- In most minds, Les Corts is associated with one thing only – being home to the stadium of FC Barcelona, the infamous Camp Nou. Not as high-profile a district as the Gothic quarter or Sagrada Família, Les Corts is nonetheless worth thinking about for your trip to Barcelona. An affluent residential and business area, it offers solid public transport options and is considered a fairly safe area of the city. Admittedly if you’re here for a long weekend you might want to be closer to the historical centre of Barcelona and the beach, but Les Corts does offer an interesting alternative.
Finding your way around Les Corts is a lot easier than in some of Barcelona’s other barrios, as it has two large thoroughfares – the vast Diagonal Avenue and the Travessera de Les Corts. Its main reference point and tourist attraction is Barcelona FC’s stadium Camp Nou, which sits smack bang in the centre of the neighbourhood.
Les Corts nestles neatly among several other neighbourhoods, such as L’Eixample Esquerra to the east and the Beverly Hills of Barcelona, Pedralbes, to the north. To the south sits Sants, an authentically Catalan area and the old industrial centre of the city.
Know your neighbours
Les Corts is the business centre of the city, with many high-rises buildings and offices lining its streets, so you’ll see plenty of professionals during the rush hour and lunch periods. It also has a strong student presence thanks to the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, which gives the area a lively feeling during the day. However, like the office workers, not many of them live locally so the area calms down significantly when people return home.
Les Corts doesn’t have the independent boutique shops that you find tucked away in areas such as the Born and the Gothic quarter, which is a shame, but if it’s a day surrounded by the big names in fashion that you’re after, then this barrio is a great option.
Where can you get all your favourite shops and an amazing food court all under one roof? The answer in Les Corts is simple, and that’s L’illa shopping centre. It’s very Rockefeller-esk and is jam-packed with designer boutiques, popular brands such as Zara and Camper and even a huge Corte Inglés. You could spend a day here and still leave with more to see. There’s also a courtyard with some great cafés as well as some tapas and sushi bars in the food court if you get peckish.
If you’re intending to splash the cash during your visit, then Plaça de Francesc Macià will give you plenty of opportunities, with shops such as Louis Vuitton and Mango.
Les Corts has great transport links and is really easy to navigate. Line 3 of the metro runs the whole length of the district, allowing you to travel to the city centre and beyond. As well as the metro, there’s also the Tram line that runs along Diagonal Avenue and further west to the outskirts of the city. On foot, les Corts is an easy district to discover and is in fact the third smallest in Barcelona. You can walk to the famous Plaça de Espanya and the Magic Fountain in about 25 minutes, while the often overlooked Royal Palace and its gardens in Pedralbes is around 20 minutes’ walk away.
- Rows of apartment blocks sadly obscure any trace of the rural origins of Les Corts, as the village itself was swallowed up by Barcelona in the late 19th century. But behind L’illa shopping centre you will find a surprising survivor amongst the uptown high rises in the form of Plaça de Concordia. It’s a pretty little square dominated by the Església Maria de Déu del Remei which dates from the mid-19th century and has a 40-metre-high bell tower. The name of this plaça means ‘Harmony Square’, which is very appropriate for this tree-lined pedestrianised area with a mix of restaurants, bars and small businesses. It’s a serene spot among the bustling streets of Les Corts, popular with locals, and is host to special events like concerts, markets and activities for children.
The jewel in the crown of Les Corts is the mighty Camp Nou. Home to FC Barcelona, it’s one of the most famous stadiums in the world and lots of tourists come to Barcelona just to get a glimpse of it. There are a few Camp Nou-related things you can do during your stay. You can go to one of the games themselves (a must for any football fan), or take a tour around the Camp Nou stadium and museum. These self-guided tours allow you to take a sneak peek behind the scenes, with access to the changing rooms, dug-outs, director’s box and of course the pitch. The museum meanwhile is packed with silverware and memorabilia, not to mention informative displays and precious archive footage that tells the story of the club from 1899 until today.
Without selling Les Corts short, this area is not particularly well known for its gastronomic delights. There are however a few little places worth checking out if you decide to spend your city break here, one being Piscolabis. This is a very stylish joint, conveniently located on Diagonal Avenue, and it gets very busy at lunch time when people spill out of their offices looking for something quick and tasty to eat. It has a great selection of tapas, which are all cooked to order in front of you and served by friendly staff.
Another popular restaurant is Negro-Rojo, also on Diagonal Avenue, with a name as one of the best place to get authentic Japanese food as well as other international cuisine. Upstairs is ‘Negro’, where you can sample food from all over the world. It has a great atmosphere on Friday and Saturday nights when it’s packed until the early hours. Downstairs on the other hand is ‘Rojo’, where they serve the most fantastic, fresh Japanese food and people sit at long shared tables.
It has to be said, Les Corts isn’t Barcelona’s top nightlife destination, but there are a few places that locals favour for a night out. One of them is Bikini, situated behind the shopping centre L’illa shopping centre. It has indie and rock roots but into the small hours this is replaced by club and house music. Another cool hangout is Sala Becool. It plays host to gigs featuring local talent from Thursday to Saturday from 10pm, followed by popular DJ sets from midnight. Since Les Corts is very well connected to the rest of the city, it’s very easy to experience the more renowned after-dark hotspots during your stay - just jump on the green metro line to the city centre and you’ll be there in 10 minutes.
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