Few places in Barcelona have preserved their history and unique identity as well as Gràcia. The origin of the district lies in Vila de Gràcia, which functioned as an independent village until 1897, but was quickly absorbed by Barcelona due to the growth of the Eixample. This is also the birthplace of the famous music style rumba catalana and where Güell decided to build his utopian city, Park Güell.

If you want to get to know this district, continue reading in this guide about Gràcia, with all kinds of useful information, interesting sights, and the best local tips.

Why should you visit Gràcia?

Gràcia is a district north of the center of Barcelona that – apart from Gaudí’s Park Güell and Casa Vicens – is still relatively unknown to tourists. The district has a great diversity of places: from the hilly and quiet Vallcarca and El Coll to the urban and busy Camp D’en Grassot i Gràcia Nova. Especially Vila de Gràcia deserves your attention.

The old Vila de Gràcia is one of the nicest neighborhoods in Barcelona, but is often overlooked by tourists. Thanks to its village atmosphere, you feel slightly outside the city when you are here, and with all its original shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars, you are constantly inspired. Additionally, during the summer, everything is pulled out of the closet to decorate the streets of the neighborhood and celebrate the Festa Major de Gràcia.

Where is Gràcia located?

Gràcia is just outside the city center, wedged between Eixample, Horta-Guinardó, and Sarrià-Sant Gervasi. Its main attraction is Park Güell. Gràcia is easily accessible by the green and yellow metro lines. The best metro stops to further explore the neighborhood are Fontana (L3), Joanic (L4), and Vallcarca (L3).

Coming from Barcelona Airport, the easiest way is to take the metro to your final destination. You will have to make a few transfers, though.

Gràcia Neighborhood by Neighborhood

Gràcia is formed by the following barris (neighborhoods): La Vila De Gràcia | Camp D’en Grassot i Gràcia Nova | La Salut | El Coll | Vallcarca i Els Penitents. It is a vibrant place bursting with great restaurants and bars, cozy squares with pleasant terraces, and streets full of original shops to shop.

Vila de Gràcia: A Village in the City

Before 1897, Vila de Gràcia was simply a sparsely populated area outside Barcelona, with several villas for the bourgeoisie (built between the 16th and 17th centuries), three monasteries, and a number of farms. This small farming community became increasingly important with progressive industrialization, until it was incorporated as an independent municipality in 1850 and later became part of Barcelona in 1897.

The numerous squares (such as Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia, Plaça del Sol, and Plaça de la Virreina), markets (such as Mercat de la Llibertat and Mercat de l’Abaceria Central), and active neighborhood institutions (such as the Centre de Cultura Popular La Violeta or the Lluïsos de Gràcia) give Vila de Gràcia its unique village character.

Vila de Gràcia was also known as a rebellious neighborhood, of workers and trade unions that were inspired by a liberal spirit. Places like Plaça de la Llibertat and Plaça de la Revolució de Setembre de 1868 remind us of this.

It is also a neighborhood of social and cultural associations. This is evident, for example, during the celebration of the Festa Major de Gràcia, when the neighborhood residents beautifully decorate all the streets in the neighborhood.

Another key feature of Vila de Gràcia are the many trendy shops and fashion boutiques of local designers, and the many squares, which create the unique and personal atmosphere of this old village and make it a beloved place among bohemians, artists, designers, and students.

The old Vila de Gràcia is not without reason the address and source of inspiration for many writers, artists, and creators. The most famous is undoubtedly the writer Mercè Rodoreda, who named her most famous book after one of Gràcia’s squares: Plaça del Diamant.

👉 Follow my walking tour through Gràcia and discover all its highlights and my favorite addresses.

Vallcarca i Penitents: Old Holiday Resort

The neighborhood of Vallcarca i Els Penitents is formed by two areas: Vallcarca (between two hills: Turó del Putxet and Turó del Coll) and Penitents (at the foot of the Collserola mountain range), and extends along the course of a water stream that ran through the valley.

