Top Tips for Staying in This Perfect Neighbourhood
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Many people think the best place to stay in Barcelona is on Las Ramblas, the famous boulevard in the centre of the city.
Sure, you’ll be close to the tourist sights, but it’s also crowded, noisy, and full of overpriced restaurants and pickpockets.
We decided we wanted to experience the city a different way and stay in a neighbourhood with more locals than tourists.
When we found an apartment in the Gracia neighbourhood, it seemed the ideal place to see an alternative side of the city.
It was definitely the right decision for us. We loved Gracia, and it has many advantages over staying in the heart of the city.
In this post, we share our tips for Gracia Barcelona including where to stay and eat and the best things to do.
At the end, there is a Gracia map with everything mentioned.
- Where is Gracia Barcelona?
- Why Stay in the Gracia Neighbourhood, Barcelona
- The Best Things to Do in Gracia Barcelona
- Where to Eat in Gracia
- Where to Stay in Gracia District Barcelona
- Gracia, Barcelona Map
- Is Gracia a Good Place to Stay in Barcelona?
- More Spain Tips
Where is Gracia Barcelona?
Gracia is conveniently located in the north of the city, at the top of Passeig de Gràcia and borders the popular district of Eixample.
It’s easy to travel to the rest of the city by public transport. On foot, it’s about a 30-minute walk to the Gothic Quarter.
It boasts Park Güell as its main sight, but it’s also easy to get to Sagrada Familia and Casa Milà.
Despite its proximity to tourist hotspots, the neighbourhood retains a local village feel that is perfect for all.
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Why Stay in the Gracia Neighbourhood, Barcelona
With its narrow streets and leafy squares, Gracia has a village feel, and it was, in fact, an independent town until it was swallowed by the city in the late 1800s.
To this day the area displays its Catalan traditions and roots with pride.
Unlike the busy centre, it’s uncrowded—tour buses don’t make it out here, and it’s a very local area.
The local population is a diverse mix of cool hipsters, young families, and the elderly.
Traffic is minimal, so the neighbourhood feels quiet and relaxed, perfect for wandering.
Barcelona is notorious for pickpockets, but you are most at risk on busy Las Ramblas.
As Gracia is uncrowded, it doesn’t attract the thieves that target tourists, so we felt much safer, and Simon didn’t feel he had to walk around with his hands in his pockets.
It is also a very family-friendly community, so if you’re travelling with kids, Gracia would be a great safe place to base yourselves.
Many of Gracia’s streets are pedestrian-only, and it’s a very walkable neighbourhood with lots of backstreets to get lost in and pretty squares to stop for a rest on your wanders.
This Gracia Village Walking Tour looks like a great way to learn more about the district with a local guide.
It’s also very accessible to the rest of the city. You can take the metro (Fontana, Lesseps, or Diagonal stops), but we walked everywhere.
The leafy trees and flowers make Gracia a pleasure to walk around
The Gothic Quarter was a 30-minute walk down the grand Passeig de Gracia, and the beach at Barceloneta was 50 minutes away with lots to see along the way.
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The Best Things to Do in Gracia Barcelona
Discover Gracia’s Creative Side
Gracia is a very alternative and artsy area with plenty of independent contemporary art galleries showcasing the work of both local and international artists.
Here are some galleries worth seeking out:
- Alzueta Gallery – A sleek gallery that exhibits work by established and emerging artists.
- Galeria h30 – Housed in a townhouse showing design, architecture and photography work.
- Espai [b] – Exhibits work by new artists across various disciplines, including painting, printmaking and sculpture.
There is also plenty of Street Art to discover.
Take a Class
There are many creative pursuits on offer in the neighbourhood.
We saw classes available in psycho dance, slam dance, musical theatre, swing dance, yoga, reiki, and much more.
Shop in Independent Boutiques and Stores
Vegan bakery La Besneta
Big chains are rare in Gracia; it’s all about local independent businesses including stylish boutiques, organic grocers, and cosy bookstores.
To be honest, the only shopping we’re interested in is food shopping, and Gracia has some wonderful options.
The Mercat de l’Abaceria is an indoor produce market with a huge array of fruit, vegetables, olives, cheese, nuts, dried fruit, and cooked and dried beans and lentils.
Gra de Gracia is an amazing bulk-buy store where you can buy as much or little as you like of spices, nuts, seeds, rice, beans, granola, and other health food items—perfect for temporary residents like us.
It felt like there was a bakery on every corner and although all the bread was of a good standard, we preferred to take a short walk to one of the best bakeries in the city, Hotel Praktik Bakery, for excellent croissants and creative loaves.
