One of the world's leading tourist, economic, exhibitions and sports centers, and its influence in commerce, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts. Barcelona is great city to watch by walking as a nice walk for some minutes can take you from the Marina area, up through Gotico or Las Ramblas to Plaça Catalunya, Barcelona's main square. It is very easy to find your way around in Barcelona, due to the simple street structure and its positioning in a valley basin. Most of the city runs in a grid, on a slow incline from the beach up to the mountains, so generally speaking, if you’re not walking up or down, you are walking across. A continuously evolving 'scene' means that each district in Barcelona has its own particular appeal.
Las Ramblas is Barcelona's downtown 'Strip'; which has plenty of restaurants, terraces, portrait painters, street performers and stalls. Walking from the port-side statue of Christopher Columbus up to Plaça Catalunya, in Las Ramblas you will see handsome buildings such as the Liceu theatre and La Boquería, Barcelona's biggest food market. A walk on Las Ramblas is best enjoyed in the early morning before the throngs of tourists. Thanks to its hustle-bustle and a seedier appearance at night, Las Ramblas is not suitable for everyone, but its colorful character makes it worth a visit.
Gótico is the oldest part of the city and its ancient winding streets, hidden squares and architecture such as the gothic cathedral, make it popular for tourists. Just off Las Ramblas you will find Plaça Reial. This large square is always full of travellers with its terraced cafés - restaurants, Gaudí fountain, gigantic palm trees and renaissance architecture. The view is very enjoyable, but the square comes alive at night with its clubs and personality. In Gótico you'll come across off-beat stores and traditional shops with interesting Spanish novelties, but be prepared for a noisier neighborhood at night.
El Born district is known to be the cool area of the city center, thanks to its predominantly young professional base, trendy stores, smart eateries and cocktail lounges. Being part of the old city, close to the beach and the Parc de la Ciutadella, El Born is a favorite with moneyed hipsters and the seasoned traveller. For this reason it is becoming a target area for petty thefts, so please be extra care. Take in the Palau de la Musica, the chocolate museum, or visit the Picasso Museum. You can get groceries at the indoor Santa Catarina market; its modern look is typical of Barcelonian style.
With its little streets and the mixture of local and international communities give to the seaside Barceloneta its flavour. Located along the marina and the Mediterranean beachfront, smart beach-goers take advantage of the supermarkets and amenities in the area, and then enjoy the seafood tapas bars and beach bars until long after dark. Anyone not keen on sun-worshipping can visit the Official Museum of Catalunya or take a trip in the cable car, for an exhilarating view of the city, Montjuïc and the coastline. Just a short walk into the city, beachside Barceloneta makes a very desirable district in Barcelona.
The old reputation of Raval as being dangerous has been dispersed, thanks to its MACBA art gallery, spawning much artistic breeding and culture into the district. Influenced by its National Library, Raval flaunts trendy art book galleries along with cafés and bars for the intellectual crowds. Raval is now known for its skate scene, punky music bars and vintage shopping, with several streets dedicated to offering Barcelona's finest. Sight-seers can look for Palau Güell or MACBA. The district appeals for its good value eateries and at night Raval is popular with the young and trendy, with the best nightlife in the city centre.
Poble Sec - Montjuïc
The Poble Sec barrio enjoys a friendly neighbourhood atmosphere, where local bars and restaurants blend perfectly with parks and Barcelona street-life. The most visited attraction here is Montjuïc; accessed via cablecar or ferrocarril. Apart from the Olympic Stadium and pool, or the War Museum in its hill-top fortress, Montjuïc also boasts the Miró Foundation and outdoor films during the summer. With direct metro links and a scenic setting at Montjuïc, Poble Sec has special appeal in Barcelona.
Plaça Espanya - Sants
With the city's main Sants train station, convenient for a fast link to El Prat (Barcelona city) or Reus airport, this area is also favoured for its Fira exhibition space at Plaça Espanya. You'll find the National palace here, housing the national art museum of Barcelona. With views to the city, the palace sits at the foot of Montju?c and overlooks the regal parade, down past La Fira to Plaça Espanya. Famous for its magic fountain displays with light and music, Plaça Espanya is a magical favourite with families and tourists every week. Sports fans will also delight in the proximity to Camp Nou football stadium, home to Barcelona FC. This district is full of bars and supermarkets on pretty streets, making it a smart Barcelona option.
The Eixample Esquerra, 'Eixample Left' district provides not only easy access to Plaça Catalunya and the heart of Barcelona, but also its own cultural hot-spots. Here you'll find Passeig de Gracia, famous for its designer shops on patterned pavements, with sculptured streetlamps right up to intricate façades; such as Gaudí's Casa Batlló. Eixample follows through with terrace bars and tapas. A walk into the barrio will take you to the University buildings, or to the area nicknamed 'Gayxample' for its nightlife. Nevertheless, Eixample Esquerra still maintains its tranquility within a busy metropolitan life.
The modernista style of Eixample continues in Eixample Dreta, 'Eixample Right' leading you to Barcelona's defining monument, the Sagrada Familia cathedral, which rises high over the cityscape. With such an inspiring ambience, the Eixample Dreta barrio has many boutiques for art and interiors, while at the same time the area is awash with lively bars and fine-dining, hinting at Barcelona’s favourite past-time. To the South, as you can see on the map, the Eixample Dreta district meets directly with Plaça Catalunya, barrio Gotico and the city centre.
Gràcia is one of the Catalan districts of Barcelona. Its ambient streets and quaint plaças are set off by a youthful attitude; the area is renowned for its frequent community street fiestas, for example Festa Major, which in August makes Gracia central to Barcelona's party activities. North on the Gràcia map you'll find another another Gaudí creation; Parc Güell, a city park, with iconic mosaic and views right down to the Mediterranean. Boutiques and artisan businesses in Gràcia, along with live music bars, and of course an extensive tapas menu, make this district a unique corner of Barcelona.
Vila Olimpica, the Olympic village area, is an impressively designed area in Barcelona. Its giant sculptures and modern architecture stand out against their beach backdrop along the Mediterranean coastline. Port Olimpic, with its marina, promenade, glistening beaches and numerous seafood restaurants caters to the young and fabulous with its discos and a casino. Endless possibilities for beach activities a close proximity to the rest of the city, also give Vila Olimpica its appeal for families. Read more about Barcelona beaches.
True to evolving Barcelona style, Poble Nou offers an original alternative to the city centre, with tranquil city beaches and the Rambla de Poble Nou with its shops, bars and cafés creating a charming atmosphere. Design developments such as the Forum make the district a hot-spot for music events; industrial buildings also create a melting pot of art and music space. The underground nightlife scene in the Poble Nou area is lively, where Barcelonians know to come for its warehouse parties. Poble Nou barrio boasts the Diagonal Mar shopping mall, but thrifty shoppers can also be satisfied with Encants, a big outdoor flea-market. This is a relaxed setting in Barcelona.