Vallcarca was traditionally a farming area where many holidaymakers built a house. Initially, this area belonged to Horta and was quite isolated from Barcelona.

The main symbol of the neighborhood, the Vallcarca viaduct that goes over the valley, was built only in 1923. With the opening of Avinguda de l’Hospital Militar, Vallcarca fully connected with Barcelona.

Above the Passeig de la Vall d’Hebron lies Els Penitents, an area that used to belong to Can Gomis and only began to develop as a residential area in 1902. It gets its name from the Catholics who met in the caves and the monastery that was in this area.

Thanks to the many houses with gardens that are still there and the peace that prevails, Vallcarca and Penitents still feel somewhat like the holiday destination of yesteryear. Two interesting beautiful modernist villas you find here are Casa Marsans and Casa Comas d’Argemir.

El Coll: Between the Hills

Around the city hill Turó del Coll lies the namesake neighborhood of El Coll, wedged between Parc de la Creueta del Coll and Park Güell. The neighborhood extends along the sides of the old water stream of La Farigola. It is a hilly area where feudal lords used to hunt.

The origin of the neighborhood lies in the Romanesque church from 1099: Església de Nostra Senyora del Coll, also known as the Ermita de la Font-rúbia. The current building is the result of a renovation in 1948 by architect Josep M. Ros.

El Coll especially grew in the 1960s when urbanization reached the valley.

Some highlights of the neighborhood include Parc de la Creueta del Coll, the old Editorial Bruguera factory (now an active community center), and three modernist buildings by architect Josep Maria Juyol, including Casa Sansalvador.

At the community center El Coll-La Bruguera used to be the Bruguera publishing house, which published famous books and comics and brought a lot of employment to the neighborhood residents until its closure in 1986.

Passeig de la Mare de Déu del Coll is the main street of this neighborhood plagued with steep slopes; a quiet place far from the tourist masses where time sometimes seems to stand still.

La Salut: Gaudí’s Fairy Tale Garden

The barri of La Salut was formerly known for its water source and the Xirot farm. The iron mines in the area gave a characteristic taste to the water from this source.

In 1864, it was decided to build a chapel here, dedicated to the Mare de Déu de la Salut. Around this church grew the neighborhood of La Salut, a place that now houses many private hospitals alongside an imposing church and monastery, the Santuari de Sant Josep de la Muntanya.

Most of the farms have disappeared (except for Can Xipreret and Can Tusquets), as have the water fountains (except for Font del Carbó).

The reason why many tourists come to La Salut, however, is because of Gaudí’s famous Park Güell. The park, originally intended as a residential area for the wealthy, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984 and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world every day. It’s not exactly quiet here, but a visit to Park Güell is more than worth it. Here you will also find the Museu Casa Gaudí, the house where Gaudí lived for a while and where you can now see an interesting collection of objects and furniture by the architect.

Camp d’en Grassot i Gràcia Nova: The New Gràcia

Camp d’en Grassot i Gràcia Nova are two areas that together form one barri (neighborhood). While Camp d’en Grassot already existed as a rural area outside Gràcia full of farms, Gràcia Nova, as its name suggests, is more recently developed.

Around 1860, a number of landowners began building houses here. Jeroni Grassot was one of the main landowners, hence the name ‘Camp d’en Grassot’ (Grassot’s estate). Some streets from the first urbanization have survived the Pla Cerdà and can still be walked today: Passatge d’Alió and Carrer d’en Grassot.

The old factory of La Sedeta is another symbol of the neighborhood’s history. This area used to be home to numerous factories seeking the existing groundwater.

What is now known as Gràcia Nova was originally called Ca l’Alegre de Dalt. It’s a commercial area between the streets of Escorial, Camèlies, Sardenya, and Pi i Margall.

For leisure and relaxation, the residents of Camp d’en Grassot and Gràcia Nova visit the beautiful Passeig de Sant Joan. A lovely walkway with numerous children’s playgrounds and benches to sit on.

