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Districts of Barcelona

Barcelona is a city that has everything you need for a perfect vacation: wide beaches, beautiful mountains, cool pine forests, and active city life to suit all tastes. If you're planning a trip to Catalonia's capital, get to know the unique features of its 10 districts and discover that each has its own atmosphere and deserves your attention.
Map of the districts of Barcelona

Top 10 districts of Barcelona:

  • Tourist Ciutat Vella
  • Bohemian Gràcia
  • Modernist Eixample
  • Luxury Sarrià - Sant Gervasi
  • Respectable Sant Andreu
  • Modern Sant Martí
  • Lively Sants-Montjuïc
  • Green Horta-Guinardó
  • Commercial Les Corts
  • Social Democratic Nou Barris

The Old Town (Ciutat Vella) is the Heart of Barcelona

The historic center of Barcelona is the heart of the city and as such the center of all the sights, tourist attractions, and youth hangouts, it is never quiet, let alone boring.

The old city is in fact made up of four areas: the Gothic Quarter, with its medieval buildings and winding streets; trendy El Born, with its fashionable shops and stylish bars; the lively, Baghdad-like Raval; and the seaside Barceloneta.

The city center is mostly populated by expats and tourists, although there are some local Catalan families.

Flowers in the streets of the Old Town
Flowers in the streets of the Old Town

Top 5 Attractions:

  1. La Rambla Boulevard, the Liceu Opera, and the Boqueria food market
  2. CCCB Modern Art Center and MACBA Museum
  3. Cathedral of the Sagrada Familia and Santa Eulalia
  4. Palau de la Música
  5. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar

Gracia Bohemian

Attracted by artists, performers, filmmakers, and other creative types, Gracia has a free-spirited, laid-back, and safe vibe. Gracia's colorful streets and private plazas are filled with small theaters, quirky cafes and bars, cozy clubs, and fashionable boutiques. The area's main residents are engaged in the creative industries.

Top 3 Attractions:

  1. Park Guell
  2. Plaza del Sol
  3. La Casa Vicens

L'Eixample, Heart of Modernism

Barcelona's most populated district, an example of perfect urban geometry and a Mecca of modernist architecture, is L'Eixample! The district began to develop at the end of the 19th century and most of its buildings were built in Modernist and Art Nouveau styles for the Catalan bourgeoisie. Designed by the engineer Ildefons Cerdes, the streets of the area are strictly perpendicular and the length of each block is 133 meters. So while it is hard to get lost, it is equally hard to decide where to hang out: L'Eixample has an absolutely explosive concentration of hipster hangouts and brand-name stores.

Today, it's populated by middle-class Catalans and expats alike.

Facade of La Pedrera in Barcelona
Facade of La Pedrera in Barcelona

Top 5 Sights:

  1. Passeig de Gracia: Gaudi's buildings – La Pedrera, Casa Batllo and Casa Lleó i Morera, and Casa Amatller
  2. La Rambla de Catalunya Boulevard
  3. The Sagrada Familia Cathedral
  4. Hospital de Santa Creu i Sant Pau architectural complex
  5. The Monumental Arena and the Bullfighting Museum (currently banned in Catalonia).

The High Zone: Sarrià — Sant Gervasi

Sarrià – Sant Gervasi is the main part of the Zona Alta, where the wealthy residents of the city live. They manage to maintain a quiet, almost rustic atmosphere in the area.

Sarrià – Sant Gervasi is a place of narrow streets leading up to the mountains and a relaxed lifestyle among green gardens, natural parks, and pine forests. You will not feel the bustle of the city, although, of course, you will find the best restaurants, respectable clubs, and prestigious sports centers.

Top 5 Attractions:

  1. Cosmo Caixa Museum
  2. Mount Tibidabo
  3. Fabra Observatory
  4. Turó del Putxet Garden
  5. Vallvidrera Viewpoint

Sant Andreu: The Authentic Catalonia

The quiet residential area, where Catalan families have lived for generations, offers a unique atmosphere of prosperity and a relaxed lifestyle. New buildings and modern shopping malls sit side by side with modernist architecture from the last century and even older fishermen's houses in a harmonious balance! Staying in Sant Andreu you can truly feel the spirit of the Catalans and understand how they combine respect for tradition with the desire to develop.