Admire Gaudi’s Modernist Sites
Exploring Gaudi’s fantastical modernist buildings was our focus in Barcelona (after eating, of course), and Gracia is in the ideal location for it.
We were staying within easy walking distance of Casa Mila, Casa Batllo, the Sagrada Familia, and Park Guell.
Gracia even has its own little-known Gaudi site—Casa Vicens – the first house he designed.
If you only have limited time in the city, this Private Gaudi Barcelona tour which visits Sagrada Familia and Park Guell looks great.
Or why not see the sights on wheels on this Barcelona e-Bike Gaudí Highlights Tour.
Join in a Festival
Every August for one week, Gracia holds a festival, Festa Major de Gracia, that includes everything from music, street stalls, food and drink and decorations covering the streets.
It’s a popular event and free for everyone to participate in, with a packed programme of activities.
Next time we visit Barcelona, we will ensure it’s during festival time!
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Where to Eat in Gracia
Italian salad with raw zucchini spaghetti at Quinoa Bar
Gracia is known for its many affordable restaurants and bars.
There’s a huge range available from a vegan bakery to Thai restaurants to traditional tapas bars. We found the area very vegetarian-friendly.
Quinoa Bar has delicious veggie burgers and creative salads and Les Tres a la Cuina always has meat-free options on its inexpensive lunch menu that uses seasonal ingredients.
Even Casa Pages, the tapas bar on our corner had plenty of veggie options, which is not always the case in Spain.
We didn’t have time during our week’s stay to try all the vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the neighbourhood.
These are just some on our list to try for our next visit:
- Bar Bodega Quimet – A local restaurant with a good choice of vegetarian tapas.
- Veg World India – A family restaurant with a ‘90% vegan’ menu offering decent-priced Thalis.
- Gallo Santo – Vegan Mexican that has burritos, tacos and bowls.
- Zizinia – Small homely Middle Eastern restaurant that serves primarily vegetarian mezze.
Read more about the best vegetarian restaurants in Barcelona.
To learn more about Catalan cuisine and get to know local foodie hotspots why not try this Gracia Private Food Tour.
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Where to Stay in Gracia District Barcelona
Our Apartment Rental
We much prefer renting apartments to staying in hotels, and Gracia has some fantastic options that are more affordable than in the centre.
We rented Torres Rojo, a two-bedroom apartment which was spacious, bright, stylish, and modern with wooden floors and white walls decorated with artwork.
Two small balconies overlooked the rooftops of the neighbourhood.
The apartment was well-equipped with everything we needed including good WiFI, heating, washing machine (and detergent) and dryer, dishwasher, iPhone dock, oven, and basic kitchen supplies like washing up liquid, spices, oil, and vinegar.
The main bedroom was lovely with a super comfy bed and lots of storage space. The second bedroom is smaller with a single bed.
The location is perfect on a quiet street with no traffic noise but only minutes away from bakeries, bars, restaurants, and the market.
There are a few metro stations close by, but we found it easy to walk all over Barcelona. There’s no lift so you do need to be able to walk up four flights of stairs.
The Torres Rojo apartment costs around €250 a night during the summer. Check availability here.
Other Gracia Accommodation
Here are some other accommodation options in Gracia:
- BcnStop Parc Güell – Spacious apartments with multiple options for couples or larger families. Fantastic location too, just 400 yards from the famous park.
- Jardinets De Gràcia by The 5ve Soul – Beautifully renovated sustainable apartments.
- Casagrand Luxury Suites – These elegant apartments include access to a stunning looking rooftop pool, sauna and gym.
- Hotel Praktik Bakery – Modern rooms and boasts its on-site bakery that guarantees delicious breakfasts.
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Gracia, Barcelona Map
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Is Gracia a Good Place to Stay in Barcelona?
Yes, absolutely! We loved experiencing local life in Gracia and the more we explored, the more we discovered to love.
The quiet streets, bohemian vibe, delicious food, and creative culture made it the perfect neighbourhood for us to stay in Barcelona.
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More Spain Tips
- Exploring Gaudi’s Fantastical Buildings in Barcelona
- The Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Barcelona
Elsewhere in Spain
- Enjoying the Simple Pleasures at our Spanish Housesit
- Our Most Adventurous Housesit in the Spanish Alpujarras
- Our Interrail Trip from London to Andalucia in Photos and Numbers
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Gracia District Barcelona • Things to See and Do in Gracia 2023
We explore Barcelona’s beloved Bohemian barrio…
By Duncan Rhodes
A beginner’s guide to the charming district of Gracia, including where to stay if you’re here on your travels. (Photo credit).
