El Born District ~ The 26 Best Things To Do, See, Eat & Drink!
Discover one of Barcelona’s most charming neighbourhoods
By Duncan Rhodes
Top Things To Do:
– Main Attractions
– Hidden Gems
Bars & Clubs
4 Best Tours
6 Best Hotels:
– Luxury Hotels
– Midrange Hotels
– Budget Hotels
The best places to stay, attractions to see and things to do in El Born district of Barcelona. We reveal the secrets of this beautiful part of the Old Town, and give you all the info you need to plan your visit, from booking a hip hotel and reserving a Picasso tour, to finding the perfect spot for some Cava and tapas.
El Born Identity
If La Rambla and the Gothic Quarter, with their high tourist traffic and petty peddlers, proved a bit too circus-like for your refined tastes then you might find what you’re looking for in the district of El Born instead.
This delightful corner of Barcelona has all the beauty of the Barri Gotic, with those characteristic narrow streets and quaint cafe-covered squares, but is just far enough removed from the beaten track to maintain a little more calm, charm and dignity.
This delightful corner of Barcelona has all the beauty of the Barri Gotic… but is just far enough removed from the beaten track to maintain a little more calm, charm and dignity.
Despite popular tourist attractions like the Picasso Museum and Ciutadella Park (which is also home to the city’s zoo), the area has maintained a high degree of local life.
The Castle of the Three Dragons, located in Parc de la Ciutadella
The heart of the district is undoubtedly the picturesque Passeig del Born ‘square’ (in fact it’s an oblong). Once the site of medieval jousting competitions, nowadays this tree-lined street is a nightlife hub that comes alive with hip 20-something locals from the early evening onwards eating crepes, nibbling on tapas and imbibing beers and cocktails in the area’s abundance of natty little bars.
On warm nights many folk will purchase cans of beer from plastic-bag wielding Pakistanis and drink for cheap on the benches and pavement, giving the place a Bohemian and laidback street party vibe.
The instantly recognisable Sant Maria del Mar….
At one end of the Passeig del Born (known as the Paseo del Born in Spanish) rises the district’s most famous building, the wonderful Santa Maria del Mar church, instantly recognisable by its octagonal towers and large rose-shaped stained glass window.
At the foot of this Gothic great you’ll find a smaller square, offering one of the most picturesque places to lunch al fresco in the whole of Barcelona… if you can grab a seat at the in-demand cafes.
Top 10 Things To See & Do
Part I: Unmissable Attractions
Let’s start with five sights you really should see if you’re staying in the neighbourhood!
1. Picasso Museum
Barcelona second most popular museum (first prize goes to Messi and chums, who else?), this homage to Picasso’s time in the Catalan capital has over 3,500 of the artist’s works on display, with a strong focus on his earlier styles (like the Blue and Rose periods), revealing sides to his personality that many won’t be familiar with. Remaining in exile during the Franco years, Picasso considered Barcelona his home and to understand a bit more about his relationship with the city I’d recommend going on this highly-rated tour that is actually run by the Barcelona Tourism Board, and available to book via Get Your Guide. The tour also includes tickets to the museum.
Book Picasso Tour
2. Palau de la Musica Catalana
99.9% of people haven’t heard of the Domenech i Montaner on arriving in Barcelona. Most still haven’t by the time they’ve left. Which is a damn shame, because he’s responsible for some of the city’s most stunning architecture, including this red brick beauty – a paragon of Modernisme – that still functions as a concert hall today. Book a tour via Get Your Guide, or else buy tickets for a classical concert at night, but don’t miss the inverted glass dome in the auditorium’s interior.
Book Guided Tour
3. Parc de la Ciutadella
The city’s largest downtown park is a meeting point for all types of outdoor activities, and on a sunny day pretty much every patch of grass will be taken up by pic-nickers, yogis, crossfitters, slackliners, musicians and weed-smokers. Tourists tend to prefer to pass through than stay, and there’s plenty of monuments to enjoy on a stroll, as well as a boating lake. There’s also a sizeable zoo, running the along two sides of the park, and if your fancy seeing the lions, elephants and dolphins then reserve your tickets via Get Your Guide.
