Passeig de Gràcia
Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta
Plaça de Sant Felip Neri
Portal de l’Àngel
This street is one of the bests in Barcelona to try tapes as well as pintxos. You might not know the difference between them but actually they’re quite simple to differentiate as tapes are normally presented on a plate -they look like a small version of a dish-, while pintxos are commonly served on a small bread base and with a pintxo a stick nailed in it. Pintxos are originally from the Basque Country, a region in the north of Spain.
Anyway, if you’re thinking about delighting your senses with this awesome food don’t think about it twice, Carrer Blai is the place to go. The price of the food is lower than in most of the touristic places of Barcelona and the quality and variety is really good. The Carrer Blai is full of restaurants and bars so just hop from one to another to find the one that suits your appetite!
La Rambla, mostly known as Les Rambles (Rambla in plural) due to the fact that different parts of the street have different names, is one of the most emblematic streets in the city. It’s 1.2km long and it connects Plaça Catalunya, in the center, with the Port Vell, next to the sea.
It’s usually a crowded street, specially during summer, and it’s full of bars and kiosks selling souvenirs, flowers and some kinds of food. Strolling along Les Rambes, you’ll see important historic buildings such as the Palau de la Virreina (a palace of the 18th century) or the Liceu (an old theatre where ballets and operas are staged). Other points of interest located within this promenade are the Mercat de la Boqueria and the sculpture of Christopher Columbus.
Passeig de Gràcia
Known as Barcelona’s version of Champs-Élysées, this major avenue is home to the most luxurious shops and posh hotels of the city as well as many important architectonic masterpieces such as Casa Batlló (one of Gaudí’s marvels), Casa Milà (mostly known as La Pedrera) or Casa Fuster (built as a house, nowadays is a five-star hotel). Another emblematic building we can find in this street is El Nacional, with its facade and structure reflecting the industrial architecture of 1920s. This building is home to an all new-concept that came in the city not long ago: a multispace restaurant, meaning that there are 4 different restaurants and 4 different bars in the same space to allow you try as much variety of traditional Spanish food as possible.
It’s actually considered the most expensive street in Barcelona, but this hasn’t always been like that. Some centuries ago, Passeig de Gràcia was a country road that linked the capital with the independent municipality of Gràcia. Nowadays, this avenue links the district of Gràcia with Plaça Catalunya.
Architecture and beauty are not only reflect on the buildings but also on the pavement. Take a look down and contemplate pure art under your feet. The whole avenue is asphalted with a marvelous Gaudí’s piece of art, the Panot Gaudí. These tiles were designed in 1904 by the famous artist Antoni Gaudí and in the beginning they were supposed to be used as a floor for the Casa Batlló. No one really knows why it didn’t happen but at the end the destiny of the tiles was the service rooms of La Pedrera and the whole pavement of one of the most popular streets of Barcelona. By looking at the tiles, we can contemplate two of the main characteristics of Gaudí: geometry, as they have an hexagonal shape inspired in the cells of a beehive, and symbolic. The draw in the tiles transport us into a submarine world full of animals such as starfish, algae and seashells. Interestingly, the only way to see the whole picture is by joining six tiles around a central one.
Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta
One of the great values of Barcelona is that the city is next to the beach and inhabitants know well how to take advantage of that. Right next to the beach, we can find a long promenade that goes from the Port Olímpic to the luxurious hotel W. The Passeig Marítim is full of life due to all its restaurants and xiringuitos (bars on the beach) and is a favourite for runners and walkers. It has a separate path for cyclists and also you can usually find quite a lot of skaters and rollerbladers killing some time in the sun.
This promenade is host of some of Barcelona’s most exclusive venues, which are known as restaurants and bars during the daytime but metamorphose into nightclubs after the sunset. The most famous ones on the beachfront are Opium, Shoko, Catwalk and Pacha. They often host internationally famous DJ’s and singers, so if you’re a fan of electronic music and fancy clubs, this is the place to go for a great party.
