Barcelona as we mentioned before is a very colorful city. This is also valid for its neighborhoods. It has so much diversity in the areas: the vibe that you get when you walk around a certain “barrio”, the architecture of the building and even the people living there.
Since many of the people who move to Barcelona don’t have the time to walk around and choose the best area for their lifestyle and personality, we decided to offer you a Barcelona neighborhoods guide.
We will try to give you some idea of all the neighborhoods: what is life like there, how is the property rental market so you can make a better decision.
We have Ciutat Vella with the amazing Gothic architecture and the countless bars. The famous La Rambla, which is within walking distance from the sea. If you love the sea, but still want to be a little bit away from the noisy party people and the tourists, maybe you will prefer Sant Marti. It is situated on the right side of Parc Ciutadella and the area there is much more residential.
Or maybe you want to be in the center of the city where you have everything within walking distance. Then your choice should be L’Eixample. It is the biggest and one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Barcelona, full of fancy stores, amazing restaurants and many on the famous Gaudi masterpieces.
If you feel like living in Barcelona, but prefer to be a little isolated from the whole rush and noise of the city, Sarria-Sant Gervasi could be a very good choice. Situated in the upper part of Barcelona, it is one of the most posh neighborhoods in Barcelona, with private schools and many universities. If you are lucky you can get a flat with a very nice view up there, giving you breathtaking views of the city.
Are you already confused? Because these are only some of the options you have when you move to Barcelona.
Click on the links below for a detailed description of each neighborhood, and if you have any questions don´t hesitate to contact us!
Consisting of Raval, El Born (aka Sant Pere-Santa Caterina I la Ribera), Barceloneta and Gotico, this part of Barcelona is probably the most diverse in terms of culture, architecture, night-life and real estate.
RAVAL: Party animals would want to focus on the Raval neighborhood. Being mere steps away from the famous Rambla, this place literally never sleeps. With hundreds of bars and clubs around, it’s impossible to ever become bored here when moving to Barcelona! Flats are very tiny and very expensive though, and with all of the nightlife, very noisy of course. Also beware that after midnight it does become quite seedy, with drug-dealers, excessively drunk tourists and prostitutes around every corner.
Raval has a very diverse immigrant community, where nearly half of the inhabitants were born outside of Spain. Mostly Pakistanis, Indonesians, and lately also Romanians. The Pakistanis inhabitants are known for their mobile phone shops, where one can purchase practically any mobile accessory and even sim-cards and calling cards.
If you want to enjoy a healthy vegetarian meal, check out Veggie Garden (Carrer dels Àngels, 3). They serve delicious fruit and vegetable juices that are freshly prepared, as well as organic salads, hummus, guacamole, sandwiches and Thali (a famous Indian meal consisting of 3 different vegetarian stews and basmati rice)
If you prefer a spicier meal like Mexican, you’ll find Rosa de Raval just down the street from Veggie Garden. With delicious burritos and tacos, not to mention the €3,50 Mojitos or Margaritas, this is one of the most popular eateries in Raval.
GÓTICO: Equally close to the Rambla, yet more clean and a bit more quiet, you can find the Gotico and El Born neighborhoods. Gotico has hundreds of small cobblestone streets that seem to wind forever, and getting lost here is part of the adventure! Many of the buildings here are from the Medieval times that date back as far as the Roman settlement of Barcelona. In fact, remains of the Roman wall still exist today and can clearly be seen. The small roads are closed to traffic, which lends to the calmer atmosphere. A home in this area, among ancient, romantic streets and musicians who play guitars in small stone plazas, is a home like no other. Over the years, the Barri Gótic has become increasingly en vogue, and prices can be quite high.
One of the main attractions of Gótico is Plaza Real, where one can find many bars and restaurants that are always full of life. Being right next to Las Ramblas though means that it is very touristic.
For a delicious seafood dinner, with a Greek-Arabic twist in the atmosphere, try Sukúr! Located on Carrer Avinyo 42, they offer not only seafood, but also steak, hamburgers, moussaka, paella and a tasty grilled vegetable platter. Very affordable and very good service!
