El Raval in Barcelona: Neighbourhood Guide for Students!
Would you like to find a perfect neighbourhood for students in Barcelona? El Raval is an eclectic and multicultural area, which has become pretty trendy lately. Once an isolated suburb, it now attracts people with a bohemian way of life and those looking for a wide cultural offer. Keep reading this neighborhood guide of El Raval to find out if it is a safe bet for you!
Live in the old city centre
El Raval is on the left-hand side of Ciutat Vella (the old city centre) on the map. Its limits are the popular Les Rambles Avenue, Pelai Street and then all the way down to the sea, including Barcelona’s moll. It’s located next to Barri Gòtic.
Trendy and multicultural neighbourhood in Barcelona
This neighborhood in Barcelona grew in the Middle Ages outside the old city walls, in order to accommodate convents, charity institutions, hospitals and farmland. When the population grew, the area of El Raval was progressively filled by buildings and industries, to the point of becoming the industrial nucleus of Barcelona. In the twentieth century, El Raval had a bad reputation, but in the last years it has improved a lot and is becoming a trendy area, especially the upper side of the neighbourhood, although there are still some rough edges.
This neighbourhood is a really multicultural place, where people from more than 20 nationalities live. During the day you can see tourists or street artists passing by and skaters having fun. In addition, people with a bohemian way of life are settling down in this noisy neighbourhood. Such an eclectic atmosphere!
Cuisine for all tastes
It’s difficult to describe the eateries in El Raval, as they are so different to one another that saying only one thing about them would be unfair! Many nationalities and food habits, such as veggie restaurants, are represented in the neighbourhood. Of course, this includes typical tapas!
Eating in El Raval is cheaper than in other parts of Barcelona, and it’s also quieter in comparison to more tourist places. If you’re planning to eat out, write down the name of Rambla del Raval, a wide avenue inside the area jammed with cozy bars and popular restaurants. And if you want to try other areas, check out Joaquín Costa Street or Ángels Square.
Rosa del Raval. Source: www.rosaraval.com
Nightlife in El Raval neighborhood
The statue of the Big Cat Botero in La Rambla is the meeting point for locals who like to go out at night. Locals party both outside and inside bars and pubs, so the atmosphere is really lively (and noisy)!
El Raval is a perfect place to do a pub crawl, just choose depending on the kind of music or cocktails you like. For example, JazzSí Club offers jazz jam sessions and flamenco shows, and Big Bang Bar is a gathering place in Barcelona for rockers. Did you know that London Bar in El Raval is one of the oldest bars in the city?
Finally, if you would like to boogie until dawn, enjoy electronic music at Moog Disco!
Moog. Source: Alterna2 (www.flickr.com)
Festa Major del Raval takes place in July, a local feast in which the streets become the scenario of traditional dances, concerts, sports competitions…
In addition, Ángels Square in El Raval is one of the spots where Le Mercè celebrations in September take place. Gigantic figures, processions, human towers called castellers and the traditional dance sardana are some of the activities honoring the Catholic Our Lady of Mercy.
Lastly, to amuse yourself in la Diada de Sant Jordi (St. George’s Day) on the 23rd of April, walk to Les Rambles. They will be packed with book stalls: to follow the tradition, buy a book and a rose for the people you love.
El Raval neighbourhood’s facilities
There are two really special local markets in El Raval: La Boqueria and Sant Antoni. Both offer fresh food, but whilst the former is a trendy market with more than 300 stalls that tourists tend to visit, in the latter you’ll see locals doing their weekly groceries.
La Boqueria Market. Source: Ania Mendrek (www.flickr.com)
And for a faster way of filling your pantry, choose the nearest supermarket to home. You’ll find several of them in El Raval.
Do you love to wear unique products from small vintage shops? Or do you like to shop at old businesses which still preserve their original decoration? El Raval hosts both types of shops, so you’ll have a great time here!
And if you’d like to find a second-hand object, don’t miss the Flea Market of El Raval. It takes place twice in a month, when local individuals rent a stall to make a profit out of what they don’t use anymore. If you’ve bought too many things when finishing your studies and can’t take everything with you, this may be a good option!
