Sant Andreu

Sant Andreu, a working-class district in the north of Barcelona, has managed to preserve its rural origins despite the area’s strong industrialization and urbanization. The origins of the district can be traced back to the old village of Sant Andreu del Palomar, which became part of Barcelona in 1897.

Since then, Sant Andreu has undergone significant changes, partly due to the industrialization at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century and the construction of the large La Sagrera train station, one of Barcelona’s main metro and train stations. Although not a major tourist destination, Sant Andreu offers plenty of charming places to discover and experience Barcelona as the locals do, from beautiful squares and city parks to old factories and brand-new shopping centers.

Why Visit Sant Andreu?

Sant Andreu is a great place to experience authenticity. Walking through the old village center of Sant Andreu De Palomar is highly recommended. Here, you truly immerse yourself among the locals and experience their daily life.

Where is Sant Andreu Located?

Sant Andreu lies to the north of Barcelona, stretching along the Besòs River. It borders districts like Nou Barris and Sant Martí, and nearby cities such as Santa Coloma de Gramenet. It is easily accessible by the red metro line (L1), with stations such as Sagrera (L1, L5, L9 Nord, L10 Nord) and Sant Andreu (L1) serving as good starting points for exploring the area.

Coming from Barcelona’s airport, you’ll need to take the metro (with a transfer) to reach Sant Andreu.

Neighborhoods of Sant Andreu

Sant Andreu comprises the following neighborhoods (barris): Baró De Viver | Bon Pastor | El Congrés i Els Indians | Navas | Sant Andreu De Palomar | La Sagrera | Trinitat Vella. The district uniquely combines Barcelona’s modern and innovative character with its historical aspects.

The district is known for its strong local cultural traditions (such as the Tres Tombs or Esclat Andreuenc), active neighborhood institutions, and sports clubs, making Sant Andreu a vibrant area with its own personality.

However, note that not all areas of Sant Andreu are equally safe or interesting for tourists. Places like Trinitat Vella and Baró de Viver, which experience higher levels of poverty, are better avoided.

Sant Andreu De Palomar: The Old Village

With over a thousand years of history, Sant Andreu de Palomar is the oldest part of the district and its beating heart. The old village was once a powerful settlement, and its territory included parts of the neighboring Nou Barris and Horta-Guinardó. Situated on a plain with fertile soil, the main activity of the villagers was agriculture, coexisting with small industries that emerged in the 1920s.

The subsequent industrialization brought significant companies to Sant Andreu, such as Fabra i Coats, La Maquinista, and Fabricació Nacional de Colorants, culminating in the annexation of Sant Andreu de Palomar by Barcelona in 1897.

The well-preserved historical village center, with its parish from 1105, and the active cultural and commercial life make Sant Andreu de Palomar a fascinating place to visit. Plaça d’Orfila, with the Església de Sant Andreu de Palomar, is a popular meeting point. The Carrer Gran de Sant Andreu, following an old Roman road, was historically the main street.

Don’t miss the enclosed square of Plaça del Mercadal (home to the Sant Andreu market hall) and the beautiful promenades of Rambla de l’Onze de Setembre and Rambla de Fabra i Puig. Also noteworthy are the less-known Parròquia de Sant Pacià (which houses a mosaic by Gaudí), the old military barracks along the railway, and the Casa Bloc (a social housing architectural building built during the Second Republic by GATCPAC architects).

Sant Andreu De Palomar - Sant Andreu Barcelona
Sant Andreu De Palomar

Baró De Viver: Poor Suburb

Baró de Viver, the smallest and least populated neighborhood of Sant Andreu, was originally one of the four areas in Barcelona where the so-called casas baratas (cheap houses) were built. These were small enclaves providing affordable housing for the poorest residents, mostly workers from the 1929 World Exhibition. Construction began in 1929 after the Patronat Municipal de l’Habitatge bought the land from the Marchioness of Castellvell. The name derives from Mayor Baró de Viver but was temporarily changed to Pi i Margall during the Republic. The Franco regime restored the old name to the neighborhood.

Baró de Viver, due to its remote location and impoverished living conditions, never became an idyllic place. Of the original 334 simple houses, almost nothing remains following the municipality’s decision to demolish and rebuild from 1985. The new apartments, squares, and gardens can be deceiving: this is one of the poorest areas in the city, offering little for tourists.

