El Born is considered the Bohemian heart of Barcelona. Due to the central location, between El Gotico and the Ciutadella Park and bordering Barceloneta, there is something for everyone. With its many café’s, boutiques and charming streets this part of town is perfect for strolling around. Let’s go ahead and take a look at the 5 main attractions to see in El Born.
Even though the original name of the neighbourhood is La Ribera, the area is known as El Born, after the infamous former market. The 19th century market was the main place for fruits and vegetables for the entire city of Barcelona until 1920. Together with El Gotico, El Raval and Barceloneta, El Born makes up the oldest part of Barcelona, Ciutat Vella (‘’Old City’’).
The lower section of the district, where the market was located, is now in fact one of the most popular areas. Because of its many unique boutiques and vintage clothing shops it is perfect for fashion lovers. The areas charm comes from the authentic look of the architecture and the liveliness of the streets. At any time of day, when walking around you could for example see people conversing on a bench, getting lost in the narrow streets or enjoying a drink on a sunny terrace. Furthermore the area is famous for its bars and tapas restaurants which are popular with both locals and tourists.
Our Top 5 Things To See In El Born
The Picasso Museum in El Born is a great first stop in El Born, with 4,251 works in the permanent collection it gives a great timeline of the genius artists process. Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga in 1881, but spent most of his developmental years in Barcelona and considered it his home. There are temporary exhibitions throughout the year, information on any current or future exhibitions can be found on their website. The Museum from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 AM to 7 PM and on Thursday will stay open from 9AM-9:30 PM.
Santa Caterina Market
A perfect place to spend your morning and start your day with some fresh fruits, vegetables and other local foods. They totally renovated the market in 2005 and the beautiful coloured ceramic roof catches the eye immediately. The Market opens from 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and from 7:30 AM to 8:30 PM on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
El Born Cultural Centre
In the ruins of the old market we now find the Cultural Centre of El Born. This hidden gem is worth a visit and has 5 areas that will surprise you. From archaeological remains, Exhibitions, events and concerts to restaurants and shops. Inside you can find the ruins revealing traces of the demarcations of streets and houses Barcelona of the 1700’s. This part is free to access for everybody. The Cultural Centre is host to multiple exhibitions and events throughout the entire year, the program can be found on their website. The Cultural Center is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10AM-8PM.
Santa María del Mar Church
The impressive piece of architecture located in the center of the neighbourhood. It is an outstanding example of Catalan Gothic. The buildings high ceilings and tall clerestory windows will surely impress you. The Church is the focal point of plaza Santa Maria del Mar, home of many cozy terraces and tapas restaurants. There is a daily service at 7:30 which is free for anyone to attend.
Parc de la Ciutadella
Situated on the edge of the area is one of the city’s nicest parks. It is the perfect place for a nice picnic on a sunny day or a visit to the city zoo. On the grounds of the park we find a gorgeous lake and multiple extravagant fountains and even a waterfall. Guaranteed you could be spending a relaxing day at the park taking in the beautyful sculptures and fountains. If you are looking for something more educational, the zoology and geology faculty of the Museum of Natural Sciences of Barcelona are also sited in the park.
To sum up, el Born is a great mix of modern vibes, bohemian stores, local markets and authentic buildings. Either visiting these spots or roaming around the area, you will surely fall in love with El Born. We are encouraging you to get lost in the streets of El Born and take a day exploring this amazing area.