Guide to Gràcia

Gràcia is best known for Park Güell, the lively squares in the old Vila de Gràcia, and its trendy and varied shopping and dining options. Follow my tips below to get to know Gràcia like a local. Visit the main sights, eat at the trendiest eateries, shop at the coolest stores, and enjoy this unique part of Barcelona.

Essential Attractions in Gràcia

Since Gràcia was formerly a rural area where some wealthy people built their holiday homes, you’ll find mainly old houses and modernist holiday villas in the small old streets and cozy squares. The further north you go, the more hilly and peaceful the neighborhood becomes.

  • Park Güell: Güell’s utopian garden city remained unfinished after his death, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful! This masterpiece by Gaudí is on the UNESCO World Heritage list and is a major attraction. Get your Park Guëll tickets and don’t miss the stunning view of the city from Plaça de la Naturalesa and Gaudí’s famous mosaic benches. The top of the hill where Park Güell is located belongs to the lesser-known Turó del Carmel, with a similar view but far fewer tourists.
  • Casa Vicens: Gaudí’s first important house in Barcelona was this holiday villa for the Vicens family. It was closed for a long time, but since 2017 it has been open to the public as a museum.
  • Casa Fuster: This modernist five-star hotel by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner is located at the top of Passeig de Gràcia and was the most expensive building in Barcelona at the time. The rooftop terrace offers a breathtaking view of Barcelona.
  • Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia: Recognizable by its tall clock tower and the old town hall. One of the many squares where locals meet. A recommended spot for a drink or a bite is Nabucco Tiramisu.
  • Plaça del Sol: A popular hangout for many younger Barcelonans, especially in the evenings and on weekends. Tapas bar Sol Soler is one of the locals’ favorite addresses. The modernist green house Casa Ricard Mestres is also a major eye-catcher.
  • Carrer Gran de Gràcia: The commercial artery of the neighborhood, with numerous shops for shopping and beautiful modernist buildings from the Catalan bourgeoisie of the early 20th century.
  • Carrer Verdi: One of my favorite shopping streets in Gràcia, with one of the best cinemas for watching films in their original version (Cine Verdi).
  • Travessera de Gràcia: A long shopping street that crosses the neighborhood with numerous shops and bars, where you can also find a fresh market (Mercat de l’Abaceria).
  • Passeig de Sant Joan: A pleasant promenade that connects Gràcia with Arc de Triomf. Along the way, you’ll see numerous beautiful buildings, children’s playgrounds, shops, and restaurants with terraces for a bite to eat.
  • Pont de Vallcarca: The viaduct between the hills of El Coll and El Putxet, dating from 1923, is the symbol of Vallcarca.
  • Parc de la Creueta del Coll: This park, opened in 1986, is located in an old quarry. It has interesting attractions like the lake that opens as a swimming pool every summer and the floating sculpture by Eduardo Chillida.
The porch of Casa Vicens
The porch of Casa Vicens

Fun Things to Do in Gràcia

Gràcia is often described as a village within the city. This is evident in its lively squares where children play in the streets, and in the houses on the hills where the hustle and bustle of the city seem far away. Beyond the well-known Park Güell, there is much more to discover in Gràcia. Here are some suggestions to explore Gràcia and experience it like a local.

