Ash
Written by Ash

Eixample District Barcelona – Visit like a Pro

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You’ll see it before you even land.

That grid. The long stretch of buildings filled in neatly by isolated squares and cut up by grand avenues. The eccentric symmetry is as uniquely Catalonian as the Sagrada Familia.

This one of the world’s most unique neighbourhoods for its construction, tourist attractions, ravishing restaurants, and scintillating shopping.

Welcome to the Eixample district Barcelona.

Where is Eixample?

The most visited areas of this super-central district are just above Plaça Catalunya. From here it’s only a few minutes walk from Eixample to Las Ramblas.

From Plaça Catalunya you’ll be able to head up Passeig de Gracia or head towards Plaça Universitat and the area of Sant Antoni.

At Passeig de Gracia take the purple metro line (L2) to the famous Sagrada Familia and then to l’Hospital Sant Pau or the old bullfighting arena at Monumental on the perimeter of the area.

Eixample Map

Things to Do in Eixample

Casa Batllo

This marine-inspired Art Nouveau mansion would be anybody’s dream house.

It rises 32 meters above Eixample and stands out for its jaw-shaped balconies, glazed coloured tiles, and dragon’s-back roof. Every detail down to the doorknobs was designed by genius architect Antoni Gaudi.

It’s one of Barcelona’s most visited attractions at over 700,000 yearly visits.

Hours: Daily from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Prices: regular admission (from €25.00), students, seniors, kids (€22.20), kids under 7 free.

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La Pedrera (Casa Milá)

Just up the street from Casa Batllo you’ll find another jewel in Gaudi’s crown.

This undulating and jello-like modernist apartment block made of limestone is said to have no straight lines. It’s actually two buildings put together in an asymmetrical 8 surrounding a light-giving courtyard.

What attracts tourists most are the twisting, haunting chimneys nicknamed ‘the Garden of Warriors’.

Hours: Daily from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Prices: regular admission (€24.00), students and disabled (€18.50), kids (€13.00).

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Sagrada Familia

The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia is the most iconic building in the Eixample district and the entire city of Barcelona – it’s the most visited monument in all of Spain.

The 18 towering Gothic spires cut like a knife, the mysterious Nativity Facade stops pedestrians in their tracks, and the brightly lit aisles of the inner naves are unlike any church ever made.

Going to Barcelona without getting yourself a Sagrada Familia tour is sacrilegious.

Hours: Daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (low season) and 8:00 pm (high season).

Prices: regular admission (€20.00), students and disabled (€18.00), 65+ (€16.00).

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Passeig de Gracia

This is the city’s second most famous street after the legendary Rambla.

Barcelona’s most expensive street is a 42 meter wide thoroughfare that was built to connect the old town of El Gotico to the village of Gracia. The ornate benches, street lamps, and Art Nouveau architecture make this fashionable Eixample street truly unique.

Many argue it’s Spain’s most important commercial avenue and those who would beg to differ I ask you this: on what other street in the world can you combine world-class shopping with the admiration of architectural gems like the Casa Batllo and La Pedrera?

Other Things to do in Eixample

Maybe it’s your second time through Barcelona and you want to go off the beaten path. Here are three great Eixample area alternatives:

The Hospital de Sant Pau is a hospital (still open) designed by world-famous architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. After checking out the impressive Gothic facade you’ll swear you’ve never seen another hospital like it.

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The Palau Robert (Passeig de Gracia 107) was once the neoclassical home of an influential aristocrat. Today it counts three exhibition halls, a wonderful garden area, and the city’s tourism bureau. Here you’ll find a variety of photography, art, and illustration exhibitions.

The Antoni Tapies Foundation is a museum for the artist of the same name, sharing the greatest collection of works of the most well-known contemporary Catalan artist.

Best Restaurants in Eixample

If the Eixample district’s architecture is eccentric and grandiose then the food isn’t far behind.

The first rule when looking for the best restaurants in the Eixample area is to get away from the tourist attractions – especially Sagrada Familia.

