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Neighbourhoods of Barcelona to live

Ciutat Vella

Ciutat Vella Barrio Neighborhood in Barcelona

It is the oldest and most typical neighborhood of the city, its name is due to the number of Gothic buildings found in it. When you walk through its streets you get the sense of being in a labyrinth of streets full of shops, bars, cafes, and restaurants.

Looking at the architecture of this district, we could spend an entire day, especially in front of the Cathedral, majestic and at the same time magical. Here you find the authentic apartments in Barcelona. To reach it, you have to go east of the Ramblas and Southeast of Plaza Catalunya. The beach and marina are close by, just a short walk separates them. Enjoy this beautiful part of the city.

AREAS IN THE DISTRICT

Barceloneta, Santa Caterina-Born, el Raval, Gòtic.

 

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Eixample

Eixample Barrio Neighborhood in Barcelona

Barcelona’s Eixample (the Extension) is comprised of streets that create a perfect city grid and are filled with every kind of storefront–from designer shops, corporate buildings, markets, and eateries from around the world. There is a plethora of chic bars and restaurants where you’ll be able to relax with some fine food and a glass of Rioja. Most tourists only see the Passeig de Gràcia and Sagrada Família, but if you have the energy to explore the whole neighborhood, you’ll get a great lesson in Modernism and a better feel for Barcelona beyond the tourist areas.

Eixample is bisected vertically by the Passieg de Gràcia, Barcelona’s avenue of high-end designer boutiques, into Eixample Esquerra (Left Enlargement) to the west and Eixample Dreta (Right Enlargement) to the east. Public Transportation: Metro lines 3, 4, 5, and the FCG trains run through Eixample; about half the city buses pass through this neighbourhood, and all night buses originate from Plaza de Catalunya.

The Eixample is remarkable for the unusual circumstances leading to its development. When the oppressive Bourbon walls around the old city were finally demolished in 1854, the Catalan cultural Renaixença was picking up. As the number of wealthy benefactors of industrialization grew, utopian socialist theories circulated like wildfire through philosophical circles, including that of Eixample designer Ildefons Cerdà i Sunyer. Cerdà’s plan for Barcelona’s enlargement was to impose an equal social community through uniformity of space and building design; however, once Eixample was built, rich industrialists harassed rising young architects to turn the new houses into overt displays of privilege in an early move of gentrification. Cerdà’s interior garden designs that were once the interior of every city block, were later built over by land-developers in the interests of greater profits.

Despite the fact that today’s Eixample is not an accurate incarnation of Cerdà’s original plan, the neighbourhood boasts hundreds of interesting building facades and is a fabulous place to wander; particularly for those who are claustrophobic and who feel cramped in the tight spaces of the older neighbourhoods.

AREAS IN THE DISTRICT

Sant Antoni, Sagrada Família, Fort Pienc, Dreta de l’Eixample y Esquerra de l’Eixamp

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Gràcia

Grácia Barrio Neighborhood in BarcelonaOriginally an independent and largely working-class village, Gràcia was incorporated into Barcelona in 1897, much to the protest of its residents. Calls for Gràcian independence continue even today, although less frequently. The area has always had a political streak – a theme that appears in the names of Mercat de Llibertat, Pl. de la Revolució, and others. After incorporation, the area continued to be a center of left-wing activism and resistance, even throughout the oppressive Franco regime. Gràcia still retains plenty of its independent and activist spirit, which can be seen through its political graffiti.

Gràcia packs into its relatively small area a surprising number of Modernist buildings and parks, chic shops, and international cuisine (especially a number of great Lebanese restaurants!). Everything is proximate, making it very walkable.

The area has a diverse mix of people from the solidly middle-class to the more bohemiam youth, all fitting nicely into a neighbourhood that charms and confuses with its narrow alleys and numerous plaças. Because it is relatively untouched by tourism, Gràcia retains a local charm that has been sapped from some of Barcelona’s more popular sections. If you’re in town in August, be sure to check out the Fiesta Major de Gràcia, a week-long party that draws in Barcelonenses from all corners of the city.

AREAS IN THE DISTRICTS

Gràcia, Camp d’en Grassot, La Salut, El Coll, Vallcarca y Penitents

 

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Horta-Guinardó

Horta - Guinardó Parc del Laberint BarcelonaHorta and Vall d’Hebron lie past l’Eixample Dreta, in the upper north-eastern corner of the city. Horta did not lose its status as an independent village until 1904, and its abundance of narrow pedestrian streets and old apartment buildings attest to that small town history.

It boasts a few farmhouses and fortresses from the Middle Ages, as well as aristocratic estates dating back to the 19th century, when the base of the Collserola mountains were a popular place for wealthy country homes. In contrast, the neighbouring Vall d’Hebron was built specifically as one of four main Olympic venues in 1992, serving as the centre for the cycling, tennis, and archery competitions.