A notable spot is the 524-meter-long mural along Passeig de Santa Coloma, known as El Mural de la Memòria, depicting the history of Baró Viver, and the oval Plaça del Baró Viver, designed by architect Emili Donato.

El Bon Pastor: Affordable Housing

Characterized by limited resources and decades of institutional neglect, Bon Pastor is known as one of the poorest parts of Barcelona. The neighborhood comprises warehouses and industries on one side and affordable housing on the other. The name comes from the local parish, Església del Bon Pastor, an important example of post-war religious architecture. The neighborhood’s origin is the Barriada d’Estadella, a series of houses once located at the intersection of the Torrent de Sant Andreu and Torrent d’Estadella streams.

Bon Pastor developed in stages, with new areas added over time. The most notable is the casas baratas, a group of houses named Milans del Bosch built in 1929 for social housing on the land of the Marchioness of Castellvell, between the Besòs River and the streets Carrer de Sant Adrià, Passeig de Mollerusa, and Carrer de la Sèquia Madriguera. Of the original 784 casas baratas, many have been demolished and replaced by apartment buildings. The municipality plans to preserve some as a museum. The streets of Bellmunt, Tàrrega, Barnola, and Claramunt still showcase these modest yet somewhat charming houses and streets.

The biggest attraction in the area is the open-air shopping center La Maquinista and the adjacent Parc de la Maquinista de Sant Andreu, located on the site of the old machine factory La Maquinista Terrestre y Marítima.

El Bon Pastor - Sant Andreu Barcelona
La Maquinista

El Congrés i Els Indians: The “Indianos” Neighborhood

The barri del Congrés, spread around Carrer de Felip II, originated in the 1950s at the initiative of the church. In celebration of the International Eucharistic Congress of 1952 in Barcelona, the church decided to build a new working-class neighborhood. The land was sold to the Ros i de Ramis family, and the neighborhood, including about 3,000 homes, a church (Parròquia de Sant Pius X), and two schools (one for boys and one for girls), was designed by architects Josep Soteras Mauri, Antoni Pineda, and Carles Marquès.

The area was also known as the Indianos neighborhood, due to the various villas built by wealthy Catalans returning from America, such as Vila Jazmines (alias Torre Rosa) from 1920.

Thus, the neighborhood of El Congrés i els Indians owes its name to the Eucharistic Congress of 1952 (“Congrés”) and the Catalans returning from America (“Indians”).

There are a few interesting sights in the area, such as a dog racing track from 1964 (Canòdrom; now a trendy workspace for entrepreneurs), the Jardins de Massana park (with its beautiful pergola), and the aforementioned Torre Rosa (now converted into a fun cocktail bar).

Navas: A Young Neighborhood

Navas, one of the youngest neighborhoods in the district, lies on both sides of Avinguda Meridiana. Its name comes from Navas de Tolosa, the main street of the neighborhood, where the Torrent de La Guineu stream used to flow. The area was almost empty until the 20th century, with only a few farms like Torre del Fang.

By 1945, modest accommodations and workshops began to emerge, flourishing due to nearby industries. The first parish church was built on Navas de Tolosa street, which in 1974 became the modern church of Sant Joan Bosco at Plaça de Ferran Reyes.

Part of the neighborhood follows the block structure of l’Eixample, while another part is formed by the Cases del Governador, a set of houses between the streets of Sant Antoni Maria Claret, Felip II, Olesa, and Concepción Arenal, divided into islands since 1944.

La Sagrera: The Railway Line

La Sagrera was an agricultural area that spread along the old Carretera de Ribes, between the former villages of Sant Martí de Provençals and Sant Andreu de Palomar. The area, originally belonging to Sant Martí de Provençals, owes its name to the cellars (sagreres) of the chapel of Sant Martí de Provençals, where the harvest and wine of the rector and locals were stored, safe from bandits. Roman traces indicate that there were large farms and agricultural lands here.

The construction of the railway line in 1854 made La Sagrera an attractive location for industries, which could easily transport their goods by train to France and the rest of Spain. Large factories for the textile and base metal industries, like the La Pegaso car factory of Hispano Suiza, settled here between the 18th and 19th centuries. The simple houses and workshops of La Sagrera’s residents were replaced by large apartment blocks along Avinguda Meridiana in the late 20th century.