EL BORN: Located between Via Laietana and Barceloneta, and served by 2 metro stops on the yellow line, it is conveniently located within 10 minutes walk to the beach, or to Las Ramblas. Since this used to be the centre of the textile industry, it has now once again become the center for Catalan clothing design. The Textile museum on Calle Montcada has a nice café with a terrace where you can enjoy a snack. Also located on the same street, is the famous Picasso Museum.
Although popular with tourists, it is also a neighborhood where neighbors often stop and chat in the streets. It hosts some interesting restaurants and bars that are more suited to the more “posh” crowd, like young professionals. Once again, flats are quite small and expensive, and are usually fully-furnished with IKEA furniture.
One of the main features of El Born is it´s proximity to Parc Ciutadella. This 70 acre park is equally popular in the winter as it is in summer, and is ideal for a lazy walk on a Sunday afternoon, where you can see groups of friends having a picnic on the grass. You can see amateur trapeze-artists trying their skill on a tight-rope. You can enjoy a row on a small boat with your loved one on the dam. Or you can just sit next to the impressive fountain near the top of the park, and enjoy a drink from the café while watching some amateur ballroom dancers practice on the small pavilion.
Barceloneta is a small neighborhood surrounded by the sea on both sides, forming a type of “triangle” shape. One one side there is Barceloneta Beach and on the other the harbor of Port Vell. Barceloneta is famous for its small narrow streets, the numerous bars and restaurants, many of them offering seafood and of course for the chiringuitos along the beach. In the summer the area is on fire, because of the tourists, who prefer this beach as the most central one. Most of the buildings in the area are very old, and only some of them have elevators. The combination of good location and older building keep the price around average.
From a residential point of view, it is the biggest neighborhood in Barcelona, and due to its location usually also one of the most expensive.
Eixample (or L´eixample) is divided into 6 different administrative areas :
The following three are on the right side of Passeo de Gracia :
- Dreta de l´Eixample
- Fort Pienc
- Sagrada Familia
On the left of Passeo de Gracia :
- L´Antiga Esquerra de L´Eixample
- La nova Esquerra de L´Eixample
- Sant Antoni
The two sides of this neighborhood are divided by by Calle Balmes, which is two streets away from the famous Passeo de Gracia. Famous for shopping, especially for luxury brands such as Chanel, Cartier, Armani, Rolex, Burberry, this street is also host to some of Gaudi´s most famous architectural works namely Casa Battló, and Casa Mila (aka La Pedrera).
Home to some very high-class apartment buildings with luxurious amenities, the area around Passeo de Gracia has become increasingly popular among the wealthier residents of Barcelona. Be sure to try out some of the incredible restaurants located on Calle Enrique Granados that mostly offer Catalan and Spanish cuisine, but upon further exploration you can even find Finish, Japanese and Italian.
Moving further away to Fort Pienc and Sant Antoni, one can find cheaper flats, although still very central. From personal experience, we can confidently say that these are some of the nicest areas to live in Barcelona due to its proximity to the city center, but at the same time being slightly removed from the busy touristic parts.
With many bars, cafés and excellent restaurants offering cuisine from all over the world, Sant Antoni is now regarded as one of the up-and-coming areas in Barcelona.
Being so centrally located means that transportation is always readily available. Whether you´re looking for a bus, metro, Bicing or even taxi, you are never more than a few minutes walk away from finding your preferred method of transportation.
If you are looking for a very bohemian-type of neighborhood, you might want to consider Gracia. Being more up-town, prices will also be a little more affordable than areas such as Barceloneta or El Born.
In Gracia there is literally something for everyone, with restaurants catering for all kinds of cuisine, ranging from typical Spanish/Catalan, to Lebanese, Egyptian, Japanese, American, and just about any other kind imaginable. You will also find loads of interesting little shops that sell antiques, retro clothes, books and many more unusual items.
