El Raval is a neighborhood which offers rich, artistic culture by day, and a young, lively atmosphere by night. If you are someone who wants to live by the pulse of the city’s heart then El Raval is the place for you. Raval is a melting pot of cultures, and has one of the most diverse immigrant communities. The area is brimming with hipsters, young artists and students making it the heart of the alternative scene in Barcelona. So, if you have children and you want a quiet and tranquil area El Raval might not be for you. However, the Spanish government is investing in Raval and making improvements to the area and the properties within it and it is rapidly evolving into one of the best places to buy in Barcelona.
If you thrive in a multicultural environment, El Raval could very well be the right place for you to seek an apartment. Here you will become part of the constantly changing melting pot of different nationalities including everything from Moroccans, Pakistanis, Filipinos and Europeans. You will be surrounded by people of various ages, though a majority of the local Spaniards in this area belongs to the older generation.
The cultural expression of Raval attracts a range of different types of people, but especially artists and people with a taste for the medieval quality of the area come to live here.
People moving to Raval is often attracted by the lack of traffic, a factor that very well also influences the stream of young Spaniards moving out and into the suburbs. This area is far from the most populated and the majority of the residents are part of the lower- or middle class. Also, be prepared to share the streets with pickpockets, prostitutes and drug dealers, even though they become fewer and fewer they are still roaming the streets.
Unique & Different
Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)
This museum has won over the hearts of Spain, housing a solid collection of Spanish and Catalan art from 1940s onwards as well as hosting contemporary exhibitions of upcoming, international, experimental artists. Whist this is all very cultured, just outside is the Placa dels Angels where you will find crowds of skateboarders doing tricks on the large open space.
If you’re wanting to escape the commercial giants, such as Zara and Desigual, just explore into the narrow streets of Raval. There are so many quirky, independent shops that you’ll have a completely different shopping experience as you explore all the street art and pass so many secret, individual bars.
Officially known as the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, but more commonly known as La Boqueria, this huge public market is one of the city’s most famous tourist landmarks. You’ll still be battling to enter despite the huge arched entrance. This market is so eclectic and there are so many things to see, from a rainbow selection of fruits and fresh juices, to meats and fish and to authentic olives, oils and sweets.
La Rambla de Raval
Lined with trees and cafes, Rambla del Raval features plenty of street art, quirky bars, and brilliant restaurants. Every morning, this is the perfect destination to relax and take a breath of fresh air, but in the evening it is a vibrant night life amongst the restaurants and bars – and there really is something for everyone!
The flats in El Raval combine classic architecture of 19th century with artistic modernity. It’s the perfect location to find a cool and unique apartment and this is the reason it is such a magnet for young people. The apartments are usually relatively small but if you are lucky you could find a big loft with a great sense of style, decorated with wooden beams and brick walls. Furthermore the prices are almost always lower compared with other areas in Barcelona.
Metro: L3 Liceu, Drassanes, Universitat
Walk: the central location of this neighbourhood makes it easy to walk to the key districts of Barcelona.
A Brief History
El Raval is a neighborhood in the Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona and its name originates from the Arabic ‘Rabad’ which translates as neighborhood or district. Raval is a multicultural mosaic of people from all over the world. Here, Barcelona’s modernity is fused with the past of the Barrio Chino. At one time it was one of the most densely populated districts of Barcelona, but now after many depopulation plans, the city is removing the underdeveloped parts and replacing them with parks, plazas, cultural centers, 5-star hotels and much more.
What the Experts Think
This used to be a more dangerous and uncomfortable area of Barcelona, but it has turned itself around. It’s now very charming with many independent shops and home to big hotels. It’s just slightly away from the main tourism spots so it would be a good choice.
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