  • Square Hopping: The many charming and vibrant squares of the old Vila de Gràcia, with their unique terraces where locals meet, invite you to sit down and enjoy the daily life in Barcelona and its residents. Take a walk through the nicest squares of Gràcia and settle down at one of its many terraces to discover the charm of this neighborhood.
  • Visiting Gaudí’s House: Did you know the Catalan architect lived in Gràcia for a while before he fully devoted himself to building the Sagrada Família? Gaudí’s house was in the unfinished and isolated Park Güell, which is now the Casa Museu Gaudí. For kids, the Gaudí Experience is also fun. Here they can get to know Gaudí’s wonderful world through exciting 4D projections.
  • Unique Architecture: Besides Gaudí’s legacy in Park Güell and Casa Vicens, there are other remarkable buildings in Gràcia for architecture lovers. Consider the Casa Marsans by architect Juli Marial i Tey, a beautiful modernist house in neo-Moorish style reminiscent of Granada’s Alhambra; Casa Ramos, a beautiful building by Jaume Torres i Grau in the ‘noucentista’ style, contrasting with the small houses that surrounded it; or Finca Sansalvador by Josep Maria Jujol, a disciple of Gaudí who built this summer house with underground galleries to access a healing water source.
  • War Shelters: Several shelters from the civil war have been preserved in Gràcia (such as those under Plaça de la Revolució and Plaça del Diamant) and show the saddest side of the Civil War in Barcelona. A book that highlights this period well is the famous novel “La Plaça del Diamant” by Mercè Rodoreda.
  • Gypsies and Rumba Catalana: The Gypsy community of Gràcia was one of the largest in Barcelona. Plaça del Raspall and its old Bar Resolís were their meeting places in the mid-20th century. Other places linked to the Gypsies are Plaça del Poble Romaní and the house at number 8 on Carrer de la Fraternitat, where a plaque indicates that this was the birthplace of El Pescaílla, the creator of rumba catalana.
  • Book Hunting: If you love books, you’re in the right place. The old Vila de Gràcia probably has the most bookstores per square meter in all of Barcelona! The literary festival ‘Gràcia Llegeix’ also shows how important books are here. Don’t miss TuuuLibreria, a solidarity project where you can bring your old books and exchange them for others for a chosen amount.
  • Industrial Heritage: Visit the old factories of La Sedeta, Vapor Puigmartí, or Editorial Bruguera to learn about Gràcia’s industrial past and its close ties to workers and unions.
  • Hotspots: Gràcia, especially around Vila de Gràcia, is one of the trendiest spots in Barcelona. Some of the city’s most fashionable addresses can be found here. Consider the trendy coffee bar Sabio Infante, modern tapas bar Colmado Gracia, popular chocolaterie Chök, bakery Candela Canela, healthy smoothie shop Lo&Lo Juicing, exotic ice cream parlor Mr. Kakigori, cat café Espai De Gats, or bike-friendly café Bicioci. For a good dose of creativity, this is always the right address!
  • Slow Living: The most bohemian aspect of the neighborhood is the number of yoga schools, artisan and fair trade shops, and organic, vegetarian, or vegan addresses. For example, visit the organic supermarket Woki Organic Market for groceries, try vegan beauty products from Végere, shop for souvenirs at the fair trade store Olokuti, pick up something tasty at the vegan bakery La Besneta, or dine out at the vegetarian restaurant Cafè Camèlia.
  • Drinking Vermut: The cafes and bars in Vila de Gràcia are the favorite spots of many locals for their aperitif, preferably a vermouth. Be sure to visit Bodega Marín, Lo Pinyol, and Sol Soler to sit among the locals.

With Kids in Gràcia

Gràcia is a very child-friendly neighborhood. Especially the area around Vila de Gràcia is perfect for a family walk. Most streets are pedestrian or have little traffic. On the many squares, children can always play while you enjoy a drink on the terrace, and you can go all out buying new clothes and toys at one of the many children’s stores on Rambla del Prat and Carrer d’Astúries.

For a tasty bite, head to Granja Chocolateria La Nena and grab an ice cream at Bodevici.

Fun playgrounds include Park Güell, Jardins del Mestre Balcells, Passeig de Sant Joan, Plaça del Diamant, and Plaça de John Lennon.

A super fun tip with kids in the summer is, of course, the outdoor swimming pool at Parc de la Creueta del Coll.

the outdoor swimming pool at Parc de la Creueta del Coll
The outdoor swimming pool at Parc de la Creueta del Coll

Events in Gràcia

Gràcia is also the location for various fun events throughout the year. Below I have summarized some of the most important and fun events.

