Surrounded with pedestrian streets, cool boutiques, great restaurants and cocktail lounges, El Born is surely the trendiest neighborhood in Barcelona. Unlike La Rambla and Gothic Quarter always being full of tourists, I find El Born more funky, charming and intimate while wandering and being lost here. That’s why I want to introduce you top 10 things to do in El Born, which is an exciting discovery about local art, culture and vibrant nightlife.
“It’s like a crown which surrounds and embraces you” is how the famous Opera singer Montserrat Caballé has described the Palau de la Música. Indeed, Palau de la Música is a masterpiece of Domenech i Montaner, a contemporary of Gaudi. From outside, the Palau is made of red bricks and decorated with colorful mosaics and busts. Inside, its sculpture represents on one side the “Ride of Walkiries” and on the other side, the figure of Beethoven. The hall’s splendid glass cupola roof can probably take your breath away. Palau de la Música has over 350 concerts per year, making it a symbol of Catalan music and culture as well as the first destination to visit in El Born.
I randomly caught Santa Maria del Mar while I was walking to the very end of the authentic Carrer de l’Argenteria. Located in the heart of El Born, Santa Maria del Mar is a beautiful example of Catalan Gothic churches as well as links close to Catalan history and traditions. The church is called ”Saint Mary of the Sea” because the sea once lapped at the foot of this church, which is hard to believe. Santa Maria del Mar does not give a very big impression from outside as it is hemmed in by many nearby small streets. But the spacious and light interior can win any one’s heart. The lauded light streams in through tall clerestory windows, while the central nave and two flanking aisles separated by slender octagonal pillars give an enormous sense of lateral space.
As a connection between the busiest streets of El Born, Carrer Princesa and Passeig del Born, Carrer Montcada is the home of 4 museums and various art galleries. That’s why it is considered as the art street of Barcelona. If you are an art lover and want to know more about one of the most influential artists – Pablo Picasso, then Picasso Museum is definitely worth visiting ! You can find more about the best things to do in Carrer Montcada here
Address: Carrer Montcada, 15-23
4. The Passeig del Born
Being packed with modern tapas bars, boutique stores and cafes, Passeig del Born is one of the most fashionable streets and nightlife hot spots in Barcelona. This charming avenue stretches from the old Born market to the beautiful Gothic church Santa Maria del Mar. With its medieval flavor, it is very relaxing and nice to have a stroll here or just simply sit on one of the benches under the shade of trees and feel the world go by.
Parc de la Ciutadella is located in the east of El Born. Being the biggest park in Barcelona, it is the urban “green lung” of the city and very famous among local people. For me, this is the perfect place to chill out with your friends or families. I really love spending a few hours here at the weekend to relax on the grass, enjoy the sunshine or to have a stroll around the English-style garden. You can find many things to see here such as beautiful Castell dels Tres Dragons, Parliament of Catalonia, the Cascada fountain, lovely Umbracle, glass house, the waterfall and lake. Also, on the other side of the park, there is the Barcelona Zoo which makes a perfect family day out.
6. Tapas tour:
El Born is a cultural hub of Barcelona, where you can find plenty of cozy tapas bars of outstanding quality. During the night, El Born turns into a very funky area with a lot of options for a buzzy dinner. Why not get together with your friends and take a tapas tour with our Tapas Tour Guide in El Born here
El Born is amazing for late night hang out. The area still maintains a high degree of local life and has a laid back street party vibe. Whether you like classy or quirky, El Born’s alleys offer you a wide selection of fantastic cocktail bars. The Passeig del Born itself has around 20 bars. Some highlights cocktail bars and lounges are: Coppelia (a luxury bar with magnificent interior design and very good life-long cocktails), La Vinya del Senyor (nice view to Santa Maria del Mar), Mamaine Bar (this one has great Mojito and true Catalan style) and La Luna (it has a beautiful restored 17th century arches and soft lightining with delicious mojito)
8. BcnKitchen cooking class
Fun, enjoyable and being close to Catalan history and traditions than ever, BcnKitchen cooking class will bring you an unforgettable experience by learning about Catalan ingredients, techniques and recipes with local chefs. From going to markets, cooking around the kitchen, then to siting down at the table with new friends, you will get directly into Barcelona, Catalunya and then Spain bite by bite, sip by sip. It is definitely one of the funnest activities in Barcelona ! Check out BcnKitchen’s website here
Address: Carrer de la Fusina, 15
9. Seafood at La Paradeta
La Paradeta is very famous among seafood lovers. This restaurant has the most appetizing and freshest sea food you can get. As soon as you walk in, you will see a huge display of all kinds of seafood. After selecting the seafood you want, they will immediately cooked. When the dished are ready, the chef will call you and you need to get them by yourself. With great prices and a friendly casual atmosphere, La Paradeta is worth having dinner here ! Small tip: La Paradeta gets very busy. You should be there at least 15 minutes before it opens if you don’t want to queue!
Address: Passatge Simo 18
Being hidden in a brightly colorful roof, Santa Caterina is one of the liveliest markets in Barcelona. If you go inside, you will be amazed by sights and odors from astonishing array of fruit, cured meats, cheeses and fresh fish from the Mediterranean. There are also many stalls and restaurants that serve tapas and other Catalan specialties in outstanding quality.
Address: Av Francesc Camo, 16
If you think there are many other things to do in El Born, then we would love to hear from you, leave us a comment below.