Tourist Information Guide

Barcelona Area Guide: El Raval Barrio

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Rambla de Raval in the heart of the Raval Barrio
Rambla de Raval in the heart of the Raval Barrio

This article will attempt to highlight the good and the bad of one of Barcelona's most controversial and yet interesting neighbourhood.

There are so many sides to the vibrant area known as El Raval that it makes it a real challenge to write this article. Raval is an interesting and exciting area in Barcelona; however, it also has its darker and seedy side that you ought to be aware of. It is certainly not the safest or the cleanest area in Barcelona, but it does have a special personality and character all of its own that makes this area a compelling visit.

A street in Raval
A street in Raval

If you are a seasoned traveller then I would have no hesitation in recommending this area if you want to experience an authentic and stimulating Barcelona neighbourhood. If, however, you are not comfortable with walking through seedy areas or if you are particularly sensitive to street noise then this may not be the area for you.

El Raval is part of the second stage development of historic Barcelona and used to be densely populated until the city walls were removed around the turn of the 20th century and the Eixample area was built. The Southernmost part of the El Raval, near the port, also used to be famous as the city's red-light district. However, in 1988, the government started a huge urban regeneration project and invested a lot of money in cleaning up the area, and it has become more modern and safer. However, even after this urban cleanup, there are still locations within Raval that are unsafe at night. There are also localised areas where prostitution continues.

Picturesque Street in Raval
Picturesque Street in Raval

So what is the appeal to El Raval? The area is vibrant, historic, authentic and full of personality. It is a lively, multi-cultural neighbourhood with a huge variety of tempting cafes, restaurants and bars. The area has also become fashionable being host to a wide variety of art studios, galleries and trendy bookshops, not to mention the imposing MACBA (museum of modern art) and CCCB which is the neighbouring exhibition centre.

Clothes shopping is also a pleasure in El Raval thanks to the little one-off boutiques that line some of the streets giving you a varied and interesting shopping experience. Unlike the Eixample with its large branded name designer labels, Raval is where you find the small privately-owned shops selling clothes you can't find anywhere else.

El Raval is alive all through the day and night so you will never be without an eatery to entice you in the early hours of the morning.

El Raval offers a central location within walking distance of many of the other popular areas such as the Gothic Quarter and Eixample. The nearest metro stops are on Las Ramblas, Barcelona's most famous street which runs up one side of El Raval.

Staying in El Raval also means that you are situated between two of Barcelona's famous food markets, La Boqueria on Las Ramblas and Mercat Sant Antoni. Both places are worth a visit to stock up on fresh fruit to get you through the day or to sample Spain's delicious chorizo or Jamon Serrano.

In terms of location El Raval gives you good access to many of the city's main attractions which are within walking distance. However, the area can be noisy so be careful if you are easily disturbed when sleeping.

The Raval is a prime area for pick-pockets and other unsavoury characters, so it is worth being wary when in the area, especially at night. Don't wander down any unlit alleys and be watchful of your belongings everywhere.

I love El Raval, but it isn't to everybody's taste. It is real, it's not that clean or beautiful, and it's certainly not the safest neighbourhood in the city, but it does have so much personality and character that it should be a crime not to visit this area.

Accommodation Hotels Near The El Raval Area

Click A Hotel Name Below To Read Our Review Of That Hotel

Apolo Barcelona - 4 Star Hotel
Barcelona Universal Hotel 4 Star Hotel
Principal Hotel - 2 star Hotel
Silken Ramblas Hotel 4 Star Hotel

Parking in El Raval

We created a parking map showing the secure parking facilities in El Raval district. You can click on any parking icon on the map to see detailed information about each car park facility. To ensure your parking space is available when you need it you can book your parking space in advance.

Map showing car parks in El Raval

Map showing the car parks nearest to El Raval in Barcelona, Spain. Click on the blue car park lables to be taken to a detailed information page on that car park.

Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi
Plaça del Pi, 7
Plaça Reial
Mirador de Colom
Plaça Portal de la Pau
Gran Teatre del Liceu
La Rambla, 51 - 59
Plaça de Catalunya
La Boqueria Market
La Rambla, 91
Barcelona Cathedral
Plaça de la Seu, 3
Coliseum Car Park
Urgel Car Park
Aparcaments Francesc Cambo Car Park
Passeig de Gràcia Metro
Port Vell
SABA BAMSA Rambla Catalunya Car Park
Villur Car Park
Sant Antoni Metro
Universitat Metro
Universitat Metro
Drassanes Metro
Liceu Metro
Catalunya Metro
Catalunya Metro
SABA Plaça de Catalunya Car Park
Eden Car Park
SABA BAMSA Illa Raval Car Parking
BSM La Boquería Car Park
SABA BAMSA Plaça dels Angels Car Park
NN Bonsuccés Car Park
Eixample Right
Eixample Left
SABA BAMSA Urgell Car Park
NN Borrell Car Park
Paral.lel Metro
Paral.lel Metro
SABA BAMSA Paral.lel Car Park
Promoparc Vila i Vila Car Park
El Raval
Barri Gòtic
Poble Sec
This map is copyright registered and protected and may not be copied.

Highlights of the area

MACBA Museum
CCCB Museum
Cafes / Restaurants / Bars

Barcelona City Pass

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