Spain’s second city is an absolute must for a cheeky weekend getaway and we recommend you pick your accommodation in one of Barcelona’s Barrios to coincide with your sightseeing schedule. Great excuse to go back, time and time again, exploring one barrio at a time.
Gothic Quarter, aka Barri Gotic – Let’s kick off with Barcelona’s oldest district whose narrow winding streets hark back to its Roman heritage. This is the cultural hub; come here to shop, eat, admire the medieval heritage and people watch on the many plaças (squares). La Rambla dominates the Gothic Quarter where the key sights include the Avinguda de la Catedral, Boqueria Market, La Mercè basilica, the City Hall building, Liceu Opera House and Barcelona’s El Call – the Jewish quarter.
Eixample District, aka Gaudi Barrio – Some of best shopping in this city can be found the Eixample Barrio, which is also famed for its exquisite art nouveau architecture – earning it the moniker, the modernist quarter. Based on a bustling grid system, Eixample features quirky hotels located along tree-lined boulevards. There are many bars and restaurants to suit all budgets, although the area feels more chic than the Gothic Quarter. Don’t miss Gaudi’s masterpieces; the Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, Casa Mila and the mighty Sagrada Familia are all here.
Barceloneta Barrio, aka Beach Area – Long before the tourists arrived, this seafront district saw fishermen go about their daily lives – fast forward from the 18th century and the area still retains a village feel with a typically Spanish feel. Surf shops sit alongside seafood restaurants and hip new bars. This is an area perfect for families; home to the largest aquarium in Europe, a huge IMAX complex, a Blue Flag toting beach spanning 422 meters and the scarily high Barceloneta – Montjuïc Cable Car!
El Born Barrio, aka La Ribera – Fashionable El Born fuses lively culture and traditional buildings close to the heart of Barcelona. Close to the beach, this area boasts lively nightlife, busy bars and keenly priced restaurants. More laidback than the Gothic Barrio, travellers can wander the meandering medieval streets including the atmospheric Passeig de Born, where jousts were held in centuries gone by. Take in the Picasso museum, Santa Maria del Mar Church and the Textile Museum. Both the beach and La Ramblas are just ten minutes walk away.
Port Olympic Barrio – A popular spot with families, as the name suggests this modern and stylish district really benefitted from the 1992 Olympic Games regeneration project. Today the area is brimming with well-equipped hotels with convenient access to Barcelona’s key beaches; both Barceloneta and Icària Beach are just minutes away.