To fill your stomach without emptying your wallet I recommend the following:

Season

€€-€€€ | Area: Eixample | Carrer d’Aribau 125 | Metro: Diagonal | Website

This delicious gourmet tapas restaurant famous for ‘new classics‘ gets to the top of the list because most of my readers want a balance of Spanish tradition and contemporary style.

The fresh, natural, and seasonal menu tailored to wine lovers bills itself as Mediterranean food with an international touch… or as they call it: Barcelona food!

I particularly enjoyed the seafood paella and the Catalan cured meat platter – there are also great vegan options and the original cocktails are out of this world.

I was so impressed I’ve even set up my own reservation system with Season where my readers will get €5.00 off a gourmet tapas tasting menu by clicking the button below:

SEASON
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Not looking for the full tasting menu? Book a table and order à la carte using the button below:

SEASON
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Ciudad Condal

€€-€€€ | Rambla de Catalunya 18 | Metro: Passeig de Gracia (various) | 8:00 am to 1:30 am

A Barcelona tapas institution and one of my favourite places to eat in Eixample.

The huge crowds at this restaurant mean you’ll often have to wait for a table but let me tell you: it’s worth it!

Here you’ll find all the classic Spanish dishes: paella, garlic prawns, grilled octopus, calamari, croquettes, beef medallions, and of course some top quality Serrano ham.

They don’t take reservations so put your name on the list, grab a beer at the bar, and soak it in.

Betlem

€€-€€€ | Carrer de Girona 70 | Metro: Girona (yellow line L4) | 9:00 am to 1:00 am

A cosy bistro with a terrace for people watching.

What you’ll like about Betlem is that you’ll be satisfied whether you’re looking for a continental breakfast, a traditional tapas lunch, or a refined dinner of modern Mediterranean food.

Favourites here are the crab ravioli, the omelette with Catalan sausage and fois gras, and the beef tenderloin.

Federal Cafe

€€-€€€ | Calle Parlament 39 | Metro: Poble Sec (various lines) | Hours vary

A chic Eixample cafe with a distinct international vibe.

People come here for the savory breakfast and brunch offerings. Things like the avocado on toast, goat cheese and leek omelette, and eggs benedict are big hits. You also cant go wrong with the morning bacon burger or and excellent veggie burger for you vegetarians.

Throw in some great milkshakes, smoothies, and coffee and you’re all set.

Petit Comite

€€€€ | Ptge Concepcio 13 | Metro: Diagonal (various lines) | Hours vary

Catalan classics with a modern twist by a Michelin-starred chef.

If you want a fine-dining experience without taking out a second mortgage then head to Nandu Jubany’s Petit Comite – the creative dishes here take local cuisine to a whole new level. The suckling pig, creamy rice with red shrimp, and seafood paella are the stars here.

You also can’t go wrong with any of the updated tapas offerings, especially the pan con tomate.

Head to nearby cocktail bar Boca Chica for a fantastic warm up or night cap.

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Best Bars in Eixample

While the Eixample district of Barcelona isn’t as bumpin’ as the Gothic Quarter you can still find decent watering holes.

In general some of Barcelona’s best nightlife can be found in and around the university area of Carrer Enric Granados: an area rammed with bars and restaurants.

Dry Martini

€€€ | Carrer d’Aribau 162 | Metro: Universitat (various lines) | Hours vary

A class cocktail bar that’ll take you back to the 1920’s.

This Barcelona icon claims to have served nearly two million martinis. The tuxedo wearing staff are very attentive. Loungey sofa seating. Just a really good place to relax and enjoy either classic or modern and inventive cocktails.

They also have the best wine list in the Eixample district.

Expect to pay about €13.00 a cocktail.

Bar La Principal

€ | Carrer de Sepúlveda 186 | Metro: Universitat (various lines) | Hours vary

A local bar that’s central and won’t break the bank.

Whether you’re getting a 7 am coffee to get your energy up for a walk through Park Guell or grabbing a late night cocktail, draft beer, or vermouth this is your place. Full of Spanish spirit. One of the few authentic bars left in the neighbourhood.

