L’Eixample in Barcelona: Guide For Students!
L’Eixample literally means “the extension”. When the population of Barcelona outgrew the capacity of the old city centre, this neighbourhood was built to give it accommodation. Did you know that the rich bourgeoisie had some of the most beautiful modernist buildings lift up here? L’Eixample is a well connected, residential and quiet area. Are you wondering if this may be a good place for you to live in? We tell you more about it!
La Pedrera House by Gaudí. Source: Mo Riza (www.flickr.com)
L’Eixample is one of the ten districts in Barcelona, comprising the following neighbourhoods for students in Barcelona: Dreta de l’Eixample (meaning on the right side of l’Eixample), L’ Esquerra de l’Eixample (administratively subdivided into Antiga i Nova Esquerra de l’Eixample, or old and new left side of l’Eixample), Sant Antoni, La Sagrada Familia and Fort Pienc.
Elegant and residential neighbourhood
The atmosphere in the whole district of l’Eixample is influenced by its urban pattern, which was designed by the Catalan engineer Ildefons Cerdà as an expansion of the old city centre to accommodate the growing population. The area was built according to the bourgeois tastes of the nineteenth century, this is, octagonal blocks with an inner courtyard forming a grid pattern. These tastes are also visible in the modernist buildings commissioned by wealthy families, which make this neighbourhood so special, especially in the right side of l’Eixample.
Source: Mathieu Marquer (www.flickr.com)
L’Eixample is a residential, safe and quiet neighbourhood for students, where facilities are really easy to find. La Dreta is quite unique, with the most upscale feeling of all areas and hosting some of the most expensive shops in Barcelona.
In addition, L’Eixample is also a business area, so local families, workers and some tourists are the kind of people you can expect to see on the streets, along with students. Moreover, Gaieixample is the term that people use to refer to one of the areas of L’Esquerra de l’Eixample, which is a gay-friendly area within the city.
L’Eixample hosts the main tourist attraction of Barcelona: the Sagrada Familia Basilica designed by Antoni Gaudí. If you’ve never been there, be prepared to gaze in awe!
Fine cuisine for your delight
If you’re looking for fine cuisine, then L’Eixample is your place! Michelin quality restaurants are to be found here, so if you’re on a student budget don’t forget to check the prices before sitting down!
If you would rather save your money for other matters, don’t worry, as you may also find several restaurants offering national and international food at reasonable prices, such as Gelida Restaurant, La Flauta Restaurant or Nello’s Bar Hamburgueseria.
Plus, L’Eixample is a good place to stay for tapas lovers. De Tapa Madre, La Bodegueta and Cerveceria Catalana are three musts in the area. Still don’t know what tapas are? Then have a look at this picture!
Source: Terence Lim (www.flickr.com)
Nightlife in L’Eixample
Despite being a residential area, there’s some nightlife going on in L’Eixample, particularly (but not only) around Passeig de Gràcia Avenue and Catalunya Square. This is not the neighbourhood with the liveliest nights, but you’ll find really good places to drink a cocktail (don’t miss DRY Martini) or to dance til dawn to the rhythm of all sorts of music genres: electronic music in City Hall, salsa in Antilla Club or pop in Nick Havanna are some of the clubs in the area.
Dry Martini. Source: www.anamazingluxuriouslife.blogspot.com
And if you’re looking for a gay friendly nightlife, in Gaieixample you’ll find a wide offer of bars and clubs.
Each neighbourhood inside L’Eixample has its own local celebration, so if you like popular cultural activities you’ll have a great time here!
First, Festa Major de Sant Antoni in January recalls the saint that gives the name to the neighbourhood of Sant Antoni with fireworks and other activities.
Plus, the Festa Major de la Dreta de l’Eixample in summer organizes, apart from popular activities, original events linked to Catalan Modernism. The bicicletada modernista is a bike ride in which assistants must be dressed up in this style.
Bicicletada Modernista. Source: www.delamanu.blogspot.com
In April, Festa Major de la Sagrada Familia honours St. George with traditional dances and other activities involving fire and gunpowder. Futhermore, similar activities take place in the Festa Major del Fort Pienc and Festa Major de la Esquerra de L’Eixample.
