The district of Sants – traditional and transgressive.

Vibe on the street: independent, lively, with a strong sense of community, occasionally a little down-at-heel.
Famous for: its large railway station (Estació de Sants), the relaxing water features in Parc de l’Espanya Industrial, its annual street festival in August when it tries to outdo Gràcia.
The district of Sants – traditional and transgressive.
  • As an established residential area, Sants isn’t home to any of the major landmarks within the city, but in August it comes into its own as a riot of colour and characters take to the streets for its annual street festival. Its Festa Major comes hot on the heels of the district of Gràcia’s celebrated street party, and the residents of Sants take barely disguised pleasure in competing with their rivals for the prize of best decorated barrio.

    Nearby sights

    Within Sants itself, the most picturesque part you could visit is the not too auspiciously named Parc de l’Espanya Industrial, which is very close to the train station. Dating from the mid 1980s, it’s a strangely compelling space, dominated by the artificial lake in the centre. Series of stone steps rise up from the water, in a sort of faux amphitheatre set-up, and it’s a lovely place to sit with a packed lunch or take the kids to play. Sliding down the chute in the shape of a dragon might be a particular highlight (for the kids, that is).

    Skirting around the periphery of the neighbourhood are various other sights of interest. Just off the Plaça de Espanya you’ll find the entrance to Montjuïc, with the grand spectacle of the Magic Fountain and escalators leading up to the Palau Nacional, where the art museum MNAC is housed. Up in the other direction is Camp Nou, for any ardent football fans, while towards L’Eixample Esquerra is the green Parc de Joan Miró, presided over by his iconic statue ‘Dona I Ocell’ (‘Woman and Bird’).

    Eating out

    Restaurants in Sants tend to concentrate largely on Catalan cuisine, although there are a few good Italian and Mexican places too. A good choice for a romantic dinner is Blau, on Carrer de Tenor Masini. A small, intimate place with starched white tablecloths, it offers exceptionally friendly service. If you’re heading out in a group, you could try Taverna La Parra, which is down a side street just off the main street of Creu Coberta. With its vine-clad terrace and casks of wine, it has a cosy and authentically Catalan feel, and the food is always good value. On Carrer Galileu you’ll find Àtica, whose set lunch menu is particularly good value. It doesn’t look like much from outside, but the food is beautiful, with a surprisingly creative choice of dishes.


    Sants isn’t really known for its nightlife, but there are plenty of clubs in the neighbouring L’Eixample Esquerra for you to choose from. Within Sants, the little square Plaça d’Osca is earning a name as an alternative, cool place to go for a drink, with its open-air cafes and bars. If you do fancy going to a club not too far from your hotel or apartment, there’s Privilege on Carrer de Tarragona. Hailing originally from Ibiza, it’s a large venue that specialises in house music.

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