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Areas in short (printable page)

La Rambla | Waterfront | Barrio G˛tic and Ribera | El Raval | El Eixample | Gracia | Montju´c

About Barcelona
Barcelona is a varied, lively, modern and very beautiful city. It doesn't matter if you're interested in modern or classical arts, contemporary architecture or historic buildings, small museums or big, there is something to see for everyone. Because every area is completely different, I have made a subdivision of the best known areas.

Las Ramblas

This is the most famous street in Barcelona. The Ramblas exists of several parts, beginning at Plaša de Catalunya, and ending 1,5 km further at the harbor. Plaša de Catalunya is a  nice green and lively plaza, in the middle of the city center, with several bus stops and underneath an important metro-and train-station. Walking under the trees of the Ramblas  is a nice experience, even if you're not interested in the flower stands, bookstands, birdcages or the various street artists. The walk from one end to the other can take you 30 minutes, or even hours, just as you like. Next to the pedestrian boulevard is traffic rushing by, and at both sides of the street are lots of shops, hotels and restaurants. There are lots of places of interest on and near La Rambla, I'll describe them in order coming from Pl. de Catalunya.
The third street on the left side is Carrer Portaferissa, a shopping street.  This street leads into the Barrio Gotic and Ribera, the oldest districts. At your right is La Boqueria, a popular indoor foodmarket with an enormous roof made of steel and glass.A little further on is the new opera house El Liceu.
Plaša Reial, on the left, is a plaza with palm trees and pastel colored fašades. The lampposts were designed by Gaudi.
At Nou de la Rambla, a street at the right side, you'll see Palau GŘell, designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, with a typical wrought iron gate.
At La Rambla n░ 7 is the artscentre, Centre d' Arts Santa Monica situated. In the cellar is a beautiful hall, a modern construction in the middle of relics of a monastery displaying changing exhibits of contemporary art.
When you turn to the right at this part of the Rambla (almost at the end), you'll get to Barrio Xino, the prostitution area.
At the end of the Rambla, the monument of Christopher Columbus is overlooking the city.
If you walk further to the harbor, you'll get to the completely renovated waterfront.
Transport : metro,line 1, stop Pl. Catal. and line 3, stop Pl. Catalunya or Liceu and several buses.


Just cross the street at the Columbus statue and you'll bump into the waterfront.
Right in front of you , you'll see the beautiful new wooden bridge connecting the mainland with Moll d'Espanya and the marina Port Vell. At Moll d'Espanya there is the shoppingmall, Maremagnum, with a gigantic mirrorwall in which the water reflects beautifully. Also at Moll d'Espanya you'll find an IMAX theatre and an aquarium with displays on flora and fauna of the Mediterranean sea.
At the left of Columbus you'll see the promenade Moll de la Fusta with funny red bridges, palm trees, bars and restaurants. At the end of the promenade stands Cap de Barcelona, a colorful sculpture made by Roy Lichtenstein. At this point you can start your walk through Barceloneta, following Passeig Joan de Borbon which leads to the Olympic village.
Barceloneta is a typical, old fishing neighborhood which has been cleaned up within the scope of the Olympic games. It is still very picturesque with his narrow streets, small old bars and laundry hanging out to dry between the balconies full of flowers.
Following the shoreline you pass some beaches. In the distance you can see the buildings of the Olympic village. It takes quite a walk from the Rambla to the Olympic village, but it is a pleasant one.
If you don't feel like walking, take a bus or metro line 4, stop Barceloneta or Ciutadella Villa OlÝmpica.
During the games of '92, the Olympic village had to accommodate thousands of athletes and spectators. For this  purpose architects from all over the world designed modern  and striking buildings. Eye-catchers are the two tower buildings,  housing a hotel and an office building, 142 meters high. The Villa OlÝmpica hotel is surrounded by a steel frame, so it seems like it is in scaffolding. In front of those buildings stands the golden sculpture ‘Pez y Esfera’, designed by Frank Gehry, representing a headless fish. Walking under the structure gives you a great view of it. The round building a little further on, accommodates the meteorological service. The beautiful promenade is full of sculptures. Especially in the evening, this is a very lively neighborhood with lots of trendy restaurants and bars. Everything is new here, 5000 apartments were built in the Olympic Village, several parks and plazas were designed.

