A Long Barcelona Stroll: Parc de la Ciutadella, El Born, and Barri Gotic

Our Barcelona apartments (which bear more of a resemblance to dorms, but oh well) are sort of in a no-man’s land. Poblenou is the closest neighborhood, but we’re definitely not in it. But we are equidistant from a lot of wonderful things, and we’re an easy 20-minute walk to El Born, an adorable old neighborhood packed with shops and bars. The other day I took a photo stroll the long way round…

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My first meandering point was the Parc de la Ciutadella. It’s massive (70 acres), and it has museums, the zoo, and a lake you can row on, amidst other delights. You can even have a training session if you want to…

 

 

 

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Or, if you’re like me, you can just walk around, read on the grass for a while, and take some photos. My favorite shot is below–I hate those obnoxious bubble gun salesmen, but I love how the bubbles look against the fountain:

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From the Parc, you cross the street and enter El Born, full of adorably winding side streets like this one…DSC_0039

…and loads of street art and charming details:

I paused to have lunch at an outdoor table. Sadly, the restaurants with terraces often don’t have the best food in the city, but basic tapas are universal, and I was perfectly content with croquettes, salad, and padron peppers in the sunshine.

Next, I crossed Via Laietana into Barri Gotic, or the Gothic Quarter. It has a very similar vibe as El Born; if you aren’t looking at a map, you wouldn’t know they were two neighborhoods. But there are some nice Gothic* touches. Asterisked because apparently some of the lovely details were created for the 1929 International Exposition. One of my travel mates is infuriated by Barcelona’s penchant for recreation; he told me yesterday that Italy is better because it’s actually old. But I say, what the hell, as long as it’s pretty.

The Gothic Quarter also contains my favorite square (so far, at least), the Placa Reial. It’s lined with delicious restaurants and fun bars (try Sidecar if you want to dance to 80s music), and don’t tell my friend, but it reminds me of Piazza Navona in Rome.

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Hope you enjoyed taking this stroll with me! There are so many Barcelona neighborhoods still to explore, and only two weeks left to walk through them. Travel anxiety is real.

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