Today, La Sagrera is best known for its metro and train station, processing a very large number of passengers daily. In a few years, once the new train station is completed and high-speed trains also stop in La Sagrera, it will be the second-largest train station in Barcelona. Other interesting sights in the area include Plaça Masadas, an enclosed square with arcades where the market used to be held; the church Parròquia del Crist Rei; former mansions like Torre de la Sagrera and Torre del Fang; old factories such as Nau Bostik and Nau Ivanow; and the tranquil Parc de la Pegaso.

La Sagrera - Sant Andreu Barcelona
Plaça Masadas

Trinitat Vella: The Prison

Trinitat Vella, formerly known as Coll de Finestrelles, was a deserted rural area outside Sant Andreu de Palomar, far from Barcelona. In 1413, the chapel of Trinitat was built, giving the neighborhood its name. Around 1445, it became a place where criminals were hanged at the gallows, likely as a warning to visitors entering Barcelona.

The construction boom reached Trinitat in 1952 and 1954, with several apartment buildings and a prison being built. The construction of Avinguda Meridiana divided Trinitat into two: Trinitat Vella (Old Trinitat) and Trinitat Nova (New Trinitat, now part of the Nou Barris district).

One of the most notable places in the area is the modernist Casa de l’Aigua, built in the early 20th century to supply water to Barcelona. The Nus de la Trinitat, built in 1992, is an impressive traffic junction with a beautifully landscaped park, Parc de la Trinitat, and a skate park, Skate Park Baró De Viver. Neighborhood life revolves around Plaça de la Trinitat, but it can be less safe for tourists due to the high poverty in this area.

Guide to Sant Andreu

Sant Andreu is a neighborhood of contrasts: from modest accommodations like the casas baratas, old factories, and warehouses, to lively squares, modern shopping centers, and beautiful city parks. It’s a true working-class neighborhood that has remained under the radar for tourists, where you can experience real Barcelona with its cozy terraces, old-fashioned shops and cafes, and authentic tapas bars. To get to know the neighborhood like a local, follow my tips!

Must-See Attractions in Sant Andreu

When visiting Sant Andreu, there are various must-sees, such as the old village center of Sant Andreu de Palomar, the Fabra i Coats factory, or the Canòdrom dog racing track.

  • Esglèsia de Sant Andreu de Palomar: Located at the site of an old Romanesque church, the grand Esglèsia de Sant Andreu de Palomar is the main church of the neighborhood, rebuilt multiple times. A notable feature is the wall paintings inside the church by local painter Josep Verdaguer, including a Barça supporter among the sinners.
  • Carrer Gran de Sant Andreu: The commercial vein and the beating heart of Sant Andreu del Palomar, with its hidden market hall in a beautiful enclosed square. Historically, many shops have been established here. Examples include Bar Versalles, mattress shop Lázaro, curtain shop Casa Rusca, and pharmacies Clapès, Franquesa, and Guinart.
  • Parròquia de Sant Pacià: This neogothic church by architect Joan Torras i Guardiola, inaugurated in 1881, holds a special surprise; a mosaic on the church floor designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí.
  • Casa Bloc: This social apartment building from the times of the Second Republic is a prime example of the rationalist architecture of GATCPAC, an architectural movement from the 1930s inspired by European rationalism, and has been declared a monumental cultural heritage. Habitatge 1/11 is an apartment within the complex that serves as a museum and can be visited during events like 48h Open House Barcelona.
  • Canòdrom: This old dog racing track, active from 1964 to 2006, was one of the last active racetracks in Spain. It has now been transformed into a modern workspace for entrepreneurs, named Canòdrom Parc de Recerca Creativa, with a large public garden where events are held, such as open-air cinema nights.
  • Pont de Bac de Roda: This unique bridge over the Besòs River, also known as the Pont de Calatrava, was built between 1985 and 1987 by the famous architect Santiago Calatrava and has won the prestigious FAD architecture prize.
  • Fabra i Coats: The old Fabra i Coats factory has now been converted into a multifunctional space hosting workplaces, schools, modern art, and numerous activities and events.
  • Parc de la Pegaso: Located on the site of the old Pegaso factory, this peaceful park features a sort of Japanese garden where locals love to relax while the children play.

