Why locals adore the Gracia district in Barcelona?

gracia district in barcelona guide

Only curious and investigative visitor goes beyond Eixample and Gothic quarter while exploring the city, let’s assume you are one of them and want to know more about Gracia district in Barcelona.

Gracia district – the tiny village hidden in Barcelona

After a city reorganization in the 19th century, Gracia village becomes a part of Barcelona.

Thus, strolling through the streets and soaking up the ambiance you will feel the independent character and autonomy of the district.

summer terrace in Gracia district in Barcelona

The place is full of marvelous plazas, cinemas, modernist houses and beautiful gardens. You will definitely enjoy your shopping experience in artisans and local designers’ shops as well as in markets with the freshest grocery and dairy products.

And, of course, you will never be hungry here. A plethora of cozy bars, authentic restaurants, and charming cafes are all at your disposal.

Those, who live in the district practically don’t leave it for weeks, since you can gain here anything you might need.

Fiesta Major de Gracia – a favorite holiday of the whole city

Gracia district becomes especially popular in the month of August. The area celebrates one of the most exciting street parties of the year, called Fiesta Major.

The history of the feast dates back to the 19th century when neighbors in Gracia would compete in best hand-made decorations of their street. Nowadays, the idea is the same.

In the middle of August streets of Gracia turn into a fascinating world of colors, creativity, and fantasies. These all become a magical scenery for vermouth and cava tastings, various concerts, parades, and workshops.

festive installations during Fiestas de Gracia

Furthermore, if you are lucky (or checked a venue in advance), you may experience a symbolic “Castellers” and “correfocs” traditions, those human towers and fire-runs that Catalans are very proud of.

Day and night activities and events are spread through the whole week. The celebrations always start on the 15th August; it is a public holiday in Spain called Assumption day. At the end of the week, the most beautiful and original street is named as the winner.

street decor on Fiestas de Gracia 2017

For those eco responsible creatures, it will be good to know that all the materials used in the decorations should be recyclable.

Decorations for Fiestas de Gracia

If you want to make the most of your visit, drop by Gracia when it’s already dark and when the lights are on so that you could enjoy the view of illuminated decorations. And avoid visiting the first day, the streets are so crowded, that you might find it uncomfortable to be there.

street concerts on FIestas de Gracia

In fact, every district of Barcelona celebrates Fiesta Major throughout the year. Undoubtedly, Gracia’s one is the most colorful and attractive. Check here the full Fiestas de Gracia guide to learn more about this holiday.

Park Güell – the 2nd most famous Gaudi’s masterwork

Park Guell - Gracia district in Barcelona

A name Gaudi has already become a buzzword in Barcelona. And for a reason. More and more people come to the city to get lost in the masterpieces of the legendary architect. And the first in the long list of them is the Parc Güell, and yes, it is located right in the Gracia district.

As you know, one of the hallmarks of Gaudi’s architecture is the absence of straight lines. Here you will experience it in full. The park is perfectly adapted to the topology of the mountain, where it is located and respects every original curve of nature.

Alleys and caves of Park Guell

If you just want to wander around, enjoy the views of the city, check the three crosses of the park you don’t have to pay since they make the part of free access area.

In case you are in the mood to have it all, pay €7 and get the access to the balcony, the staircase, and Hall of Columns. There you will manage to have a closer look to Gaudi marvels. Check also Casa Rosa, The Pavilions Entrance, and Casa Trías. They are all created and designed by Gaudi.

main balcony of Park Guell

Don’t miss the animals! The famous 2.4 meters Salamander, which is believed to protect the park, rises at the entrance of the park. It is not only the icon of the place but one of the symbols of Barcelona.

Challenge yourself to find other creatures: among them, there are a snake, an octopus, and a lion. They are hidden between the walls and represented in sculptures.

Wear something comfortable so that you can go up and down the hill with no obstacles met. Go early so you can avoid crowds of visitors and ruthless heat in summer.

