Situated just west of Las Ramblas, the once-tatty barrio of El Raval has undergone a transformation in the last couple of decades. This gentrifying neighborhood is now one of the hippest in Barcelona, teeming with boutiques, art galleries, bars, art museums, and restaurants, all with a multicultural influence.The Basics
Equal parts edgy and trendy, El Raval has quickly become a cultural hub in the already culture-rich city of Barcelona. Foodies can sample the wares of the famous La Boqueria market during a food tour of the city, while art lovers can tour the Filmoteca de Catalunya and Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) with a local. Some of the city’s best tapas bars, breweries, and cafés dot the streets of El Raval.
Those with an interest in the architecture of Barcelona favorite son Antoni Gaudí shouldn’t miss Güell Palace (Palau Güell), one of the Spanish architect’s first commissioned buildings. Other notable El Raval attractions include the Maritime Museum, Center for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB), and the 13th-century Sant Pau del Camp church.
Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- El Raval is a must-visit for art and architecture lovers, foodies, and travelers looking to get off the beaten path.
- This neighborhood can be maze-like and overwhelming; take a guided tour to get oriented and get insider tips about the best spots to eat and drink.
- Be watchful of your belongings in El Raval, as it’s a popular area for pickpockets.
El Raval lies within easy walking distance of El Gotic (the Gothic district) and Poble Sec. It’s also well connected by public transportation. To get there on the Barcelona Metro, take line 1 to Universitat or line 3 to Catalunya, Liceu, or Drassanes.When to Get There
The narrow streets and alleys of El Raval are almost always busy, day and night. Daytime is the best time to shop La Boqueria to stock up on Catalan artisanal goods, while the streets really come alive at night, as locals and visitors head out for dinner and drinks in the numerous restaurants.
Rambla de Raval
While not the most famous Rambla in Barcelona, El Raval’s walking street is a favorite local spot for grabbing a bite at a sidewalk café or shopping for local wares during weekend craft markets. Rambla de Raval is also home to The Raval Cat
(El Gato del Raval
), a large statue by Colombian artist Fernando Botero.