El Born is definitely my favorite neighborhood in Barcelona, and I don’t say that only because I live here! Although that probably has something to do with it… Its charm is hard to explain, but it’s a mix of cute little streets, history in every corner, modern vibes, excellent restaurants, lively bars, and beautiful boutiques. Indeed, this is one of the trendiest areas in the city which is definitely worth not one, but many visits and walks. So what are the best things to do in El Born?
During the day I love walking around and continuously being surprised by its architecture, its narrow but colorful streets, and its cute boutiques and art galleries. At night, it’s bustling with locals and visitors alike who are attracted to the neighborhood’s many bars and restaurants. So here’s my little tribute to El Born, a small neighborhood guide of things to do and the best restaurants in El Born, which I want to share with you.In this guide you’ll find…
– Things to do in El Born
– Best restaurants in El Born
– Hotels in El Born
Things to do in El Born
Passeig del Born
This wide walking street can be considered El Born’s center, as it’s the neighborhood’s most lively street and the best place to go for a walk, or just to sit down on one of its benches, take in the sun, and do some people-watching.
Passeig del Born is lined by bars, restaurants, and boutiques, and you’ll also find the famous Santa Maria del Mar Church on one side, and El Born’s old market (now a center for culture) on the other side.
Palau de la Musica Catalana
A must-see and one of the icons of modernism in Barcelona, Palau de la Musica Catalana is the city’s most beautiful concert hall. You can appreciate some of its beauty from the outside, with its red bricks, statues, and mosaic tiles. However, also the inside of Palau de la Musica is well worth a visit: the stained-glass skylight, the stage, and all the tilework is simply amazing. Click here to book your visit to Palau de la Musica Catalana.
Santa Maria del Mar
Santa Maria del Mar church is El Born’s treasure, and it’s very loved by the barcelonese because of its story. There’s even a book and a Netflix series inspired in this church! While Barcelona’s immense cathedral was built by the church itself and the city’s wealthiest residents, Santa Maria del Mar was the work of all of the neighborhoods’ residents, who contributed to it either with funds or with their work.
You can visit Santa Maria del Mar for free every day, and for an extra fee (8.50€) you can climb up to experience the fantastic views from the church’s terraces.
At the Picasso Museum you can find 4,249 works by this talented artist, which makes this the biggest collection of works by Picasso in the whole world. The buildings that house the museum are a beautiful example of wealthy housing in Barcelona during Medieval times. Click here to book your tickets in advance and avoid long queues!
Santa Caterina Food Market
This old food market has been renovated and given a unique touch with its undulating, colorful roof, which stands out among the medieval buildings of El Born. In Barcelona, it’s common for each area of the city to have its own food market. If you want to avoid the crowds and tourist traps of La Boquería, this is a great alternative where you’ll find fresh local produce, meat, seafood, and also ready-made dishes.
Plaça de Sant Pere
This little square is probably my all-time favorite square in the city. Home to an old romanesque monastery, a pretty steel fountain from the 1900’s, typical medieval houses, trees, and a few restaurants, it’s the perfect place to make a stop from all that walking around El Born and—why not—grab a bite.
El Born Center for Culture and Memory
This steel building, located on Passeig del Born, used to be a food market until 1971. It was only quite recently, in 2002, when renovation works to convert this space into a library came across old archaeological remains dating back to the Middle Ages. These remains had been destroyed during the Spanish Succession War and, because of its excellent state of conservation and the meaning that they have for Barcelona, they were kept and the space was converted into a museum and exhibition center.
Spot some of the city’s best street art
Barcelona in general is a playground for street artists but, if you’re looking for great examples, El Born is one of the places to be. You’ll spot lots of interesting street art pieces when you randomly walk around El Born, but if you’re interested in the subject I strongly recommend you take a guided tour. Tour guides are really knowledgeable, they know exactly where to take you, and will tell you the stories behind many pieces!