By the way, Park Guell is one of my favorite parks and picnic spots in Barcelona!

Cine Verdi – a way to escape from the bad weather while staying in Gracia district

The history of Cine Verdi dates back to its opening in 1934. Since then the place was re-equipped and refurbished several times, and now it is a five screen cinema with a laid back vibe and relaxed audience.

Cinemes Verdi in Gracia district

The choice of movies is very versatile: from newly released actions to the weird art house. The art house prevails.

Don’t be afraid to get lost in flows of alien sounds: movies are shown in the original version with Spanish subtitles (make sure to pick the movie with the language you know though). The standard ticket costs €8, from Monday to Friday for the matinee showing it is €6 аnd on Mondays, €4.90.

If you consider yourself a movie-lover, find more VO Cinemas in Barcelona or check the summer agenda of Open-Air Cinemas in Barcelona.

Plazas de Gracia – The Sun, The Diamond, and the North

While wandering around Barcelona, you can’t but notice the love of locals to flock on the cozy little squares the city embraces. And Gracia is full of them.

The squares are very different in its vibe and atmosphere.

Placa de la Vila de Gracia is one of the most popular squares among 15 in the district. You will quickly recognize it due to a clock tower right in the middle.

Placa de Vila de Gracia

It becomes a center of a social life of the district with its mix of bars and restaurants. Another pretty square that doesn’t compromise its popularity to the latter is Placa del Sol.

Plaza del Sol - Gracia district in Barcelona

Full of bars and cafes it attracts locals and visitors when it gets dark. Less popular during the daylight, since the sun makes it too hot to stay outside.

Placa de la Virreina is a little bit different from the previous ones. A beautiful Parish Church of Sant Joan gives it a touch of tranquility and street musicians complement it with a chilled out vibe.

Placa de la Virreina

Check out Placa del Diamant where you can find a playground and rest a bit in the shades of the trees. There is also quite curious and intimidating sculpture of La Colometa, the main character of the novel by Mercè Rodoreda. It is recommended for reading if you want to get to know the city better.

Placa del Diamant

Head to Placa del Nord or Placa de Rovira i Trias and sit with Mr. Rovira himself on the bench if you want to escape from crowded bars and partying gangsters, sorry, youngsters.

Placa del Nord

Modernist architecture in Gracia district in Barcelona

Gracia district is also well-known for its modernist buildings. You won’t miss the red-brick building with outstanding green and white tiles. This oriental beauty is one of the first works of Gaudi called Casa Vicens. The building is private so you won’t manage to squeeze inside unless you have made friends with the owner.

Casa Vicens - Gracia district in Barcelona

Another emblematic spot of the Gracia district is Mercat de la Libertat. This is one of the oldest markets in Barcelona, built in typical Modernista style, unfortunately, lost a bit of its ancient charm after reconstructions works in 2009. The nicest part of almost all Barcelona markets that not only you can find good quality products there, but also you can have them cooked right away.

Mercado de Libertad - Gracia district in Barcelona

Inside the market, you will see small bars with displays of fresh seafood and vegetable, just point at anything appealing, and it will be grilled for you right there. Have at least one alternative lunch at one of such markets; you will definitely enjoy the experience.

To see the more modernist building in the area look for Casa Rubinat with curved balconies and white faces with vegetation motives, and Las Casas Ramos, a modernist building with a gothic aftertaste.

Casa Ramos in Gracia district

As you see Gracia has a lot to offer. It’s off the beaten track location helps to dive deeper into the social life of locals, understanding subtleties of Catalan identity.

Casa Rubinat in Gracia district

Nevertheless, while in Gracia, you won’t get the feeling of isolation, since the district has very good transport communication and borders with the districts of Sarria and Eixample.

Learn what to nibble in the area in Where to eat in Gracia and be open to adventures the city of Barcelona welcomes you into.

Yours,

JT.

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