In general, however, this is an area scarce of tourists and home to dozens of apartment buildings, leaving it with a nondescript atmosphere perfect for suburbanites but possibly lacking the adventure sought by travellers.

Public Transportation: M: Horta, Vall d’Hebron, Mundet, and Montbau.

AREAS IN THE DISTRICTS

Baix Guinardó, Can Baró, El Carmel, Font d’en Fargues, Font del Gos, Guinardó, Horta, La Clota, Montbau, Sant Genís dels Agudells, Taxonera y Vall d’Hebrón.

 

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Les Corts

Camp Nou BarcelonaThe neighbourhood of Les Corts is where most universities are situated; giving the area a young and vibrant feel. It also boasts a large amount of parks and gardens. A significant sporting attractions here, has to be FC Barcelona’s football stadium, the Camp Nou.

Les Corts is also known for its bakeries and small cafés with terraces where one can soak up the sunlight during the warmer months of the year. Les Corts is a fusion of comtemporary (international corporations, universities, hotels, etc) and the classic 19th century style that is prevalent in other parts of the city. All in all Les Corts is well worth a visit.

AREAS IN THE DISTRICTS

El Camp de la Creu-Loreto, El Camp Vell i la Plaça del Centre, Can Feu i Can Batllori, Can Sòl de Baix, L’Església i Can Rosés, La Maternitat i Can Bacardí, La Mercé, Pedralbes, Sant Ramon i la Torre Melina y la Zona Unversitària – Bederrida.

 

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Nou Barris

Nou Barris BarcelonaIn the north east of Barcelona you will find the neighbourhood of Nou Barris. It is situated 15 minutes away from Barcelona’s center and you will find metro stations such as Viliapicina, Llucmajor, Via Julia and Trinitat Nova in this area.

The zone is populated primarily by Spanish, therefore making it a neighbourhood that is a little more typical than other areas around the city. Many universities are situated in and around this area, as well as many parks, for those who like nature. Such parks include Parc Turó de la Peira, Parc Esportiu de Can Dragó and the amazing Parc Central de Nou Barris with its characteristic central pond.

It is safe to say that Nou Barris is definitely one of Barcelona’s greenest areas.

AREAS IN THE DISTRICTS

Can Peguera, Canyelles, Ciutat Meridiana, Guineueta, Porta, Prosperitat, Roquetes, Torre Baró, Torre Llobeta, Trinitat Nova, Turó de la Peira, Valbona, Verdum y Vilapicina.

 

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Sant Andreu

Sant Andreu de Palomar Església BarcelonaSant Andreu is a peaceful neighbourhood situated in the North-East of Barcelona. It is an area less well known to tourists, however there is much to like about this quaint neighbourhood. The streets and plazas are filled with history and there are many restaurants in the area housing some of the best tapas in Barcelona at more than reasonable prices.

AREAS IN THE DISTRICTS

Sant Andreu de Paloma, La Sagrera, Trinidad Vella, Baró de Viver, Bon Pastor, Navas y Congrés

 

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Sant Martí

Sant Martí BarcelonaThe Sant Martí district is situated in the eastern part of the city. It’s the second biggest neighbourhood of the city size- and population wise and is where most beaches of Barcelona are situated, since a part of the neighbourhood is the coast line. It is known as middle class neighbourhood with many commercial areas, parks and entertainment places. Looking at its history this wide territory developed towards the north during the 10th century, thanks to the Condal Channel that transported water from Montcada to Barcelona.

However, the southern territories were unhealthy to live in and quite dry, but from the 17th century this change given to the Industrialization process and this area became one of the most important zones of Spain regarding industry. Nowadays, it’s one of the most lively neighbourhoods of Barcelona with lots of commercial areas, a fact that helps the economic growth of the city.

AREAS IN THE DISTRICTS

El Clot, Camp de l’Arpa, La Verneda, Can Ricart, Provençals, Poblenou, Barri del Besòs, Diagonal Mar y Vila Olímpica

 

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Sants-Montjuïc

Sants-Montjuic BarcelonaBarcelona has given Montjuïc a new identity, transforming it from a historic military stronghold into a vast park by day and playground by night. It is a veritable hub of activity which positively brims with energy and life, boasting a very healthy amount of world famous art museums, theatres, restaurants, bars, cafes and clubs. As Montjuic was also the central site of the 1992 Olympics, it is therefore home to many large sporting facilities that cater to numerous activities such as swimming, running, walking and bike trails, climbing and tennis.

