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Walking Tour in Poblenou

The Poblenou neighborhood is often compared to Brooklyn in New York: a working-class area that rose between factories and warehouses and has now become a hub for hipsters, young creatives, international tech companies, and modern startups. If you’re looking for an up-and-coming area with plenty of trendy spots and undiscovered hotspots, Poblenou is the place to be right now. With my Poblenou walking tour, I take you along the most beautiful places and hotspots of Poblenou and show you what makes it so special.

A few years ago, Poblenou (or Pueblo Nuevo in Spanish) looked very different: after the industrialization that brought much employment to the neighborhood, the factories (mostly in the textile industry) moved out of the city, and the area was forgotten, resulting in numerous empty warehouses and factory buildings falling into decay. But this changed when the municipality decided in the early 2000s to turn the neighborhood into Barcelona’s technological hub, the so-called 22@ district (or district 22@). New purposes were devised for the old factories, brand new skyscrapers were built, and a new neighborhood was created that was a mix and match of old and new, hip and modern with traditional and local. Although construction is still ongoing and the neighborhood is constantly changing, it is definitely worth visiting if you want to discover the other Barcelona far from the tourist crowds.

Tour in El Poblenou

We start our walking tour in El Poblenou at Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes (1), a square that is constantly changing because the municipality can’t decide what to do with this traffic junction. Interestingly, the designer of the Eixample, Ildefons Cerdà, saw this as the epicenter of Barcelona, but over time it has not become so (now it’s Plaça de Catalunya). One thing is certain: the city’s largest open-air flea market, Encants Vells (2), is here, and they have built an ultra-modern canopy for the market that provides shade and beautiful views over the square.

On the same square, behind the equally modern design museum of Barcelona, the Disseny Hub Barcelona (3), you already see the top of the infamous Torre Glòries (4), formerly called Torre Agbar. The peculiar skyscraper, labeled by some as the phallic symbol, was built between 1999 and 2005 and designed by the renowned architect Jean Nouvel. Walk towards it to get closer and take fun photos. The Torre Glòries forms the symbolic gateway to the 22@ district: the technological district of Barcelona where numerous high-tech companies have their offices, and you can see that in the number of brand new skyscrapers and modern office buildings, such as that of the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC) (5), at Carrer de Bolívia number 56. This can be recognized by its impressive steel construction built under the structure of the old textile factory Can Tiana by Battle & Roig Architects in 2010.

Then turn left at Carrer de Tànger to get to the university building of Pompeu Fabra. Along the way, we come across other interesting sights, such as the old factory building where the Universitat de Barcelona now has the Institut de Formació Contínua (6), and the Superilla of Poblenou (7), a block where neighborhood residents are given priority and thus limited car traffic. This was the first ‘superilla’ in the city, a new system by the municipality to make Barcelona increasingly friendly for its residents.

Pompeu Fabra - Walking Tour El Poblenou
Pompeu Fabra

The Campus del Poblenou of the Pompeu Fabra University (8) is our next stop and definitely deserves your attention. Special about this university building is that it is located in the old factory of Can Framis and if you take a glimpse inside, you will see the old chimney and the original factory building, which are combined with the new university building.

Cross the street briefly to walk through the green and shady Jardins de Miquel Martí i Pol (9). Inside, you find the old cotton factory of Can Framis (10), where now a modern art museum (the Fundació Vila Casas) is located. Don’t hesitate to take a look at the inner patio, where sometimes some artworks are exhibited.

We continue our route in El Poblenou along Carrer de Tànger, but not without first grabbing a few tasty empanadas from Las Muns (11). You can take these to our next stop, Parc del Centre del Poblenou (12). Here we come after crossing Avinguda Diagonal. This beautiful city garden offers plenty of places to sit down and take a break. There is ample play space for kids, and nature lovers will surely enjoy all the beautiful plants and flowers in this park. Be sure to take a look at Carrer d’Espronceda, which divides the park in two, and acts as a green tunnel. Across the park, you find another old factory, that of Oliva Artés (13), now part of the MUHBA.

