El Raval is known as a diverse, vibrant, and often hedonistic district in central Barcelona. The neighborhood started as part of the Ciutat Vella, but transformed after the walls were demolished and a new wave of immigrants and low-income residents reclaimed the streets. Today’s Raval is much cleaner and friendlier than past incarnations, offering a colorful mix of bohemian cafe culture, trendy dining options, and world-class cultural institutions. You’ll also find fascinating architecture, cosy outdoor squares, and a Rambla that easily competes with its neighbor to the east. Below you’ll find our most popular El Raval apartments, and a link to all apartments in El Raval.
Most popular El Raval apartments
From Barcelona International Airport, you’ll have the following options:
From Girona Airport, you’ll have the following options:
From Reus Airport, the most convenient transit option is the following:
From Barcelona-Sants Station, you’ll have the following options:
Parking options in El Raval include:
You’ll easily be able to stock up the fridge in your self-catering apartment with these convenient food stores nearby. We’ve also selected a few top-quality restaurants near our El Raval apartments to give you inspiration and a bit of direction in the midst of so many choices.
The vibrant El Raval district is located in the heart medieval portion of Barcelona and lies immediately alongside the Gothic Quarter. Plaça Catalunya and Plaça Universitat with the connecting street Carrer de Pelai mark the northern border of the neighbourhood. La Rambla to the east delineates the eastern edge whilst Avinguda del Paral-lel, Ronda Sant Antoni and Ronda Sant Pau mark the most southerly points.
Historically the area was once one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world. The Industrial Revolution spelled a difficult time for the district when every inch of space was used for production and little care for comfort of living. Modern day regeneration schemes have however made dramatic improvements for all here and the social and environmental benefits created here are huge. Some of the architectural landscape has remained unchanged and is thus a prime location for film companies and popular with photographers.
Today you will find small scale industry such as printing, furniture making and building supplies housed in old-fashioned workshops here. Meanwhile the general population of the area is more multicultural than in other neighbourhoods and as a result it provides a fabulous richness and diversity of culture. You will also find a wealth of food options here reflecting the residents’ backgrounds. The district has also become a fashionable location for artists’ studios, galleries and cool bookshops as well as several art museums. There are plenty of exciting shopping opportunities for picking up unique gifts including some amazing markets and you will never be short of somewhere to purchase a late night snack.
One of the city’s top 10 tourist attractions, the Museum of Modern Art (MACBA), is located in the heart of El Raval. This mammoth gallery offers you a chance to see some of the most interesting and internationally important art of the 20th century. Mainly featuring works form 1950 onwards you will find particularly European, Spanish and of course Catalonian artworks housed in this very striking white building designed by architect Richard Meier.
The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (also known as CCCB) is one of the most visited exhibition spaces in Barcelona. Incorporating core themes of city and urban culture, the arts centre produces exhibitions, debates, courses and lectures to promote creative visionary thinking and reflection on the world in which we live. You will find a mammoth 15,000 square feet of exhibition space, an auditorium and a fascinating bookstore for you to peruse at your leisure. The building itself is also rather beautiful with its dramatic mixture of old and new.
Be sure to explore the district’s La Boqueria Market, a huge covered market place selling everything and anything since the year 1217. Technically it’s not the same market but there has always been some kind of product exchange for money or goods at this location for the last 800 years. The relatively ‘modern’ market you see today was built in 1840. These days it’s the place to purchase all your essential fresh food items and is popular with the restaurant chefs in search of the best meat, poultry, eggs and vegetables available in the city. Understandably you probably are not looking for a leg of lamb or many of the other ingredients on sale but you might just be tempted by the array of delicious cheeses, nuts and chocolates also on sale here. This bustling vibrant market place has been perfectly described as “a paradise for the senses”.
One of the most remarkable sights in El Raval is the famous giant bronze sculpture of a cat by Fernando Botero known as El Gato. Located at one end of Rambla del Raval, no trip to the district is complete without having your photo taken with his cheeky, slightly pained, expression. He appears to look a bit like an inflated modeling balloon with a neck of tree trunk proportions. All of the Columbian sculptor’s art works have this distinctive voluptuous design. El Gato arrived in Barcelona in 1987 and was later moved to its current position as a part of the neighbourhood’s ongoing regeneration schemes.
The Museu Marítim de Barcelona or Maritime Museum is located at the southern tip of El Raval close to the Columbus Monument at the port. Housed in the Reials Drassanes, the medieval shipyards, it presents a wealth of seafaring exhibits illustrating Catalan maritime history. Highlights of this fascinating visitor attraction are the intricate model ships, beautifully sculpted figureheads, detailed maps and an incredible full scale replica of the royal galley used by Juan of Austria at the battle of Lepanto. Don’t miss the stunning 46-metre long Santa Eulàlia 4-masted schooner moored outside in the harbour which dates from 1918.
A great place to explore from one of our El Raval apartments!
These must-see sites are just minutes from home when you stay in one of our El Raval apartments!