The city’s old fishing quarter, Barceloneta, is a warren of narrow residential streets dotted with classic family-owned seafood restaurants. The neighborhood is charming, if a bit scruffy, but its biggest asset is its proximity to Barcelona’s urban beaches, a three-mile-long stretch of sand and sea that buzzes with activity day and night. Passeig Joan de Borbó is the grand boulevard that divides Barceloneta from Port Vell, the harbor area where gleaming mega-yachts have now taken the place of humble fishing boats. Lined with touristy cafés and souvenir shops, it’s nevertheless a pleasant street to stroll along on your way from the city to the beach.
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.
People Watch in Barceloneta
The Barceloneta area in Barcelona can be quite touristy, but a stroll around the neighborhood makes for some great people watching. Views of the water and surrounding hills are great. If you’re not afraid of heights pay a few euros for a trip up the Columbus Monument for some excellent photo ops. Or a few more euros for a trip up to Montjuic on the aeri cable cars. Beware of uber touristy restaurants by doing some research ahead of time on where to eat.
La Barceloneta on Bicycle
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.
Architecture along the beach
Fantastic place to walk or ride a bike, especially right before sunset.
La Barceloneta Boardwalk
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Sunrise Over Barceloneta Beach
Barcelona, Spain has a vibrant energy like few other cities in the world where clubs pump great music and drinks are served until the break of dawn. I’m honestly not one to party all night, but we all know the saying “when in Rome” and city with an energy like Barcelona warrants a big night out on the town. La Barceloneta is one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city and there are a lot of great apartment and condo accommodations available in this beach hood, which is close enough to the metro line and steps away from one of the best urban beaches in the world. After a big night out of drinking and dancing I noticed the glow of dawn peaking over the horizon and promptly grabbed my tripod and camera as well as a few more cervezas to drink while we watched the sunrise. We met up with several other groups of people on the beach which is completely safe at any time of night (although one should use common sense when partying all night). I’ll never forget this big night out in Barcelona and the sunrise on the beach (or the hangover that ensued the next day).