El Born is so much more than just the home of Barcelona’s famous Picasso Museum.
Full of medieval buildings and tiny pedestrian streets lined with boutique shops and trendy bars – it’s arguably the trendiest neighbourhood in the city.
Where is El Born?
Why You’ll Like El Born
- Loads of fashionable bars
- Boutique shopping (no chains)
- Eclectic restaurant mix
- Quieter than other central neighbhourhoods
- A great place for street art
El Born Sights
The Santa Maria del Mar Cathedral is that rare medieval behemoth known for its unity of style. This scale of this shining example of Catalan Gothic architecture is impossible to understand since it’s hemmed in by neighbouring buildings.
On the inside however there is nothing but light and spaciousness, and it’s said to house the slenderest stone built columns in the world.
Just beyond the cathedral is the immense Mercado del Born which served as one of the city’s main markets until 1971. During the 1980’s the market was restored while the city decided what to do with it.
When they were constructing a new library in 2002 they found medieval archaeological ruins which painted an important picture of Barcelona’s urban evolution. These are now preserved for visitors to see and the building is now a cultural center.
Passeig Del Born
This famous tree-lined promenade is the center-piece of El Born. It’s a great place to grab a drink from the supermarket, sit on a bench, and watch the world go by. There are also tons of trendy cocktail bars along here and you can’t go wrong ducking into any of them.
Bars in El Born
More cocktail, coffee, and aperitivo than full on shit show. A lot of these bars are great to escape the tourist-caused chaos of many other central watering holes. Here are some of the best bars in El Born:
Collage – Consellers 4. 1950’s chill out vibe. Deemed an ‘art and cocktail social club’. They claim they’ll customize a cocktail for just you! Rare ingredients and top notch classics. They also give cocktail making lessons.
Rendez Vous Bar – Carrer de la Fusina 6. This Italian owned bar really gets going on Wednesdays for the International Meetup and Language Exchange organized by a local English school. It’s a great place where locals and travelers mix – reasonably priced beer, good cocktails, and did I mention there are free tapas and pasta at 9 PM?
El Nosé – Passeig del Born 21. A Milanese-style aperitivo and art bar right on the promenade. Most nights you’ll get a full-on buffet style Italian aperitivo with a minimum order of 6 euro. Ham wrapped crostini, insalata di riso (rice salad), mortadella, chorizo etc. And the drinks aren’t too bad either.
Magic – Passeig de Picasso 40. If you’re looking for action then this club with retro-pop and rock music is one of the best places to get sloppy in the entire city. The cover is usually way lower than its Barcelona counterparts.
El Diset – Carrer Antic de Sant Joan 3. Class and quality. One of the biggest local wine lists in Barcelona. The cheese and ham platters are to die for. Great for couples or general relaxing.
El Born Restaurants
La Paradeta. Carrer Comercial 7. Don’t miss this if you love fish. It’s a kind of self-service seafood joint where you choose fresh fish from a counter, just like at the market, and they cook it for you right there. Grab a bottle of a local white called Blanc Pescador and make sure you try the chipirones (cuttlefish). Get there EARLY (1PM for lunch and 8PM for dinner) if you don’t want to queue up.
En Aparte’. Carrer Lluis el Piados 2. A French restaurant where they cook really well and have a set menu for €15/20. A small, pretty setting with outside tables for al fresco dining. They do more than meat.
Puerto Plata. Carrer Tragi 1. A epic Carribean food binge. Perfect for group parties and birthdays. The set menu starts at €22 and includes 2 hours of NON-STOP eating (they bring you about a dozen different dishes and if you ask for seconds or thirds, they’re free!). Also… beer or jugs of sangria are NON-STOP.
Kiosko Burger. Av. del Marquès de l’Argentera, 1 bis. Possibly Barcelona’s best burgers. Great value for the quality, a great selection (try the Spanish one with manchego), and not far from the beach!
El Xampanyet. Carrer de Montcada 22. A family run tapas restaurant that has been a staple of the barrio since the 1930’s. This is true Spanish atmosphere with quality to match. Duck into the house wines and get some boquerones (anchovies in vinegar), the traditional Spanish potato tortilla, and some grilled squid. You’re welcome.
El Born Tips
- Try and walk up into el Born after a day at the beach (just keep walking past Barceloneta metro station and across Passeig d’Isabel II). It’s a great post-beach drink spot.
- Being mostly traffic-free, the only place you’ll be able to catch a taxi is at the west end of the promenade.
- If you’re staying near Sants Estacio or Passeig de Gracia you can get to El Born very quickly using RENFE (Spanish rail) with only your T-10 discount travel card. Get off at the terminus station (and name of the train) Estació de França.
As always please let me know how helpful (or completely counterproductive) I’ve been in the comments below!