Barcelona: A neighbourhood guide

Amy Rosoman for British Airways

Title photography by Brzozowska

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August 2018

Meander around La Eixample to gaze at Gaudí’s architectural wonders, or lounge on the golden sands of The Waterfront District. Explore the labyrinthine streets of The Gothic Quarter, then eat local cuisine and watch playful entertainment along La Rambla. Make your way around this coastal city to see its many facets.

The Gothic Quarter

Soak up the blend of old and new in Barri Gòtic. Wander through the maze of cobbled streets by day and sip local Cava as you dance the night away.


Set in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, the Grand Hotel Central oozes with style and offers panoramic city views from its rooftop terrace and pool. This seriously sleek hotel is an idyllic retreat close to an array of nifty boutiques, enticing eateries and bustling bars.

Feeling brave? Pop to the top of the Columbus Monument for sweeping views of the sea and city.


Savour the flavours of Spain’s tapas culture. Make a move to Tapeo for its creative menu of little dishes. Tuck into mouthfuls of cod fritters, Truffled eggs, meatballs, croquettes, burrata, stuffed quid – the list of mouth-watering plates goes on. Be sure to accompany your tapas with a jug (or two) of sangria. If you’re a vegetarian or recently turned vegan, make tracks to Rasoterra. Order a variety of delicious dishes or choose the tasting menu. Either way, polish off the meal with a local gin.


Stroll through one of Barcelona’s oldest districts. Take a walk around the monumental La Seu Cathedral and admire its impressive interior, such as the fifteenth-century stained glass windows and the intricately carved choir stalls. Discover Roman ruins and an underground trove in the headquarters of Musea d'Historia on Plaça del Rei. Art lovers should visit Plaça del Pi for the dinky galleries and local artists selling their wares in the square. With its capacious parks, the Gothic Quarter offers perfect people watching opportunities, as well as outdoor seating to listen to local musicians.

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  • Cable car over the port of Barcelona. © Zakharova_Natalia.

    Flying high

    Catch the best views by cable car – Barcelona you beauty.

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  • Exterior view of Casa Batlló. © Eva-Katalin.

    Shimmer and shine

    Just one of Gaudí’s many treasures, check out the glistening Casa Batlló.

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  • Watch the sun rise over Barcelona from the heated outdoor pool at the Grand Hotel Central. © Grand Hotel Central.

    A skyline sun rise

    What better way to start your day, than a morning dip in a roof top infinity pool.

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La Eixample

This unique neighbourhood is home to some of Gaudí’s most famous treasures. Keep your eyes to the skies to catch glimpses of his extraordinary designs.


Reflective of the dazzling composition surrounding La Eixample, the Cotton House Hotel bursts with suave character and opulent flair. The incredible interior design of this hotel will have you head over heels, with its grand marble staircase, light and elegant rooms and large wooden terrace with plenty of greenery.


Head to Ciudad Condal for a choice of classic Spanish cuisine. Chow down on plates of paella, order plenty of tapas and pintxos, including Spanish omelette, patatas bravas, slices of serrano ham and garlic shrimp. You know this place is the real deal, as queues go out the door come dinner time. Although you can’t book, make this a leisurely experience. Grab a drink at the bar after you put your name on the waiting list. It’ll be worth it.


Explore the vibrant area of La Eixample. Traipse along Passeig de Gracia, where you can hit the shops and visit Gaudí’s Art Nouveau mansion Casa Batlló. While there, take note of its crafted balconies, sparkling tiles and dragon-back shaped roof. Then stop by the mesmerising Casa Milà and see the contorted chimneys on the roof in ‘The Garden of the Warriors’. Next? La Sagrada Familia – the must-visit Gaudí icon of Barcelona, with its spiralling towers and utopic interior, where the colours of the stain-glassed windows will make your eyes sparkle.

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  • Architectural columns and ceiling in the Sagrada Familia. © omersukrugoksu.

    Interior utopia

    Walk through and feel your jaw drop, as rainbow colours pour down from the glistening stained glass windows.

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The Waterfront

Saunter along the shores of Barcelona, where the bars are buzzing and the golden sunsets glow across the city skyline.


Sitting pretty on the beach front of Barcelona, the luxurious W Barcelona bursts with enthralling views. Kick it on the rooftop pool and terrace or unwind in the spa after adventurous days hustling about the city. With its idyllic location by the Barceloneta boardwalk, you can easily check out the Waterfront.