Barrio G˛tic and Ribera

Barrio G˛tic and Ribera are different areas, but because they are adjacent, and both are part of the old city (Ciutat Vella), I've put them together.
The Gothic area borders the left of the Rambla, Ribera lays a bit more eastwards. It are classical areas, you 'll find it interesting here if you like the architecture and the atmosphere of before the 20th century. Especially the gothic area is crowded with tourists, I find Ribera more pleasant. However, I liked other neighborhoods much better, that's why I'll be brief in my description.
The Barrio G˛tic is full of history, there are still parts of a 2300 year old Roman wall , lots of old palaces and plazas. Centrally located is the Gothic cathedral, which was started building in the 14th century, and the fašade only being finished in the 19th century.

Ribera is separated from the Barrio G˛tic by the avenue, Via Laietana. Some more gothic buildings can be found here. Carrer Montcada is an important alley with art galleries, palaces and restaurants. Important is the Picassomuseum at n░15, with a collection showing the evolution of the artist beginning at his early works.
At carrer Montcada 25 is the famous art gallery Galeria Maeght situated.
At Carrer Sant PÚre MÚs Alt is the Palau de la M˙sica Catalana, a beautiful Modernist concert hall, built by DomŔnech i Montaner in 1908 and tastefully renovated in the eighties.

El Raval

This is a student area and there are some interesting contemporary buildings and museums to see. The area starts at the University (Plaša d' Universidad ).
At Montalegre n░5 is the Center de Cultura Contemporani located. Worth a look for the square in the middle of the buildings with a mirrorwall, surprisingly reflecting the harbor a few hundred meters from here.
If you're at the back of this building, you'll see two great contemporary buildings. One of them is the MACBA,(photo) Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (museum of contemporary art) at Plaša Angels n░ 1. There is a nice museum store.


El Eixample

At the half of last century, there was an increase of population, and the city became too small. Architect I. Cerda was appointed to design new areas to host workers, but he had to work especially on accommodation for the middle class. His plans were changed completely, the planned parks were deleted and the only thing that was kept, was the chessboard pattern of the streets. However, El Eixample is still an area with great importance in architectural way. It is more like an open air museum, where some of the most striking Modernist buildings are displayed. It is in many ways a very pleasant area, almost in every street you will discover beautiful houses, and the main streets are filled with elegant shops.
Rambla de Catalunya is a a continuation of the other Rambla, but it is completely different because it had to become the promenade for the rich. Expensive shops and some beautiful houses are located here, especially the Modernist fašades of n░ 21 to 27 are worth to look at. If you walk on this street you'll see in a street on the right, Carrer d’ Arago, the spectacular steelwire work of art of Antoni Tapies, on the roof of Fundacio Tapies, a gallery with works of the Spanish painter and other contemporary artists.At the end of Rambla de Catalunya, at the corner of Avinguda Diagonal you'll find Casa Serra from Puig i Cadafalch.

Passeig de Gracia is the most important street of the neighborhood, filled with luxurious shops and some of the most beautiful Modernist buildings in Barcelona. At n░ 92 is Casa Mila, also called La Pedrera, designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi. You have to see this (if you like architecture of course), it really is a fantastic building. The courtyard, top floor and the roof can be visited. When you enter the courtyard you're surrounded by blue, green and yellow curved walls. On the top floor there is an exhibition of scale models, slide shows and photo's of Gaudi's most important buildings. Every corner of the building is asymmetrical, there are corners and niches everywhere, hundreds of brick arches vault the room. The roof is a real wonderland with mosaics, stairs, arches and chimneys disguised as sculptures. You have a good view over the city too.
INFO: Open Monday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m..
The next 3 houses are Modernist buildings, but look each very different, which can be observed well, as they are built next to each other. At n░ 43 Passeig de Gracia, there is another masterpiece of Gaudi : Casa Battlˇ.The house open to the public. The fašade is made in colorful mosaic, the balconies look like facial bones of giant animals and the roof represents the back of a prehistoric animal.
Next to Casa Battlˇ on n░41 is Casa Amattler, a Neogothic building of architect Puig i Cadafalch. N░35 is another important building, Casa Lleˇ Morera by DomŔnech i Montaner.
On Carrer Mallorca there are more buildings designed by DomŔnech i Montaner, like Palau Montaner (on the corner with C. Roger de Lluria) and Casa Thomas at n░ 291.In Eixample, there are hundreds of other houses worth seeing, just look around.
Metro line 2, 3 or 4 stop Passeig de Gracia or Pl. de Catalunya.
More or less in the same area, at Carrer de Provenša is La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's cathedral situated. The building of the cathedral started last century, but it is still not completed. The three major fašades represent Birth, Passion and Death, and Glorification. There have to be built four towers at each fašade, with a total of twelve (one for each apostle), but only eight are finished yet. The towers are 107 meters tall, have a structure of vertical ribs surrounded by horizontal rings and are full of referrings to nature. The spires are real masterworks, existing of concrete decorated with colorful mosaic and glass. It's a shame that cranes obstruct the view of this amazing building. The unfinished interior and the museum in the cellars can be visited.
Metro line 5 stop Sagrada Familia and buses.


