- If you’re looking for a relaxing break in the Catalan capital and you decide to stay in the northern neighbourhood of Sarrià, you won’t be disappointed. Quaint, quiet and a world away from the busy city centre, it’s not difficult to see why it was independent until 1921, after which it was annexed to Barcelona (to many of the residents’ dismay).
This is a largely residential area but its serenity and local feel is perfect for those looking for a peaceful and authentic experience in Barcelona. There are lots of great cafés and patisseries as well as the city’s most famous patatas bravas bar. Sarrià is also home to the mountain of Tibidabo, with its amazing views and iconic church.
It’s only when you look at a map of the whole of Barcelona that you realise how much ground this district covers. Its main thoroughfares are Via Augusta, Passeig de la Bonanova, and Ronda de Dalt, however the area stretches from Avinguda Diagonal all the way up to Tibidabo and beyond.
Sarrià sits sandwiched between neighbouring regions of stylish Gràcia, the affluent Pedralbes and the residential Horta-Guinardó. It’s difficult to put your finger on the district’s main reference point, as apart from Tibidabo - which isn’t easily accessible - it doesn’t really have one.
Know your neighbours
It’s pretty safe to say that the pace of life in Sarrià is definitely slower than the rest of Barcelona, and a large percentage of the population are older citizens enjoying a peaceful retirement. Most neighbourhood life centres around the high street Carrer Major de Sarrià, where everybody seems to know everyone else. In our experience Sarrià is a very friendly place, and the close-knit community tend to welcome you with open arms. Most residents are Catalan through and through, and are fiercely proud of their district’s separate history.
If a new outfit is what you want then Sarrià doesn’t offer a great deal of choice. It is, however, it is a food shopper’s paradise.
One stand-out site is the market on Pg. Reina Elisenda de Montcada, housed within a beautiful red brick Modernista building. Although on a smaller scale than the famous Boqueria market, it’s an equally impressive feast for the senses - pick up some fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and meat from the friendly local traders.
Elsewhere, on the high street, we love Foix de Sarrià. This is a fantastic patisserie that draws in clients from far and wide, on the hunt for the perfect pudding for that special occasion. It has a delectable selection of celebration cakes, pastries and macaroons, as well as mouth-watering breads and buns. Another shop with a certain lure is The Chocolate Factory. This charming little shop smells delicious and boasts wonderful displays of chocolate lollies, jams, truffles and much more. It’s ideal for a Halloween treat, Christmas presents or simply for a little indulgence.
Getting to Sarrià is surprisingly simple - just hop on line 6 from Plaça Catalunya and it’s a 12-minute journey. Line 6 makes up part of the FGC line and there are over 10 stops in Sarrià alone. You can use your standard metro ticket on all of these lines. As we’ve mentioned, Sarrià is a very large region so getting around on foot can present quite a challenge at times, especially if you want to head up to Tibidabo. One way to reach its dizzy heights is to take the FGC to Avinguda Tibidabo and cross the road to the tram shelter. From here, the Tramvia Blau can ferry you up the hill to Plaça Doctor Andreu. Here you change to the Funicular del Tibidabo, which takes people up to the top every 15 minutes, costing 4.50€ for a return ticket. Alternatively, the Tibibus runs directly to Tibidabo from Plaça Catalunya (outside the Corte Inglés) for around 3€ from 10.30 every day.
- Now we’ve told you exactly how to get there, a trip to Tibidabo and the beautiful Sagrat Cor should be on the cards! The mountain stands 550 metres in height and the views are legendary. On a clear day you can see across to the Pyrenees and even Mallorca. The church of the Sagrat Cor (Sacred Heart) crowning its peak has become one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks and can be seen for miles around. It’s topped by a huge statue of Christ which is enduringly popular with tourists – many visitors come every weekend to take in its beauty and the surrounding panoramas.
If you’re staying in Sarrià with your family and want to entertain them for a few hours, then CosmoCaixa is ideal. The city’s science museum has recently undergone a dramatic refurbishment which includes four subterranean levels and the Bosc Inundat (1000 square metres of real Amazonian rainforest!). There’s also a bubble planetarium which is great for younger kids and lots of interactive activities and shows during the holidays.
Don’t let the décor fool you - Bar Tomás is the place to go for patatas bravas. People all over Barcelona will tell you about its reputation. It is utterly unassuming and the waiters aren’t the most charming, but the spicy potatoes with garlic mayo and salsa picante are fantastic. It’s not all they serve, but it might as well be.
Located just off the Plaça de Sarrià with a lovely outdoor terrace, El Vell Sarrià is the perfect place for a family get-together. No frills, just traditional, wholesome Catalan cuisine with a strong focus on rice dishes.
If you’re holidaying in Sarrià, take a stroll in the beautiful Turó Park before stopping at the originally named Bar Turó. It turns out reliably fresh tapas, pizza and pasta throughout the day. It has a relaxed atmosphere and the majority of people choose to sit on the street terrace and watch the world go by while enjoying a cerveza or two.
Sarrià isn’t well-known for its nightlife and this is reflected in the lack of decent clubs in the area. Its saving grace is in the form of a cocktail bar called Gimlet, ideally located near the metro stop of Muntaner. This is a favourite hang-out with locals, especially during the summer months as they can take advantage of the outdoor area. Don’t expect your typical beverages here - they experiment with beer and frappe cocktails, as well as bringing out special seasonal selections.
Another bar worth checking out for its spectacular views alone is Mirablau. This is a chic venue, complete with an outdoor terrace that lets you soak up the spectacular vistas while enjoying a cheeky cocktail. Otherwise, there isn’t a great deal in Sarrià to write home about. If you do choose to spend your city break here, you’re probably better off heading to nearby Gràcia for nightlife. Don’t forget that Sarrià does have good metro links, so heading down to the city centre for a night out is always an option.
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