Once a neighborhood of fishermen and fishmongers, today Barceloneta is a curious mixture of traditional bars and restaurants, five-star beachfront hotels and narrow residential streets decorated with clothes line-drying in the sun. Seek out public art like Rebecca Horn’s Wounded Shooting Star (Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta, Platja de Sant Miquel ) on the beach and Frank Gehry’s Fish (Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta, Port Olímpic) in front of Hotel Arts. Then there’s Barcelona Face by Roy Lichtenstein (Moll de la Fusta, Mirador del Port Vell) and Javier Mariscal’s Shrimp (Passeig de Colón) a few steps from the neighborhood’s main metro stop, Barceloneta.
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Walking Little Barcelona
While Barcelona, Spain, is surely one of the most beautiful cities of the world, if you have a chance to visit Barceloneta, you can slow things down a bit. Just 15 minutes out of town is this old, sleepy village-y area (though modernity is creeping in).
It is nestled up against the beach and lawn area, which is great, but you'll find the true charm by getting lost in little narrow colonial streets meandering through bread shops, fruit stands, historic buildings, and the best seafood restaurants you can imagine, run by families of generations. The old balconies and whitewashed decor make this area a must-visit when in Barcelona. Oh, and there is a little surf shop at the beach. Get a board and experience some waves when there is swell.
In all of my travels, I've found that new places are best explored by bicycle. You can cover more ground than on foot, and take in more sights than in car. La Barceloneta was one of my favorite places to explore by bicycle, simply because of the varied amount of terrain (sidewalk, sand, and street) and the amount of space you can cover.
There are many restaurants, small cafes, and nightclubs all along La Barceloneta's boardwalk. You can see them all fairly quickly on bicycle and end at a beautiful sight - the W Barcelona, pictured here and popularly known as the Hotel Vela (Sail Hotel) due to its shape.