Parc del Centre del Poblenou
Parc del Centre del Poblenou

Walking along Carrer d’Espronceda, we head back to Carrer de Tànger to arrive at the beautiful Can Felipa (14). It may be hard to imagine, but this elegant building with French flair was actually a factory once! Next to it, there’s a charming square with several terraces where locals go to grab a bite. As you’ll notice from the surrounding architecture, we’re getting closer to the old heart of Poblenou, leaving behind the modern, business-like atmosphere of the 22@ district.

Turn left at Carrer de Marià Aguiló (15), which I think is one of the coolest streets in Poblenou, filled with lots of fun shops and eateries. It’s also one of the most kid-friendly areas in the neighborhood: you’ll find plenty of children’s fashion stores, toy shops, and kid’s bookstores, along with family-friendly cafes like Nabibi Vital Cooking (16) and Ideal Café (17). If you’re getting hungry, be sure to stop by La Pubilla del Taulat (18), where the locals go for delicious tapas and vermouth. Then, visit the local fresh market, Mercat del Poble Nou (19), just around the corner.

Via Carrer del Ferrocarril, we reach a completely different place, the serene and beautiful Plaça de Prim (20). This hidden gem is often referred to as the fishermen’s square: the white houses directly link to the neighborhood’s maritime past. Take some time to sit here and enjoy all its beauty.

Plaça de Prim - Walking Tour El Poblenou
Plaça de Prim

We now head towards Carrer de la Jonquera, leaving the old houses behind to enter a newer part of Poblenou. At the intersection of Carrer Bilbao and Carrer de Joncar, to the left, we see another well-preserved old factory. This is Can Saladrigas (21), once one of the largest textile factories in Poblenou, and now a building with a social function.

Via Carrer de Ramon Turró, we quickly reach Palo Alto (22), one of the most inspiring places in Poblenou. In this old tannery, multiple companies are now surrounded by a beautiful garden and an open canteen. Since the entrance is free, you can just walk in and be surprised by this beautiful space. The Palo Alto Market is held here every first weekend of the month, a feast for all senses, with delicious food, fun shopping items, and enjoyable music. It’s definitely the place to be among hipsters.

Next, we visit the nearby Torre de les Aigües del Besòs (23), which, as the name suggests, was once a water tower. If you join a tour, you can climb all the way to the top for a great view of Poblenou from above.

Beach Promenade of Poblenou
Beach Promenade of Poblenou

From here, it’s just a few minutes’ walk through Carrer de la Selva de Mar until you reach the sea and the beach. This is generally one of the quieter beach areas in Barcelona, where mainly locals come to sunbathe, walk, or exercise. Follow the beach promenade (24) running parallel to the beach in a southerly direction and enjoy the Mediterranean Sea along the way. Once at Espigó del Bogatell, it’s time to head back into the neighborhood.

Walking along Carrer de Jaume Vicens i Vives, we come across the main entrance of the Cementiri de Poblenou (25), the first cemetery built outside the city walls. Here, several celebrities are buried, and there is much art and interesting sculpture to see, such as the “Petó de la mort” (kiss of death), by Jaume Barba from 1930.

Via Carrer del Dr. Trueta, we return to the bustling world. Then, head towards Rambla del Poblenou (26), the epicenter of the neighborhood where residents love to stroll and grab a bite on the terrace. Follow the long boulevard towards the mountains and don’t miss the beautiful buildings in the Modernist style that are scattered here and there.

Rambla del Poblenou: El Tio Che
Rambla del Poblenou: El Tio Che

Grab a refreshing orxata from the famous horchatería El Tío Che (27), overlooking Casino l’Aliança del Poblenou (28), the community center of El Poblenou and a meeting place for many locals since 1929. If you want to sit down on a terrace to wrap up this exploration around El Poblenou, you can plop down at one of the many terraces on Rambla del Poblenou. For a tasty bite, I recommend the restaurants El 58 (29) and Can Recasens (30).

Map of the Walking Tour in El Poblenou

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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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