  • Gràcia Car-Free: Every first Saturday of the month, traffic on Carrer Gran de Gràcia (between Pla de Salmerón and Carrer de Nil Fabra) is stopped from 17:00 to 21:00. Shopkeepers set up stalls on the street, and there are many activities for the little ones.
  • Foguerons de Sant Antoni de sa Pobla a Gràcia: A three-day festival from Mallorca at the end of January, with the highlight being the foguerons (bonfires) at Plaça de la Virreina.
  • Sant Medir: This child-friendly festival in March involves tons of candy being thrown and horse-drawn carriages parading through the streets.
  • Verdinada: In March, the Verdinada takes place in Gràcia, with various activities and events focused on the environment and sustainability.
  • Festa Major de Gràcia: Barcelona’s main summer festival, known for its decorated streets and the many free concerts and cultural activities that take place.
  • Gràcia Llegeix: Annual literary festival in the streets of Vila de Gràcia in November.
Festa Major de Gràcia Barcelona
Festa Major de Gràcia

Staying in Gràcia

A hotel or apartment in Gràcia is ideal for those who want to stay outside the busy city center and experience the real Barcelona of the locals, and still within walking distance of many attractions and cool hotspots. Choose a place to stay in the old Vila de Gràcia to make the most of your stay in Gràcia.

Eating in Gràcia

Fun dining spots are sprouting up in Gràcia, particularly in the old Vila de Gràcia, which is a paradise for foodies. From traditional Catalan and classic Spanish restaurants to the most exotic cuisines, and options including organic, vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. Gràcia has it all! Be sure to visit the authentic bodegas of Gràcia and step into the world of vermut and tapas. Some of my favorite dining addresses in Gràcia are listed below.

Coffee and Bakeries

  • Lukumas (Carrer del Torrent de l’Olla, 169): My favorite place for donuts!
  • Granja-Chocolateria La Nena (Carrer de Ramón y Cajal, 36): The local hangout for a portion of churros con chocolate or other delicacies.
  • Sabio Infante (Carrer del Torrent de l’Olla, 39): A trendy coffee bar and breakfast spot, perfect for a meeting or a break during sightseeing.

Lunch Spots

  • Gut (Carrer del Perill, 13): Mediterranean restaurant with vegetarian options. Main courses are €13 per person on weekdays at lunchtime.
  • Cafè Godot (Carrer de Sant Domènec, 19): A cozy café for lunch or dining out. Their children’s play area is ideal when you are with kids.
  • La Pubilla (Plaça de la Llibertat, 23): Catalan restaurant where you can order ‘esmorzars de forquilla’ among other dishes.
  • Nabucco Tiramisu (Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia, 8): A piece of Italy on Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia.
Cakes at Nabucco Tiramisu
Cakes at Nabucco Tiramisu


  • Botafumeiro (Carrer Gran de Gràcia, 81): A renowned seafood restaurant and a classic in the neighborhood.
  • Chivuo’s (Carrer del Torrent de l’Olla, 175): The place to be if you crave juicy burgers.
  • Kibuka (Carrer Goya, 9 and Carrer Verdi, 64): With two locations in the neighborhood, it’s a favorite spot for sushi lovers.

Tapas Bars

  • La Pepita (Carrer de Còrsega, 343): For delicious tapas in a modern setting.
  • Morrysom (Carrer Girona, 162): A well-known tapas bar, where you can taste authentic Spanish tapas.
  • Lo Pinyol (Carrer Torrent de l’Olla, 7): For tasty wine and tapas in an old bodega.

Drinking and Nightlife in Gràcia

Gràcia is also one of the most beloved nightlife areas among locals. Especially in the summer months, the squares and terraces of the old Vila de Gràcia are packed. Some tips:

  • Bobby Gin (Carrer de Francisco Giner, 47): A fancy cocktail bar for a delicious gin-tonic or one of their other creations.
  • L’Entresòl (Carrer del Planeta, 39): A fun bar where you can enjoy cocktails and music.
  • Cara B (Carrer del Torrent de les Flors, 36): A legendary bar in the heart of Gràcia with various DJs or live music performances, good beer, and a lively ambiance.