Where to live in Barcelona? Best Neighborhoods in Barcelona
One of the oldest neighborhoods of Barcelona, El Born, used to be a trade center and where the aristocracy lived during the Middle Ages. This is pretty visible just by looking at the unique Catalonian architecture of the buildings surrounding the district. A very special neighborhood, favored by art students and artists and far from the tourist crowds, filled with creative shops, restaurants and home to the authentic tapas bars. Here you’ll find tons of boutiques and art galleries, not at all surprising if you think that El Born houses the Picasso Museum as well as the Centre de Cultura i Memòria, an event & cultural space in a restored former market, displaying excavated city ruins from the 1700s. Stroll down Passeig del Born avenue, a strong proof of the alternative vibe running in the place and make sure to satisfy your cravings, on the way back, with a visit to the Chocolate Museum. Must-sees also include the Gothic-style Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar and the enormous market of Santa Caterina, where you’ll have the chance to try freshly-made seafood wraps!
El Raval, on the west side of the city, is often overlooked by tourists due to its infamous past and the dark, underground vibe it gives off. Taking advantage of this, young locals and international students “claimed” this neighborhood and, within the recent years, transformed it into a lively, multicultural hotspot with a bohemian identity; filled with live stages, hipster shops, and beautiful squares. There are many things to do in Raval but first on your list should be visiting the Contemporary Art Museum, where you’ll discover cutting-edge exhibitions. Next on, the gigantic La Boqueria Market is ideal for some budget-friendly, colorful tapas and wine before your afternoon coffee break at one of Rambla del Raval’s chill spots!
Gràcia used to be an independent town that became part of metropolitan Barcelona in the late 1800’s. Unlike the crowded city center, Gracia still maintains this small-village peace and quiet, is noticeably safer and mostly inhabited by locals. Surrounded by leafy squares and lots of pedestrian lanes, this neighborhood is perfect for wandering around and engaging with slow life. While strolling through its 19th century boulevards, you’ll discover indie boutiques, independent galleries, cinemas and witness Antoni Gaudi’s tribute to art nouveau with both the spectacular, mosaic-covered Parc Güell -perfect hangout spot for international students- and the vibrant, Neo-Moorish mansion, Casa Vicens -the first house he designed- located there! Food lovers also got it covered, with a variety of trendy Catalan bistros and wine bars right next to the landmark clock tower, at Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia.
Poblenou used to be the industrial, factory-filled part of Barcelona that has, lately, been transformed into one of the most up and coming districts, loved by young professionals, students and digital nomads. Designer offices, co-working spaces, art galleries and concept boutiques have taken over old factories and abandoned areas, giving the neighborhood a futuristic-hipster dimension. Apart from instagrammable brunch spots, Poblenou offers a great selection of tapas bars along Boulevard Rambla de Poblenou and is also home to Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, where Els Encants vintage flea market is being held. While you’re in the neighborhood, make sure to visit Barcelona’s Design Museum and Jean Nouvel’s fascinating skyscraper, Torre Agbar. And since Poblenou is a seaside district, a day in the sun is mandatory, so head to Bogatell beach for some fun!