En este blog quiero hablar un poco sobre los barrios de Barcelona. Hay muchos barrios en este ciudad, pero los más importantes son los que están en el centro de la ciudad. Estos barrios son los más antiguos y los más visitados y, por eso, son los más famosos en la ciudad. Estos famosos y viejos barrios incluyen el Barrio Gótico, el Raval, Born/La Ribera y Barceloneta y han sido parte de Barcelona hace muchos cientos años. Cada uno tiene un pasado muy interesante y características únicas.
The Gothic Quarter, or el Barrio Gótico, of Barcelona is the oldest section of the city and many of the buildings date from medieval times or older. This area is north-east of La Rambla and contains some great sights such as Els Quatre Gats (cafe where Picasso hung out), the Cathedral of Barcelona, and the Plaça del Rei.
El Raval is a bit different from Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. This neighborhood, located on the opposite side of La Rambla as the Gothic Quarter, used to be called Barri xinès (Chinatown) and is still home to a huge number of immigrants, many Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, or of other nationalities. Another trait this area is known for is its seediness: El Raval used to be known largely for prostitution and crime. There are still elements of this and it’s definitely one of Barcelona’s grimier neighborhoods, but it’s becoming a very hip area as well and even contains a five-star hotel now.
Born or La Ribera is another part of the old city of Barcelona and is right next to the Gothic Quarter (further northeast). As far as descriptive information goes I don’t know a whole lot except that it’s in the process of becoming very fashionable, but I do know that there is a great pizza place there called La Pizza del Born. It also contains the Picasso Museum, Barcelona’s Basilica Santa Maria del Mar, and the excellent Santa Caterina Market. It is wonderful and you should definitely go there given the chance.
Barceloneta is basically the beach town within Barcelona. Barceloneta is fairly old as well (not quite as old as these previous neighborhoods) and is very popular with both tourists and locals for its great beaches, seafood restaurants, and nightclubs. This is pretty much The place to get paella in Barcelona and there is also a cable car that travels from Barceloneta to Montjuic (mountain district of Barcelona) and is really fun to do.
There are obviously a ton more neighborhoods than just these four but I would need a much longer blog to describe them fully and, in truth, there are a few I haven’t been able to explore at all. However I will explain my favorite/ the most important ones for me – Eixample, Sants-Montjuic, and Gracia.
Eixample (pronounced something like eh-shahm-pluh) was the first large-scale addition to Barcelona and is the one I live in (although near Sants-Montjuic). It’s designed with long streets in a pretty perfect grid pattern with a large diagonal street (Avenida Diagonal) that runs through the whole area. Each block is called a “manzana.” This neighborhood contains some of the great landmarks of Barcelona, including La Sagrada Familia, Casa Milà, and Casa Battló, the latter two being wonderful examples of the modernist architecture of Antoni Gaudí.
Sants-Montjuic is really important to me only for the large train station there – Sants Estació – and the mountain of Montjuic. Sants-Montjuic is actually a very large area of the city and is more of a conglomeration of smaller sections that were added to the city. Montjuic (as previously stated) is one of the two mountains in the city (the other being Tibidabo) and houses many of the 1992 Olympic venues. It’s a great place to walk around or exercise and is one of my favorite places here.
Gracia has to be my favorite neighborhood in Barcelona if I had to pick one. This area is another example of a town that was incorporated into Barcelona when the city was expanding and has a very distinct feel to it. Gracia is known not only for its “green-ness” and the fact that the neighborhood contains Gaudí’s Parc Güell, but also for its Catalan character. From what I’ve heard, this is one of the places most known for being outspoken against the Spanish government and in Plaça Revolució (fitting name, right?) you can frequently see anti-Spanish or pro-Catalan graffiti.
So while there are a bunch of other areas of Barcelona that I haven’t mentioned, these are the ones that I’ve explored most and found to be the most important for me. If you have any questions about them or other areas of the city feel free to ask below. Please do actually, I really enjoy when people ask questions.