Aside from the beach and restaurants, you can also find some quirky examples of architecture in this boulevard. Firstly, there is the “Homenatge a la Barceloneta” made by Rebecca Horn, which represents a funny vision of a building. Another jewel is the impressive, glittering gold sculpture of a giant fish made by Frank Gehry.
If that’s not enough, two impressive skyscrapers rise up just on the seafront. One of them is known as Torre Mapfre, due to the name of its owner, Mapfre, which is an insurance company. Remarkably, this 40-story building holds the title for the highest helipad of Spain, situated at 154m of height. The skyscraper next to it is actually the luxurious hotel Arts and it’s the same height than its twin tower. With 483 rooms, a swimming pool and six different restaurants and bars, one of them with 2 Michelin stars, this 5-star hotel is a sign of modernity and lust.
Some say that it’s the center of Barcelona and they’re not wrong, Plaça Catalunya is the biggest and most centric square in Barcelona. It’s the point that connects the oldest part of the city (Ciutat Vella) with the 19th century-built Eixample. Its name in English means Catalonia square.
This square is popular for its shopping malls and its fountains. Apart from that, Palça Catalunya is also known thanks to a curious fact: the amount of pigeons that gather there. Tourist often give food to them or just try to catch them to take a picture.
Built on the foot of Montjuïc in 1929, this is one of Barcelona’s most important squares. Some of the main roads of the city intersect at this point making it a major transport hub. It’s also one of the major touristic attractions in the city as it features many places of interest such as the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc (which offers a spectacular display of music, lights and water acrobatics usually on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night), the Arenas (an old bullring that has been converted into a shopping mall), or the Torres Venecianes (two 47 meters-high towers modelled on the Campanile di San Marco in Venice).
As its name indicates, Plaça Reial (Royal Square) is dedicated to the monarchy. It was built during the 19th century and it was dedicated to the king of that time, Ferran VII. The square is one of the most beautiful of Barcelona and it’s one of the main points of interest in the Barri Gòtic. It’s one of the few porticated squares in the city and that makes it really impressive.
With a lot of restaurants and clubs, you can find plenty of people enjoying the square during day and night time. Plaça Reial is home to some of the most famous alternative clubs of Barcelona, such as Jamboree and Sidecar. If you’re looking for a great night out, here is one of the best places to dance until the sun comes up. Also, it’s an ideal place to enjoy a drink while sitting in the numerous nice terraces under the arcades.
A curious fact is that this square is twinned with one situated in Mexico City, Plaza Garibaldi. Moreover, the street lights in the square were an early work of Gaudí, who was still unknown at that moment.
Plaça de Sant Felip Neri
This small square hidden in the middle of Barri Gòtic helds a lot of history about the city. Firstly, it was built over an old medieval cemetery destroyed during the civil war. Secondly, if you look at the walls of the church located on it (which has the same name as the square), you can clearly observe the marks of a bomb dropped by Franco’s air force on the 30th of January 1938. The attack caused 42 victims, most of them children that were living in the convent as refugees. Aside from the killed ones, the bomb also destroyed all the houses next to the square.
Portal de l’Àngel
Located in the Ciutat Vella, this pedestrian avenue is one of the most popular destinations for shopaholics. It goes from Plaça Catalunya until a street called Cucurulla, and it’s considered one of the main commercial venues of Barcelona. There you can find internationally known brands such as Zara, Benetton, or Pull&Bear, as well as the well-known Spanish department store El Corte Inglés (literally translated as The English Cut). Portal de l’Àngel has everything you can look for, from clothing, to books, to food and sports equipment. Therefore, this avenue is always full of tourist and locals trying to find something they like in one of the many boutiques.
The legends tells that long time ago it used to be a stream and a path where the Portal de l’Àngel is located. In the 10th century, the city grew and a neighbourhood appeared around this path, although only poor people lived there. In 1419, when Vicenç Ferrer – a Valencian Dominican friar – visited the city, an angel appeared to him and told him that he was there to protect the city. The avenue would some years later be called as Portal de l’Àngel (Angel’s portal) in honour to this story. Nowadays, we can find the sculpture of an angel in the street.