El Raval

El Raval

Practical information about El Raval 

The El Raval district is located in Ciutat Vella (the old city) in Barcelona, Spain. It is bordered by the Gothic, Sant Antoni and Poble Sec districts. It is bounded on the east by La Rambla, on the north by Pelai street, on the west: the ronda de Sant Pau and on the south: the avenue del Paral-lel, which marks the border with the Poble Sec neighborhood.


The different options to get to El Raval by public transport:

Métro: You can take the metro lines L2 or L3 to the Paral-lel station. From there you can walk to El Raval.

Bus: Buses 20, 36, 57, 64, 91 and 120 also serve the El Raval neighborhood. You can take one of these buses and get off at the stop closest to your destination.

Hop-on hop-off Bus: The red line takes you to Plaça de Catalunya, the World Trade Center or the foot of the Columbus Column. The closest stop to the Raval with the blue line is Plaça de Catalunya. 


Map of El Raval


El Raval (the former Barrio Chino) is a neighborhood that has been almost completely transformed. It used to be a den of artists, intellectuals, transvestites and prostitutes. There is still an air of bohemia, but modernity has taken hold. Today, the Raval district is home to a very large contemporary art museum, art galleries, boutiques and trendy restaurants.


Our advice: Ideally located in the center of Barcelona, El Raval has many hotels:

>> Your hotel close to the Macba in El Raval


History of El Raval over the centuries

In the Middle Ages, El Raval was a neighborhood located outside the city walls of Barcelona. It was populated mainly by artisans and workers. During this period, the neighborhood grew rapidly with the arrival of new residents from the surrounding rural areas.

In the 18th century, the neighborhood began to deteriorate due to the increasing poverty of its inhabitants. However, at the beginning of the 19th century, the construction of the Rambla brought a new economic impetus to El Raval, with the installation of many shops and leisure establishments.

In the twentieth century, the neighborhood of El Raval experienced a strong growth in population due to immigration. However, the neighborhood was also affected by poverty, crime and prostitution.
In recent decades, the city of Barcelona has carried out a series of urban renewal projects aimed at revitalizing El Raval. These projects have included the construction of new buildings, the restoration of historic buildings and the creation of public spaces.

Today, El Raval is a lively and cosmopolitan area of Barcelona that is appreciated by locals and visitors alike for its cultural activities and good atmosphere. It is considered one of the most multicultural neighborhoods in the Catalan capital.


El Raval formerly Barrio Chino

El Raval, formerly known as Barrio Chino, was commonly referred to as the "Chinese Quarter" in the 1920s until the 1980s. This name had nothing to do with the presence of the Chinese community, which was then very limited in Catalonia. In reality, the neighborhood was designated this way because of the presence of numerous establishments for prostitution, gambling, drugs, and organized crime.

The neighborhood was then considered a dangerous and notorious place. In the 1980s, the term "Barrio Chino" became pejorative and began to be replaced by the name "El Raval" at the same time as a long series of urban changes transformed its appearance.


The Bohemian Period of El Raval

The El Raval neighborhood has had several literary and bohemian periods throughout its history. One of the most famous is that of the early twentieth century, known as the "renaixença." The most well-known writers of this time include Jacint Verdaguer, Mercè Rodoreda, and Josep Pla. In the 1960s and 1970s, El Raval became a hub of counterculture and bohemianism. The neighborhood was then inhabited by many artists, musicians, and writers, including poet Joan Brossa, musician and composer Carles Santos, and writers Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Terenci Moix, and filmmaker Joaquim Jordà i Català.

More recently, El Raval has become a center for contemporary and alternative arts, housing numerous museums, art galleries, and exhibition spaces, as well as art and music festivals throughout the year.




Some Ideas for Visiting the El Raval Neighborhood

More places to discover:

>>Take advantage of our good addresses such as restaurants and shops.


1- Guëll's Palace*

Guell Palace - Monument

Follow the B: We recommend this place

Palau Güell

A Rich industrial Family named Guëll asked Antoni Gaudí to build this Palace. They lived all their life in the Palace.

All tickets to visit Palau Güell  at the best prices

The Guell Palace " Palau Güell" in catalan, was constructed in 1888 by Antoni Gaudi.In the lobby of the Palace, the light that falls through the windows is subdued by three huge parabolic arches formed by grey, smoothly polished stone pillars. The towering arches create the impression of a Gothic window; but the windows which Gaudi employed in Guell's palace are rectangular - in other words, serve as a counterpoint to the lines of the arches. These arches also reveal the first signs of his worries with Art Nouveau. The Art Nouveau elements of the entrance gate were also repeated inside the building. For one thing, there are lavish decorations on the pillars, of which there is a considerable number: from the thick, supporting, mushroom-shaped polished grey pillars made of snake-eye stone excavated from a quarry in the Pyrenees.


