Barcelona Travel Guide

Spain  #1 in Best Places to Visit in Spain

Barcelona Area Map

Neighborhoods

Barcelona has several distinct neighborhoods that illustrate its rich history and experimental, artistic reputation. Consider signing up for a guided tour if you want to see several of the city's popular neighborhoods from the perspective of a local.

Accessible via Jaume 1 Metro stop.

A first stop for many travelers is the Barri Gòtic, or Gothic Quarter, located near the city center. The Gothic Quarter is the oldest part of the city, featuring narrow, compact roads lined with architecture leftover from the Roman Empire and Middle Ages. The neighborhood is also one of the most lively neighborhoods in Barcelona due to its large concentration of amenities. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs to be found here. Make sure to stop by one of its many picturesque plazas, including Plaça Reial, a plaza known for its party atmosphere, and the smaller and much quainter Plaça Sant Felip Neri, which was bombed by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War. You will also find the Barcelona Cathedral in this neighborhood. 

Accessible via Liceu and Drassanes Metro stops.

This pedestrian thoroughfare, La Rambla, is so popular and so highly frequented, it's often mistaken as a neighborhood (Las Ramblas) than a single attraction. Composed of five sections, La Rambla runs parallel to the Barri Gòtic on its western side, and is one of Barcelona's most popular and crowded landmarks. La Rambla connects the large public square Plaça Catalunya and the Barcelona waterfront. In between, a large tree-lined pedestrian walkway features street acts, newsstands, alfresco cafes, Boqueria Market, plenty of restaurants, bars and shopping options.

Accessible via Liceu Metro stop.

Bordering Las Ramblas to the west, El Raval is a mix of cultures – about 20 languages are spoken here. The neighborhood used to largely be considered seedy until the opening of numerous art museums and cultural institutions breathed new life into the neighborhood. The neighborhood features its own collection of old and new restaurants and shopping options. It's in this neighborhood you can find the Boqueria Market. While this neighborhood does have its fair share of bars, which are known to pour out into the street when the weather's right, it's less of a party hardy space in comparison to that found in Las Ramblas or Barri Gotic

Accessible via Barceloneta

Situated just a stone's throw away from Barcelona's marina and beaches, including La Barceloneta Beach, is La Barceloneta. Here you'll find plenty of waterfront cafes, restaurants and bars as well as some hotels, including the hard-to-miss, sail-shaped W Hotel found on the southernmost point of the neighborhood. 

Accessible via Sagrada Familia Metro stop.

North of Barri Gòtic is the upscale Eixample district, filled with wide avenues, large blocks and buildings that all conform to a grid pattern. Eixample has a more contemporary feel than the neighborhoods to the south, but we still recommend the sightseeing in this part of town. One of the key attractions in the district – and in all of Barcelona – is Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia, the Expiatory Church of the Holy Family. Known simply as La Sagrada Familia, the massive Antoni Gaudí-designed church is considered one of the most iconic structures in all Spain. Eixample is also home to Gaudí's lesser known Casa Milà and Casa Batlló, two buildings designed or restored by Gaudí in his unique Art Nouveau style.

Accessible via Lesseps Metro stop.

Just west of Eixample is the Gracia District, which contains the famous Park Güell, an expansive park designed by Gaudí (yes, he's everywhere in Barcelona). Be sure to relax and enjoy the city views from the park, a collection of colorful mosaics, benches and gardens.

Barcelona is a major tourism hotspot and pickpockets know it. Be mindful of your surroundings especially while touring Barcelona's major attractions. The city sees a moderate rate of conventional crime and principal tourist areas and metros are often the most targeted spots. Men should keep their wallets in their front pockets and carry backpacks in front when traveling on the metro and women should make sure their purses are zipped or secured as best as possible.

You should also lookout for your body. Rich cuisine and an abundance of wine can make some travelers sick, so be sure to moderate your eating habits. And be prepared to experience lots of sunshine and heat, especially when traveling in the summertime. Remember to apply sunscreen regularly and stay hydrated.

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