Reserve Zoo Tickets
4. Santa Maria del Mar
After Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia and the city’s towering Gothic Cathedral, this might just be Barcelona’s third most iconic church. Said to be the only pure example remaining of the Catalan Gothic style, Santa Maria del Mar (St. Mary’s of the Sea) is an imposingly squat place of worship, with a gorgeous rose window framed by twin octagonal towers. Inside see if you can catch a glimpse of the FC Barça coat of arms amongst the stain glass decorations. Do bear in mind though that the church is an active place of worship, so you need to visit when mass is not being served if you want to nosey inside.
5. Born Cultural Centre
Once Barcelona’s biggest food market – El Mercat del Born – this space was intended to be reborn (pun intended) as a library, however during renovations archaeological remains from the 1700s were discovered, so the decision was made to create a cultural centre around these discoveries instead. You can wander in and see the centuries-old pavings and walls for free (don’t get too excited!), but probably better to go “all in” and take the tour (tickets €6) of the exhibition halls that surround the ruins and give context to those times.
Part II: Hidden Gems
Other than the joys of medieval architecture, and the aforementioned Picasso Museum, El Born is characterised by its rare and unusual treasures. This fashionable district is the place where you’ll chance upon innovative boutique shops selling recycled bags, or discover the joys of Lomo photography. Keep reading for more…
6. Chocolate Museum
If you’re planning on winning a popularity contest with your kids, then a visit to Barcelona’s Chocolate Museum will increase your chances several fold. The chocolate trade has played an important part in the history of the city, and as well as learning all about that, you can admire plenty of fun statues fashioned from cocoa mass. The edible ticket is a nice touch.
Book Guided Tour
Recycling is big in Barcelona, and the creative minds behind Pinzat have managed to refashion old PVC posters, tyres and seatbelts into trendy bags and fashion accessories. Most are then handpainted with an original design by Barcelona locals. Definitely one of the cooler souvenirs that you could take home with you.
The European Museum of Modern Art often goes overlooked, eclipsed as it is by the neighbouring Picasso Musuem. Which is ironic as their mission is to lift up the artists who might not get noticed, or commercially bankrolled, in the way that Picasso did during his extraordinary career. Whether its naked ladies in front of space satellites or the photographic qualities of contemporary Japan realism, you’ll find plenty of thought-provoking material to ponder over.
9. Lomography Store
Nostalgia lovers shouldn’t miss this funky store that takes us back to the endearingly unpredictable era of analogue photography, when shutter-depression was limited to 24 clicks per roll, and you had to wait a week (and pay) for your photos to be developed. Only to discover the lens was dirty all along. Despite the obvious benefits of digital photography, there’s no doubt some romance has been lost along the way, so consider picking up a “Diana’ camera and rediscovered it for yourself.
10. The House of Silk
This former home of the influential Silk Merchants’ Guild has been lovingly preserved to reflect the baroque splendour of its 18th century heyday. You can get a taste of those opulent times on a weekly guided tour every Saturday at 11am, tickets €10, that reveals the guild hall, president’s office, library and chapel. Find it near the Palau de la Musica.
Book Guided Tour
Restaurants & Tapas Bars
Cal Pep restaurant
This legendary tapas joint, which specialises in seafood, is as popular as ever, so expect to queue if you want to taste their chipirones with chickpeas, or hake wrapped with chard. Tends to be a bit less busy during lunch, so could be a good time to drop by.
This Lebanese restaurant fuses Arabic, Spanish and Catalan cuisine, serving up delicious exotic tapas like grilled asparagus wraps marinated in ginger, halloumi cheese bread sticks and bacon-wrapped dates. You can wash that down with Lebanese wines and Palestinian beers.
Cafes, Bars & Clubs
A sneak preview of a few of our favourite hang outs…
Just 50 yards or so down the street from the Picasso Museum, El Xampanyet is one of the city’s legendary champagne bars, and has featured in every guidebook since Marco Polo set sail around the world. Authentic Modernista decor and well-priced Cava, mean its worth the hustle to get a seat… although the accompanying tapas can be a bit expensive.
