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Walking Tour in El Born

El Born is one of the most beloved neighborhoods in Barcelona and very popular with tourists. Located in the old center, next to the Gothic Quarter, El Born is home to the famous Santa Maria del Mar church, the Picasso Museum, the Mercat de Santa Caterina, and the Palau de la Música Catalana. In this artistic part of the city, you’ll find a paradise of authentic boutiques as well as countless cozy cafes and restaurants where you can spend your time pleasantly. Today, I take you on a journey in El Born and show you my favorite spots!

Tour in the El Born neighborhood

We begin our tour in the part of the neighborhood called Sant Pere. On the corner of Via Laietana, there is an alley called Carrer de Ramon Mas. Through this alley, we arrive at the Palau de la Música Catalana (1), a true gem of Catalan Modernism. To fully admire its beauty, you can participate in a guided tour. A part you shouldn’t miss when visiting this building is the façade on Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt.

Then we walk along Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt towards Plaça de Sant Pere. We pass by El Passatge de Sert (2), one of the few remaining covered passages where you can look inside.

The square Plaça de Sant Pere (3) is for many an undiscovered oasis of calm. On this square stands the church of Sant Pere de Puel·les, built on the remains of an old monastery, which gave its name to the church and this part of El Born. Besides the church, you will find several cozy terraces and restaurants here. If you are walking around here at noon, there is a good chance you will hear the choir of the church singing: the ultimate way to enjoy this square. Their singing dances through the streets and really gives you goosebumps!

Plaça de Sant Pere - El Born Barcelona
Plaça de Sant Pere

We then walk along Carrer de les Basses de Sant Pere and arrive at a small square where J. Roura’s store is located. In principle, there is nothing special about it, but if you pay attention, there is an old-fashioned “Rocalla” (4) advertising sign on the façade above the store. In my opinion, this is a cute corner with amazing facades and balconies where plants and shutters mingle with hanging laundry and Catalan flags.

We then move to the lively Plaça de Sant Agustí Vell (5), which is always full of people on the terrace. For those with a sweet tooth, the nearby Lolita Bakery (Carrer Portal Nou number 20), with its delicious cupcakes and pastries, is a real must.

Update 20/09/2022: Unfortunately, Lolita Bakery has moved.

Plaça de Sant Agustí Vell - El Born Barcelona
Plaça de Sant Agustí Vell

A true hidden gem is tucked behind an old arch on Carrer d’En Tantarantana. This leads to the remains of the old Convent de Sant Agustí (6), now converted into a cafe and community center. Don’t hesitate to take a look inside at the patio of the convent!

We then walk along Carrer dels Carders towards the area called Santa Caterina. The impressive colorful and wavy roof of the Mercat de Santa Caterina (7) is a must-see here. At the restaurant Cuines de Santa Caterina (located at one of the corners of the market), you can take a break to enjoy some tapas or have an extensive lunch. A full review of Cuines de Santa Caterina can also be found on Barcelona with Marta.

A visit to the market itself is also highly recommended, especially for foodies. Also interesting to note: behind the market, a section of ruins has been excavated from the former old monastery of Santa Caterina, which was demolished between 1823 and 1837.

Mercat de Santa Caterina - El Born, Barcelona
Mercat de Santa Caterina

After leaving the market, we head back onto the busy Via Laietana to go to the part of the neighborhood known as La Ribera. The entrance to this section is found next to the Jaume I metro station, via the street Carrer de l’Argenteria (8). Where silver craftsmen once had their shops (hence the street’s name: ‘argent’ means ‘silver’ in Catalan), there are now all kinds of charming stores. This street leads you directly to the famous church of Santa Maria del Mar (9).

Next to the church is another highlight of this tour: the Fossar de les Moreres (10). Here, in the center of El Born, is the site of the cemetery for those who fell during the Siege of Barcelona in 1714. A monument stands on the spot as a reminder. The place sometimes goes unnoticed by visitors, but for Catalans, the Fossar is more than a memory; it is a tribute.

Fossar de les Moreres Santa Maria del Mar - El Born Barcelona
Fossar de les Moreres en Santa Maria del Mar

We then walk along Passeig del Born (11), a lively promenade with trees, terraces, and beautiful buildings, leading us to the stunning Mercat del Born (12). Inside this renovated market hall, there’s an interesting exhibition of the remnants from 1700 found beneath the market.

Via Carrer de la Fusina, on the other side of Plaça Comercial, we walk through an alley towards Mercat Princesa (13), a unique restaurant housed in a 14th-century palace where you can taste various tapas. Update 30/05/2018: Unfortunately, Mercat Princesa has closed.

Walking down Carrer Princesa, we reach Carrer Montcada where the Museu Picasso (14) is located. It’s interesting to note that this street was where all the wealthy families and merchants built their palaces in the past.

As we walk again down Carrer Princesa towards Passeig Picasso, we come directly to a very special building: Castell dels Tres Dragons (15). Designed by Domènech i Muntaner, this imposing building served as a café-restaurant during the 1888 World’s Fair.

Next to it, for relaxation, is the beautiful Ciutadella Park (16), where you can rest from the walk. In the former military citadel, since the 1888 World’s Fair, is the magnificent Ciutadella Park, featuring a lake and a waterfall, beautiful sculptures, the Catalan Parliament, and the Barcelona Zoo.

Parlament de Catalunya - Parc de la Ciutadella
Parlament de Catalunya

Finally, we walk along the promenade of Passeig de Lluis Companys (16) to reach the Arc de Triomf, our tour’s final destination.

Map of El Born Walking Route

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Hello! My name is Marta, and I am a born and raised Barcelonian. I love introducing people to Barcelona, especially the Barcelona known to locals. In Barcelona, I am always looking for fun places and tips that I can then share with you, with the goal of helping you experience Barcelona like a local.

Marta Rubio

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