- For a long time Barceloneta’s glory days were most definitely behind it. The former fishermen’s quarters had been left to decline, although the neighbourhood always remained a favourite for locals out for Sunday lunch by the sea. The 1992 Olympic Games triggered massive renovation along the waterfront, and the area’s new spruced-up look and facilities turned it into one of the city’s favourite playgrounds. Loved by residents and travellers alike, it shows no sign of losing its appeal.
A compact corner
The latticed street layout of the district was originally designed to help the military control the local population, and the narrow streets can lend the area a slightly congested feel. But this is more than compensated for by the open expanse of sea and sand waiting for you past the long, landscaped promenade. Surfers, swimmers, cyclists, skateboarders, roller-bladers, dog walkers and sunbathers all take full advantage of the facilities on offer, and it’s an ideal spot just to stop and watch the world go by. In the evenings, Barceloneta takes on a more up-tempo feel, as the beach’s chiringuitos come alive with DJs and diners seeking top-quality seafood.
Know your neighbours
The population of Barceloneta is a fairly diverse bunch. You’ll see retired Catalan couples and young families mingling with foreigners who’ve been lured there by the laid-back lifestyle and easy access to the beach. The beach itself is normally packed in the summer, as both tourists and locals take advantage of sand and sea on the city’s doorstep. The area takes on quite a different identity in the autumn and winter months, though, when the crowds dwindle and a calmer pace of life takes over.
If you need to stock up the fridge during your stay, your first port of call should be the local market (Mercat de Barceloneta), which dates back to 1884 and was revamped between 2005 and 2007. Alongside the still-squirming fish you’ll find stalls selling fruit, nuts, sweets and the ever-present Serrano ham. For bread and cakes, you’re in luck - being based in Barceloneta means you’ll be close to the Baluard bakery, which is practically a city institution. Otherwise, there are several small supermarkets around, many of which will stay open till late at night.
Barceloneta’s not a large area by any city’s standards, so getting around doesn’t tend to be a problem. The closest metro stop is Line 4’s ‘Barceloneta’, which is on Carrer del Doctor Aiguader. Thanks to their grid-like layout, the streets behind the quayside are easy to find your way around. Plenty of local buses pass through the area, while taxis are never in short supply either. Or, of course, you could just blend in with the locals and pick up your skateboard.
- You’ll probably want to waste no time in hitting the beach. This is definitely the main appeal of Barceloneta, but if you fancy stretching your legs a bit, there are other highlights within walking distance.
Port Vell (the ‘old port’) is right beside Barceloneta, and nowadays is used as a harbour for some very fancy yachts. Right beside it is the Museu d’Historia de Catalunya, which tends to be a hit with kids and adults alike. (The museum is also a good spot to have some lunch, offering an economic set menu in its ‘La Miranda’ top-floor restaurant, together with some brilliant views of the harbour.) Just along from here is the Moll d’Espanya, the broad wharf that will take you to Barcelona’s Aquarium and Maremagnum shopping centre (the only such centre in the city that opens regularly on a Sunday). If you fancy a change of scenery, from sand to turf, you could head up to Ciutadella Park, just north of Barceloneta. With its zoo, boating lake and resident mammoth, it’s a great place to relax.
Restaurants in Barceloneta, as you’d probably guess, do a mean turn in fish and seafood dishes. If you’re after some premium paella (with a price tag to match) head to Can Majó, right on the waterfront. A few blocks north is the great-value tapas restaurant La Bombeta, which is famous for its house croquettes and quick-fire service. For a totally different taste, head to the upmarket Indian restaurant Rangoli, which benefits from a prime location down on the Passeig de Joan de Borbó. The place has been garnering some rave reviews, and is praised particularly for its tasting menu (‘menu de degustación’), lamb dishes and decent range of veggie options.
Beers by the beach
Bars-wise, local, traditional haunts tend to dominate. Worth mentioning is Bar Jai Ca, a raucous but sociable place, which serves excellent tapas. It’s a favourite with the locals, so try to get there early if you want a seat. Meanwhile, Italian-run El Filferro is a small but intoxicating space that offers cheap bites along with its house wines. Then there’s Bar Leo, which is run by a formidable Andalucian señora with a penchant for flamenco music. This bar brims with character, and serves up particularly cheap beers. Or, for an entirely different sort of experience, you could take the lift up to the 26th floor of the W Hotel (locally nicknamed ‘the sail’). Sip stylish cocktails in the Eclipse bar against a stunning backdrop of coastal views. Afterwards, you could take a stroll along the promenade to Port Olympic (Vila Olímpica) if you fancy trying out one of the well-known waterfront nightclubs.
VideosNo videos right now.
Got an opinion about this neighbourhood? Any burning questions about staying here?
Let us know below and we'll be in touch faster than you can say Cava Sangría. For full information on our approach to users’ comments on our site, please see our publishing policy. Please feel free to contact us by phone or email if you have any questions about it.
Our policy on publishing comments
Why we want your comments
On various pages throughout this site we invite you to leave comments and ask questions about places and subjects of interest and on the accommodation that we provide.
We believe that your opinion is always worth hearing and your ability to share insights, stories, tips and suggestions through our comments function is an important part of the online service that we offer.
We will always provide a response to any comment that requires one – so feel free to ask questions or raise issues.
How comments are moderated
The last thing we want to do is censor your opinions or to prevent posts appearing about negative aspects of the city or activities and locations that we feature. Comments will only be taken down if:
- They contain swear words or insults.
- They advertise a business or service (we are however happy to consider covering services provided in Barcelona on our blog).
- They break the law.
- They are off-topic or have been left for malicious reasons by an anonymous source (spam).
In short our policy is to publish comments unless they are at risk of damaging the quality of our website or are likely to result in legal or technical difficulties.
Transparency will always be one of our most important values and we go to great efforts to ensure your feedback remains at the heart of what we do – so please don´t hesitate to get in touch!