The district of Gracia is not very well known among tourists and there isn't really anything spectacular to see, but it is a pleasant residential area, nice to stroll trough, when you visit Parc GŘell which is not far from here. Parc GŘell is another wonderful Gaudi project. The park was designed to become a residential area for the rich, but the project was canceled because there weren't enough investors, and because World war 1 broke out, the building stopped at three houses, in one of which Gaudi lived during the building. Casa GaudÝ , displaying some of his furniture and works can be visited. At the entrance of the park there is an office and porter's lodge with a mosaic tower, and the Dragonfountain. Eye-catcher is the long mosaic coilbench, forming the border of a plaza, supported by 100 pillars : the Greek pillarhall. The park is big, but the most important stuff is not far from the entrance. Standing on the plaza you have a beautiful view over the city.
Address : Carrer Albert Llamas. Free.
Buses or metro line 3, stop Lesseps, but then you have a good walk uphill ahead. At Lesseps you can take the mini bus 116 to the park.


The mountain Montju´c is the green area of the city. Because of the world fair in 1929 parks, palaces, pavilions, sports stadiums and exhibition halls were built. Some of those buildings remained, and house some important museums, or were renovated to accommodate sports activities during the Olympic games of 1992.
I'll start my summary at the foot of the mountain.
At Carrer Tarragona is the Parc Joan Mirˇ situated,where his sculpture 'Dona i ocel'( woman and bird) is standing in the middle of a pool. The park is dedicated to Mirˇ, but there is only one sculpture of him in it.
Plaša d'Espanya is nearby and is with his two towers and fountain the entrance gate to Montju´c. The fountain is colorfully lit at night. Standing here gives you a view of the stairs to the mountain, with on top the Palau Nacional, housing the Museu d'Art Catalunya (Medieval art).
When you've climbed up the stairs and you turn to the right, you'll pass the famous Barcelona pavilion, also called 'Mies van der Rohe pavilion'. The architect designed this famous building for the world fair in '29. After being used as the German pavilion, it had been demolished. Because the building was considered as a milestone in modern architecture, it has been rebuilt on the same spot in 1985. You can visit the pavilion, changing exhibitions and the famous Barcelonachair are displayed. You don't have to enter the building to get a nice view of it, reflecting in the pool.
Higher on the mountain are the Olympic facilities located. The Olympic stadium was built in1929 but has been beautifully renovated to accommodate 70.000 people during the games of 1992. You can take a free look in the stadium.
The futuristic sports palace Palau d'esports San Jordi was designed for the games in '92 by the Japanese architect  Isozaki and can seat up to 15.000 people. The plaza in front of the building offers a great view; on the left the Olympic stadium with in front water terraces,at the entrance of the San Jordi sports palace steel wire sculptures and to the right the 'Calatrava', a 188 meters high communication tower, looking like a giant needle with a wire trough it.
Of course lots of events, like concerts, are organized at the Olympic stadium and at San Jordi sports palace.
On top of the mountain is Montju´c castle, with the military museum situated. You can get here by cable car.
:If you like Mirˇ's work, don't miss Fundašio Joan Mirˇ at parc de Montju´c. At this great museum paintings, sculptures and tapestries of Miro are displayed in a fantastic building with a sculpture garden on the roof. There is also a hall for temporary exhibitions of modern art. A restaurant and two large museum shops are located near the entrance hall.
INFO : Address : Parc de Montju´c. Can be reached by Funicular from Paral.lel metro station and with buses 61 from Pl. d'Espanya.
TRANSPORT:  Montjuic can be reached in several ways: by foot ( but it's a walk uphill), with buses and with metro line 1 and 3 (stop Pl. d'Espanya), or with line 2 and 3 (stop at Paral.lel where you can step on the funicular ).
Some simple advice : on Montjuic there are not many places to eat, I only saw a few food stands and there is a restaurant (not cheap I guess) at the Fundašio Joan Mirˇ, so it's not bad to have something to drink or eat with you.

Pedralbres is a residential area for the rich, but important for soccer lovers as the stadium and museum of FC. Barcelona is located here at Aristides Maillol. Opening hours from Monday to Saturday: 10 a.m. -6.30 p.m., Sundays and public holidays: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m..


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