A large district that spreads across the foothills of the Collserola mountain range, Gracia was founded in the 17th century by the Carmelite order and for over two centuries was a separate village to Barcelona. However the poblebecame part of the whole when the vast Eixample district was constructed, bridging the gap between itself and the Old Town.
Owing to its long history, Gracia has more in common with the medieval districts of El Gotico, Borne and Raval than the industrial-revolution-funded Eixample which is sits above, and its narrow streets and plethora of pleasant plazas to while away the hours are undoubtedly what lend the barri much of its charisma.
For many Catalans and foreigners, Gracia has become the district of choice for those that want to enjoy the charms of Barcelona, but without the tourists and overcrowding that often afflicts La Rambla and the Gothic Quarter.
For many Catalans and foreigners, Gracia has become the district of choice for those that want to enjoy the charms of Barcelona, but without the tourists and overcrowding that often afflicts La Rambla and the Gothic Quarter. And whereas multi-culturalism, immigration and tourism mean that English and Spanish are the linguae francae of downtown BCN, in this more remote district you’ll find that many bars and cafes have menus only in Catalan, and you’ll find more than a few pro-Catalan-independence splashes of graffiti. Look out for “Freedom for Catalonia” scrawled on bins, or the donkey stickers on cars and mopeds that is a riposte to Spain’s symbolic bull.
What is there to see in Gracia? Well the main attraction is of course Park Guell, on the outskirts of the district. Antoni Gaudi’s famous gardens are one of the top attractions in Barcelona so naturally there’s a treadmill of tourists that alight at Plaça Lesseps and make their way to the park that featured famously in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, L’Auberge Espagnol and other classic movies. Thankfully, for those that prefer quieter spots, most won’t venture into the heart of the district, where certified tourist spots are few and far between (the exception is perhaps Casa Vicens, although you can’t go in), but there’s much fun to be had by wandering around. There are so many great little squares, and cute cafes like La Fourmi or Vreneli Cafe, where you can stop for a drink and simply enjoy hanging out.
Plaça del Sol is usually considered the central plaza, and whilst a host of bars and restaurants (such as the cute taperia Sol Soler), and even the odd nightclub, circumnavigate its borders, the interior acts as a social centre for a loveable mix of OAPs, dog-walkers, kids, beatniks and tramps. During warmer months it’s tradition to sit on the concrete and crack open a supermarket carton of sangria. Naturally, if you have more than a few euros to your name, you might prefer to stump up for a cold cerveza on one of the actual cafe terraces.
Later in the evening Gracia becomes a real hub of Barcelona’s nightlife, and with great bars like La Cigale, Tournesol and many more, it’s easy to see why. Generally speaking Gracia venues are all about eating, drinking and socialising, and whereas there are a few select places to dance, the district is more for making merry making in the traditional way – so if it’s flash nightclubs you’re after better to head to the Port Olimpic instead!
The one time of the year when Gracia really goes off though is of course in mid-August during the Festa Major de Gracia! During this rambunctious festival the residents of the barri hold a competition of “best dressed street” and half of the city descends night after night for a right royal knees up that involves plenty of beers, live music, mojitos and dancing. Definitely a date for your diary.
Things get a little crazy for the Festa Major….
For other hip zones check out our Barcelona districts guide which has an overview of all the most interesting areas of BCN and of course links to individual articles.
Accommodation in Gracia
As the district has become increasingly trendy and well-known, there has been a growing demand amongst savvy travellers for accommodation in this part of town: which is why you can now find a decent range of hotels, hostels and apartments available if you’re set on staying here. One recommendation that springs to mind is Aparthotel Silver, a boutique-style hotel just near the Fontana metro station (handy for getting downtown). A relatively new budget option meanwhile is the vast and modern Generator Hostel on the bottom lip of the district, just five or so minutes walk from Placa del Sol.
Otherwise you can always check our list of apartment providers, where you’ll find plenty more options.
About the Author
Duncan established Barcelona Life in 2009, whilst freelancing for the likes of Conde Nast, The Guardian, Easyjet Magazine, CNN Traveller and many more. From interviews with Ferran Adria to revealing the secrets of the city’s poetry brothels, he knows the city inside out… and shares all his best tips right here.
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Guide to the barrio (district) Gràcia
The Gràcia area is just one stop from the start of Passeig de Gràcia, but it’s like entering another world. Gràcia was an independent city until the end of the 19th century, and even now it is a dense and small area. The locals are extremely proud of their roots, they say that they are not from Barcelona, but from Gràcia.
The area is popular with artists and the bohemian public. It is home to a large number of ethnic immigrants from other countries, and here is the largest concentration of foreign restaurants in Barcelona. Plaça de Sol is the most famous part of the area, it is lined with terraced cafes, and in the evening people gather here to drink and have fun. Although Gràcia is a trendy area, it is at the same time very traditional. A lot of older people live here, which creates a funny and unusual mix – you can see interesting characters here!
