How Barcelona’s Neighborhoods Got Their Names

Where Barcelona’s Neighborhoods’ names come from


Have you ever wondered about how the Barcelona neighborhoods got their names? Well, I often did. That’s why I decided research and then disclose to you how each of Barcelona’s neighborhoods got their names. History played a significant role, that’s for sure.

1. L’ Eixample

L'Eixample neighborhood

Eixample means “extension”. Baffled? Well, so was I when I got to know. Well, it actually makes sense as the reason is the city’s expansion in the mid-19th century, due to the over-population of the old town, Ciutat Vella. The new area, consisting of a systematic grid pattern of long straight streets crossed by wide avenues, was designed be the Catalan civil engineer Illdefons Cerdà. In order to gain greater visibility and allow car parking, the buildings were placed at a 45º angle. The following photo is to clarify what I’m talking about:

L'Eixample Neighborhood Barcelona


2. Gracia

Neighborhood Gracia Barcelona

The beautiful Gràcia neighborhood got its name from a convent called “Nostra Senyora de Gràcia”, which literally means “Our Lady of Grace”, established there by a Novitiate of Carmelites, a Roman Catholic religious order.  The impressive fact about that neighborhood is that it used to be an independent town until 1897, when it was annexed to the city of Barcelona.

Gracia Neighborhood Barcelona

3. Gotico

neighborhood Gotico Barcelona

As the name implies the neighborhood Gótico is called like that because of the amount of buildings it has in the Gothic architecture style. It presents the center of the old city of Barcelona.

Gotico Barcelona

4. Les Corts

neighborhood Les Corts Barcelona

Well, to understand the origin of the name of the Les Corts neighborhood some knowledge of the Latin language is required. “Cohortes” means “rural houses” and refers to the Roman villas standing there before the urbanization of the area in the 20th century.


Les Corts Barcelona


5. El Borne

El Borne Barcelona

Once again, the name of this neighborhood refers to the past. El Borne got its name from the medieval jousting tournaments that took place on the main street of the neighborhood Passeig de Born.


Neighborhood El Borne Barcelona

6. Vila Olimpica

Vila Olimpica Barcelona

As the name betrays, this modern neighborhood of Barcelona got its name from the purpose it was constructed for: the Olympic Games in 1992, which took place in Barcelona.

Vila Olimpica Barcelona


7. Diagonal Mar

Neighborhood Diagonal Mar Barcelona

You probably have heard about the Avenue Diagonal… Barcelona’s neighborhood Diagonal Mar got that name for the simple reason that it is situated where the avenue meets the sea, el mar. Not that creative, huh?


Neighborhood Diagonal Mar Barcelona

8. Poble Sec

Poble Sec Barcelona

“Poble sec” is Catalan and means “dry village”. This neighborhood got its name from the lack of fountains in the area until 1894.


Barcelona Neighborhood Poble Sec


9. Poblenou

Barcelona Neighborhood Poblenou

The name “Poblenou”, which is to say “new village” refers to the impressive change and development of the area started in 2000 and still going on, due to the industrial regression in the 60s. Implementing the so called plan 22@, the area is converted into an innovative and modern district, where former factory buildings welcome new economic activities, design studios and residences adapted to changing times, standing on high quality of life.


Barcelona Neighborhood Poblenou

10. Sarria

Sarria Barcelona

In contrast to Poblenou, the origins of Barcelona’s neighborhood Sarria can be placed into the 13th-14th century. Its name comes from the name Sirriano, which appeared for the first time in 986.


Barcelona Neighborhood Sarria

11. Sant Gervasi

Barcelona Neighborhood Sant Gervasi

As you might assume, Sant Gervasi refers to a rural church, located in that lovely neighborhood, named after the saint San Gervasio in 987.


Barcelona Neighborhood Sant Gervasi

12. Barceloneta

Barceloneta Barcelona

Barceloneta, associated usually with the always-packed beach close to the city center, owes its existence to the lands that were gained by the absorption of the Maians Island. The island was located a hundred meters from the coast of Barcelona and was absorbed by the city for the creation of the first port of Barcelona. Barcloneta, which means “small Barcelona”, totally suits to the neighborhood developed on a former island, don’t you think so?

