Why Gracia in Barcelona Maybe the Best Neighborhood


One of the most distinct and trendiest neighborhoods in Barcelona is Gracia. It's a good place for a leisurely stroll or a stay in the city for your holiday. Choose it for an authentic atmosphere - cozy, not crowded streets with many local restaurants, boutiques and bars.

I've been to Barcelona a couple of times. And I love the city. But this time Gracia opened it to me from another side. Calm and unhurried. I would say that Gracia is all about famous Gaudi sites and an annual local festival, hipsters and where you can get the truly local experience.

Gracia Barcelona Park Guell Gracia district in Barcelona. Entrance to the Park Guell. Image by © Bernard Gagnon / CC BY-SA 3.0

It is one of the few neighbourhoods in Barcelona where tourism isn't rampant. The place where many artists live. And it is well connected with public transport.

So here are my suggestions for Things to Do in Gracia district:

Enjoy Park Guell

Salamander in park guell at Gracia, Barcelona Famous Salamander in Gaudi's Park Guell. Image by © Valerie et Agnes / CC BY-SA 3.0

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This famous garden complex was designed by Antoni Gaudi during 1900 -1914. Park Guell situated on the hill of El Carmel, and it's one of the main touristic landmarks in the city. It is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, known as "Works of Antoni Gaudí". Fantastic shape houses, beautiful greens, fairy sculptures, atmosphere of peace and calm - it is all about Park Guell in Barcelona.

Taste Tapas on Placa del Sol

Placa del Sol in Gracia, Barcelona Placa del Sol. Image by © ismaelgallego

The most famous square and busiest place in Gracia whose name comes from a sculpture, a sundial with twelve signs of the zodiac designed by Joaquim Camps. On Placa del Sol you'll find many restaurants, tapas bars and the occasional street entertainment. Restaurants are full of typically Catalan cuisine, with terraces which you can relax on. You'll see residents chatting away outside of restaurants and bars on terraces, benches, and even on the floor, while children play: this is unbeaten Barcelona.

And don't forget experience nightlife on "Sun Plaza" enjoying each other’s company. Del Sol is a good place for meeting new people and communicating with locals.

Take fun at the Gracia Festival

Festival Major de Gracia in Barcelona Annual Festival Major de Gracia. Image by © anselmpallas / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Colorful, loud and non stop - this is how you'll be welcomed at the Festa Major de Gracia, for a whole week during each mid-August. The concept of the festival is a competition for a prize of the best decorated street. A creative and original approach which participants demonstrate will be interesting for kids and adults.

Shop at Carrer Verdi

Carrer Verdi in Gracia, Barcelona Shopping at Carrer de Verdi. Image by © Maria Jose Gonzalez

There isn't better place for shopping in Gracia like Carrer de Verdi. Consider this location if you're into independent local brands by hip Barcelona designers.

Speaking of fashion, Vogue listed Gracia among 4 neiborhoods "to truly experience Catalan culture". They say about it: ".. is home to a flourishing mix of locals, young people .. you’ll run into few tourists but a number of ethnic restaurants, markets, and lively bars".

Shopping can be exhausting, no secrets. Thus it is a good idea to fuel yourself. Guys from Devour, claim Verdi street as the loveliest in this area. They recommend two places here where to eat.

Rest at Placa de la Virreina

Sant Joan church in Gracia Barcelona on Placa de la Virreina Sant Joan church on Placa de la Virreina . Image by © descubriendoconneus

La Virreina is maybe the most beautiful plazas in Gracia, with its pearls - the Sant Joan church and fountain of Ruth. The ideal place for relaxation with a cup of coffee.

Catch sight of Gaudi's Casa Vicens

Casa Vicens of Gaudi in Gracia, Barcelona Casa Vicens by Antoni Gaudi. Image by © smartkitten / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Another artwork of the famous architect can be discovered here, in Gracia. This building designed by Antoni Gaudi believed to be his first masterpiece. Built as a summer house for Manuel Vicens, Casa Vicens is now a museum on Carrer de les Carolines, 24.

The building is notable by a plurality of decorative elements, like iron windows, and vibrant colors. You'll notice that the master paid attention to each little detail, which all together make this Casa modern and spacious.

Consider the Jaume Fuster Library

Jaume Fuster Library in Gracia, Barcelona Jaume Fuster Library (Biblioteca). Image by © Victoria Bonetti

Head to Placa Lesseps to visit this modern library which has over 5000 sq m of space and was designed by the architect Josep Llinás Carmona, an important Catalan artist who won the FAD award in architecture in 2006. It's also where you'll find Parròqui de la Verge de Gracia I Sant Josep, which is a bit of a mouthful, so locals call it Josepets. It's a lovely looking Baroque church. There's also Casa Ramos by the Art Nouvo Artist Juame Torres built in 1906.

Watch a Movie at Cines Verdi

Cines Verdi, Gracia Barcelona Cines Verdi. Image by © Josep Monleon

Don't miss a chance to visit Barcelona's finest cinema - Cines Verdi. With 9 screens, it is always a good choice of quality films in original language with subtitles. The place for independent movies for any taste. They also have their own Verdi French Film Sessions, dedicated to French films and Verdi Kids for younger viewers.

Synchronize Watches on Placa de la Vila de Gracia

Placa Vila de Gracia in Barcelona Placa Vila de Gracia (clock tower behind :). Image by © Eduardo Fitch

Gràcia was never originally a part of Barcelona, in fact it used to be a town outside of Barcelona. The main thing on Vila de Gracia Square is the Clock Tower that acted as the old town hall. Good place to sit and relax at nearby cafes.

Check Information in Palau Robert

Palau Robert centre in Gracia Barcelona Palau Robert building. Image by © Eder Mac

You can find this place on Passeig de Gracia 107, it's practically in the corner with L'Eixample neighborhood, but it's the Tourist Information Centre of Catalonia. There are exhibition halls, meeting rooms, and areas for advice and information. It was built in 1903 and at the time was the private residence of the aristocrat Roberto Robert y Surís.

Try Local Food at a Local Market

Mercat de L'Abaceria Central in Gracia, Barcelona Local Food Market L'Abaceria Central. Image by © Kênia Castro / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Travessera de Gracia is perhaps the most touristic part of the neighborhood, though it's still full of residents going shopping. It dates back to medieval times and there are parts documented as far back as 1057. It got its present name in 1932. Before 1867 it was known as simply Travesera, and was a part of the neighborhood, which at the time was a town outside of Barcelona. You can find a food market nearby, el Mercat de L'Abaceria Central, which opened its doors in 1892.

Airbnb remarked about local markets in its review: "In this neighborhood, even food markets provide boutique experiences". And I would add, if you've been to Barcelona and didn't try Jamon, the real local Jamón ibérico - you don't know anything about the taste of the city!

A place to Stay

If you'll like this district that much to stay in it during your visit, then Gracia has plenty of options to offer.

I won't recommend or advise anything in particular, but after a simple research, say, on booking dot com - there are about fifty variants. Prices for apartments/hotels vary from €70-90 for a 1-night stay. Hostels may welcome you from €20.

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So when you stay in Barcelona, don't just choose the areas on the beaten path. Think instead about Barcelona holiday in Gracia, with all the charm it has to offer. You won't regret it.

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