Fishermen were naturally the first to settle during the 18th century on the seafront land now known as Barceloneta. Even now if you delve into the dim, narrow back streets there is still very much of an old village feel to the place, with old women shouting to one another across balconies and old men sitting on the street outside the door to their house. However Barceloneta now also has a very different side, a cosmopolitan, tourist- driven life of its own, bars and cafes booming out music day and night.
The beach is obviously the main attraction of Barceloneta, and is absolutely packed with locals and tourists alike all summer long. Thanks to the people who patrol up and down selling everything from donuts to water, massages to bikinis you could lie on the beach all day without ever having to move. There are also chiringuitos scattered around, these are beachside bars which often play music and serve snacks.
It is no surprise that it is Barceloneta where you will find some of the best seafood on offer. If you can wander into the built up part of the area, behind the strip of cafes and ice-cream shops on Passeig Joan de Borbon. However if you fancy a better view then there are lots of restaurants facing out towards the marina.
There are quite a few attractions this area, especially for families. The aquarium, which is the biggest in Europe, and the IMAX are both good for children and if you want to escape the heat/ rain. I was once forced onto the Montjuïc Cable Car which is an experience - do not try if you have a fear of heights - but you do get stunning views over the whole city.
There are street sellers that line the road down to Barceloneta, the cheap sunglasses and scarves are great.
Also if you need a culture fix then head to the Catalunya History Museum to learn a bit about the city in which you stand, the capital of Catalunya. Just across the street from the museum is the metro stop Barceloneta which is one stop away from central Barcelona, though you can easily walk to Las Ramblas in 15 minutes.
Barceloneta is good for families and those looking for a beach holiday, without being too far from the city. Although it is also suitable for young people because as well as the beach the area has a varied night-life. In fact I know of some people who live in Barceloneta and hardly ever go into the city centre.
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