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|Barceloneta area of Barcelona|
La Barceloneta area of Barcelona
Staying in Barceloneta and what to do and see.
La Barceloneta is a popular place to stay in Barcelona with some tourists. Barceloneta is a small triangular piece of land bordered by the Port Vell marina on one side and Barcelona's beaches on the other. Barceloneta is quite unique and very different from other areas of Barcelona both in architecture and atmosphere.
It is a popular place to stay, especially for young tourists who enjoy being near the beach and surrounded by authentic local atmosphere.
There are not many hotels in Barceloneta - there's no room for them. The few hotels and hostals are on the main boulevard facing the marina. Most visitors stay in tourist rental apartments. But although not many tourists stay in Barceloneta, it is a very popular area to have lunch or dinner and to both the village atmosphere of the narrow streets and both the beach and the marina atmosphere.
The name Barceloneta means literally 'little Barcelona'. Barceloneta was built on reclaimed land from the sea and there were residents here as early as the 15th century. The small triangular shape of La Barceloneta land area covers just 71 hectares of Barcelona's old city centre, called the Cuitat Vella, But due to Barceloneta’s its prime location near the beach and the the Port Vell marina and Barcelona centre it is a popular area for tourists and for young people to stay.
The first real houses in Barceloneta were constructed in 1753 by the Spanish army. The purpose was to provide new housing for former residents of part of the Ribera neighbourhood, who were displaced by the destruction of their houses to clear land for the new Cuitadella garrison which King Philip V buildt after defeating Barcelona in 1714 in the war of Spanish succession.
To learn more about that visit the Born Cultural Center where you can actually see foundations and ruins of the neighbourhood that was flattened by Philip V for his new fort. In the early 18th century Barcelona was still walled so there was no room for new residents inside the walls, so Barceloneta was created which explains the unusual military style layout of the streets.The citadel or garrison area, by the way, is now the Cuitadella Park.
For Barceloneta 15 parallel streets were planned, each 7.5 meters wide and crossed by other three cross-sectional streets of 9.3 meters width. The original houses, some of which can still be seen, were two floors high and originally intended to house one family. All the houses were all the same and built in a grid pattern. The earliest residents were mostly mariners, fishermen and shipbuilders.
From 1846 Barceloneta residents were joined by factories and by factory workers as the industrial age started and Barcelona’s city council had banned new factories inside the medieval city walls.
This meant that new industrial areas outside the old walled city of Barcelona sprung up and Barceloneta was a perfect place for the small new factory because of its close proximity to the port and because the first railways went along the coast.
One of the original industries in Barceloneta was gas production and the gas company head office is still in Barceloneta. When the walls of Barcelona came down and trams started to connect the city, Barceloneta began the gradual transformation into the beach and leisure area, that it is today.
Most of the tiny two storey houses have been long since been extended upwards or replaced with taller buildings. The street layout is still the same and the ‘village in a city’ atmosphere is still strong and the community is strong and united.
Today La Barceloneta is a bustling, vibrant and essential part of Barcelona with about around 16000 inhabitants. Some of the community are struggling to adapt to the new Barceloneta which is doing very well to combine retain old world tradition and customs with fast pace of modern tourism. Hundred year old bars and fish restaurants co-exist well with new and trendy cocktail bars, chiriniguitos and hotels.
Of course not everyone is happy and it can be argued that the number of tourists living and renting apartments in Barceloneta have made the neighbourhood into one long vertical ‘hotel’ or even like a cruise ship. The narrow streets are corridors and the tiny flats the cabins.
That may be so, but most locals and visitors agree that the infusion of visitors has made Barceloneta an even more colourful and lively area of Barcelona than before. The addition of new marina in Port Vell for super yachts has also provided many jobs for the area, so apart from a few protests about tourists behaving badly, Barceloneta is handling the challenges of modern Barcelona well.
Staying in La Barceloneta
The good things about staying in Barceloneta first and foremost the people and location. Barceloneta has an lovely local and authentic atmosphere - the streets, the neighbours, the colours of the washing hanging out from every flat makes it feel like a real. The smell of the sea is envigoration but beware in the winter – the sea air can chill you to the bone.
Barceloneta is the best place in the city for walking, jogging biking and skating although it can be crowded at the weekend and in peak season. Barceloneta feels like living in a village by the sea but you are minutes from a big city. There are lots of old world restaurants and cafes although new trendy places and irish pubs are pushing old places out. Shopping is difficult for residents as there are few supermarkets. Parking is not a problem. There are big underground parking lots by the marina.
HOTELS in Barceloneta
Things to do in Barceloneta
Passeig Joan de Borbó
Picturesque boulevard along marina leading down to the Barceloneta beach. This is Barceloneta’s biggest attraction with thousands of tourists walking to the beach every day and enjoying meals at the many restaurants.
Catalan History Museum
Inside the Palau de Mar. Very interesting museum about Catalonia’s tumultuous history and relationship with Spain. Also has lovely roof top cafe terrace with views of marina
Port Vell Marina
Port Vell Marina Barcelona Spain. Marina Port Vell is a marina and leisure area with a yacht club, a new super-yacht marina, Barcelona Aquarium, cinemas and Maremagnum shopping mall. It is also the floating venue of the Barcelona Boat Show
Barcelona Maritime museum. In Raval area but only 15 minutes walk from Barceloneta
Barcelona harbour tours
Many boat tours start from Port Vell marina. Find Barcelona boat tours.
Torre del Reloj
Old lighthouse built in 1772, now a clock tower, on Moll dels Pescadors.
Not open to public but can be seen from Maremagnum Shopping Mall
Parròquia de Sant Miquel del Port
Church from 1755 on Plaça Barceloneta
Located in Port Vell at end of Rambla de Mar. Open Sundays all year. Maremagmum mall
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