It’s very safe to walk at night; have a drink in a bar, eat some tapas and marvel at the illuminated fountains leading up the face of Montjuic toward the MNAC – Museu National d’ Art Catalunya (National Modern Art Museum of Catalunya). Here, on weekend nights takes place a fabulous show of water, lights, and music is where the grand Magic Fountain of Montjuic takes centre stage. Montjuïc is the large hill that lies in the southwest corner of the city, bordering the Poble Sec neighbourhood, and is one of the oldest sections of Barcelona.

Throughout the city’s history, whoever controlled Montjuïc’s peak controlled the city. The Laietani made Montjuïc their base for collecting oysters, before they were subdued by the Romans, who erected a temple to Jupiter on its slopes. Since then, dozens of despotic rulers have constructed and modified the Castell de Montjuïc, built atop the ancient Jewish cemetery (hence the name Montjuïc, which means Jew Hill). In the 20th century, Franco made the Castell de Montjuïc one of his interrogation headquarters; somewhere deep in the recesses of the structure, his beneméritos (honorable ones, a.k.a. the militia) are believed to have shot Catalunya’s former president, Lluís Companys, in 1941. The fort was not available for recreational use until Franco rededicated it to the city in 1960.

To navigate the massive park you may need a map the first few times…Barcelona Tourist Office supplies one that will suffice.

AREAS IN THE DISTRICTS

Sants, Hostafrancs, La Bordeta, Poble Sec, Font de la Guatlla, Magòria, La Marina, Zona Franca y Montjuic.

 

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Sarria-Sant Gervasi

Sarría - Sant Gervasi BarcelonaThe district Santalo/San Gervasi is a friendly, upper class area made up of quiet, relaxed streets and squares. Where the streets of Santaló and María Cubí intersect, you will find the highest concentration of fashionable spots in all of Barcelona. The people visiting this district are young and stylish and there are many bars and discotheques where you will find good music, good drinks, and lots of fun. At plaça Francesc Maciá you will meet the cream of the crop of Barcelona´s nightlife. San Gervasi is also one of the nicest and safest districts to live in Barcelona.

The Collserola mountain range, 17km long and 6km wide, marks the western limit of Barcelona, and incorporates the neighborhoods of Tibidabo and Vallvidrera. The Collserola mountains hovered between wilderness and civilization for centuries. Remains from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages found in the park suggest it was home to many long before the Romans set up shop in the area. With the fall of the Roman Empire, Barcelona became vulnerable to the attack of many German tribes, forcing peasants north to defend their territory. For most of the last 1000 years, the area has been home to agricultural people who built the area’s historic chapels and masias (traditional Catalan farmhouses). In 1860, with the Industrial Revolution, the people of Barcelona began to notice the area’s potential for leisure and summer housing; in the last century, the installation of railtracks, trams, and funiculars has made the mountains easily accessible to urban residents wanting to take advantage of the mountains’ offerings. The Parc de Collserola encompasses essentially the entire chain of mountains; the landscape ranges from almost entirely wild to well-populated.

Tibidabo, the highest peak (512m), hosts a century-old amusement park and the popular Sagrat Cor church, while the hilltop town of Vallvidrera and the communications tower Torre de Collserola occupy a slightly lower peak nearby. The man most responsible for the development of Tibidabo and surrounding slopes was Dr. Salvador Andreu, who in 1899 founded the Tibidabo Society and invested heavily in the land, installing transportation and building hotels, the amusement park, and an extravagant casino, now in ruins. Soon after, the Barcelona bourgeoisie rushed to outdo one another in country-home construction, and the hillsides are now dotted with outstanding examples of early 20th-century Modernist and Noucentist (a return to classical forms) architecture. Many of these former homes now house offices and schools.

How to get there by public transportation ? The Tibibus runs from Plaça de Catalunya to Plaça Tibidabo (the very top of the mountain) stopping only once en route (every 20 minutes approximately but only when the Parc d’Attracions is open). The first bus from Plaça de Catalunya leaves 1 hour before park opening and the last usually leaves Plaça Tibidabo at 10pm, but schedules change frequently. An FGC train (U7 line) also runs from Plaça de Catalunya to the Tibidabo stop; it stops at the foot of the peak in Plaça JFK. The bus #58 runs from Plaça de Catalunya to Plaça JFK. And the 100 year-old Tram Via Blau ascend the steep Avinguda Tibidabo from Plaça JFK and takes about 5 minutes to get to the tiny Plaça Dr. Andreu, where the funicular continues to Plaça Tibidabo (not wheelchair accessible). A Metro pass covers the FGC train and funicular on a single ticket; this combination is the cheapest way up the mountain and the only way to reach the church when the amusement park is closed.

AREAS IN THE DISTRICTS

Sarrià, Sant Gervasi, Vallvidrera, Can Caralleu, Bonanova, Les Planes, Tibidabo.

 

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