A hall spanning three floors forms the center of the building. It replaces, as it were, the normal inner courtyard, but at the same time creates the impression that one is standing in a huge Baroque church. This room is covered by a cupola in which Gaudi put numerous round holes. The twisted legs of the table recur in the building itself, namely, on the roof.


*Good to Know: From 1st January 2016  Palau Güell will open its doors for free every first Sunday of the month. 

Address : C. Nou de la Rambla, 3-5
Opening hours : Winter: from 10am to 7.30pm / Summer: 10am to 8pm. Closed Mondays (when not holidays), 25-26 December, 1st January and from 6th to 13th January
Phone : 00 34 934 725 775
Metro/Bus : Metro: Line 3, Liceu Station / Bus: 14, 59, 91, 120

2- Monasteri Sant Pau del Camp**

Monastery Sant Pau del Camp - Monument

Monasteri Sant Pau del Camp

Located in the historic district of El Raval, the Monastery of Sant Pau del Camp - founded in the 9th century - is one of the oldest monasteries in Catalonia and a jewel of Catalan Romanesque architecture. Its construction began at the end of the 9th century, replacing an earlier church destroyed by Muslim invaders in 985. Abandoned in the 19th century, but restored in the 20th century, it is now open to the public as a museum.


The Romanesque Collection of the Monastery of Sant Pau del Camp 

The Monastery now houses a museum with exhibitions on the history of art, the history of Barcelona and religious life in Catalonia. Its fine collection includes archaeological pieces and religious art, including Romanesque sculptures, paintings and textiles.


The main reason for visiting this monastery is its portal, which is decorated with sculptures depicting biblical scenes and decorative motifs. The chapel of Sant Pau, decorated with frescoes from the 12th century depicting scenes from the life of Jesus and the apostles. For the 12th-century wooden cross of Sant Pau, considered one of the most beautiful works of Catalan Romanesque art. For the sculpture of the Virgin and Child, a polychrome stone sculpture dating from the 13th century. Finally, the murals and a collection of medieval textiles, including tapestries, banners and liturgical vestments will undoubtedly catch your attention.


The place is peaceful and perfect for contemplation... an extraordinary break in a bustling neighbourhood.

Address : Carrer de Sant Pau, 99
Opening hours : Monday to Saturday from 10am to 1.30pm and from 4pm to 7.30pm
Phone : +34 934 41 00 01
Metro/Bus : Metro: L2, L3 Paral·lel

3- Barcelona contemporary Art Museum (MACBA) ***

MACBA Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum - Museum

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Macba - Barcelona

Combining straight lines and curves in a continuous dialogue between the interior spaces and the light outside, the building, inaugurated in 1995, is a work by Richard Meier. It's about what is more interesting in this museum.
MACBA (Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum) is dedicated to works from the second half of the 20th century. There are few works in the permanent collection and once in a while interesting temporary exhibitions.

Articket: Art Passport Card for 6 Art Museums in Barcelona

In1959 the art critic Alexandre Cirici Pellicer believed in the need to create a Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona.

Between 1960 and 1963, Cirici and Cesáreo Rodríguez Aguilera headed a group of individuals who began to put together a collection with the objective of constituting the basis for the future museum. In February 1963, the opening of the exhibition El arte y la paz, with a clear political commitment, exposed the narrow limits of what was then permissible.


In 1986 Barcelona City Council, invited the North American architect Richard Meier to take charge of the project for the new museum. The City Council's Department of Culture commissioned the art critics Francesc Miralles and Rosa Queralt to draw up a report which would serve to define the philosophy of the future museum. In 1987 the MACBA Foundation brought private enterprise into the project. The MACBA was officially inaugurated on the 28th of November of 1995.

Address : Pl. dels Angels, 1.
Opening hours : From 25 September - 26 June: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday: 11am - 7.30pm; Tuesday (not holidays) closed; Saturday: 10am - 8pm; Sundays & holidays: 10am - 3pm; 25th Desember and 1st January closed.
Phone : +34 93 412 08 10
Metro/Bus : Catalunya Pl. Universitat

4- Barcelona contemporary culture centre (CCCB)**

Barcelona Contemporary Culture Centre - CCCB - Museum

CCCB - Barcelona

CCCB The Barcelona Contemporary Culture Centre is a multidisciplinary institution which organizes exhibitions in particular on urbanism, music, dance, debates and readings.
This place is commonly frequented by people from Barcelona offering an astonishing architecture.

