- What to see
- Where to sleep
- Travel Tips
Raval — The city's historic multicultural neighbourhood
Raval is a synonym of complete diversity. Among its historic streets are establisments from all parts of the world. Stroll around the MACBA at its epicentre where people of all ages, cultures and professions come together to chat, have a drink or get a bit to eat — but overall skate. Its central location allows you to get to any part of Barcelona via public transport in no time.
This guide to the Raval neighbourhood features a video that will help you discover all the area has to offer through its neighbour's recommendations. We also explain the reasons to stay here, which attractions to visit, the best places to eat and where to go shopping. If you're a student, it may interest you to know where to find libraries, green areas and places to practise sports.
Video presentation of the Raval neighbourhood in Barcelona
Why Stay Here?
Raval is located right by Las Ramblas, so if you're looking for a centric location it's ideal. The neighbourhood is full of life and there's always something to do.
You'll find people from all walks of life here; students, immigrants, middle class families... It's a strong multicultural medley that sounds through these streets, giving it an authentic feel. Another great advantage is that although it has a central location, it's not very expensive at all. You can find monthly rentals here for a very good price. For this reason, it's very popular amongst younger travellers.
Raval has lots to see. To start, one cannot miss out on visiting two of its museums; MACBA (The Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona) that exhibits works from the second half of the twentieth century, and the CCCB (Centre of Contemporary Culture Barcelona) that organizes exhibitions, debates, festivals, and concerts.
The Hospital of Santa Creu is worth a visit, as it is a good example of modern architecture in Barcelona. However, one attraction that's truly unmissable is Palau Güell, one of Gaudí's not so visited oriental style masterpieces.
Information for students
If you're going to search in this area for a student apartment then you will be interested to know where to find the best quiet places to study such as libraries and green spaces, as well as where to stay active and practise sports.
In Raval there are five faculties from various universities:
- Public: Anna Ravell School, History and Geography faculty and Philosophy faculty.
- Private: Menéndez Pelayo International University – Campus and Faculty of Communication
In this area there are also the most historic libraries like Sant Pau - Santa Creu Library and the National Library of Catalonia. That's in addition to the more modern establishments such as the University of Barcelona's library for the Faculty of History and Philosophy. Another good calm place to study is the romanesque Sant Pau del Camp Monastery's garden.
Hidden away amongst Raval's narrow streets are municipal courts and pitches where one can practise basketball and football, like the Pista Poliesportiva Municipal Drassanes, Pista Poliesportiva Municipal Aurora and Valldonzella basketball court. The most iconic sport in this area is skateboarding that you can find practised around the square in front of MACBA.
Where to Eat
There are a number of different places to eat in Raval. For example along Rambla del Raval there are lots of places to stop for a rest with terraces. One great locale is the Maharaja Restaurant, which specializes in Hindu cuisine. There is a large range of dishes to choose from with very good prices and the menu of the day (a set 3-course meal and a drink each day) is only €8 per person. A fast service and friendly waiting staff.
For the vegetarians, on the Carrer Pintor Fortuny, there is Biocenter. With natural and biological cuisine at a good price. A mid-day buffet is only €6 per person! That is in addition to many other vegan/vegetarian restaurants in Barcelona. Read more in our article about vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Barcelona.
Then there's Nasia, a typical Barcelonian locale. The tapas are delicious and you should definitely try out the 'Patatas al Chorizo', which are totally yummy!
Raval is home to a number of bars to grab some drinks. It's an all-round great place to spend the night at some of the many locales in the zone. You can visit nightclubs to hear live music, but if you're looking for a place with class, then you'll love Rita Rouge, whether it's to dine out or just to relax with a drink.
The Marmalade Cocktail Bar. It's ideal for enjoying all kinds of cocktails as well as a good old-fashioned whiskey.
There is definitely something for everyone. If you like a more rocking environment, then Nevermind is where it's at. The beers are going for just €1 before 8PM, and there's even a skate park inside. Gnarly.
In this neighborhood, there are all kinds of shops, especially informatics and technology. But the place is also great for finding cheap stuff in thrift stores.
If you're looking for fashion, the type of fashion that people will ask you "Where did you get that?!" and you can reply "In a small and trendy shop in the backstreets of Barcelona ;)" then you can find that here in Raval.
There's a ton of bookshops too, as many in Catalan and Spanish as there are in International books. Comic stores are also popular. Examples of both are the Librería Casa del libro Árabe and Arkham Comics.
Are you into Vinyl records and collectible music? Raval is paradise. There are many shops that specialize in this, but be sure to look out for Cd-Drome and Emporium.
To get to Raval is simple, you have the following Metro stations nearby:
L1 - Red Line at Universitat will take you to Plaça d'Espanya (Espanya) in under 10 minutes, from here you can catch the Aerobus straight to the airport.
L2 - Purple Line at Sant Antoni will take you to the Sagrada Familia in about 10 minutes
L3 - Green Line at Drassanes, Liceu, or Paral·lel will take you to the stop for Park Güell (Lesseps) in under 15 minutes
Raval also makes good use of Bicing, a city bike rental scheme, with stations all over the area.