- The suburb of Clot probably isn’t one you’ll have heard of, as its lack of major landmarks tends to keep it out of the limelight. It’s almost a perfect square on the map, sitting to the north of the city centre, and is bordered by the districts of Sagrada Família, Poble Nou, Sant Andreu and Horta-Guinardó. It’s an established area of Barcelona that offers a quiet corner to stay in, with handy public transport connections to the main city sights.
The somewhat snappy name of ‘Clot’ can be traced back to medieval times, when the Latin term for a honey clot referred to the area’s rural character and focus on supplying agricultural products to the city’s population. (The honey producers have disappeared nowadays, however, so if you’re phobic about bees, fear not.) In the 19th century, the creeping industrialisation that was starting to affect the peripheral districts of Barcelona also spread to Clot. You can still see traces of this industrial past dotted around the place, such as the ingenious integration of the ruins in the Parc del Clot. Mostly, though, the area has a quiet, everyday residential feel about it.
Know your neighbours
Clot is a very Catalan neighbourhood of Barcelona, and you’ll likely see your fair share of Catalan and FC Barça flags hung from residents’ balconies. People here tend to be Barcelona born and bred, and few foreigners have so far moved into the area. Having said that, locals are exceptionally friendly within this district, and you won’t have any problems finding people willing to give you directions, or chat to you about the weather. The Parc del Clot is a particularly sociable place, and if you’re taking your children there, be prepared for smiling locals to strike up a conversation.
Clot is full of local neighbourhood shops, from chemists and grocers to bakers and pet shops. One particularly nice street if you fancy exploring what local traders have to offer is Carrer de Rogent, which resembles a mini version of the Ramblas (but completely pedestrianised, and much quieter). You won’t find high-end fashion, but you could happily spend an hour or two meandering down this street and checking out the local produce. If shopping malls are more your thing, head to Les Glòries, which is a modern shopping centre on Diagonal Avenue. It currently has 166 shops, from the likes of Zara, H&M and Levi’s to a range of fast-food restaurants. There’s also a Carrefour supermarket in the basement, if you need to do a big shop at the start of your stay.
For a more authentic food shopping experience, you can make full use of Clot’s own local market. It’s been a covered market since the end of the 19th century, but was a major trading site for centuries beforehand. Nowadays, you’ll find stalls selling vibrantly fresh fruit, fish, seafood and all types of Iberian ham.
Metro-wise, you’ve got the Camp de l’Arca station on the blue line 5, as well as Encants on the purple line. From here it’s just one stop to the Sagrada Família, and four to the Passeig de Gràcia. Clot metro station straddles the purple and red lines, and is also connected to the underground train station Estació de El Clot-Aragó. Regional trains run from here to the likes of Girona, Figueres and Blanes, as well as to El Prat airport. There are also several bus routes criss-crossing the district.
The main streets in the area are the Avinguda Meridiana, which slices right through the middle, and the Carrer de Aragó in the south. The district’s streets are easy to navigate on foot, with fairly broad pavements and one-way traffic passing through.
- Although it’s strictly speaking in the neighbouring district of Horta-Guinardó, the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau (Hospital of the Holy Cross and Sant Paul) is a nearby Modernista masterpiece you should definitely make some time for. Designed by Catalan architext Lluis Domènech I Montaner, the complex is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was a fully functioning hospital until 2009, when much-needed renovation work started on the site. You can get free access to its grounds in the meantime, and there are also guided tours several times a morning in a choice of European languages.
Another highlight of the district is the Parc del Clot, which was opened to the public in the mid 1980s. Inspired by the area’s industrial heritage, the space is a welcome breath of fresh air in a predominantly residential area. The ruins of an original 19th-century warehouse have been put to good use, and serve as an aqueduct spilling water down to grateful Labradors below. Meanwhile, residents of every age take advantage of the open-air squash courts, ping pong tables, running routes, kids’ play areas and, of course, boules grounds.
A standout and stalwart of Clot’s restaurants is El Cocinero, on Carrer de Independència. It’s known for its use of quality produce, generous portion sizes and friendly service, all of which make it a hit in the barrio. We can also recommend Els Tres Porquets for any carnivores out there. It’s a small place, perhaps a little on the pricey side, but they serve up high-quality Catalan classics and pride themselves on adding that touch of finesse.
Clot isn’t exactly a hive of activity when it comes to nightlife. There are small local bars, where you can pop in for a drink with the locals, but for a more exciting scene you’ll probably need to look a little further afield. With Clot’s choice of metro lines, though, you’ve got easy access to areas such as L’Eixample Izquierda and the districts of the Ciutat Vella, where there’s an endless choice of clubs.
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