Barcelona Districts – Explore The DelightsIf you are looking to explore the Barcelona districts on foot, then this is no problem because if you look at a map you will see that they all fan out from the sea-front. The majority of the city is in a grid system which makes it reasonably easy to find your way round. So without further ado, let's take a look at the various districts and discover what you can see in each one.
Although not strictly a Barcelona neighbourhood in its own right it deserves a mention. Running from the Christopher Columbus Monument down by the port to the Plaza Catalunya it is a mile long boulevard full of restaurants, street performers, painters, stalls and plenty of tourists. Love it or hate it, day or night it is buzzing with throngs of people. Here you will find the Liceu Theatre and the biggest and best food market in Barcelona La Boqeuria.Barrio Gotico
Barrio Gotico or the Gothic quarter is Barcelona's oldest district and dates back to Roman times. Its stunning architecture, ancient winding streets, hidden squares all make this Barcelona district well worth a visit. Here you will see the simply awe inspiring Gothic cathedral and if you want to stop for a glass of something cool and refreshing then what better place than the magnificent Placa Real. The square is filled with stunning Renaissance architecture, a large central fountain designed by Antoni Gaudi, and some of the largest palm trees you will see anywhere in Spain. In addition Barrio Gotico has many unique shops that you can browse until your heart's content.El Borne
When it comes to Barcelona Districts, El Borne is about as cool as it gets. Thanks to the hoards of young professionals who reside here there a plethora of trendy stores, cocktail lounges and smart eateries. Why not take in the Picasso museum or the Museo de Chocolat. Or alternatively pick up some of the freshest produce at the indoor Santa Catarina Market.Barcelonetta
Barcelonetta is a heady mix of international communities which gives this district a real cosmopolitan feel. The beachfront at Barcelonetta is where smart beach goers pack the seafood and tapas bars and beach bars that adorn the seafront. For those who want to escape the bustling sea front, then why not pay a visit to the Museum of Catalunya or for the best view in the city, take a cable car up to Montjuic and the Castle.Raval
When it comes to Barcelona neighbourhoods then the district of Raval is unique. Up until the late 1980's it was considered a no go area, for anyone visiting the city. However after much government rejuvenation it is now full of trendy bars and eateries, meaning that Raval has now become a fashionable place to be but with an edgy twist. Art galleries and smart cafe's cater for the intellectual crowd, whilst punky music bars, vintage shopping and a thriving skate scene gives it an edge. For those into art, a visit to the MACBA art gallery should be high on your list of things to do here. If you love unique boutiques and craft stores then you will love Raval.Poble Sec – Montjuic
They say that all Barcelona districts are unique and this is true of of Poble Sec. It has a friendly neighbourhood vibe about it. Wide open parks and Renaissance architecture combine with local bars and restaurants to give a sense of style. Contained within Poble Sec is Montjuic. Here you can find the Olympic stadium, war museum and the Olympic pool, housed at the foot of the hilltop fortress. Access is via cable car from Barcelonetta, or by train.Sans – Placa Espanya
Sans which houses the Placa Espanya is loosely classed as one of the finest Barcelona districts. Although not strictly a district in the true sense of the word, it certainly holds its own. Here you will find the National Palace, an impressive building which houses Barcelona National Art Museum. The palace sits in prime position and has a dominating view of the city overlooking the Regal Parade down to La Fira (one of the best and wackiest bars in the city). The Placa Espanya is famous for its Magic Fountain where nightly water and light shows dance in unison to great music. The city's main train station is also located here and provides a fast and indeed convenient link to the main airport and beyond.Eixample Esquerra
The Barcelona neighbourhoods of Eixample is split into two parts and these are Esquerra and Dreta (meaning left and right in Catalan). Esquerra houses the fashionable Passeig de Gracia which is a fabulous tree lined Avenida, famous for its architectural buildings, including Guadi's Casa Batlo, sculptured street lamps and trendy designer stores. This district manages to somehow give you a sense of tranquillity amidst all the hustle and bustle and as a result is great for simply meandering through.Eixample Dreta
Dreta, meaning right in Catalan, houses Barcelona's defining jewel in the crown La Sagrada Familia. This imposing Cathedral designed by Gaudi is a must see attraction for anyone coming to the city. Eixample Dreta is a Barrio that is packed with boutique stores, fashionable bars and fine dining establishments.Barrios Gracia
Once a town in its own right, Gracia is now encompassed by the ever sprawling city of Barcelona. However, in spite of this it has still kept its own style and vibe. It is awash with ambient streets and shady plazas where you can sit and people watch till your heart's content. It is also an area that is renowned for its frequent festivals. None more so than Festas Major which every August, puts the Barcelona district of Garcia, front and centre to the city's party activities. On the north side of the district you will come across Parc Guell, a city park inspired by Gaudi. Here you can wander around in acres of parkland and see some of the architectural masterpieces that Guadi has created, including the Hansel and Gretel inspired Gatekeepers Cottages, the Greek Temple and the Serpent Bench.Vila Olimpica
This is the newest of the Barcelona districts and was constructed for the 1992 Olympic games which came to the city. Situated to the right of Barcelonetta as you face it from the sea, the Olympic village is awash with giant glass structures that tower up from the water front. Also located here is the port with its modern Marina where you will find some of the finest seafood restaurants in Barcelona, trendy bars and casinos. Take a stroll along the promenade and take in the sea air.Poble Nou
As Barcelona is evolving and expanding, then more areas are coming under its wing. One of these Barcelona neighbourhoods is Poble Nou. It offers visitors an alternative to city centre sightseeing. Here you can explore tranquil beaches, shops bars and cafe's that all have a laid back approach. Poble Nou is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle. Having said that Poble Nou also has a thriving and lively underground music scene and is where the young people of Barcelona come to partake in organised raves in disused warehouse. The Forum is also a great local hotspot for music events and is well worth a visit. If you like to shop then Poble Nou boasts the Diagonal Mar shopping centre, but if you are a little more thrifty with your cash, then you should pay a visit to Encants, a large outdoor flea market where you can pick up some great bargains.
So there you have it, the low down on all the best Barcelona districts. When visiting any city, the way to get the best out of it is to get out there and explore. So arm yourself with a map and put your best foot forward.
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