Fun Things to Do in Sant Andreu

The charm of Sant Andreu is that you won’t find tourists here. You’re truly among the locals, witnessing firsthand how they live their daily lives, shop at local stores, relax at cafes, or lounge on benches in the shade. The district is full of undiscovered gems, from award-winning bridges to old factories transformed into hip workplaces and cultural centers. Below are some suggestions for experiencing Sant Andreu like a local.

  • Explore Old Sant Andreu: Discover one of the most authentic neighborhoods of Barcelona and immerse yourself in its history. From Carrer Gran de Sant Andreu with its shops and the famous Bar Versalles, to Plaça del Mercadal or Plaça d’Orfila, Sant Andreu del Palomar is a gem worth exploring. Don’t miss the hidden Carrer de Grau, a street with simple houses and gardens that recall the area’s rural past, and the old Fabra i Coats factory, highlighting the district’s industrial heyday.
  • Follow the Besòs River: Along both sides of the Besòs River is Parc Fluvial del Besòs, featuring pleasant walking paths and grassy areas by the water. Additionally, from bridges like Pont de Sta. Coloma, Pont de Can Peixauet, and Passera del Molinet, you can catch beautiful views of the river and the neighborhood.
  • Spot Old Factories: Due to its proximity to the railway line and available space, Sant Andreu was once attractive to large industries. Many of the old buildings and warehouses have been transformed into trendy workspaces and cultural centers that you can visit. Take a look at Fabra i Coats, Can Fabra, Nau Bostik, and Nau Ivanow.
  • Discover Street Art: The Bostik Murales in the old Nau Bostik factory is a favorite spot for street art enthusiasts and artists. This place is considered Barcelona’s first urban art museum and houses many cool murals by some of the best street art artists of the moment.
  • Visit the Squares in Sant Andreu: Enjoy sitting on a terrace, watching locals come and go while enjoying a tapa or two. Great places for this include Plaça de Masadas in the heart of La Sagrera or Plaça del Mercadal in Sant Andreu del Palomar.
  • Dine Among the Locals: Sant Andreu has many great restaurants and tapas bars where you can taste local cuisine. Famous names include Bar Versalles, L’Antic Colmado, and Can Rabasseda. Here, you’ll dine among the locals, often at favorable prices!
  • Shop in Sant Andreu: Besides shopping in the various streets of the neighborhood, you can also visit the open-air shopping center La Maquinista, a paradise for shoppers. It features well-known fashion chains, a large cinema, various restaurants, and plenty of entertainment for all ages.

Sant Andreu with Kids

Especially the old Sant Andreu del Palomar and La Sagrera are very child-friendly neighborhoods with many fun places to go with kids, such as the children’s theater SAT! Sant Andreu Teatre, Parc de la Pegaso (equipped with various playgrounds and a traffic park), or the vintage toy market at Canòdrom (every first Sunday of the month from 10:00 to 14:00).

For shopping for the little ones, visit El Petit Rusc, and for new toys, check out the toy store La Jota.

The indoor playground Parc Infantil La Granota is ideal for rainy days.

Ending your visit to Sant Andreu with a delicious portion of churros with chocolate from the authentic Xurreria Sant Andreu is a perfect treat.

Parc de la Pegaso - Leukste speeltuinen in Barcelona
Parc de la Pegaso

Events in Sant Andreu

Various events are organized throughout the year in Sant Andreu, especially the trendy festivals in the old factories of Sant Andreu that attract many people.

