The area around Port Vell has been a hub of Barcelona's maritime activity since Roman times. Its formerly decrepit docks were renovated and revitalized in recent years to form a modern commercial complex. Besides the plethora of yachts and sailboats anchored at Port Vell you'll find Maremàgnum, a multilevel complex of restaurants and shops.
There's also an IMAX theater, a great Aquarium, and a some touristy clubs for nighttime partying. On a nice day, there’s nothing more pleasant than swinging your bare feet off the docks and drinking in the scenery around you.
The Barceloneta is Barcelona's main city beach. Surrounded by a ton of seafood restaurants and beachside “chiringuitos” ( little huts with tables that sell drinks and food) the Barceloneta may not be the cleanest beach in the world, but it's surely one of the most enjoyable!
There's no mistaking Port Vell once you get there. Marked by the Colom Monument at the end of Las Ramblas, the harbor is made up of a large series of docks perfect for strolling around and exploring. You can check out the yachts, see an IMAX movie, shop and eat in the Maremagnum mall, discover Barcelona's Aquarium, or enjoy an cool treat from a outdoor venders.
Follow the Passeig de Colom, a wide avenue running northeast of Port Vell, turn towards the sea and you'll hit a boardwalk of sorts - the Passeig Maritim - signaling the beaches of the Barceloneta.
Formerly uninhabitable, a series of clean-up projects since th 1980s have made the Barceloneta a popular meeting place during summer months. Whether swimming, sunbathing or sipping on a drink at a beachside hut ( "Chiringuito"), you'll revel in the fact that in front of you lies the warm Mediterranean and behind, one of the coolest cities in the world!
Head inland from the beach and you'll find the gridded streets of the Barceloneta neighborhood. Barcelona's best Seafood Restaurants are scattered throughout here.
The area around La Barceloneta does not have a particularly high concentration of cultural venues. Nevertheles, if you're interested in Barcelona's history as an important Mediterranean shipyard, the Museu Marítim offers a very nice selection of boats, models, maps and paintings, plus a tour of one of the old ships.
The Harlem Jazz Club, near Port Vell, is a small dive presenting all kinds of interesting music: jazz, flamenco, rock, african, latin, fusion, experimental... along with Game-B it's a great example of Barcelona's diverse music scene. For a totally different vibe, the Irish Winds pub in the Maremàgnum complex offers live Celtic folk music.
A really nice location to rent an apartment for your holidays in Barcelona.