Gracia is essentially divided into 5 different areas. The upper parts called Vallcarca and El Coll, as well as La Salut are more residential, and is home to the very famous Parc Güell. Gracia is equally popular among locals as it is to tourists, especially around the Parc itself. However in the centre of Gracia, which is the livelier part, you will find mostly locals that consist primarily of expats that have chosen to live in Gracia specifically due to its charm and diversity of culture. Gracia is also where Gaudi built Casa Vicens, his first important work and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Every year around August, there is a week-long festival which is organized by the residents of Gracia known as “Festa Major de Gracia”. The streets are filled with decorations, food stalls, fun activities for the young ones, live music performances and much more.
Gracia is also known for its boutique clothing shops, showcasing some of the local talent of the fashion designers from around Barcelona, and offering interesting alternatives in dress-style. If you feel like doing some trendy shopping you should definitely visit Call Verdi. On the same street is also located the famous cinema Verdi, one of the English speaking cinemas in the city.
Night life in Gracia is mostly centered around the various plazas in the neighborhood. Each plaza has its own unique bars and restaurants, and often live music can be enjoyed on some of the plazas.
Public transportation isn’t as available as in the rest of the city, but there is a metro line that runs through the centre of Gracia.
The area was once independent, but became part of Barcelona at the end of the 19th century. If we had to describe the area in only a few words, it would be that it´s very residential, quiet, family-oriented (due to parks), and the residents are mainly locals.
Situated in the north-eastern part of Barcelona, sits the third largest district upon a steep hill.
It is divided into 11 smaller districts :
- La Vall D´Hebron
- La Clota
- La Font D´en Fargues
- El Guinardó
- El Baix Guinardó
- Can Baró
- El Carmel
- La Teixonera
- Sant Genis del Agudells
If you decide to live in this area, you should know that it is definitely not known for its shopping, nor its nightlife. However, it does offer a few small boutique shops and a few bars. It is connected very well to the city center by Metro, so if you do want to go and do some shopping you could easily head down to neighboring Gracia.
One of the main attractions of Horta-Guinardó is the parks that are found in this area.
The most famous is Park del Laberint, which as the name suggest, is a labyrinth created out of the bushes that grow naturally and dates back to the 18th century. The other popular parks are Parc de Guinardó and Parc del Carmel.
If you own a car, you´ll be glad to know that the Ronda de Dalt highway runs near the top part of the Horta-Guinardó, which allows you to get to the airport in about 20 minutes.
Accommodation is in general more affordable in Horta-Guinardó, mostly due to the fact that it´s removed from the city center and the tourists, and the fact that it´s quite steep.
Also good to mention for sports enthusiasts, is the Palau D´Esports de Barcelona as well as the Velodrome of Horta and Municipal Tennis Center.
Due to the Roman villas that used to be located in this area, the name comes from the Latin word “cohors”, which means “rural houses”. Some remains of the old village can still be seen at Plaza del Carmen.
Home to the very famous Camp Nou and FC Barca, Les Corts is situated in the south-western part of Barcelona. Created in 1897 out of Les Corts de Sarriá and parts of Sarriá, and bordering with the three different neighborhoods of Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, Eixample as well as Sants-Montjuïc, it is the least populated district of Barcelona since it has 82000 inhabitants (according to the census 2011). It is also very well suited to families and young couples, and the average rental price is below average compared to the rest of Barcelona.
It is also considered to be a financial center, with La Caixa Bank´s headquarters being here. Being a financial district means that many great hotels and restaurants are also located here.
Situated very close to Estacio Sants, which links Barcelona to various parts of Spain as well as the airport, and accessible by the “Green line” of the Metro, means that Les Corts is very centrally located. It takes about 15 minutes to get to the city center.
One of the major attractions of living in Les Corts is L´Illa, an impressive shopping center that has a few excellent restaurants as well as some of the more popular clothing stores such as Zara, Custo, and Jack n Jones. There is also a Carrefour supermarket, FNAC, and MIRO located at the bottom of the building.
Les Corts is also quite well known for having the typical tapas bars on every corner.
Situated close to Metro “Les Corts”, you can find the Mercat de Les Corts which offers fresh daily produce of fish, meat, fruit, vegetables, fruit and even a restaurant called El Bisaura.
