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6 Must-See Barcelona Neighborhoods and How to Visit


6 Must-See Barcelona Neighborhoods and How to Visit
Hi, I'm Theodora!

A freelance writer and recovering nomad, Theodora divides her time between Britain and Bali. With bylines including CNN, BBC, the Guardian, Discover, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic Traveler, she’s working on a book, still blogs once in a while at EscapeArtistes.com, and spends far too much time on Twitter.

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Hi, I'm Theodora!

A freelance writer and recovering nomad, Theodora divides her time between Britain and Bali. With bylines including CNN, BBC, the Guardian, Discover, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic Traveler, she’s working on a book, still blogs once in a while at EscapeArtistes.com, and spends far too much time on Twitter.

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From multicultural Raval and the hectic expanse of Las Ramblas to the Gothic Quarter’s medieval churches and Eixample’s startling modernism, Barcelona’s neighborhoods have plenty to offer all travelers. Here are six to get to know before you visit.

Las Ramblas

No trip to Barcelona is complete without a stroll among the crowds that frequent Las Ramblas (or La Rambla), a wide promenade that’s the city’s answer to Times Square. Head here for people watching, living statues, souvenir stores, and a wealth of food and drink, particularly the historic La Boqueria Market.

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Gothic Quarter

The Gothic Quarter (Barri Gótic) is a highlight of Barcelona’s old town and an essential stop on any Barcelona visit. Narrow, winding streets are home to ancient delights, from the city’s best-preserved stretch of Roman wall to the spectacular Barcelona Cathedral and the much-photographed Pont del Bisbe bridge.

Barcelona Cathedral is plain magnificent. Photo: Silvia Longhi / Viator

El Born

This vibrant downtown neighborhood with its charismatic alleyways is where the locals go for wine, vermouth, and tapas, and the pedestrianized Passeig El Born is a great place to start. But there’s also culture here, including the Picasso Museum and the exuberant Palau de la Música Catalana, the perfect choice for a night of flamenco.

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Raval

Lively, multicultural, and, yes, still a little seedy in places, Raval is rapidly gentrifying, with artists’ studios and hip bars springing up apace. Highlights include Gaudi’s Palau Güell mansion, the landmark MACBA (Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art), and the Filmoteca cinema.

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Poble Sec

The leafy streets and shady squares of Poble Sec, part of the Montjuïc district, belie the area’s cutting-edge dining scene. Besides contemporary tapas joints and cool bars, it’s home to the Spanish Village (Poble Espanyol), an open-air architectural museum; Mercat de les Flors, a center for contemporary dance; and theaters including BARTS.

Views over Barcelona from the Poble Sec viewpoint. Photo: Yapasphoto StefClement / Shutterstock

Eixample

Barcelona’s most celebrated architect, Antoni Gaudí left a trail of sinuous, organic-seeming buildings across this stylish neighborhood, including La Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera, and Casa Batlló. Besides his masterworks, Eixample is home to sleek boutiques and diverse nightlife and hosts the heart of Barcelona’s LGBTQ scene.

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