Eixample in the Sagrada Familia neighborhood

If you watch Barcelona from the air, the most recognizable part of  the city is in fact the Eixample. Streets run from sea to mountain, making an infinite set of organized and perpendicular blocks. It could be perfectly called the Big Apple of the Mediterranean.

Things to see in the Eixample

The Eixample is 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, plus a vibrant offer in restaurants and nightlife. Let’s not forget that several monuments like the Sagrada Familia, Arc de Triomf, la Monumental (former Bullring), La Pedrera and Casa Batlló are also spread throughout the Eixample District.

History of the Eixample

There was a time when Barcelona’s city streets all belonged within the walls of the now Old City Quarter (Ciutat Vella), and many other close towns (now current Barcelona neighborhoods) were scattered across the surrounding countryside, until the Industrial Revolution came and the population began to grow dramatically.

In 1855 Barcelona’s City Hall called out for a public competition in order to solve the city’s inherent need for growth. Ildefons Cerdá was the head behind the winning project for the Eixample (catalan for Expansion), and fortunately his vision came to life almost as he had imagined.

eixample

Blocks of the Eixample. Photo: Jose Maria Miñarro Vivancos

He envisioned a city with a high regard for the people’s need for leisure, health, social relationships, all within a criteria of making a better use of the space. He designed a grid-like pattern that would cover up the existing territory between Barcelona’s city walls, which were torned down that very same year, eventually absorbing all the surrounding towns such as: Sants, Les Corts, Sarriá, Sant Gervasi and Gràcia to name a few.

The Eixample is one of the most dynamic and confortable neighborhoods in Barcelona, because there’s always a restaurant, shop, supermarket, bar or any other kind of commercial establishment and you’ll find it nearby. It’s also one of the most demanded for accommodation in Barcelona.

Passeig de Sant Joan

The Gaixample

Although is not considered an official neighborhood, the area between Gran Vía, Balmes and Aragó, has been nicknamed as the “Gaixample”. Over the past two decades the zone has seen the arrival of gay shops, restaurants and nightclubs. The area has become a magnet for gay tourism in Barcelona, resulting in the rise of several Gay friendly Hotels, and a very extensive offer in  gay clubs and bars, still the zone remains a multicultural and yet traditional neighborhood.

Getting around by public transport

Metro Line 1: Marina, Arc de Triomf, Universitat, Urgell and Rocafort Station.
Metro Line 2: Encants, Sagrada Familia, Monumental, Tetuan, Passeig de Gràcia, Universitat and Sant Antoni Station.
Metro Line 3: Diagonal and Passeig de Gràcia.
Metro Line 4: Verdaguer, Girona, and Passeig de Gràcia.
Metro Line 5: Sagrada Familia, Verdaguer, Diagonal, Hospital Clínic and Entença Station.
FGC Railway: Provença Station.

Map of the Area

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