Make sure to hit the terrace! The tapas options here are also great value.

City Hall

€€ | Rambla de Catalunya 2-4 | Metro: Catalunya (various lines) | 12 am – 6 am (Wed-Sun)

A modern dance club built in an old theater.

Get dancing in Eixample just a stone’s throw from Plaça Catalunya. Weekends here are rammed with young people getting down to house, techno, electro, deep and more. A good mix of touring DJs and local spinners.

You’ll get free entrance to City Hall and 22 other clubs with the Barcelona NightCard.

Luz de Gas

€€€ | Carrer de Muntaner 246 | Metro: Universitat (various lines) | Hours vary

A burlesque-style venue for older people feeling young.

Yes, you won’t get many under 30’s in this Eixample club that offers a mix of 70’s and 80’s disco and dance tunes. Upstairs you’ll find a smaller dance floor with Latin vibes. A classy crowd and good cocktails.

It’s got an intimate atmosphere you won’t find in other Barcelona giants like Razzmatazz.

Cover is €20 but includes a cocktail of your choice.

Eixample Barcelona Hotels

Since it’s outside the tourist chaos yet still central the Eixample area is one of the best places to stay in Barcelona.

From here you’ll find a lot of monuments, restaurants, and bars to be walking distance.

Still stuck? You should also consider renting an Airbnb discount homestay.

Hotel Pulitzer

☆☆☆☆ | Carrer de Bergara 8 | Metro: Catalunya (various lines) | More info

Class right in the heart of the action.

It doesn’t get any more central than this stylish four star hotel. A great ambiance with top notch customer service. Super fast Wi-Fi. The rooftop bar is a great place to unwind after a long day of sightseeing. A great breakfast buffet is included.

You’re also about a thirty second walk from the Aerobus stop getting in from the airport.

Villa Emilia

☆☆☆☆ | Calle Calabria 115-117 | Metro: Rocafort (red line L1) | More info

A personal and stylish boutique hotel.

If you want taste and quality without the cold and impersonal feeling of giant corporate hotels this is your bed. Hospitality is the name of the game here. Another very central Eixample district location and close to an Aerobus stop from the airport. Modern furnishings.

Try out your free drink and appetizer on the roof terrace bar and surely you’ll be back!

Wilson Boutique

☆☆☆ | Avinguda Diagonal 568 | Metro: Hospital Clinic (blue line L5)  | More info

A solid 8.7 rating for this hotel and its impeccable service. The rooms are nice and modern and customers have raved about the 7th floor roof terrace with a great city view.

Customers have put the breakfast here as one of the city’s best not to mention somebody telling me there’s a cheap mini bar – is there even such a thing? You’re also right close to the Bus Turistic stop.

From the airport take the train until Sants Estacio, exit at Paisos Catalans, and from there take bus 32 for 7 stops getting off at Travessera de Gràcia.

Casa Bonay

☆☆☆☆ | Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes 700 | Metro: Girona (yellow line L4) | More info

A hip and cool design hotel.

This very popular hotel is about 10 minutes from everything. Clean, airy, and trendy modern furnished rooms. Original tiled floors. Small little touches that stick out like hand-painted door numbers. Complimentary water bottles, yoga kits, environmentally-friendly toiletries.

Another massive plus: it’s a very quiet location for being so central.

Hostel San Jordi Rock Palace

☆ | Carrer Balmes 75 | Metro: Passeig de Gracia (various lines) | More info

The coolest hostel you’ll ever get to stay at.

No, I’m not just referring to the rooftop swimming pool. This super modern rock and roll themed Eixample hostel has blown customers away with its ridiculous attention to detail.

Here you’ll find tons of patios to soak up the sun, soundproof walls to get sleep, and comfy personal bunks with your own reading light and charge station.

The ‘family dinners’ and club nights make it a great place to meet fellow travellers.

Probably the best place to stay in Eixample on a budget.

You’ll find this and many more on my list of Barcelona’s best hostels.

