Guide to El Raval – Barcelona: top 13 best things to do

0 Flares 0 Flares ×

El Raval, Barcelona. Top 13 things to do

After spending two months in the city last year, I consider Barcelona as one of my favorite cities in the world and definitely one of the hardest places to leave. Although I don’t feel ready to settle down there anytime soon, I might consider to move to Barcelona at some point in the future. And, if I ever do it, El Raval would probably be the neighborhood I would like to move to.

Best known for crime, marginalisation and prostitution, rather than for its culture and artistic life, there is no doubt El Raval is one of the most controversial areas of Barcelona. However, a walk through El Raval will also surprise you by its great amount of cultural spaces, ethnic diversity, charming streets, vintage shops and a good mix of bars. Once a no-go area, El Raval is nowadays a must-see in your visit to Barcelona. Read on to find out 13 ideas to spend a full day in the most multicultural district of Barcelona.

 

1. Start the day drinking a tropical fruits juice in La Boquería.

 

Fresh fruits and vegetables in Mercat de Sant Josep (aka La Boquería).

Fresh fruits and vegetables in Mercat de Sant Josep (aka La Boquería).

Very touristy (maybe too touristy), but still a total feast for the senses. It is worth visiting Boquería Market and shopping around among its more than 300 stalls. You can start your day drinking a tropical fruits juice for 1€. You will need the energy for all that comes later!

Address: La Rambla, 91

 

 

2. Go vintage shopping.

 

Best vintage shops in Barcelona are in Riera Baixa street where, on Saturday mornings, stores take their best clothes to the street. In Riera Baixa you’ll find retro shops as well known as Le Swing and Vingage Galalith.

Vintage shops in El Raval, Barcelona.

Vintage shops in El Raval, Barcelona.

 

 

3. See the sights of Barcelona reflected in the building of the CCCB.

 

Barcelona Contemporary Culture Center reflecting city views.

Barcelona Contemporary Culture Center reflecting city views.

Oddly enough, Barcelona Contemporary Culture Center was designed to reflect the sea on its facade. Don’t forget to visit some of its interesting exhibitions.

Address: Montalegre, 5.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Visit the MACBA, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art.

 

Macba, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art.

Macba, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art.

If you like modern art, you should not miss the MACBA, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art. If you’re not that passionate about museums, just stay outside enjoying the nice weather while watching the skaters who gather in the square around.

Address: Plaça dels Angels, Barcelona.

 

 

 

5. Have a vegetarian lunch.

 

If you are vegetarian or vegan and feel tired that the only things you can eat in most restaurants are “patatas bravas“ or Padrón peppers, you will love El Raval, Barcelona’s neighborhood with the largest number of vegetarian restaurants.

You will have plenty to choose from, but I can recommend two of them:

–  Teresa Carles,  (Jovellanos Street, 2), considered by many as the best vegetarian restaurant in town. Opened since 2011, it offers a menu of healthy and wholesome food that will delight vegetarians (and even non-vegetarians!). For lunch, there is a set menu for 9,5€ including a starter and a main course (but excluding drinks).

Teresa Carles vegetarian restaurant in El Raval (Barcelona).

Teresa Carles vegetarian restaurant in El Raval (Barcelona).

Vegetalia:  located in the charming Emili Vendrell square, this may be the best value vegetarian restaurant in Barcelona. It offers excellent dishes at reasonable prices and a varied cuisine. The set lunch menu (€ 9.90) includes first and main courses, drink, bread and dessert. Bon appetit!

Vegetalia may be the best value vegetarian restaurant in Barcelona and it is yummy!

Vegetalia may be the best value vegetarian restaurant in Barcelona and it is yummy!

 

 

6. Walk through Rambla del Raval

 

Look for the parrots resting in the palms and take some inappropriate pictures with Fernando Botero’s cat.

Rambla del Raval scenes and Fernando Botero infamous Cat.

Rambla del Raval scenes and Fernando Botero (in)famous Cat.

 

 

7. Enjoy fantastic Barcelona’s views from Barceló Raval hotel’s rooftop. 

 

Also located in Rambla del Raval, Barceló Raval hotel has a free-access rooftop open all year round that offers exceptional views of Raval and Barcelona. On Sundays, they serve a deluxe brunch.

Barcelona views from Barcelo Hotel rooftop.

Barcelona views from Barcelo Hotel rooftop.

 

8. Watch a good O.V movie in Filmoteca de Catalunya. 

 

Filmoteca de Catalunya, the place to watch good movies!

Filmoteca de Catalunya, the place to watch good movies!

Closed on Mondays, Filmoteca de Catalunya offers four to six daily sessions the rest of the week from 5 to 10 PM. All sessions are screened in original version with subtitles.

Address: Plaça de Salvador Segui, 1.

 

 

 

9. Lose yourself in books.

 

In Elisabeth Street, 6, you will find one of the most unique bookshops in the world. With over 80,000 titles, Central del Raval is located in a building formerly occupied by a chapel (Capilla de la Misericordia).

La Central is an unique bookshop in Barcelona.

La Central is an unique bookshop in Barcelona.

 

 

10. Get lost and discover the best of El Raval by yourself 

Enjoy these colorful postcards live in Raval…

The best way to discover El Raval is getting lost in its colorful streets!

The best way to discover El Raval is by getting lost in its colorful streets!

 

11. Have a exotic dinner 

 

After such a long day exploring El Raval, I am sure you’ll be hungry! Luckily, you have plenty to choose from. I suggest you to try Bun Bo, a very nicely decorated Vietnamese restaurant that offers huge dishes at affordable prices and mojitos for 3,5€ that are not bad at all.

Address: Carrer dels Angels 6

Lets go for Vietnamese food for dinner. Bun Bo has nice decoration and good food!

Lets go for Vietnamese food for dinner. Bun Bo has nice decoration and good food!

 

 

12. Go bar-hopping in Joaquín Costa street

 

Until recently, not so many dared to enter this street. Today however is always full of people attracted by its mix of hipsters pubs and sleazy taverns .

33/45, one of the bars at the beginning of the street, is characterized by being divided into two parts: one busier at the entrance and another one more relaxed and filled with sofas on the backside.

33/45 Bar, in Joaquin Costa Street.

33/45 Bar, in Joaquin Costa Street.

 

 

13. At night, indulge yourself with live music and another beer.

 

Gipsy Lou, a cozy bar in El Raval with great live music!

Gipsy Lou, a cozy bar in El Raval with great live music!

Not far from Joaquín Costa, you will find Gipsy Lou, a cozy bar with relaxed atmosphere and live music every night. Go there for a good dance to finish this long and nice day in El Raval!

Address: Ferlandina, 55.

 

 

 

 

 

Ana

Ana comes from Southern Spain, but you will hardly ever find her there. After a few years living in Germany and Ireland, she found out life without sun was not worthy for her! Now she lives in Istanbul where she teaches Spanish and writes about things she loves.

One Comment:

  1. gaymortgoldfors.science

    There are so many sides to the vibrant area known as El Raval that it makes it a real challenge to write this article. Raval is an interesting and exciting area in Barcelona however it also has its darker and seedy side that you ought to be aware of. It is certainly not the safest or the cleanest area in Barcelona but it does have a special personality and character all of its own that makes this area a compelling visit.

Comments are closed