L’Eixample neighbourhood’s facilities
Are you a foodie always looking for new products and fresh food to cook delicious dishes? Then you’ll like Concepció Market within L’Eixample, in the neighbourhood of La Dreta de L’Eixample. Its building is made out of forged iron, so it not only hides gems, but it’s a gem itself! Sant Antoni Market is another (and less touristic) option to do your groceries at local stalls.
For a quicker way to fill your pantry, check out the supermarket -maybe foreign owned- closer to your home. There are plenty of them in the neighbourhood!
Depending on what you’d like to shop, lead your way to one neighbourhood or another within L’Eixample district. For instance, if you’re looking for international luxury brands like Chanel, then in Passeig de Gràcia Street in La Dreta de L’Eixample you’ll find what you need.
Passeig de Gràcia. Source: www.barcelonasurroundings.blogspot.com
On the contrary, for a more down to earth experience, head to the shopping malls of Las Arenas in Sant Antoni neighbourhood or El Corte Inglés in L’Esquerra de L’Eixample. In addition, the area surrounding Catalunya Square is a shopping hub in Barcelona.
The Mercat dels Encants is also worth a mention. Located in the neighbourhood of El Fort Pienc, it sells almost any kind of goods and clothes.
If you want to stay fit during your studies in Barcelona, L’Eixample makes it possible. Private gyms such as Joan Miró Sports Centre or the public sports centre Claror are really good places to do some exercise.
Green areas in L’Eixample tend to be inside the blocks, but many of them can be used by any pedestrian walking by. Plus, small to medium size parks are scattered throughout the neighbourhood, such as Joan Miró Park, North Station Park or Gaudí Square.
Ciutadella Park is just across the boundaries of the neighbourhood and is one of the widest green areas in the city. Whether you would like to run, sit down on the grass, go to the zoo inside or drink a beer on a sunny terrace, in this park you’ll find the perfect place to do so!
Ciutadella Park. Source: www.heelstohikingboots.com
Cultural offer and attractions 13.40
The Basilica of La Sagrada Familia is the main tourist attraction in the neighbourhood, and perhaps in all Barcelona. Designed by Antoni Gaudí, even under construction process it has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Golden Square (Quadrat d’Or) in L’Eixample is one of the most unique areas in Barcelona, flanked by Aribau Street and Sant Joan Promenade, and Diagonal, Sant Pere and Universitat Avenues. It has a high density of modernist buildings, such as Batlló and Milà (or La Pedrera) Houses by Gaudí; Macaya, Amatller and Terrades Houses (Casa Les Punxes as locals say) by Josep Puig or Casa Montaner i Simón by Lluis Domènech. The latter hosts the Antoni Tàpies Foundation museum. Other modernist buildings are scattered throughout L’Eixample. It’s great to live surrounded by beauty, isn’t it?
Apart from modernist buildings, the cultural offer in L’Eixample is pretty varied. Teatre Coliseum and Teatre Tívoli are two medium sized theatres in the neighbourhood, which offer alternative plays to the agenda of National Theatre of Catalonia. And if you rather go to the cinema, Aribau Multicines and Renoir Floridablanca Cinema are two good options! The latter offers films in original version with subtitles.
For musicians and music lovers, the best recommendation is to visit the Music Museum, with more than 500 instruments exhibited!
If you are the kind of person that likes to study at a library, in L’Eixample you’ll find some of them to revise before your exams. Sagrada Familia Library, Sofia Barat Library, Arús Public Library, Joan Miró Public Library and Agustí Centelles Library are all within the neighbourhood’s boundaries. Choose the one closer to your doorstep.
Agustí Centelles Library. Source: www.1001libraries.wordpress.com
L’Eixample is a well connected area of Barcelona, although distances to your university may vary according to the specific neighbourhood you decide to live in. Let’s get into detail for each area!
Sant Antoni is connected to the rest of the city by the metro stations of Rocafort and Urgell (L1), Universitat (L1 and L2), Sant Antoni (L2), Poble Sec (L3) and Paral·lel (L2 and L3).