Two floors of nightlife nirvana await the young and curious at this Berlin-esque venue that ticks all the boxes of a great bar, plus some more boxes you didn’t even think about. Street-food inspired bar snacks, creative cocktails, private karaoke room, pool table, ping pong, arcade games and even its own nightclub, make this is a one-stop hang out for Barcelona’s cool kids. Our advice… go and join them!
Step through the warehouse style door and be surprised by this charismatic bar, much-loved by locals, where you can drink cheap Cava cocktails (which the staff ladle out of jars on the bar) and wind away a couple of hours on their mezzanine level. One of the only bars in the entire city with respectable level bathrooms.
This cult rock club is the calling point of choice of the city’s unpretentious rockeros, who just want to get wasted and dance to 80s rock. Is there any better way of spending 2 to 6am on a Sunday morning?
The 4 Best Guided Tours of Born
For an even more in depth look at Barcelona’s El Born district we suggest you check out the following…
1. Tapas & Wine Walking Tour
A great option if you want to get deeper into Barcelona’s excellent gastronomy, this Tapas & Wine Walking Tour takes you to four authentic tapas bars and restaurants in the Gothic Quarter and El Borne, whilst getting to know the neighbourhoods’ picturesque squares and back streets. In total you’ll try 9 different tapas, and enjoy 4 glasses of local wine. You can book the tour via Get Your Guide.
2. Walking Tour plus Flamenco
This walking tour takes in the district’s top sights, like Santa Maria del Mar and the Born Cultural Centre, as well as many of its hidden treasures and stories, before finishing in the medieval Palau Dalmases with a delicious tapas meal and top quality flamenco show. A perfect combination of history, gastronomy and live entertainment. Available via Get Your Guide.
3. Steel Donkey Bike Tours
We love exploring by bike at Barcelona Life, and these gurus of two-wheeled sightseeing often call by El Borne, regaling travellers with stories of one-time bordellos, stinky fish markets and historic events in the ongoing struggle for Catalan independence. Click the link above for more info.
4. Shutter Kings Barcelona
Don’t just explore the district, capture it on camera. Shutter King’s photo tours wend through the back streets and plazas of the barrio, led by a professional photographer who will give you tips on how best to capture Born’s beauty.
The 6 Best Hotels in Born
And now for the all important question… who has the plumpest pillows in the barrio? There are no 5-star hotels in Born, but there are several luxury and boutique 4-star options, so let’s start with those…
The Best 4-Star Hotels
1. K&K Picasso
So nice I put my parents up here when they came to stay recently, and they were not disappointed. The rooms are small but comfortable, with every mod-con you might need, but two things stand out. The first is the location, on the edge of the medieval part of Born, right next to the Parc de la Ciutadella. This is perfect in terms of being very central to everything you need in the city (attractions, beach, metro!), but also having plenty of space and greenery nearby. The second is the rooftop swimming pool with views over the aforementioned park.
Book the K&K Picasso
2. h20 Port Vell
h20 are a famous brand of hotels in Spain, so you’re in safe hands here. This modern accommodation in a historic edifice overlooks the Old Port, and when you stay here you’re half way to the beach already! Also boasts a rooftop swimming pool.
Book the h20 Port Vell
3. Mercer House Boria BCN
This is a charming and chic boutique hotel situated on the lively Boria street, a perfect location for exploring not only Born, but also the neighbouring Gothic Quarter. The building’s Gothic and neoclassical features mean that it’s a listed historic building, whilst each of the rooms has been decorated elegantly, without being showy. You get a great view of the Gothic Cathedral from the hotel’s rooftop terrace.
Book the Mercer Boria BCN
The Best 3-Star Hotels
4. Hotel Banys Oriental
I’ve always been charmed by the elegant painted green exterior of this boutique hotel on Born’s vibrant Carrer Argenteria. Definitely one of the most stylish stays in the neighbourhood, inside and out, the hotel also has a superior restaurant, Senyor Parellada.