Try a bite to eat at the tantalising Barraca Barceloneta. Tuck into Catalonian inspired cuisine from a menu featuring local produce. taste the starter of mouth-melting burrata, choose from a variety of fresh seafood or order a delicious paella, and finish your meal with a scoop of bourbon ice-cream. Ask for a table along the side of the restaurant for brilliant beach views. For tasty tapas by the ocean, go to Cal Pinxo. Try the selection of seafood, cured meats and croquettes then nibble a slice of cheesecake for pudding.


Barceloneta beach is lively in the spring-summer months, so take a bike ride along the promenade. Spend time unwinding on Sant Sebastià beach, take a dip in the Mediterranean Sea and let yourself get a little sun-kissed. From here, you can hop on the cable car to Montjuïc hill to see more of the city. Wander along to Port Vell and admire the yachts of Barcelona’s harbour, then see the famous Frank Gehry ‘Peix d'Or’ sculpture in Port Olimpic.

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  • The narrow winding street in Barrio Gotico (Gothic Quarter). © Alexander Spatari.

    Curious and curiouser

    Wander through the street mazes of the city, to discover touches of authenticity.

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  • Special seafood, meat and fish paella from Can Culleretes, La Rambla. © Can Culleretes.

    Seafood sensations

    No Barcelona trip is complete without tucking into a delicious paella – order up and get stuck in.

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  • Relax at the Salt Beach Club, W Barcelona. © Marriott International, Inc.

    Unwind waterside

    After big days exploring, what better way to chill-out than by the beach.

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Explore one of the most vibrant neighbourhoods in the city. Immerse yourself in the local vibes, bohemian ambience and savour charming evenings here.


Savour a deluxe sanctuary, central to Barcelona’s highlights and just a short walk to a metro stop. The Casa Fuster boasts beautifully classic-styled rooms, as well as a Jazz Club, which plays the best live music in town on Thursdays. Be sure to head up to the Mirador Blue View Terrace for flavourful cocktails, and sights of the city stretching into the sea.


This wonderful village-like neighbourhood is home to a copious number of dining establishments. From family-run eateries to off-the-beaten track restaurants, you’ll be spoilt for choice. If you’re indecisive, make a move to the bar with self-service tapas at Gasterea. Tuck into a choice of delicious pintxos, layered with cheese, vegetables, meats or seafood, with a glass of local wine. For a sit-down dining experience, La Pubilla offers scrumptious dishes and a fixed-price lunch. Admire the creative seasonal menu, and book to avoid disappointment.


The hypnotic Park Güell is a must-visit Barcelona hotspot. With its glistening landscape of mosaics, tiled creatures, ginger-bread styled buildings and captivating city views – Gaudí’s garden will enchant you. If you’re a fan of all things Gaudí, check out Casa Vicens on Carrer de les Carolines, to see one of his earliest modernist creations. Rest your feet and relax with a coffee in La Plaça de la Virreina and watch others scurry around the city. Did someone say G&T? Choose from the terrace bars in Plaça del Sol, then dance the night away at Mirasol.

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La Rambla

Discover the thriving boulevard which runs through the centre of the city. With its array of street entertainers, pop-up stalls, art and eateries – feel your senses flourish.


Take your city break at the H10 Catalunya Plaza Boutique Hotel, just a stone’s throw away from La Rambla. The outdoor terrace provides a miniature haven for unwinding after adventurous days about the city. You can enjoy a night cap at the bar before resting your head in your sweet and simple bedroom.


Experience the taste of authenticity at Can Culleretes, the oldest restaurant in Barcelona. Set along a small street just off La Rambla, try delicious traditional Spanish and Catalan bites here. From calamari to cannelloni, savour the choice of classics and wash your meal down with a local wine. In the mood for market food? Head to La Boqueria Market. Try the seafood platter from Bar Ramblero, the chickpeas and morcilla from Bar Pinotxo, and all sorts of tapas plates at restaurants sprinkled around the neighbourhood. Stalls are dotted about, so grab a seat where you can.


Amble from one end of La Rambla to the other. Breeze along the tree-lined street and admire the variety of entertainers, with plenty of sensational fully-costumed human statues. Keep an eye open for the Barcelona Miró mosaic on the famous 1.2km street, you might walk over its colours without realising. Art lovers should also make a stop at the Centre d’Art Santa Monica, to gaze at exhibits of multimedia installations. Feeling brave? Pop to the top of the Columbus Monument for sweeping views of the sea and city.

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