 The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) organizes and produces exhibitions, debates, festivals and concerts, programmes film cycles, courses and lectures, and encourages creation using new technologies and languages.

Articket: Art Passport Card for 6 Art Museums in Barcelona from 35€

It promotes artistic research in fields such as multimedia, backs research into exhibition formats, exports its in-house productions to other national and international arts centres, museums and institutions, and generates debate, thought and reflection on the theme of the city and the public domain, as well as other issues of current affairs.


The CCCB also compiles materials that are available for public consultation, comprising its inheritance, its holdings and archives of exhibition formats, publications, digital archives, audiovisuals, and so on.
It is a space open to groups of independent artists, creators and programmers...

 See the website for upcoming programme.

Address : Montalegre, 5
Opening hours : Tuesday to Saturday: 11am - 8pm; Sundays & holidays: 11am - 7pm;
Phone : 00 34 93 306 4100
Metro/Bus : Metro: 1, 2, 3 (Catalunya i Universitat) - Bus: 7, 9, 14, 16, 17, 24, 38, 41, 50, 54, 55, 56, 58, 59, 64, 66, 67, 68, 91, 120, 141, L94, L95, Tombús, Aerobús.

5- Boqueria Market ***

La Boqueria Market - Monument

Follow the B: We recommend this place


Boqueria Market - Barcelona

La Boqueria Market, one of the oldest markets in Barcelona, is no longer in the news, its name being mentioned as early as 1217. Criticized by some for being too crowded, adulated by others for the quality of its products and its small bars. It remains a must on Las Ramblas, a stone's throw from the Liceu and the Plaça de Catalunya.



The entrance porch, with its Art Nouveau stained glass window, is already an invitation to a gourmet journey. A dream that becomes reality in front of all the colourful stalls presented with great care by the many shopkeepers proud of their stands.


A visit to La Boqueria in video:



What can you find in La Boqueria? 

You can find everything in La Boqueria: fish, meat, sausages, spices, cheese, vegetables, fruit and fruit juices, pastries, flowers... Fresh and local products that appeal to restaurateurs and locals alike. Many Catalans come here to do their daily shopping. Even more people come to have breakfast or lunch because there are many restaurants, cafés, and tapas bars that have been established in La Boqueria for a long time (a dozen bars for example).

>> In total, La Boqueria has more than 300 stands. With its surface area of 2583 m², it is the largest market in Catalonia.


Tip: If you're travelling light, we suggest you simply buy some chillies, Jabugo, chorizo and a few pieces of cheese before you leave.

If you are hungry, take a break at El Quim bar, our favourite tapas bar.


What does Boqueria mean?

Boqueria (also known as La Boqueria) is the term for this market whose official name is "Mercat de Sant Josep". The name "Boqueria" is derived from the Catalan word "boc", which means "goat", and refers to the area where the market was originally established in the 13th century as a place for goat traders.


The history La Boqueria market

The first mention of La Boqueria market in Barcelona dates from 1217, when tables were set up near the old city gate to sell meat. From December 1470 onwards, a market for the sale of pigs was held there. At that time, the market was called Mercat Bornet or (until 1794) simply known as Mercat de la Palla (Straw Market).

In the beginning, the market was not fenced in and had no official status; it was considered to be a simple extension of the Plaça Nova market, which then extended to the Plaça del Pi.
Later, the authorities decided to build a separate market on the Rambla, housing mainly fishmongers and butchers. It was not until 1826 that the market was legally recognised and a convention held in 1835 decided to build an official square.
Work began on 19 March 1840 under the direction of the architect Mas Vilà. The market was officially opened the same year, but the plans for the building were modified several times. The official inauguration of the structure finally took place in 1853. In 1911 the new fish market was opened and in 1914 the metal roof that still exists today was built.


>>> Do you have a sweet tooth? Find all the markets in Barcelona

Address : Rambla, 91
Opening hours : Everyday from 8am to 8:30pm. Closed on Sundays
Phone : 00 34 93 318 20 17
Metro/Bus : Liceu





Last comment
hospital de la creu
Marito (16 May 2016 - 11:46)
Yo también opino que las fotos no representan el antigüo hostipal de la creu!
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  1. hospital de la creu - Marito (16 May 2016 - 11:46)

    Yo también opino que las fotos no representan el antigüo hostipal de la creu!

  2. la foto del Hospital de Sant Pau - Tana (22 Apr 2011 - 09:00)

    Hola, La imagen escogida para el Hospital de Sant Pau del Raval no corresponde al edificio gótico. Me parece que se trata del Hospital modernista de Domenech i Montaner.

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