Located in the northern part of Barcelona, Nou Barris borders with Sant Andreu and Horta Guinardó and consists of 13 different neighborhoods :
- Torre Baró
- Ciutat Meridiana
- La Trinitat Nova
- La Prosperitat
- Villapicina i la Torre Llobeta
- El Turó de la Peira
- Can Peguera
- La Guineueta
- Les Roquetes
Known as the most affordable residential area, Nou Barris has attracted many immigrants, initially from other parts of Spain in the hopes of finding employment. However in recent years, the area has attracted more and more immigrants from Eastern Europe, more specifically the Romani people. The housing in this area consists mainly of high-rise cluster apartment buildings.
Being located so far away from the city center and being residential means that it is by no means a touristic spot. There are however some impressive parks in the neighborhood such as Parc Central, Parc de la Guineueta and Parc del Turó de la Peira. These parks were built as an initiative to breathe new life into these once degrading areas. The biggest of these is Parc Central and is the second biggest park in Barcelona.
Another attraction is Mirador de Torre Baró from where you can enjoy amazing views of Barcelona. It is located on the top of the hill of Torre Baró neighborhood.
As a residential area, you will find some busy shopping streets such as Passeig Valldaura and Via Julia. Many supermarkets and fruit and vegetable stores as well as typical Catalan markets such as Mercat de la Mercè.
Getting to Nou Barris would mainly involve taking the metro by using either the Yellow line. Alternatively you can take the Renfe train from Pl Catalunya (line R4), which stops in Torre Baró.
Sant Andreu is a former agricultural and then industrial district. In the past years almost all of the previously industrial part of the area was erased and the area received the appearance it has now.
With many improvements made to the abandoned industrial areas, it is a colorful mix of landscapes – one of the most modern of Barcelona´s installations are in this area, with the charm of the old historic center of Sant Andreu de Palomar and of course the many blocks of residential buildings, mixed with a new modernism that is slowly making itself known.
The neighborhood is divided into 7 smaller “barrios”:
- La Trinitat Vella
- Sant Andreu
- El Congres i els indians
- La Sagrera
- El Bon Pastor
- Baró de Viver
The neighborhood has a population of 146,956 (census of 2011) and takes a territory of 656,5 hec tares. The average rental price is €10 / square meter.
The very popular La Maquinista shopping complex is also located in Sant Andreu, offering a wide variety of clothing stores, supermarkets, cinemas and restaurants. Even if you like in other parts of Barcelona, it is quite easily accessible by Metro.
The two neighborhoods of Sant Andreu and Sant Marti are separated by a railway line, which is possible to cross by means of the Bac de Roda Bridge (locally known as Calatrave Bridge). Built between 1985 and and 1987 by Santiago Calatrava, it become on the the landmarks of Barcelona before the Olympic Games.
There is a charming local market in the centre of the Plaza de Mercadal in Sant Andreu. In the olden days hawkers and farmers come together on this plaza in order to see their goods. The market was designed in order for them to have a permanent premises, and to ensure adequate lighting and ventilation conditions to sell fresh produce and food.
In the past, Sant Marti was known as the industrial area of Barcelona and become officially a part of Barcelona in 1897.
Sant Marti neighborhood is divided into 10 smaller neighborhoods, so you can imagine that you can find a big diversity of areas, people, rent prices and in general different feeling in the different areas.
The 10 neighborhoods in Sant Marti are:
- El Besòs i el Maresme
- El Camp de l’Arpa del Clot
- El Clot
- Diagonal Mar i Front Marítim del Poblenou
- El Parc i Llacuna del Poblenou
- El Poblenou
- Provençals del Poblenou
- Sant Martí de Provençals
- La Verneda i la Pau
- La Vila Olímpica del Poblenou
Today the neighborhood has a lot to offer its residents – amazing beaches, Rambla de Poblenou, 2 big shopping centers – Diagonal Mar and Glories, the famous Torre Agbar, which became one of the symbols of Barcelona. Many of the tallest building in the city are located in this area, giving it a little bit of an non-typical “view” for Barcelona.