Shop local at the many boutiques
If you’re looking for a special piece or an original souvenir to take home, then forget about the main shopping areas and go to El Born! The boutiques in El Born are small and they sell unique pieces made by local designers, so you can find truly special, one-of-a-kind items. The best way to find them is to walk around the neighborhood, even in the little small streets—those are often full of surprises!
Carrer de l’Esquirol (and other pretty little streets)
El Born is home to some of the most picturesque, photogenic streets in Barcelona. When you walk around this part of the city you’ll often find streets decorated with flags, lights, stars, and other decorations. My favorite one of all of them is Carrer de l’Esquirol, which is decorated by golden stars and lights hanging over your head, creating a very special atmosphere. The boutiques here sell some beautiful pieces, too!
Best restaurants in El Born
One thing is certain: if you’re looking for food, you’ve come to the right place. In El Born you’ll find lots of restaurants, serving all kinds of food for all kinds of budgets and tastes. From small tapas bars to more modern spaces, from local traditions to cuisines from the world, these are some of the best restaurants in El Born:
La Bona Sort
Tapas in a picturesque patio
La Bona Sort is a tapas restaurant serving Spanish cuisine between charming stone walls, featuring a beautiful indoor patio to eat al fresco.
Address: Carrer dels Carders, 12
Vermouth and tapas
Bormouth is a classic in El Born where you can enjoy a very traditional catalan tradition: vermouth. Vermouth is an aromatic wine, best enjoyed with a group of friends and a table full of tapas!
Address: Plaça Comercil, 1
Tapas and sangria
This modern-day Spanish taberna where you can enjoy tapas and sangria in style, in a small and beautifully decorated space. Make sure to book a table in advance—it can get very busy!
Address: Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt, 49
Flax & Kale
Flexitarian hipster heaven
At this extremely popular flexitarian restaurant you can enjoy both vegetarian and meat and fish options in a trendy atmosphere. If you can’t live without your superfoods, this is the place for you!
Address: Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt, 31
Open-air, multicultural dining
Mescladis is not just a restaurant: it’s a social project to promote inclusion and work possibilities for migrants. The restaurant is open-air yet very cozy, and the food comes from around the world!
Address: Carrer dels Carders, 35
Drinks al fresco
Hidden in a small street of El Born you’ll find Antic Teatre. The entrance doesn’t give much away, but once you’re in and you go up the stairs, you’ll find yourself in an internal garden with trees where so many young locals and travelers enjoy a beer under the branches of an old fig tree. At Antic Teatre you can also enjoy different cultural shows, from theater to music, poetry, dance, and art exhibitions.
Address: Carrer de Verdaguer i Callís, 12
Les Dues Sicilies
Pizza and Italian bites to go
Les Dues Sicilies is a delicious Italian/Sicilian takeaway restaurant with very convenient prices… When you need something on the go, this is definitely the place! Don’t forget to make some space for their desserts, which are truly amazing!
Address: Carrer dels Carders, 22
Among the best pizzas in the city
NAP is probably the neighborhood’s most famous pizza restaurant, and you’ll understand why after you’ve tried it! Because of their popularity, it can be hard to find a table during peak hours, so most people order from NAP to take away.
Address: Av. de Francesc Cambó, 30
Seriously good Asian food
Red Ant is one of my favorite Asian restaurants in Barcelona! The space is small and cozy and their prices are great for the excellent food offered. At Red Ant you’ll find a mix of Asian dishes, from Korean bibimbap to buns, as well as craft beer.
Address: Carrer dels Tiradors, 5
Elsa & Fred
A cozy living room
Elsa & Fred is one of those places you can’t go wrong about. The space is cozy and pretty, with vintage vibes, and they also have a couple of tables outside on the street. Their menu is varied, from patatas bravas to eggs, bagels, toasts, and salads, and it changes from brunch to lunch and dinner.
Address: Carrer del Rec Comtal, 11
Hotels in El Born
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