Gràcia is also famous for its five-day festival in August. Locals compete to decorate the streets (for them, this is very serious!). The results are usually impressive, and in the evening the festival comes to life – there are stalls with drinks and bands with live music for every taste.
Fontana is a metro station that connects you to the city centre, Plaça de Catalunya in less than 10 minutes. Near the metro station there is also a cinema where films are played in the original language.
Gràcia is an absolutely self-sufficient area. In other words, once you stay in Gràcia, you don’t have to leave. It has all the amenities, great bars, cozy cafes and real Mediterranean style. Although the scale of buildings, streets and plaças is much smaller than in the city center, there are still striking examples of Art Nouveau architecture.
|Typical street in Gràcia|
While there are some who might be intimidated by the fashionable characters (there are plenty of piercings, dreadlocks and tattoos around!), it’s still pretty safe here, and the main squares where people drink and party until the morning are far away, so it’s quiet .
The area is ideal for those who want something different, those who may have been to Barcelona before and want to experience new sensations. Although in fact the city center is easily accessible from Gràcia, due to the area’s central location, it is therefore suitable for everyone.
One of the best things about Gràcia is that it doesn’t get too many tourists and you will feel like you’ve discovered something new and different from everything else.
The shops in Gràcia are also good. Here, new and pretentious boutiques coexist with traditional Spanish shops.
Hotels near Gràcia
To read a review of a hotel, just click on its name.
Catalonia Park Güell Hotel – 3 stars
A different atmosphere from Barcelona
Plaça del Sol and its cafes
An overview of Barcelona’s neighbourhoods. Gracia and the Gracians. Spain in Russian
We continue to introduce you to the areas of Barcelona, and today we walk around Gracia. Even 200 years ago, the Gracia district was a separate village, then the city walls of Barcelona were destroyed, the city grew, the Eixample district appeared. Gracia was very close to him, and at the end of the 19th century it was annexed to Barcelona.
Gracia is located in the center of Barcelona, just in 10-15 minutes you can walk to Passeig de Gracia, the main commercial street with the most beautiful houses in the city. There are two metro lines in the area: L3 leads to the Old Town, and L4 takes you straight to the beach.
There are few tourists in Gracia. There is only one 5-star hotel and twenty hotels with two, three and four stars. Spend a night in a 2-4-star hotel costs 60 euros, which is inexpensive for the center of Barcelona, especially since the main attractions are within walking distance – Casa Batllo and La Pedrera by Antoni Gaudí.
The Gracia area was rebuilt at the end of the 19th century. All houses are at least 100 years old, they are very beautiful, you can just wander around here, looking at the wrought-iron balconies, stucco on the facades and massive doors. But there are also disadvantages: the walls in such houses are very thin, so you can clearly hear what the neighbors are doing; an elevator and double-glazed windows are a rarity. Nevertheless, living here is a pleasure. The Gracia district is one of the ten most expensive areas in Barcelona, renting a small apartment costs from 1,000 euros, and buying from 300,000, and this will not be the most spacious housing.
The cost of 1 square meter of residential real estate in the Gracia area reaches 3500-4000 euros.
Gracia residents love their neighborhood. They call themselves Gracians and spend all their free time in cozy squares. There are always a lot of young people, children, dogs, there are cafes and bars, you can sit at a table and take a cup of coffee. All Spaniards are avid coffee drinkers. Three types of this drink are the most popular. You can find them in any cafe in Barcelona!
There are no big shopping centers in Gracia, but there are many small shops and designer shops. Since there are few tourists, shops work according to the usual schedule for Spaniards, from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm, and then they open only after five in the evening.
There is one very special store in Gracia – a bookstore with used books, and its uniqueness lies in the fact that you can pay exactly what you want. This is an atmospheric place where you can find any book, from classic to modern.
If you want to taste real Catalan food, don’t look for it on La Rambla, come to Gracia. There are excellent restaurants in the area, where the Gracians themselves like to have lunch and dinner, ordering dishes at reasonable prices.
The only cafe of its kind in which cats live is located precisely in Gracia. Espai de Gats opened a little over a year ago. Here you can have a good snack, drink tea or coffee, and most importantly, enjoy communicating with cats, play with them, stroke them, look into the magical cat’s eyes.
All animals, and there are now 12 of them, do not have owners, and therefore a cafe visitor who likes a cat can take her home.
Walking through Gracia, we were once again convinced that this is a unique area, where there are excellent bars, restaurants and shops, and the local architecture cannot but delight.