In addition, the Festivalet is a meeting point for designers, artists and makers, who sell their products in December at the Maritime Museum of Barcelona. It’s a good plan to spend the day there and have lunch at some of the pop-up bars. The Trade Fair of El Raval is also a must in May, when concerts and activities complement interesting stalls.
Book lovers must visit La Central del Raval bookshop, with more than 80.000 references. Beware, it’s too easy to get lost inside it!
La Central del Raval. Source: www.blogdeadolfo.wordpress.com
But not all is shopping and eating in El Raval! If you’re wondering if it’s possible to stay fit, the answer is yes. The public sports centre of CEM Can Ricart is within the neighbourhood and CEM Colom is just across its boundaries, both offering sports activities and gyms to build muscle.
This is definitely not one of the greenest areas in Barcelona. In fact, there are only two gardens in the south part of the neighbourhood: Baluard Gardens in front of the Maritime Museum and the gardens belonging to the medieval Sant Pau del Camp Monestir.
Cultural offer and attractions
We could go on and on about the cultural offer in El Raval! Whilst the Santa Mónica Arts Centre or the MACBA host contemporary art exhibitions, the CCCB organises cultural leading activities. But not only that, art galleries and studios are scattered throughout the neighbourhood. In addition, the FilmoTeca offers avant-garde films for your amusement.
MACBA. Source: www.lomography.es
Some interesting buildings which are worth a visit are the abbeys of Sant Agustí and Els Ángels and the Palau de la Virreina. But above all stands Palau Güell, one of the first works by Antoni Gaudí.
Palau Güell by Antoni Gaudí. Source: www.barcelonanavigator.com
Did you know that the Main Public Library of Catalonia is within El Raval neighbourhood? It’s a very inspiring place, located at the building of an old hospital in Gothic style. I has almost 4 million documents and plenty of space to study.
The metro stations of Liceu (L3), Universitat (L1 and L2), Sant Antoni (L2), Paral·lel (L2 and L3) surround the neighbourhood and make it a well-connected area. Plus, Drassanes (L3) is inside the boundaries of El Raval.
Remember that you’re located in the city centre, so you’re within walking distance to many tourist attractions in Barcelona! And if you want to put your feet on the beach, take bus line 59 and you’ll get there in less than 30 minutes.
Are you wondering the distance from El Raval neighbourhood to your university?:
- UPC: 30 minutes away underground (L3 and L5 starting at Liceu station)
- UPF, UPC Campus Sur, UB Mundet Campus and UB Diagonal Avenue: 30 minutes underground (L3 starting at Liceu station).
- UAB in Bellaterra Campus: 50 minutes away by train (line S2 or S55).
Rental rate in El Raval can be quite expensive or affordable, depending on the area and the flat’s conditions. If you can’t imagine yourself living anywhere else, check out the rooms and flats we have listed on Beroomers 😉
Short and sweet
- Atmosphere: multicultural,trendy, some (still existing) rough edges.
- Location: it’s the newest part of the old city centre of Barcelona.
- Residents: immigrants and people with a bohemian way of life.
- Local traditions: Festa Major del Raval, Le Mercè popular celebrations and St. George’s Day.
- Facilities: Sant Antoni and La Boqueria local markets, supermarkets, second hand or vintage products, Main Public Library of Catalonia, Güell Palace by Antoni Gaudí…
- Transportation: It will take you about 30 minutes going underground to reach UPC, UPF, UPC Campus Sur, UB Mundet Campus and UB Diagonal Avenue, and 50 minutes to reach UAB in Bellaterra Campus by train.
- Rental rate: varies widely depending on the specific street and the flat’s conditions.
- Area of Barcelona: El Raval is one of the neighbourhoods in Ciutat Vella district along with Sant Pere-Santa Caterina i La Ribera, Barri Gòtic, and La Barceloneta.
We hope that you enjoyed the post!
If you're looking for accommodation, remember that in Beroomers we are willing to help you in more than 50 destinations worldwide.