Book the Hotel Banys Oriental
5. Park Hotel
Opposite the elegant Estacio de Franca train station, just by the park, this is an extremely comfortable 3-star hotel, with a smooth lobby and room decor, streetside tapas restaurant and a small rooftop swimming pool to boot.
Book the Park Hotel
The Best Budget Hotels
6. Chic & Basic Zoo
A great option for anyone who wants to save their yoyos (euros!), for some of the more fun things to do around town, Chic & Basic has everything you need for a great stay, and all at a friendly price. Tastes very, but to my eyes it’s actually more stylish than many luxury hotels. There’s no compromise on location, which is unbeatable.
Book Chic & Basic Zoo
For even more options check out the full gamut of accommodation available on Booking.com.
More Local Businesses
If you would like to search for individual places in Born, such as hotels, hostels, restaurants, shops, bars and clubs, and see them all on a map, then head to our district page, where we list all the best businesses in the neighbourhood.
For more of BCN’s best barrios check out our Barcelona districts guide.
You Ain’t Read Nothing Yet…
And for planning the rest of your travels don’t neglect to browse around the rest of our website… our guides to the best things to do at night, or where to watch flamenco in Barcelona are a great start, whilst our events calendar tells you what’s happening this weekend in BCN.
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El Born Barrio Guide – Barcelona
|Santa Maria Del Mar Church in El Born|
Despite humble beginnings as a settlement built on top of a medieval area of jousts and celebrations El Born has grown into being one of the most fashionable places in the city.
Every day the cafes are packed and at night people move along to Passeig de Born, which according to locals was the site of the jousts, to sample the many bars, which serve up a mean mojito. Also on Passeig de Born there is claimed to be the best pizza place in Barcelona, and at €1.50 a slice you can’t complain.
Nevertheless El Born isn’t just about the nightlife, there is plenty of culture to be had as well. It can be seen that Calle Montcada was also a medieval street, which is now home to the Picasso museum and the Textile Museum which has a lovely café with a terrace attached to it. The textile museum is located here because in Born’s early days it was home to the textile guilds of Barcelona. There is also a beautiful church which you can wander around in, sometimes even when there is a wedding going on!
|Passeig del Born|
Nowadays people are attracted to Born for the shopping which consists of some beautiful but pricey boutiques and shoe shops which are useful to find that one-off piece. Some of the trendiest shops around such as Brazilian company Colcci have chosen Born as their home.
El Born is sandwiched between Via Laietana and Barceloneta and is served by the metro stops Barceloneta and Jaume 1 which are on the same line. Las Ramblas and the centre of the city are a pleasant 10 minute walk away.
The beach is also just a 10 minute walk away so you can have both a beach holiday and a city break in one. Plus you are quite close to the Parc Ciutadella, which is a relaxing place to sit in the afternoon and watch the hippies play their bongos. The Barcelona zoo is also located in Parc Ciutadella.
As you can see, El Born is perfect for families as well as tourists. The noise could sometimes be a problem depending on where you are, but it’s not as bad as in the centre of town. It is a picturesque and cultural part of the city with a vibrant café culture and bar scene.
Parking in El Born
We created a parking map showing the secure parking facilities in El Born district. You can click on any parking icon on the map to see detailed information about each car park facility. To ensure your parking space is available when you need it you can book your parking space in advance.
Click to see luggage/bag storage facility near El Born
Map showing car parks in El Born
Hospital de Mar
Passeig Marítim, 25-29
Museum d’ Història de Catalunya
Plaça de Pau Vila, 3
Santa Maria del Mar
Plaça de Santa Maria, 1
Carrer Montcada, 15-23
Barcelona History Museum
Plaça del Rei
Plaça de la Seu, 3
BSM Wellington – Zoo Car Park
BSM Biomedic Car Park
BSM Hospital del Mar Car Park
SABA BAMSA Barceloneta Centre Car Park
Ciutadella – Vila Olimpica Metro
Jaume I Metro
BSM Moll de la Fusta Car Park
Laietana Princesa Car Park
SABA BAMSA Francesc Cambo Car Park
Aparcaments Francesc Cambo Car Park
This map is copyright registered and protected and may not be copied.
