Navigating the Barcelona districts is one of the unique pleasures of visiting this city. Each neighborhood in Barcelona offers something distinctive, from the amusement park of Sarria Sant Gervasi, to the bars and restaurants of Les Corts Barcelona (the business district) and the fantastic sight of the Sagrada Familia in the Eixample district. Whether you are looking for a luxurious hotel, an inexpensive apartment, fine dining, or the hustle and bustle of a gourmet food market, various the Barcelona districts have something for everyone.
The historic old center of Barcelona is located in the Ciutat Vella district. The Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) in the Ciutat Vella allows visitors to glimpse the splendor of Barcelona's medieval past. Intricately designed gothic cathedrals such as the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, carved stone gargoyles, and historic government buildings are just a few of the attractions of this district. One of the most diverse and bohemian Barcelona neighborhoods is also located in Ciutat Vella; El Raval used to be a haven for prostitutes and criminals but today shelters artists and students.
Visitors with a taste for Antoni Gaudi's phantasmagoric architecture will head straight to Eixample. Several prominent buildings that Gaudi designed are located in this district, including the Sagrada Familia Cathedral with its multiple spires, the La Pedrera mansion where not one line on the building is a straight one, and the organically shaped House of Bones, Casa Batllo. Another architectural destination, Sants Montjuic contains many attractions that were built for the 1929 World Exposition, including the ornate National Palace and the Magic Fountain, as well as the Olympic village of 1992.
Sarria Sant Gervasi is most famous for Tibidabo Mountain, at the summit of which tourists and families can visit the oldest amusement park in Barcelona. There is also a beautiful church at the very top of the mountain where you can see a panoramic view of Barcelona.
The streets of the Gracia district come to life during the Festa Major de Gracia, where dancing and music take over the streets and the inhabitants compete in the street decoration competition. Gracia also houses the Parc Guell, a peaceful garden also designed by Gaudi, with organically shaped terraces and some spectacular mosaics.
Les Corts Barcelona is a financial district with many excellent restaurants and business-oriented hotels. There are also several shopping malls as well as elegant bars and tapas restaurants. Les Corts Barcelona is one of the least populated Barcelona districts, but with a large variety of hotels to choose from it is a good place to find accommodation in the city and is linked to the downtown area by the subway and other public transportation. If you want, you can even walk from Les Corts into Eixample and the Old Town in under an hour. The famous stadium of the Barcelona Football Club is also located in Les Corts. Camp Nou, as the stadium is fondly called, is the largest soccer stadium in Europe.
Nou Barris district is named for the nine neighborhoods that originally formed the district. It is located next to Sant Andreu Barcelona district in the northern, outlying area of the city. Nou Barris is known for the beautiful botanical gardens at the Parc Central, where visitors can get away from the city on the peaceful grounds. The area also hosts a popular three-day flamenco festival in July every year, making Nou Barris popular among visitors interested in local art and culture.
Barcelona has such a diversity of neighborhoods and attractions that it is best to spend at least a few days here, sampling different neighborhoods of the city in order to gain an idea of what makes this Catalonian destination so unique among the cities of the world.