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Shopping in the Eixample District Barcelona

From the biggest and most exclusive names in international fashion to more common chains to local boutiques there’s something in the Eixample district of Barcelona for all tastes.

In fact you’ll find the best shopping in Barcelona right on Passeig de Gracia.

Top End Stuff

In addition to the pricey Valentino, Prada, and Dolce and Gabbana you’ll find other equally stylish chains like Other & Stories: the latest in Swedish styles and a big favourite of a lot of my blog readers.

Trusty Chains and Department Stores

There are of course the very standard chains like Zara, Mango, H&M, Pull and Bear, and Benetton. These flagship stores are massive so don’t get lost in them 😉

Right in Plaça Catalunya you’ll also find the legendary Spanish department store giant El Corte Inglés – if you can’t get it there it probably doesn’t exist!

Shopping Streets in Eixample

For boutique shops that are unique to Barcelona simply take a walk in the area around Enric Granados street or around Sant Antoni metro station (Sunday here also brings the legendary book, comic, figurine, and all around nerd market to the area).

You can also try walking up the charming Rambla de Catalunya for a great selection of clothing stores, accessory shops, and cafes.

Eixample General Information

The Eixample area is the largest, most central, and most populated neighbourhood in Barcelona.

The literal translation in English is ‘the Enlargement’.

Eixample is divided into six different sub-neighbourhoods: Dreta de l’Eixample, Antiga Esquerra de l’Eixample, Nova Esquerra de l’Eixample, Fort Pienc, Sagrada Familia and Sant Antoni.

The History of Eixample

The fascinating story of the neighbourhood begins with visionary architect Ildefons Cerdá.

Barcelona was growing fast. Cerdá wanted a welcoming and egalitarian space where everybody had the same amount of space to live. And light was to be the protagonist.

At the time the Catalan bourgeoisie wasn’t too happy. The revolutionary proposal was eventually passed however and work began in the late nineteenth century.

The result was a network of spacious and neatly ordered streets flanked by 6-7 story buildings.

Present Day Eixample

Today the Eixample district is a natural habitat of international boutiques, bars, hotels, roof terraces, fantastic restaurants, and museums.

You’ll find all of Gaudi‘s top works, the high fashion of Passeig de Gracia, the hipster bars of San Antoni, exhibitions at great museums, and trendy cocktail stops of Gayxample and the university district.

Put on some comfy shoes, get your trendy side out, and get ready to make some memories.

Follow My ‘Eixample’ and Speak Your Mind

If after all this you still don’t have enough things to do in the Eixample district of Barcelona make sure you get at me in the comments below! I’ll get back to you with any custom advice needed.

And as always, if something on the list didn’t live up to expectation then let me know… I am always looking to improve the blog 🙂

