El Raval (Barcelona) is better known for crime, marginalization, and prostitution than for its culture and artistic life. However, a walk through this neighborhood will surprise you with its huge number of cultural spaces, ethnic diversity, charming streets, vintage shops and an eclectic mix of bars.
Once a no-go area and one of the most controversial areas of Barcelona, El Raval (Barcelona) is nowadays a must-see. Read on to find out 13 ideas to spend a full day in the most multicultural district of Barcelona.
01 | Drink a Tropical Fruit Juice in La Boquería.
Very touristy, but still a feast for the senses. When in El Raval (Barcelona) it is worth visiting Boquería Market and shopping around among its more than 300 stalls. You can start your day drinking tropical fruit juice for 1€. You will need the energy for all that comes later!
Address: La Rambla, 91
02 | Go Vintage Shopping.
Best vintage shops in Barcelona are in Riera Baixa street where, on Saturday mornings, stores take their best clothes to the street. In Riera Baixa you’ll find retro shops as well known as Le Swing and Vintage Galalith.
03 | See the Sights of Barcelona Reflected in the Building of the CCCB.
Barcelona Contemporary Culture Center was designed to reflect the sea on its facade. Don’t forget to visit some of its interesting exhibitions.
Address: Montalegre, 5.
04 | Visit the MACBA, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art.
If you are into modern art, visiting the MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art) is one of the best things to do in Barcelona. If you’re not that passionate about museums, just stay outside and enjoy the nice weather while watching the skaters who gather in the square.
Address: Plaça dels Angels, Barcelona.
05 | Have a Vegetarian Lunch.
If you are vegetarian or vegan and are tired that the only things you can eat in most restaurants are “patatas bravas“ or Padrón peppers, you will love El Raval, which is Barcelona’s neighborhood with the largest number of vegetarian restaurants.
You will have plenty to choose from, but I highly recommend two of them:
- Teresa Carles, (Jovellanos Street, 2), considered by many as the best vegetarian restaurant in town. Opened since 2011, it offers a menu of healthy and wholesome food that will delight vegetarians (and even non-vegetarians!). For lunch, there is a set menu for 9,5€ which includes a starter and a main course (but excluding drinks).
–Vegetalia, which is located in the charming Emili Vendrell square. This may be the best value vegetarian restaurant in Barcelona. It offers excellent dishes at reasonable prices and a varied cuisine. The set lunch menu (€ 9.90) includes first and main courses, a drink, bread, and dessert. Bon appetit!
06 | Walk through La Rambla del Raval
Look for the parrots resting in the palms and take some inappropriate pictures with Fernando Botero’s cat.
07 | Enjoy fantastic Barcelona’s views from Barceló Raval hotel’s rooftop.
Also located in Rambla del Raval, Barceló Raval hotel has a free-access rooftop open year round that offers exceptional views of Raval and Barcelona. On Sundays, they serve a deluxe brunch.
08 | Watch a good O.V. movie in Filmoteca de Catalunya.
Closed on Mondays, Filmoteca de Catalunya offers four to six daily sessions from 5 to 10 PM. All sessions are screened in original version with subtitles.
Address: Plaça de Salvador Segui, 1.
09 | Lose yourself in books.
At Elisabeth Street, 6, you will find one of the most unique bookshops in the world. With over 80,000 titles, Central del Raval is located in a building formerly occupied by a chapel (Capilla de la Misericordia).
10 | Get lost and discover the best of El Raval by yourself
Enjoy these colorful postcards live in Raval…
11 | Have an exotic dinner
After a long day exploring El Raval, you’ll be hungry! Luckily, you have plenty of choices. I suggest you trying Bun Bo, a well decorated Vietnamese restaurant that offers huge dishes at affordable prices and mojitos for 3,5€.
Address: Carrer dels Angels 6
12 | Go bar-hopping in Joaquín Costa street.
Until recently, not many dared to enter this street. Today, however, it is always full of people attracted by its eclectic mix of hipsters pubs and sleazy taverns.
33/45, one of the bars at the beginning of the street, is characterized by being divided into two parts: the busier part at the entrance and the other, more relaxed and filled with sofas, on the backside.
13 | At night, indulge yourself with live music and another beer.
Not far from Joaquín Costa, you will find Gipsy Lou, a cozy bar with a relaxed atmosphere and live music every night. Go there for a good dance to finish this long and nice day in El Raval!
Address: Ferlandina, 55.
There are so many sides to the vibrant area known as El Raval that it makes it a real challenge to write this article. Raval is an interesting and exciting area in Barcelona however it also has its darker and seedy side that you ought to be aware of. It is certainly not the safest or the cleanest area in Barcelona but it does have a special personality and character all of its own that makes this area a compelling visit.