Certain cities reveal themselves best on foot. Barcelona, the heart of Catalonia, Spain, is one such city. Stunning, vibrant, happening and historic—Here’s your cheat sheet to Barcelona’s most walkable neighborhoods.
Built in the 18th century, this neighborhood’s known for its four sandy beaches, the nightlife and the extensive restaurants that line the boardwalk. Stroll through the historic centre and explore its simple architecture, then take in the luxurious yachts along Port Vell. Other must-sees include the aquarium, the La Barceloneta market and The Museum of Catalan History.
A newer neighborhood, Eixample’s packed with modernist architecture to explore. From Gaudi’s astonishing Basilica de la Sagrada Familia to his fairyland-esque Casa Battló, this photogenic neighborhood is unforgettable. When you’re ready for a break, pull up a seat at the Mercado del Ninot. This restored market offers fresh produce, meats, fish as well as delectable tasting bars and eateries.
The Gothic Quarter is a compelling web of small winding streets, bars and vintage and contemporary shops. Take in gorgeous city vistas from the top of stunning Barcelona Cathedral. El Quatre Gats cafe, a Picasso and Gaudi favorite, is a fantastic place for a bite. Plaça del Pi with the Santa Maria del Pi church has a small weekend market for Catalan specialities like cheese, nougat, fuet (dry-cured pork sausage) and honey.
For current art shows and exhibitions, check out the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art and the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona. This neighborhood is bohemian, hip and full of street art. You’ll find the large La Boqueria market on La Rambla, the most iconic road in Barcelona (keep an eye open for Gaudi’s architecture along the way) for seafood, wine and tapas.
The medieval streets of El Born are alive with haute couture and cafes by day, samba and cocktail bars by night. Come face to face with a few familiar originals at the Picasso Museum, then study the ornate stained glass at the Santa Maria del Mar Basilica. The El Born Cultural and Memorial Center was created from an old market. It features a range of cultural events as well as excavated city ruins from the 1700s.
One of the trendiest neighborhoods, Gràcia maintains a village-like feel. This is where you’ll find eco clothing, accessories, makeup and other products. Although the streets are full of life and activity, there’s a relaxed alternative vibe. Cine Verdi is an old-school cinema with film and other events. Don’t miss Parc Güell. The gardens are interspersed with Gaudi’s modernist sculptures and architecture, including a mosaic dragon.