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El Raval is a neighborhood in the Ciutat Vella (the “Old City”), one of the district of Barcelona, Spain. It is known to be the “Chinatown” of Barcelona. He’s one of the two neighborhood that border Las Ramblas. It is a colorful and multicultural zone near the city center and is often called El Ravalkistan because of the foreign immigration leaving in the neighborhood.
But it seems like it is constantly changing due to the new cultural movement called Raval Cultural with its very interesting activities, associations and artists. It has famous monuments such as el Gran Teatre del Liceu or el Palau Guell.
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What to do and what to see in El Raval
The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria is a huge market connecting El Raval to Las ramblas. It is Barcelona’s most famous market but also one of Europe’s largest food markets. Visitors can explore the never-ending supply of fruits, smoothies, meat, fish and even candy or they can eat at the famous El Quim de la Boquería restaurant at the heart of the market.
The Güell Palace (in Catalan: Palau Güell) is one of the works of the architect Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, which have been on the Unesco World Heritage list since 1984 under the name “Antoni Gaudí’s Works”
The Güell Palace was built between 1886 and 1891 for the wealthy industrialist Eusebi Güell. Eusibi Güell lived in the palace for only 20 years before settling in Güell Park. The palace was sold in 1945 to the deputation of Barcelona on condition of never being destroyed or modified. Since 1984, together with six other works by Antoni Gaudí, he has been included in Unesco World Heritage. They “testify to Gaudí’s exceptional creative contribution to the development of architecture and construction techniques in the late 19th and early 20th centuries”.
Rambla Del Raval
Every neighborhood has its own Rambla and El Raval isn’t an exception. This Rambla features a lot of street arts, bars and restaurants. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a drink or some tapas with friends and family. It is very relaxing with the palm trees surrounding the street.
A bit ahead of the eastern end of the Rambla you can see a piece of art of the Colombian sculptor Fernando Botero: El gato Del Raval (the cat of Raval).
Vintages shops in El Raval
If you are looking for the best vintage shops in Barcelona you have to head straight into the Riera Baixa, especially on Saturday, when the shop owners decide to invade the streets to show off their products.
Here’s a sneak peek of the shops you can find there:
La Vella Maia—specializing in accessories, with a particularly magnificent range of handbags, you can find one off original pieces from the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s.
Lailo—the self-named ‘vintage paradise‘ is more of a museum than a shop. Its huge range of, well, everything, descends through the eras exhibiting almost all the fashions of the 20th century in a 220m² space.
Lullaby—Run by a very friendly couple with clearly great judgment on what looks good, this boutique has something for everyone with its designer pieces as well as a bargain box to delve into.
Museo d’Arte Contemporáneo de Barcelona
This museum opened in 1995 and is situated in the Plaça dels Àngels in el Raval. Since then, it has become an important piece of Barcelona with its impressive contemporary art. Galleries are usually taken over by temporary exhibitions but permanent collection are also present. It is also known for the street artists and skaters doing all sort of things in front of the museum.
Gran Teatre Del Liceu
The Gran Teatre Del Liceu, or simply Liceu in Catalan and Liceo in Spanish, is an opera house near Las Ramblas on the El Raval side. The Liceu opened on 4 April 1847. It is one of the most iconic building in Barcelona and it is a cultural and artistic centre. Even though the building was destroyed by a fire in 1861 it was immediately rebuild and has since then host incredible opera performances such as Verdi’s Rigoletto and Aida, Puccini’s La bohème and Bizet’s Carmen.
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Where to eat in El Raval
Eating has become such an important point into people’s mind when it comes to exploring a new place so here’s our opinion on the three best restaurants in El Raval:
Caravelle: Brunch, lunch, dinner, coffee or beer it’s your choice because Caravelle offers it all. With a mix of Mexican and American food, you will be amazed by how good the food taste.
4.5/5 with more than 270 Google Reviews
Cera 23: Another great restaurant in El Raval is the Cera 23. Opened by three childhood friends in 2011 it is, as they say, the perfect place to spend a great evening with your family and friends with their extensive homemade cocktail menu. You should definitely try it out if you are looking for excellent food with Galician origin.
4.5/5 with 260 Google Reviews.
Eat Caribbean Barcelona: If you fancy Jamaican style tapas this is the perfect place for you. During your stay, order a mojito and enjoy the Jamaican food and vibe.
4.5/5 with 25 Google Reviews
How to get there :
- Drassanes (L3)
- Liceu (L3)
- Parallel (L3, L2)
- Sant Antoni (L2)