Sant Marti is known to be the new technological districts of Barcelona – “@22”. @22 is the name of the municipality project approved in year 2000 aimed at transforming the old industrial areas into new modern, innovative district, attracting hi-tech companies and knowledge-based activities.
In terms of night life the area is pretty calm, though one of the most famous Barcelona clubs are situated in the area – Razzmatazz. In general the neighborhood is pretty quiet and residential, with the exception of some specific areas. The prices are around average for the city (except for the areas close to the beach and Diagonal Mar sub-neighborhood, where you can find some pretty expensive flats).
In terms of public transportation the area is connected very well with the other parts of the city, mainly with the yellow line. The neighborhood also has as an alternative transport, the tram.
Sants-Montjuic is the biggest “barrio” in Barcelona and it is situated in the southern end of the city. It represents almost 1/5 of the territory of Barcelona, because the hill of Montjuic and the industrial polygon Zona Franca are also included in its borders.
The district is divided into 8 smaller sub-neighborhoods:
- La Bordeta
- La Font de la Guatlla
- La Marina de Port
- La Marina del Prat Vermell
- El Poble Sec
*Plus Montjuic and Zona Franca which are not residential
The neighborhood is not so crowded and and is less touristic, but many of the most interesting places in Barcelona are actually located here. The Montjüic hill is a favorite place of many Catalans. It is the perfect place for a nice walk or a picnic with friends. There you can also find the MNAC (The National Art Museum of Catalunya), the Ethnological Museum, the Art Museum Fundació Joan Miró, the botanical gardens, the Magic Fountain of Montjuic, Poble Espanyol, and many other sights.
Just next to plaza Espanya is Las Arenas, one of the shopping malls of the neighborhood. It was reconstructed from what was previously a bullfighting ring. Behind the shopping mall is Parc de l’Escorxador (also known as Parc Joan Miró), which becomes a busy socializing point in the late afternoons , where many people come to walk their dogs and spend time with their kids.
There are many food shops in the area, including Hostefrancs market and Sants market. If you are a party person you will be glad to learn that Sala Apolo (a famous club and concert hall) will be also close to you if you decide to live in this neighborhood.
In terms of transportation Sants-Montjuic is very well connected with the other parts of the town by Metro. Additionally Barcelona Nord Station is located in the neighborhood where you can catch trains to the other parts of Spain, including to France.
Many people choose this neighborhood because of its close location the Airport El Prat, which makes it very suitable “barrio” for people who travel often or who work at the Airport.
Sants-Montjuic is also considered to be one of the neighborhoods with the more affordable property and rental prices in Barcelona, and is very well suited to families
SARRIA SANT GERVASI
Sarria-Sant Gervasi is one of the largest, yet least densely populated neighborhoods in Barcelona and located in the north-west of the city, this is the most upper-class neighborhood in Barcelona, with some very impressive mansions and apartment blocks.
This is probably why it was independent until 1921 when it was annexed to Barcelona to the disappointment of the residents. Since there is hardly any public transportation available here, you would definitely need your own transportation. This also makes it feel more residential, and definitely more tranquil – something which is impossible to find in the rest of the city. However, to get to Sarriá from Plaza Catalunya, simply take line 6 on the Ferrocariles (located in front of the FNAC building) and within about 12 minutes you´ll be in Sarriá. There are quite a few stops in Sarriá itself, since the area is so big.
Houses here are very expensive, although much more modern and in better condition than those found in the historic side of the city. Another plus, is that it´s very close to the Ronda, which is the highway that circles Barcelona. Being situated on top of the hill, means that breath-taking views are abundant. It is also home to Tibidabo mountain, where one can take a track-car up to the top of the mountain. There are many very nice cafes and bakeries in Sarriá, and the most famous patatas bravas bar in the city : Bar Tomás.
Sarriá is also known for the market at Passeig Reina Elisende de Montcada, which is a smaller version of the famous Boqueria on Las Ramblas. Fresh produce such as fish, meat, fruit and vegetables is readily made available by the local traders.For expats moving here with children, there are many private and international schools in this area that are regarded as some of the best in Barcelona. For more information on these schools, have a look at our article on international schools here.