The main street of the San Andreu district (Barcelona)
The main street of the San Andreu district (Barcelona)

Top 3 Attractions:

  1. Churches of San Andrés de Palomar and Parroquia de Sant Pacià
  2. La Maquinista Mall
  3. Bac de Roda Bridge

Fashionable San Martí District

Today it is the fastest-growing district in Barcelona, consisting of 10 neighborhoods, including the progressive Poble Nou with its experimental green space, the sprawling Diagonal Mar with its blue skyscrapers, and the vibrant Villa Olímpica.

San Martí is constantly changing: its industrial areas of former factories are being transformed into art centers; shabby fishermen's houses are being replaced by modern buildings; new cafes, co-working spaces, restaurants, and sports centers are opening. Both Spanish locals and expats, especially those working in tech startups, enjoy the area.

Top 3 Sights:

  1. Barcelona Design Museum and Agbar Tower
  2. Forum-Diagonal Mar Park
  3. Poble Nou Cemetery

Foothills: Sants-Montjuïc

This is the sleeping area that surrounds Montjuïc Hill to the north (Poble Sec) and west (Sants). It is the main transportation hub of the city - Sants train station – as well as Plaza España, which is only a 30-minute walk from the historic center, or 10 minutes by public transportation.

Despite its proximity to the city center, life in Sants Montjuïc is quiet and peaceful. Locals go for morning runs in the parks of Montjuïc and enjoy breathtaking views of Barcelona, or meet up with friends in the evening at one of the many small tapas bars.

Olympic Park and Television Tower at Montjuïc
Olympic Park and Television Tower at Montjuïc

Top 5 Sights:

  1. The legacy of the 1929 Universal Exposition: Poble Espanyol Open Air Museum, MNAC Museum, Mies Van Der Rohe Pavilion
  2. The legacy of the 1992 Olympic Games: Olympic Stadium and Sant Jordi Palace
  3. Font Màgica de Montjuïc
  4. Jardines Botànic and Jardines Grec
  5. Espanya Industrial Park

The Hills of Barcelona: Horta-Guinardó

In the Horta-Guinardó area, the beautiful 19th-century rustic mansions of the Catalan bourgeoisie remain preserved; at the time, the land was beyond the boundaries of Barcelona.

Today, the hillside district of Horta Guinardó is a quiet residential area with steep streets, staircases, leafy parks, and the best viewpoints. Mostly, Catalans live there and tourists are not common.

Top 3 Attractions:

  1. Horta Labyrinth Park
  2. Collserela Park
  3. Bunkers del Carmel

Les Corts: The Business Center of Barcelona

Les Corts, one of Barcelona's most prestigious districts, is the headquarters of powerful Catalan and international companies, banks, and shopping centers, as well as the most prestigious universities in Catalonia. During the day, the district is buzzing with business activity, and in the evenings and on weekends, the streets are quiet as locals spend their time in gyms, the area's high-end restaurants, or retreating to the countryside.

Camp Nou stadium of Barcelona Football Club
Bird's eye view of the Camp Nou, the FC Barcelona stadium

Top 5 Sights:

  1. Camp Nou Stadium
  2. Pedralbes Monastery
  3. Pedralbes Royal Palace and Gardens
  4. Torre Bellesguard Tower
  5. Elephant Club

Nou Barris: Immigration Center

This remote area of Barcelona is considered the most deprived in the city and is populated by immigrants from Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Latin America. The Nou Barris district is not safe in the eyes of most Barcelona residents, although the authorities have done a lot to improve the district's well-being. For example, they have opened many green parks and built free playgrounds and sports areas. There are also shops with the most democratic prices in Barcelona, restaurants with international cuisine, and small bars and clubs.

Top 3 Attractions:

  1. Nou Barris Central Park
  2. Can Dragó Park
  3. La República Sculpture (Homenaje a Pi i Margall)
Nectar club Barcelona
Circulo Barcelona
Mr. Tau Barcelona social club
La Orquesta social club Barcelona
Smoke Signal social club Barcelona
1UP Barcelona