It will take you about 30 minutes to reach UPF (L1) and UB Mundet Campus (L3), and 20 minutes to reach UPC Campus Sur and UB Diagonal Avenue (L3). If you’re studying in UPC, you’ll get there in about 20 minutes by bus line 41. Finally, UAB in Bellaterra Campus is 50 minutes away by metro (L1 or L3) and the train (line S2).
L’Esquerra de L’Eixample
The following metro stations make L’Esquerra de L’Eixample one of the best connected areas in Barcelona: Rocafort and Urgell (L1), Universitat (L1 and L2), Tarragona (L3), Sants Estació (L3 and L5), Entença and Hospital Clínic (L5) and Provença train-metro station (S1, S2, S55, L6, L7).
It will take you about 30 minutes to reach UPF (L1) and UB Mundet Campus (L5 and L3), and 20 minutes for UPC Campus Sur and UB Diagonal Avenue (L5 and L3). The main building of UPC is within the neighbourhood, so you may walk to your lessons if you’re studying there! Lastly, UAB in Bellaterra Campus is 50 minutes away by train (line S2 or S55).
Source: Oh Barcelona (www.flickr.com)
La Dreta de L’Eixample
And if you’re living in La Dreta de L’Eixample, you’ll make use of the following metro stations: Catalunya (L1 and L3), Urquinaona (L1 and L4), Passeig de Gràcia (L2, L3 and L4), Diagonal (L3 and L5), Girona (L4), Tetuan (L2), Arc de Triomf (L1), Verdaguer (L4 and L5) and the train-metro station Provença (L6 and L7).
Take the metro and reach UPF (L4) and UB Mundet Campus (L3) in 20 minutes. A few more minutes are needed to reach UPC Campus Sur and UB in Diagonal Avenue (L3). UPC is within walking distance, so that’s great if this is going to be your university in the future. UAB Bellaterra Campus is quite far away, so it will take you 45 minutes or so to get there by train.
El Fort Pienc
El Fort Pienc neighbourhood, next to Ciutadella Park, is surrounded by the coming next metro stations: Monumental and Tetuan (L2) and Marina, Arc de Triomf and Glòries (L1).
UPF is within walking distance, so this area is a great option if you’re planning to continue your studies there. Only 30 minutes is the time it will take you to move from home to UPC Campus Sur and UB in Diagonal Avenue (L2 and L3) and UPC (L2 and L5). Plus, 40 minutes is the amount of time necessary to reach your lessons at UB Campus Mundet (L2 and L3). Finally, an hour by metro (L1) and train (S2/S55) and you’re in UAB Bellaterra Campus.
La Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia is also a well connected area, with the metro stations of Sagrada Familia (L2 and L5), Encants (L2), Glòries (L1) and Santa Pau i Dos de Maig (L5).
If you live in this neighbourhood you’ll have most universities within a distance of 30 minutes approximately: UPF (L2 and L4), UPC (L5), UB Campus Mundet (L5 and L3) and UPC Campus Sur and UB in Diagonal Avenue (L2 and L3). UAB Bellaterra Campus is just outside the city, so it takes longer to reach it and you must get the metro (L5) and then the train (S2/S55).
Source: Kyle Taylor (www.flickr.com)
Rental rate varies widely depending on the area. You may find a room for 300€/month, but also other rooms for over 550€/month, especially in the more expensive area of Dreta de l’Eixample. Beroomers can advise you about the best accommodation options in L’Eixample taking your budget into account!
Short and sweet
- Atmosphere: residential, quiet, grid urban pattern formed by magnificent buildings, including some modernist gems by Gaudí. La Dreta de L’Eixample is the upscale heart of the area.
- Location: just across the boundaries of the old city centre.
- Residents: local families and students.
- Local traditions: each neighbourhood celebrates popular feasts, with traditional dances, fireworks and other activities for all.
- Facilities: libraries, local markets, supermarkets, shopping malls, parks, sports facilities…
- Transportation: a well connected area by the tube.
- Rental rate: varies widely, from the most expensive La Dreta de L’Eixample to other more affordable areas.
- Area of Barcelona: the neighbourhoods in this district are Dreta de l’Eixample, L’ Esquerra de l’Eixample, Sant Antoni, La Sagrada Familia and Fort Pienc.
Sagrada Familia Basilica. Source: www.hypebuzz.com
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