Barceloneta Barcelona

13. El Raval

El Raval Barcelona

“Raval” is Arabic and means neighborhood or district. As I mentioned at the beginning, history embodies the most important parameter for the naming of Barcelona’s neighborhoods. Well,  the Raval neighborhood shows that plainly as it got its name from the Arabic invasion in 711.


El Raval Barcelona

Interesting names stand for interesting places. Barcelona is a city influenced by Romans, Arabs and Christians which leads to a great deal of contrasts all over the city, totally worth it to visit or move here. Undoubtedly something I wouldn’t like to miss. What’s your favourite Barcelona neighborhood?




Barcelona Crime: Pickpockets, Prostitutes, and Theft Part 1/3

Areas to Be Extra Careful When in Barcelona ~

Ever since you have been buying milk at school your parents continually remind you to watch your pockets and watch your money. You may be older, you are hoping you are wiser, but the same still holds true, even more so here in Barcelona. Violent crime in Barcelona is relatively low, so cheers for that. Unfortunately Barcelona is the European pickpocket capital. During the height of the tourist season (ie. during the summer months) there are approximately 315 reported thefts in Barcelona each day. Anyone who has been mugged or pick pocketed knows the feeling of being left with no money, feeling vulnerable and violated.

Theft in Barcelona is highly lucrative, with small fines and a quick release. The police try to serve and protect the public, but they can only do so much. While certain areas of the city are regarded as high theft locales, the truth is that it can happen on any street, at any time, by anyone. Do not be fooled thinking that thieves have s specific type; the gypsy looking woman, the poorly dressed man on the metro, the group of kids on La Rambla. These criminals take every shape and form, and they can often seem friendly and warm. Here is a list of the top 5  pickpocket locales in Barcelona.

Metro Barcelona, theft in Barcelona, pickpockets, crime in Barcelona

1. The Metro -

A ride on Barcelona’s Metro can provide quick and effortless access to the city at large. It can also provide quick and effortless access to an unsuspecting persons’ effects. Crowded and tight locations are prime hunting grounds for Barcelona pickpockets as they are able to get close, make body contact without anyone thinking twice about it, and an easy escape. Even in seemingly safe surroundings always look around and identify your location as well as the people who are around you. Wear you back pack forward or keep it in your hands. Do not leave it strapped to your back facing away from you as it is effortless for criminals to reach in and Metro Barcelona, theft in Barcelona, pickpockets, crime in Barcelonagrab any desired possession. Keep purses and camera holders tight diagonal around your chest and arms, and always be wary of people bumping or touching you, no matter how close of proximity you are. While people in Barcelona tend to be friendly, people normally do not like touching strangers unless they truly have to. Watch out for people a little too close for comfort.

2. Las Ramblas -

Barcelona’s busiest street and most famous tourist attraction. During the day watch out for pickpockets on the street. As Las Ramblas is incredibly crowded, especially during the summer and weekends it is easy to get pushed and bumped by the passerby’s. While you may feel safe being in the busiest part of the city during the day with so many people around you, it is actually Metro Barcelona, theft in Barcelona, pickpockets, crime in Barcelonaan incredibly easy  situation for criminals to get close. The close proximity and constant bumping makes it easier for Barcelona pickpockets to get close and grab hidden items in pockets and purses. You may be busy watching the living statues or looking at flowers along the streets. During this time you are not paying attention to your belongings and are not paying attention to the people bumping into you. Next you notice that your wallet or belongings are gone.  Even during the day it is important to pay attention to your surroundings and who is around you.  Keep purses closed, place the straps diagonal instead of simply resting on the shoulder. If you are taking pictures keep the camera strapped around your neck or keep it in your bag when not using it.

Metro Barcelona, theft in Barcelona, pickpockets, crime in BarcelonaIn the evening Las Ramblas can seem like an entirely different place. It is dark, empty, and seedy.  During the evenings the street tends to be the habitation of  prostitutes looking for some evening work or a person to steal a few Euros from. Be careful as they can be incredibly pushy and forward. Continue to walk without stopping or making eye contact. They are persistent and will try to make body contact. During this time they will try to relieve you of your belongings. Don’t give them this opportunity. The easiest thing to do here is to walk quickly and avoid any conversation or contact.

