Barcelona’s Ciutat Vella (or “Old City”) is often packed with tourists who wander up and down Las Ramblas spending way too many euros on overpriced paella and sangria. But the border neighborhood of El Raval is just a few steps from the bustle, but worlds away from the exorbitant prices.
One of the ‘hood’s most popular and more convenient attractions is the world-famous Mercat de la Boqueria, but hordes of tourists tend to flood the place, so an early morning visit would be the best bet to enjoy the market’s essence.
Another of El Raval’s shining jewels is MACBA, or the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art. Tickets, which start at €11, should be purchased in advance on the museum’s website. In the plaza in front of MACBA, skateboarders show off their tricks to admiring museum-goers.
Head southeast along Carrer de Joaquin Costa to peruse vintage shops and cute eateries on your way to Rambla de Raval (different from the tourist-laden Las Ramblas). The central cylindrical walkway is flanked by two tiny streets as well as local and ethnic restaurants on either side.
Brunch, lunch and dinner options are plentiful in El Raval, so it’s hard to go wrong. It may seem strange to visit a taqueria/craft beer bar for brunch, but the morning meal at Caravelle is one of the neighborhood’s hottest finds. Just around the corner, Rosa de Raval is an affordable Mexican eatery with margaritas and mojitos for only €5, orm if you’re in the mood for Asian, Bun Bo specializes in pho and curry from Vietnam. A few doors down is Silenus where, if you’re lucky, you can grab a few moments of solitude with a morning coffee before the lunch rush flows in.
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