Get lost in the alleys of the Born district in Barcelona, to meet its huge gastronomic offer, visit its museums and monuments or buy some quirk in some of its quirky shops. Take a stroll through one of the most attractive and interesting neighbourhoods in the city of Barcelona.
By Ana Cuchillo / Translated by Karim Hatim
What has to have a neighborhood to be as well-known as El Born? The historical burden that has this area and everything in it, is already an important step to become a tourist attraction point. It’s the perfect mixture between past and present of Barcelona. Furthermore, in this district, the schedule of activities is immense. Below we offer the keys of all that you should visit and that for nothing in the world you should miss, if you come to the capital for a few days.
As its name implies, Born in Catalan means, as defined by the IEC, fencing where tournaments were held. And in Castilian, as defined by the SAR, it means end of the spears used in the fair. The word is related clearly to the Middle Ages, where fair (tournaments in which knights showed his worth with weapons) were held. Apart was where paraded troops of Philip V, when they won the Bourbons. An interesting story about which you can read more and more in the work of Albert Garcia Espuche: The town of Born. Economy and everyday life in Barcelona (XIV -XVIII Centuries).
GhatApartments offers several apartments to rent for days in the Born district
Where to go and what to see: historic attractions
First, El Born is one of the cultural nerve centers of the city. It can be seen from the Picasso Museum, which contains works by the artist during his formation, that allow appreciate the evolution of his work. Also located in the neighborhood of the European Museum of Modern Art focuses on contemporary figurative art (XX and XXI centuries). It has a lot of exhibitions of contemporary artists, so it is an enclave of art in the city, where you can see works that fall to other museums.
And to round off, the Chocolate Museum driven by the Barcelona Confectionery Guild. It is located in a former convent and in it, you can see the evolution of taste with respect to chocolate and the role played in history. Also they make workshops for all ages, so it is ideal for families and learn the Catalan culinary tradition of the hand of our best pastry place.
The cultural offer does not stop here, the famous Santa Maria del Mar, we all know the work to which gives its name: Cathedral Del Mar, is one of the landmark buildings; belonging to the Catalan Gothic. Its history tells us that in that place was buried the martyr Santa Eulalia (we should remember that it is buried in many places in Spain, but legend tells it like that), in a Christian cemetery. Dating from about 1329. If you need it, you can find the full story in Santa María del Mar.
It is also among the buildings the Church of Sant Pere de les Puelles, dating from the tenth century was a former parish, but only the church remains, which has been restored and rebuilt many times (especially when it suffered a fire in 1909 and the Civil War). Offers guided tours, concerts… it’s become a living place in which the community participates. It has a large documentation on it, as can be seen on its website.
Another emblematic and recommended building in the area is La Marcus Chapel, one of the oldest in Barcelona, dating from the twelfth century, belonging to the Romanesque. It also has a crypt dating from the seventeenth century. Formerly there was next to a hospital and a cemetery, which were not preserved.
The following construction is the memorable Estacion de Francia. Built between the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth. It was very important for circulation at that time, as Barcelona was becoming a cosmopolitan city and needed that passenger traffic. The station has a great artistic and cultural value. It also has twelve tracks, which makes it an important center for mobility in the city.
Also located in the Born: La Casa de la lonja (better known by its name in Catalan: La Casa de la llotja). Another building belonging to the Catalan Gothic, built in the fourteenth century. Here everything is about art, from architecture to the decor. Not only allows visits, but also renting space for large events. You really cannot miss it.
Another important place is the Palau de la Música Catalana, Domènech i Montaner. It is a modernist building built in the early twentieth century. It is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1997. Besides having one of the best musical programming of Barcelona, some visits are organized into the building.
Also remarkable is El Mercado Del Born, by Josep Fontseré. Nowadays, it becomes the Born Cultural Centre, where different activities are organized, as musical, theatrical, literary… helping to keep the historical memory of the place alive. It may be remains of the eighteenth century of Barcelona.
El Mercado de Santa Caterina also worth. It is the oldest square of Supplies of the nineteenth century, built on a convent. Although there have been many reforms, it is important for the history of the city, because it has even a center of archaeological interpretation. In the following link you can find more documentation.
As we said, the terminal is not only a historical center, but also an enclave of modern life in the city. Now we will take a leap in time and we will go to current key places, all passionate about fashion that you cannot miss.
Shopping in El Born
El Born is known for hosting the most vintage and fashionable shops. It is one of the reasons why it is of big interest. In the neighborhood have a Merchants Association, which is responsible for disseminating the shops in the area and the cultural and gastronomic offer. It is very wide, so we offer here the link where you can see every trade involved, we were below a selection of what we consider highlights.
For “fashionistas”, we recommend Batallata, a clothing store for men, made from 100% in Barcelona, noted for its quality and elegance. Ideal to go to the latest fashion. And you will know a lot, all who visit the Born, since it has a wide range of shops with the latest trends. Always for Men, we recommend eligens or M69 shoe Barcelona, where they can find everything from clothing to fragrances.
As for Barcelona production Ivori is responsible for hosting the most important creations of the city. And Room is a space dedicated to young designers. Of course you cannot miss on this list Custo Barcelona, which have too much to say, because we all know that is one of the best designer boutiques in the city (and the world) as his career shows.
Gamaya is also remarkable for its line of limited edition dresses. In addition, clothing is handmade. Let’s not forget Menchen Tomas, responsible for bespoke designs. Camino also highlights, with separate clothes that focus on sustainability. Or “Como agua de Mayo”, which are based on the quality and originality of numerous of firms. And business noted for its personalized service and a variety of firms with which it works and treats.
But that is not all, the inveterate shopper may also be passed by Leswing Vintage or Little Born. If you like the Dutch fashion, Mooi is your store for sure. And if you prefer the Turkish one, Tween is for you. And to others highlights the neighborhood cannot miss search: Russel – in charge of urban fashion – Nusabates, or Notenom. Visual Poetry noted for inspiration in all the spheres of culture: literature, music … Beatriz Fabres is responsible, along with others, of jewellery…
If we continued, the list would be endless, so we will say you goodbye, recommending Retrospectroo reader and Antic Workshop for antique lovers who like to travel back in time.
Where to eat in El Born?
Another feature that stands out by the terminal is for its wide variety of cuisine. The bars and restaurants in the area offer from traditional Catalan food, to tapas, before emptying into haute cuisine. The offer is amazing, so we make a selection of what we consider should be visiting.
First, we recommend the 7 Portes, a restaurant founded in 1836 that provides not just an exquisite menu but also find piano music, late in the evening. It is a classic, because of the charm that provide many years of history. On the opposite side, though no lower category, we recommend the Bananas: This restaurant founded in 2014 caused a great sensation by its modernity.
La Casa de les Lletres is ideal for a romantic dinner with Mediterranean cuisine. And if you prefer a casual place, but with high level, we recommend Cafe Kafka or Saboc. You can also taste the best Basque food in the Bay of Biscay, in the Basque club or Orio Taberna Barcelona Born; Italian in Murivecchi, Al Passatore or Gravin; Argentina in El foro or Arcano, or even better, in the Ten’s; French in Carassa; Japanese in Nakashita … and if we followed the list would be almost – endless. So we can only mention to any of Catalan cuisine (which would be nice to try, as you are in Barcelona): El mirador Del Palau, Nou Celler, Pork! Boig per tu…
We are aware that we let many restaurants that should be recommended, but we invite you to go directly to the Born district and choose the one you prefer because it would be strange for us to see you leaving disappointed.