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The Eixample district not only is the most iconic in Barcelona, it’s also the most diverse in terms of shopping, restaurants and nightlife. The geometric layout of blocks is the symbol of the sunny and modern Barcelona we know today.
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Before the walls of the Old City quarter were demolished, small towns were scattered across the surrounding countryside. With the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, the population grew dramatically and the Barcelona center didn’t have the best sanitary living conditions.
In 1855, the City Hall called out for a public competition in order to solve the city’s need for growth. Ildefons Cerdà, a civil engineer, won the project for the Eixample (catalan word for expansion), a huge undertaking that would construct the new Barcelona.
He envisioned a city with a high regard for the people’s need for leisure, health and social relationships. The main goal was making a better use of the space. Thus, he designed a grid-like pattern that would fill the area between the city walls and the surrounding towns.
What to do in the Eixample
The Eixample is one of the most dynamic and confortable areas to live in Barcelona. Mainly because there’s always a restaurant, shop, supermarket or bar at walking distance.
The Eixample is also famous for having one of the most dinamic shopping districts of the city. Passeig de Gràcia, Plaça Catalunya and Diagonal Avenue have the most exclusive shops, where you can shop till you drop.
Neighborhoods of the Eixample
The Eixample is divided into two main subareas: Eixample Esquerra (left) and Eixample Dreta (right). However, in total, six different neighborhoods make up this district. These are:
- Dreta de l’Eixample. Some of the most important avenues and places in Barcelona are located in this neighborhood. Such as, Plaça de Catalunya, La Rambla, Passeig de Gràcia and Gran Vía. La Pedrera and Casa Batlló are located here as well.
- Sant Antoni. Centered around the modernista market of the same name, it has a good choice of cinemas, bars and restaurants.
- Nova Esquerra. Limits with Plaza España and Arenas shopping center.
- Antiga Esquerra. Walk along through Enric Granados street from Plaça Universitat to find lively bars and restaurants.
- Sagrada Familia. The iconic Sagrada Familia is the main monument of this charming vicinity.
- Fort Pienc. The iconic Arc de Triomf is located in this neighborhood.
Although is not an official neighborhood, an area of this district is widely known as the Gaixample. Over the past two decades, the zone has seen the arrival of gay shops, restaurants and nightclubs.
The area (located between Gran Vía, Balmes and Aragó streets), has become a magnet for gay tourism in Barcelona, resulting in the rise of several Gay friendly Hotels and a very extense offer of gay clubs and bars. Even so, the zone remains a multicultural and yet traditional neighborhood.
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