  • Vintage Toy Market: Every first Sunday of the month from 10:00 to 14:00 (except in August), a vintage toy market is held at Canòdrom featuring old trains, cars, airplanes, soldiers, and dolls. This market used to be organized at Plaça Masadas.
  • Tres Tombs de Sant Andreu: In January, the festival of the three rounds is held, where pets are blessed, and old parade wagons are brought out.
  • Eat Street Festival: Every second Saturday of the month, this culinary festival is held at the old factory site Nau Bostik, where various chefs showcase their latest creations to visitors.
  • Festival Cara B: An independent and urban music and culture festival held every February at Fabra i Coats.
  • Nomad Festival: A festival for nomads, with food trucks, stalls of alternative brands, various workshops, and activities for all ages. The Nomad Festival usually takes place in spring at the old Nau Bostik.
  • Grades Obertes al Canòdrom: In July and August, the old racetrack hosts open-air movie nights.
  • Matinals al Canòdrom: Every Saturday morning between October and November, a kids’ festival with child-friendly activities around a specific theme is organized at the old racetrack.
  • La Fàbrica dels Reis d’Orient: Every Christmas, the old Fabra i Coats is transformed into the gift factory of the Three Kings. A popular event among local families, who come here to deliver their wish lists.

Eating in Sant Andreu

Although not renowned for its culinary scene, you can still enjoy delicious meals in Sant Andreu, often at more affordable prices than elsewhere in Barcelona. The range of dining options in Sant Andreu is diverse, and while most cafes and restaurants focus on local cuisine, you’ll also find new coffee shops and trendy tapas bars opening up. Regular events like the Eat Street Festival bring delicious food trucks to Sant Andreu. Some of my favorite dining spots in Sant Andreu are listed below.

Coffee and Bakeries

  • Several Cafè (Carrer Gran de Sant Andreu, 165): A cozy cafe with a large assortment of cakes and pastries to enjoy with coffee or tea.
  • Tostaderos Bon Mercat Sant Andreu (Carrer de Pons i Gallarza, 9): A charming coffee house perfect for breakfast or sandwiches.
  • El Taller (Passeig de Torras i Bages, 11): A simple yet great café and bakery. Ideal for breakfast or a snack.
  • Forn De Pa Martí Molins (Carrer de Martí Molins, 48-62): A family-run artisan bakery offering delicious pastries, bread, and cakes.

Lunch Spots

  • Can Rabasseda (Plaça del Mercadal, 1): An authentic Spanish restaurant located in the picturesque Plaça del Mercadal. A charming spot that’s definitely worth a try.
  • Bar Versalles (Carrer Gran de Sant Andreu, 255): One of the most famous spots in Sant Andreu, known for its modernist style, where locals love to have lunch and meet.
  • L’Antic Colmado (Passeig de Torras i Bages, 46): A beautiful restaurant offering a good lunch menu during the day and tapas in the evening.


  • La pizzeria de l’Empanat (Carrer Coll, 9): A casual pizzeria with an outdoor terrace on the lively Plaça Masadas.
  • Pura Brasa (Passeig de Torras i Bages, 63): A modern grill restaurant with several locations in the city.
  • El Racó de l’Avi Melcior (Carrer de Santa Coloma, 2): A classic Spanish restaurant.

Tapas Bars

  • Bar Restaurante Xinzo 2 (Carrer de Pons i Gallarza, 18-28): A Galician restaurant and tapas bar where you can enjoy tasty tapas like pimientos de padrón (green peppers) and boquerones en vinagre (anchovies in vinegar).
  • Bodega Lluís (Carrer de Pinar del Rio, 74): An authentic bodega with wine barrels, serving delicious wine or vermouth. Open since 1955.
  • 035//BAR (Carrer de Monlau, 35): A wine bar with a hip and industrial interior, offering gourmet snacks to accompany your drink.
  • El Racó de les Tapes (Plaça d’Orfila, 10): A cozy brewery café at Plaça Orfila, with an extensive tapas menu.

Drinks and Nightlife in Sant Andreu

Besides the various festivals held here, Sant Andreu is not particularly known for its nightlife. However, there are plenty of spots where locals go for some fun.

  • Cocteleria Torre Rosa (Carrer de Francesc Tàrrega, 22): A cocktail bar in an old villa, featuring a fantastic outdoor terrace. Delicious cocktails are served with complimentary popcorn or nuts.
  • Acústic (Riera de Sant Andreu, 9): A music bar with regular performances by artists.
  • Làgrima Negra Gin’s & cocktail Lounge (Carrer de Coroleu, 6): A great place to have a drink with friends, open only on Friday and Saturday nights.

Staying in Sant Andreu

Since Sant Andreu is quite far from the city center and not very touristy, there are fewer good accommodation options. A hotel or apartment in Sant Andreu is only interesting for those who need to stay in this district for some reason.