barcelona.
Bogatell beach is located within this district and its soft sand and crystal clear water becomes an attractive destination for both tourists and locals. It is a more laidback alternative to the busier and more touristy Barceloneta beach, perfect for families. For those interested in architecture, the impressive Torre Glòries can be found in Poble Nou, which is one of the tallest buildings in Barcelona.
The area of Vila Olimpica was built as a residence for athletes during the Barcelona 1992 Olympic games. This is a modern and impressively designed area with easy access to Barcelona's beaches.
At Port Olimpica, you will find numerous seafood restaurants, bars and a casino as well as some of the city’s most popular nightclubs, including Opium and Pacha, which are situated on the seafront. Furthermore, this area has plenty of green areas among its various parks.
It is at close proximity to the rest of the city (Metro: Ciutatdella Vila Olimpica and Bogatell on L4, and the Marina on L1) as well as the beach, making it very appealing to anyone looking for a holiday apartment close to the beach.
This is the stretch of seafront that is located between Vila Olimpica and Diagonal Mar and is sometimes considered the seafront of Poble Nou. It has some beautiful beaches that attract many tourists and locals every year. It is also home to seafront restaurants and beach clubs. Staying here will guarantee you are close to the beach and you may even have a view of the Mediterranean.
Diagonal Mar offers an excellent alternative to the city centre with its tranquil city beaches. The beaches are much more family orientated compared to the beaches that you will find in downtown Barcelona. It is a perfect place for those who want to escape the crowds. It is a relaxed setting in Barcelona, modern and slightly further from the commotion of the city, but thanks to the beach, the big shopping centre and the Olympic village, you will never be bored. This area is considered one of the newest neighbourhoods of Barcelona and it is still undergoing transformation. Here you will find modern apartments with incredible views.
The metro stops for Diagonal Mar are on L4 and they will take you into the centre of Barcelona in 15-20 minutes. Alternatively, you can walk to Las Ramblas in about half an hour. Taxis are a cheap and easy option too.
El Poble Sec is home to the Fira, Plaça Espanya, Montjuic, Poble Espanol and the Palau Nacional. Plaça Espanya is a beautiful and iconic square in the heart of Poble Sec. The Fira is located in Plaça Espanya and is an exhibition centre that hosts shows and exhibitions throughout the year attracting more than 3 million visitors every year. It might be worth checking out!
This district now offers a new shopping and leisure complex, Las Arenas de Barcelona. There shops, a cinema, a gym and a 360 viewing point overlooking the Plaça Espanya and other sights of Barcelona. It was previously a famous bullring in Barcelona so the building itself is quite impressive. From one side, you can look up to the Montjuic Hill and have an excellent view of the Palau Nacional. On the weekends - times vary throughout the year - the Magic Fountain of Montjuic hosts a spectacular music and light show which is considered a “must see” when you come to Barcelona.
The area is well connected to the rest of the city via various transport links; there are metro stations and bus stops and it is only a short walk from Sants train station.
If you want to complete your tour of all of Gaudi's most impressive and famous works, then you must head up to Parc Güell. It is world renowned and possibly one of the most beautiful public parks in the world. Nature was one of the biggest influences for Antoni Gaudi and so this park was a perfect creation. The park also gives you impressive views of the city that you can admire sitting on one of the mosaic benches dotted around the park. You can access the park by taking the metro to Lesseps or Vallcarca on L3, or by catching the bus number 24 from Plaça de Catalunya. You now need to buy tickets to enter the park...you might want to buy online to avoid unnecessary queuing at the park. Enjoy!
If you thought you couldn't get higher than Parc Guell, then you should check out Tibidabo, a mountain of 512 metres that overlooks the whole of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea. At the top of the mountain you will find the Temple de Sagrat Cor- an impressive cathedral with impressive views over the city. The cathedral is lit up at night and can be seen from nearly every place in the city. You will also find a traditional theme park at the top of this mountain which is one of the oldest in Europe and makes a fun afternoon out for all the family! You can get up to Tibidabo by taking the L7 line from Cataluyna to Av. Tibidabo. From here, you can either take the Tramvia or the bus number 196 to the final stop where you will see the Funicular.
The area of Montjuic has plenty to offer. It is located close to Plaza Espanya and behind Poble Sec. It is a hill that gives you views over Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea. It is home to several important museums, including the Foundation of Joan Miró and the MNAC (Musuem of National Art of Catalunya). The MNAC is housed in the beautiful Palau Nacional, a truly impressive building. On the steps leading up to the Palace you will see the Magic Fountian of Montjuic, where the water and light show occurs on some evenings (check times here).
If you continue up from Palau Nacional you will find Poble Espanyol, which can be considered an open air musuem as there are collections of buildings that represent different regions of Spain. In this area you can find lots of nice restaurants, shops and bars. It is also a venue for various festivals throughout the year, so it is worth finding out what is on.
Continuing up the hill you will come across the Estadi Olímpic which was home to the Summer Olympics in 1992. Palau Sant Jordi is up here as well and is commonly used as a music venue.
At the top of the hill you will finally find Montjuic Castle. This is an old fortress that is built on the top of the hill for defence. Throughout the site you will see old canons and beautiful gardens. Every summer it has been the home to an Open Air Cinema. There are a couple of restaurants and bars that will give you beautiful views over the city while relaxing with a nice glass of wine.