By Nancy Todd
We Scoopettes love living in Barcelona, and have Scoop on the coolest neighborhoods in our city. Read over this list to find out which area of Barcelona is the right one for your stay.
1. L’Eixample (meaning The Expansion) is Nancy’s neighborhood. With thousands of Art Nouveau buildings with their twirly vines, stained glass roses, and rippling facades, Gaudí was a big influence here. La Pedrera, Casa Batlló, and the famous Sagrada Familia Church loom skyward in L’Eixample. Cerdà was the genius who designed this grid in the late 1800′s. The street corners were chamfered to allow the trams and cool Mediterranean breezes pass. It is a photographer’s dream. Peek in through the huge doorways into lobby’s with old gas lamps, colorful tile floors, and elaborate graffito work on the walls. Damn, I love my neighborhood.
Fav street: Enrique Granados.
Fav restaurant: La Bodequeta, Rambla de Catalunya, 100. Art Nouveau tile floors, neighbors gather, noisy, authentic Catalan tapas.
2. In Gracia there are few folks with floppy maps in hand. It’s a neighborhood with bohemian roots which continue to this day; reefer is in the air, drums beat. Kids play soccer in the plazas, old folks shop for bread, and cafe life teems. Gaudí’s first obscure house is here, Casa Vicens, and it is a dicombobulated creation worth the walk. Squeezed between the Green and Yellow Metro Lines, Gracia is easy to get to. The Gracia Festival in August is several days of partying, dancing, and displays. And did I mention reefer?
Fav street: Verdi Street for its original version cinema and fun bars.
Fav restaurant: A Casa Portuguesa, Carrer de Verde 58, Portugese wines and tapas. Contemporary digs, fun, thirty-something crowd.
3. To the left of Las Ramblas, as you head to the sea, is the Gothic Neighborhood. In its crackled web of lanes, many of which are so skinny that a fat American car would have it’s mirrors torn off to a jagged nub, is one of the largest preserved medieval neighborhoods in the world and the Roman dudes also left their mark over 2,000 years ago, too. We love to go bar-hopping here with friends on the weekend. No plan except an initial meeting spot and we are out till at least three. The Barcelona Cathedral has Sardana dancing, which is Catalan folk dancing, on Sunday afternoon, about one. The Frederic Mares Museum and The Shoe Museum are quirky stops. Watch your wallet day and night. Plaza Neri is one of my top three plazas in the city. Oh, you are going to love getting lost here!
Fav street: Carrer Comtal, lots of excellent shopping!
Fav restaurant: Onofre, a wine and tapas bars just behind the Cathedral. All Spanish wines. (Carrer de les Magdalenes, 19 08002 Barcelona)
There are many more barris, or neighborhoods, in the city to choose from (Poblenou, El Raval, Poble Sec, La Barceloneta, etc), but the above are some of the Scoopettes’ faves. Stay tuned for future reviews on areas of Barcelona we recommend staying in. Once you’ve chosen your quarter of the city, look for travel deals online for the best hotel rates. Hotel and hostel rates fluctuate in the metropolis depending on the season and what’s on (for example, expect to pay a lot more if there’s a big trade show in town or if it’s Christmas, etc).
Have you stayed in an area of Barcelona that you really liked (or hated)? Tell us about it!