16 abr. 2014

5 TIPS to find your way in Gràcia (Barcelona)

Now and them, groups of people visiting Barcelona, take a stroll in Gracia to see the “real” Barcelona, the one that is not yet overflow with tourists traps. 
This car is always parked in Carrer Escorial

It is a good idea. Gracia is no longer the humble neighbourhood it used to be. It became fashionable and, when that happened, the neighbours started changing. From workers and “graciencs de tota la vida”, it changed to young professional couples. From small workshops and “merceries” to design ateliers.  But some of the old times spirit survives. 

The problem is where to find it. 

A few tips may help you: 

1.- Visit Gracia on a Saturday. On Sunday, shops and markets are closed. People wake up late. There is little to see. On Saturday, everything is open and people are on the streets. Saturday is the day. 

2.- Gracia is in its Squares. There are dynamic streets such as Verdi or Gran de Gràcia, but the real charm is in squares such as Plaça de la Virreïna, Plaça de la Revolució, or Plaça de la Vila (aka Plaça del Rellotge). 

3.- Favour the old bars. Gracia is full of modern restaurants, some of them quite ok. But if you are looking for the “real thing” it is better to have your beer in places such as the bar in Plaça de la Revolució at the corner with Carrer Verdi or to have lunch in Cal Boter.

4.- Visit public spaces such as libraries or markets. The public library in Plaça de Lesseps won an architecture award and has a very popular bar. You may come in and take a look. It is on the way to Park Güell. Markets such as Mercat de la Llibertat are a good place to buy your fruit or take away food in a “real” Barcelona ambiance. 

5.- Make the most of popular events. If you happen to be in Barcelona by Sant Medir (beginning March) or Festes de Gràcia in August, you will see streets full of people celebrating. A bit overcrowded but still amusing. 

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