3. Beaches -

Metro Barcelona, theft in Barcelona, pickpockets, crime in BarcelonaThe beach is a pickpockets paradise as people are always leaving valuables out and often unattended. It is as easy as picking an item up off of a towel. Similar to every other situation, keep valuables like cards, passports, or expensive items at home, or if you have to take them with you keep them properly stowed away and never leave them out. Never leave your blanket or property even for a quick swim. Make sure someone is always watching your belongings.

4. Ciutat Vella -

This is the area of the city right off Las Ramblas beaten path. Ciutat Vella consists of narrow isolated streets that are often dark and empty. During the day it can be fun to walk through these historic pathways, however use Metro Barcelona, theft in Barcelona, pickpockets, crime in Barcelonaextreme caution and judgement when alone at night, especially after drinking. There are many fun Irish pubs and tourist bars in the area, so make sure you never leave alone as this is the perfect scenario for a thief to take advantage.

5. Any bar after a few drinks -

I have first hand experience with this scenario. Barcelona night life is fantastic. Plenty of bars to find your favorite drinks, plenty of good looking people to talk with, plenty of songs to dance to, and plenty of parties to last the whole night through. Similar to Las Ramblas and the Metro, bars and clubs are great grounds for pickpockets as people once again are in incredibly cramped, crowded rooms badly lit with loud noise and plenty of Metro Barcelona, theft in Barcelona, pickpockets, crime in Barcelonadistractions. I hate to sound paranoid and discourage anyone from having fun, but similar to other setting be wary of people touching you. Yes people tend to be more flirty and touchy with drinks and dancing but make sure to be cautious of people touching you out of the blue. If they are grabbing you without even a conversation or dance then be a bit cautious. This is true of any city or scenario, but be careful of taking strangers home. I have friends who had taken people home from the clubs only to wake up missing all of their belongings. I know this may sound cliche, but use common sense; never leave a bar or club alone or with strangers, never take passports, credit cards, cameras, or other valuable items, and always be aware of where you are and who is around you.

Pickpockets and thieves make there living by being fast and unsuspecting. Metro Barcelona, theft in Barcelona, pickpockets, crime in BarcelonaThey go after the easiest prey they can. If you stay aware, alert, keep valuables hidden and guarded they will be that much less likely to target you. Even if you are targeted by a thief do your best to avoid body contact with strangers, and avoid conversations with people on the street who appear too close for comfort. If you use these tips while traveling through these famous Barcelona locations then you will be less likely to be targeted by Barcelona pickpockets, and much more likely to enjoy your Barcelona experience,creating nothing but positive memories.

If you have any tips about how to stay safe in Barcelona we would love to hear from you.


Metro Barcelona, theft in Barcelona, pickpockets, crime in Barcelona Cheers,


Check out these other Suitelife blogs about staying safe in Barcelona:

5 True Stories To Help You Recognize and Avoid Pickpockets in Barcelona

Barcelona Pickpockets Hit the Road


Barcelona Beach Profile #5: Llevante

Barcelona Beach Profile #5: Llevante Beach is our final segment in a special blog/video series, which will give you an insider’s perspective on each of the beautiful Barcelona beaches. 

In this segment we take a look at Llevante Beaches during July. Check out Barcelona’s newest beach.

Barcelona Beach Profile #4: Marbella & Nova Marbella Beach

Barcelona Beach Profile #4: Marbella & Nova Marbella Beach is our fourth segment in a special blog/video series, which will give you an insider’s perspective on each of the beautiful Barcelona beaches. 

In this segment we take a look at Marbella & Nova Marbella Beaches during July, when the sun is shining and people are making the most of the beach. This is Barcelona’s nudist beach. Take a look!



Barcelona Beach Profile Part 2: Barceloneta Beach

Barceloneta is Barcelona’s most famous beach. There is tons of cool stuff to see and do so tune in, relax, and soak up the sights.

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