In this blog, we explore The Born aka El Born and provide a taste of the different areas to be found in beautiful Barcelona. Along with some history, we’ve also included some of our top picks. Let’s dive in!
What’s a barrio?
Barrio is a Spanish word used to describe a neighbourhood or quarter of the city. And each of Barcelona’s barrios has something unique to offer!
Where is El Born?
Sandwiched between the Gothic Quarter and Ciutadella Park (the main park in the city), El Born has grown in popularity with the trendsetters. Like its Gothic neighbour, this barrio has its share of winding narrow streets. It is full of contrasts, which include Gothic, medieval history and modern influences. Over recent years it has also become popular for its boho yet fashionable stores, bistros, and bars. This eclectic mix gives the area a very unique charm.
Originally sitting outside of the city’s Roman wall boundary, as the city grew the walls were extended to include the area in the 15th Century.
The Roman archaeological remains can still be seen inside the old El Born Market, now a dedicated centre for the culture and history of the area. This old market is definitely worth a visit!
The location – near the working port – was convenient for traders who began to build palaces in the area. A financial crisis meant that King Felipe V decided to destroy much of the neighbourhood and built a castle instead, which is now Ciutadella Park.
Its colourful history is what gives the area its unique aesthetics and curb appeal.
The Current Vibe
We love the local designer boutiques, diverse selection of restaurants, wine bars and antique curiosity shops.
Let’s also not forget the beautiful architecture steeped in history, cobbled streets, terraces perfect for long lingering lunches and an impressive medieval church (Santa Maria del Mar). We can’t recommend the area enough!
Get it on your itinerary for an organised group tour or just a saunter around area taking it all in slowly.
For those culturally inclined it is also home to the Picasso Museum.
We also recommend the lesser-known, but in our opinion, equally interesting Museum of Modern Art.
El Born: Top Picks
Plan your group trip to Barcelona with some of our top picks below!
Looking for an authentic bar experience? Go back in time to experience one of the area’s longest-standing traditional bars, El Xampanyet. Dating back to 1929, the name comes from the sparkling wine served there. Enjoy a glass and some tapas in the hustle and bustle of this unique bar.
Guzzo Club is a café, bar, art gallery and music club all rolled into one. Get down with the hipsters for a bite to eat, a few drinks and a late-night boogie.
We wholeheartedly recommend getting your sweet fix here! Try one of their award-winning croissants (our favourite is the mascarpone croissant!) or whatever seduces you from the selection mouthwatering selection of pastries. You’ll find Pastisseria Hofmann at Carrer dels Flassaders, 44.
Don’t be fooled by the laid-back vibe, Cal Pep is a real hidden gem and one of the best places to eat tapas in Barcelona!
AIRE Ancient Baths Barcelona
Tired from all the exploring? Check out AIRE Ancient Baths Barcelona. The ancient thermal baths offer a calm and relaxing space to chill out and recharge your batteries – to get you ready for the next barrio adventure.
This blog was first published on June 29, 2020, and updated on Dec 2, 2022.