What city in the world could be more amazing than Barcelona? With its cosmopolitan feel, breathtaking architecture, relaxed pace of life and perfect climate, it truly is the city that has everything. Every neighborhood in this beautiful city has its own personality, but El Born, Eixample and Raval are the most demanded locations to live.
Bohemian El Born
The US Vogue referred to El Born as the Brooklyn of Barcelona thanks to its many incredible up-and-coming artisanal outposts. Indeed, in El Born the famous historical landmarks such as Basílica Santa Maria del Mar and the Palau de la Música Catalana mix with buzzing artisanal shops that bring a fresh take on fashion, dining, and design. The ancient-meets-modern contrast is interconnected by a hurdle of narrow cobbled streets which create an intimate charm that often lacks in the major cities.
El Born makes up a small part of the Ciutat Vella, the oldest neighborhood of Barcelona. This puts El Born just minutes away from the lovely beach and not too far from the new town either. The area is full of life, packed with restaurants, cafes, bars, boutique shops as well as quieter residential streets and clandestine squares.The cherry on top of the neighborhood is the lack of heavy traffic as most of the streets are pedestrians. Despite this, it’s still incredibly well communicated with the rest of the city thanks to multiple metro and bus connections.
Thanks to the unique mix of old and artisanal, El Born is the perfect place to encounter lovely boutique apartments that combine the cultural and historical features of the neighborhood with style and necessities of modern life.
The incredibly popular and lush L’Eixample was built in the second half of the 19th century. It is a magnificent example of early urban planning in the center of Barcelona, structured in a grid-like formation by a visionary architect Ildefons Cerda. He designed the neighborhood to meet all needs of its residents by integrating hospitals, schools, markets and public gardens into the grid while keeping the roads wide and sunlit. Eixample is known for its cut corners which make intersections feel less crowded and create additional social space for its inhabitants.
While traffic in the neighborhood is quite heavy, the city has already made plans to reduce car pollution by 21%. The plan is based around creating so-called superilles (superblocks), mini neighborhoods around which the traffic will be redirected. This involves liberating almost 60% of streets currently used by cars to transform them into pedestrian areas. The old roads will be repurposed into social spaces. In Eixample, one superblock will be made up of nine blocks of the existing grid. Entry into the superblock by scooter, car or truck will be allowed only to local businesses and residents at a reduced speed of 10km/h.
This will significantly increase the quality of life in an already popular neighborhood which makes an investment into luxury apartments a very alluring idea. The captivating aspect of Eixample is the presence of modernist architecture of the famous Antoní Gaudi and his contemporaries. The buildings are spacious but don’t lack the feeling of community as it’s common in urban areas. The flats in the area are modern, well taken care of and feature high-ceilings and large windows. It’s a perfect neighborhood for those craving a touch of history, modernist architecture, luxury while maintaining and catering to the perks and needs of contemporary living.
Up-And-Coming El Raval
Situated on across Las Ramblas from the Barri Gotic (The Gothic Quarter). El Raval was urbanized gradually without a solid expansion plan in place. Thus, similarly to El Born, it’s characterized by winding narrow streets and mostly vernacular architecture which lends the district plenty of charm and charisma.
Being the closest district to the port of Barcelona, it’s no surprise that at the start of the 19th century the area was strongly associated with immigration, poverty and other social problems. Even 20 years ago, the district was still considered as a no-go place. However, since 1988, the Barcelonian city council have been working to clean up and revive the area with their urban renewal program.
Thanks to their efforts, El Raval has transformed into one of the most lively and creative parts of the city, attracting artists, musicians, and designers from all over. The district is home to important cultural landmarks such as the MACBA Modern Art Museum, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, and the lovely rejuvenated Rambla del Raval. The rejuvenation of the area has opened the door to smart and chic bars and restaurants. You can stumble into classic Modernista bars such as London Bar or Marsella (both allegedly frequented by Hemingway) or opt for something more hip and contemporary such as Marmalade or Betty Fords smooth lounge bars.
Today, El Raval is home to diversity, intercultural atmosphere and artistic expression offering its share of clandestine plazas where the history mixes with modern life.
When we decide to acquire an apartment, we always bet for the best neighborhoods in Barcelona. Places where our clients can feel the vibrancy and the essence of this amazing city. Excellent tapas spots, parks, green areas, and pedestrian streets are some of the lovely surprises you will find when you visit these areas of the city.
If you have any questions about living options in the best neighborhoods of Barcelona, please don’t hesitate to contact us or leave a comment below!
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