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Biography of Lionel Messi – TASS
August 5, 2021, 20:03
TASS-DOSIER. On August 5, 2021, Argentine striker Lionel Messi left the Spanish football club Barcelona. The club was unable to conclude a new contract with the 34-year-old due to the financial rules of the championship of Spain. Messi played for Barcelona throughout his professional career.
Childhood years, early career
Lionel Messi left Barcelona Jorge Messi and Celia Cuccittini. His father worked in the management of a steel company, his mother worked in a shop for the production of magnets.
Lionel started playing football at the age of five in the children’s club “Grandoli” under the direction of Salvador Aparicio. His father worked for some time as the second coach of this team.
Since 1994, Messi began to study at the football school of the professional club Newell’s Old Boys (Rosario), playing as a striker. At the age of 11, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency, which required expensive treatment.
Transfer to Barcelona
In 2000, through the mediation of Argentine football agents, Messi was invited to try out at the Spanish club Barcelona. The coaches highly appreciated the talent of the young football player. The club agreed to pay for the treatment on the condition that the boy and his family live in Spain. After moving to Europe from the age of 13, Lionel Messi played in the children’s teams of Barcelona.
On November 16, 2003, at the age of 16, he made his debut for the main team in a friendly match between Barcelona and Portuguese Porto. He played his first official match as part of the team in the Spanish Championship on October 16, 2004 against Espanyol Barcelona. He scored his first goal in the national championship on May 1, 2005 against Albacete from the city of the same name.
With Barcelona, Lionel Messi won the national championship ten times (2005, 2006, 2009-2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019), won the Spanish Cup seven times (2009, 2012, 2015, 2016-2018, 2021) and the Spanish Super Cup eight times (2005, 2006, 2009-2011, 2013, 2016, 2018). At club international level, he won the Champions League four times (2006, 2009, 2011, 2015), won the UEFA Super Cup three times (2009, 2011, 2015) and the Club World Cup (2009, 2011, 2015). He is the top scorer in the history of the championship of Spain and Barcelona.
In 2005, Lionel Messi received Spanish citizenship. Shortly before that, the footballer received offers to play for the youth teams of Spain, but he chose the team of his native country and in 2004 made his debut in the youth team of Argentina. In 2005, the Argentines won the World Youth Championship (held in the Netherlands), Messi became the best player and top scorer of the tournament.
Since 2005 he has been a player of the main Argentina national team. He made his debut in its composition on August 17, 2005 in an away friendly match against the Hungarian team, held in Budapest. At the 63rd minute of the match, Messi came on as a substitute, and two minutes later he was sent off for hitting an opponent with an elbow. He scored the first goal for the national team on March 1, 2006 in a friendly game against the Croatian team, but in the end Argentina lost with a score of 2:3.
Playing for the Argentina national team, Lionel Messi became the silver medalist of the World Cup (2014; the tournament was held in Brazil) and the owner of the America’s Cup (2021; the tournament was hosted by Brazil), and also won the gold of the Olympic Games (2008; Beijing, China). In June 2016, the forward announced his retirement from the national team. The news triggered a public campaign in Argentina under the slogan “Don’t go, Leo!”. President Mauricio Macri also urged the player not to leave the team. In September 2016, Messi returned to the Argentina national team. To date, the striker has played 151 games for the national team and scored 76 goals. He is the champion of the national team in these indicators.
Lionel Messi has been repeatedly recognized as the best football player in the world according to various versions. In addition to the Golden Ball (2009-2012, 2015, 2019), he received the Golden Boot six times – a prize for the best scorer of the national championships of the countries included in UEFA (2010, 2012, 2013, 2017-2019). He was recognized as the best player in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Community and family
In 2007, the athlete founded the “Leo Messi Charitable Foundation”, which helps children in need in Argentina and other countries.