Friday, 1 February 2008


Barcelona's Raval was historically the red-light zone and a slum of Old Barcelona. However, it’s quickly becoming the city’s new “in” area. Numerous bars and clubs frequented by young artists and bohemian types now fill formerly sketchy alleyways. If you’re into an alternative scene, the Barcelona Raval is where it’s at… but it’s still a good idea to keep a close watch on your wallet and pocketbook at night.

A good gateway to Raval tourism from Las Ramblas is the Mercat de la Boqueria. This vibrant modernista market holds all kinds of food stands and tapas bars, and is a great place to simply wander around or stock up.
Just behind the market you'll find the Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu, medieval Barcelona's central hospital, now home to the National Library of Catalunya.

One of the streets that meets the hospital is Carrer dels Angels. It's a straight shoot northwest up to the Plaça dels Angels, home of the neighboring CCCB and MACBA, Barcelona's two main contemporary art and culture centers.

All the way at the southern end of el Raval, about a block west of Las Ramblas, is Palau Güell. Commissioned in the 1880s by Eusebi Guell, this is one of Antoni Gaudí's more subdued works. It's also among the few examples of Catalonia's Art Nouveau style, "modernisme" in the Old City, or "Ciutat Vella."

Young, artsy types and a significant immigrant population have moved in over the past two decades, inaugurating El Raval as the new hip center of Barcelona culture. The plaza in front of the MACBA serves as a makeshift skate park, while vegetarian restaurants, small bars housing art exhibits and intimate concerts and a handful of second-hand stores define El Raval's fomerly seedy landscape.

El Raval is alive all through the day and night so you will never be without an eaterie to entice you in the early hours of the morning!

El Raval offers a central location within walking distance of many of the other popular areas such as the Gothic Quarter and Eixample. The nearest metro stops are on Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s most famous street which runs up one side of El Raval.

Would you like to stay in this area during your holidays in Barcelona? Stay in an apartment overlooking the "Rambla del Raval ". Click here: stay in the Raval

** The International Music Festival, SONAR takes place in the Raval area. Many concerts are held in the "MACBA" and outdoors at the "Rambla del Raval".

Looking for accommodation for the next SONAR Festival in Barcelona?

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