What is there to see in the Raval?
Right in the heart of Barcelona, the Raval is a historic district that arose around ancient Roman and medieval forums and was hemmed in by the city walls until 1859. For many years it was a conflictive area known as Chinatown or the Red Neighbourhood.
In recent decades, the Raval has been profoundly transformed and is now a multicultural neighbourhood full of life by day and night. In fact, given the number of sights there, it has become increasingly popular with tourists.
The Rambla del Raval is the main area of interest, packed with cafés, bars, restaurants where you can relax or drink a mint tea. It is also home to the fattest cat in the city: Botero’s Cat, a huge bronze sculpture.
The multicultural nature of the Raval is also clear in the famous Boqueria Market, another must-see. If you are a fan of contemporary art and culture, don’t miss the MACBA (Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art) and CCCB (Barcelona Centre for Contemporary Culture). The square in front of the MACBA is always busy with skaters. You’ll also see plenty of street art in the streets in the Raval in the form of murals and graffiti.
Other major sights include Palau Güell, designed by Antoni Gaudí, the Old Santa Creu Hospital, the Liceu Opera House and the Maritime Museum.
What is there to eat in the Raval?
Barcelona in general and the Raval in particular has a wide range of places to eat out. This district is full of charming cafés and restaurants where you can savour flavours from all over the world.
Some of our favourite places are L’Àvia, where you can eat tapas, pasties and other dishes; Mendizábal, perfect for trying different kinds of sandwiches; Cera 23, if you’re looking for something more substantial; and Veggie Garden, which fuses Nepalese and vegan food, as well as serving refreshing fruit juices and smoothies.
What is there to buy in the Raval?
The Raval’s alternative, multicultural nature is also clear when you go shopping. It is full of unique shops with goods you’re unlikely to find in department stores or the usual shops. Check out its vintage, goth and alternative clothes shops, handmade clothes boutiques, record shops where you can still find vinyl records, and many other businesses where you can find a lovely souvenir of your trip to Barcelona.
The Raval is also home to gems such as the Filmoteca, concert halls and cocktail bars where you can soak up Barcelona by night. It’s an area with a huge personality—come and get to know it!