The district of Diagonal Mar - Barcelona’s newest kid on the block.

Vibe on the street: contemporary, professional, residential, commercial.
Famous for: its triangular-shaped Fòrum building, its massive three-storey shopping centre, a ground-breaking urban park, Barcelona’s newest beach (Llevant).
The district of Diagonal Mar - Barcelona’s newest kid on the block.
  • Diagonal Mar is not the area to choose if you’re after a thriving cultural scene or boozy nights out. It is great, though, if you want a peaceful place to stay and don’t mind getting the metro or tram into the city centre. For local entertainment, your options are the massive mall and its multi-screen cinema, heading down to Llevant beach, or relaxing in the area’s landscaped park. Future developments include an aquatic zoo and new marina, but these still look to be some way off.

    Nearby sights

    In 2011 the Fòrum building became the new home for Barcelona’s Museu de Ciències Naturales (Natural History Museum), where you could easily while away a couple of hours. Epitomising Barcelona’s obsession with energy-saving measures is the dramatic Plaça Fotovoltaica, a huge structure of solar panels, which is now a familiar feature on the city’s skyline. But the Parc Diagonal Mar is the dominant attraction, and the one people tend to gravitate towards.

    Designed by the same Catalan architect behind the Scottish Parliament (the late great Enric Miralles), the park covers 15 hectares, and follows in Barcelona’s innovative tradition of successfully mixing nature and architecture. It’s made up of seven different areas, and is full of water features, coils of aluminium tubes that function as an irrigation system and a children’s play area. All in all, an interesting spot to sunbathe, read a book or let the kids run amok.

    Eating, drinking and socialising

    It has to be said that Diagonal Mar is not exactly the social butterfly of Barcelona’s barrios. Once shoppers retreat at night-time, it tends to go back to being a quiet residential neighbourhood.

    For nightlife, you could either head into the city centre on the metro (or a taxi), or else target the well-known bars and clubs in Vila Olímpica, slightly along the coast. There are plenty of modern bars and restaurants in the shopping centre, although these tend to be franchises and part of a chain. A decent restaurant within the shopping complex is the Basque Sagardi, up on the third floor. The concept is based on a traditional Basque cider house, and guests are invited to serve their own cider from the oak barrels. For a more romantic atmosphere, you could try L’Escola, which gives cookery-school students a chance to show off their talents. Service is friendly and the food represents very good value for money.

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.