15 comments
  • June 10, 2019 at 1:05 am
    GLYNIS FROM NY
    I WILL BE VISITING BARCELONA THIS JULY FOR 4 DAYS FROM MADRID . WE BOOK AN APARTHOTEL - NAPOLS. IS THAT A GOOD PLACE? AND GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD? I WOULD LIKE TO BOOK A VISIT TO SAGRADA FAMILIA AND PARC GUELL. ANY RECOMMNEDATIONS WHERE TO GET TICKETS IN ADVANCE FOR BOTH?
    • June 10, 2019 at 10:35 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Glynis, Your hotel is in a fantastic central location and I've heard nothing but good things about it, so good job! As for the booking... I would simply use the links available in my Barcelona tickets page because that's where you'll get the lowest prices and also book using reputable companies. Cheers, Ash
  • June 3, 2019 at 9:37 am
    CQ
    Hi Ash. Love to have found this. My boyfriend and i are visiting Barcelona, both first timers. Is it worthy to book tours around, to skip lines and such?
    • June 3, 2019 at 10:15 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi CQ, For sure! Especially in high season it's best not to risk... if you book it all in advance you'll skip lines and be able to plan your holiday properly instead of being at the mercy of massive crowds. Thanks for the nice words :) Ash
  • September 1, 2018 at 1:40 am
    Neshan
    Hello Ash, I am visiting Barcelona this week (September 7) and my wholeeee tour is based on your website. AMAZING JOB!!! I just wanted to ask about the stores in Las Ramblas or Eixample district would they be open on a sunday ? and what about the hours? Because somehow after planning so many things, i noticed I left my Sunday (september 9) free, but suddenly i'm worried if stores are opened? Also, where is the best place to buy souvenirs? of course without being ripped off as a tourist. Thanks again, your website is the best a tourist can get.
    • September 1, 2018 at 10:59 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Neshan, Thank you so much for the kind words! It makes my efforts worth it :) Unfortunately, and this is something I still can't get used to as a Canadian, most shops in Barcelona are closed on Sundays. That is, they don't even operate on limited hours. They're just closed. The only shops open will be the convenience stores run by the pakistani community which you'll find in every area. There is also the Maremagnum shopping centre at the bottom of La Rambla near the cruise port which will be open and has all the standard European chains like H&M, Pull and Bear etc. It's open from 10 am to 10 pm. For souvenirs the highest concentration of shops will be in La Rambla. The prices are actually reasonable here and better than places like the airport. I'm not sure but some may be open on Sunday. Best to take a walk and see. In general the other neighbourhoods don't offer these type of shops, but one trick is to go into the "chino" shops which are essentially shops run by the Chinese community that have any type of product you name. They typically have souvenirs and some are open on Sundays. Hope this helps! Ash
  • August 18, 2018 at 5:19 pm
    Sara Walker
    Ash, Your website has informed and entertained me for hours today. Absolutely the best on Barcelona! Taking the family on a holiday while we are still able to get away together. We have reservations at Villa Emilia from Dec. 26-Jan.1. Any suggestions where to have a New Year's Eve dinner, and where our daughters. ages 28 and 30, might enjoy dancing the night away. Thank you sincerely, Sara
    • August 18, 2018 at 5:48 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Sara, Thanks so much for the compliments on the site, I'm glad I can help :) Most restaurants have set menus for NYE and they won't be announced yet so it's premature as far as booking, or even knowing what's on offer... that said, if you haven't already I suggest reading my article on spending NYE in Barcelona. Here, even if it's referring to last years festivities, you should get a good overview of what you can expect, what to visit what to avoid etc. For your daughters I would recommend the big party outside at Poble Espanyol or the big club night at Razzmatazz. For the food any of my suggested restaurants will be ample, but if you have any specific type of food or vibe in mind let me know and I can narrow it down for you! As for the article on NYE, I anticipate updating it sometime in October with the latest info so make sure you keep checking back :) Ash
  • August 9, 2018 at 12:54 pm
    K
    Hello We arrive in September on a late flight, staying at the U232 where is close we could get something to eat ? Thanks
  • June 20, 2018 at 10:57 am
    ashley
    Team Member
    Ash
    Hi Liz, One of the great foodie places near your hotel is undoubtedly El Nacional - you won't be disappointed. Another option nearby would be Ciudad Condal, one of the city's best tapas bars. You'll find all the Casa Batllo Magic Nights info here. Ash
    • June 20, 2018 at 4:20 pm
      Liz
      Thanks for the recommends, Ash.
  • May 22, 2018 at 10:51 pm
    Adam
    hey! Thanks for all the info you have about Barca! I will be staying at praktik garden and arriving at hotel around 9.30pm. im a massive foodie so where nearish would be good to go straight from the hotel to eat? Also a nice bar? I have also heard about case batllo magic nights music evening... do you know anything about this? kind regards, Adam
    • May 23, 2018 at 2:07 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Adam, From your hotel I'd take a walk over to El Nacional because it's got an amazing range of high end cuisine from the Iberian Peninsula. A second choice would be Ciudad Condal which has great local fare. For bars you may want to hit Dry Martini (amazing cocktails) or hit the roof terrace after 8 pm at the Hotel Grand Central. Not sure if your hotel has a rooftop bar but this is one of my favourites. I've got info on the Magic Nights in my Casa Batllo article. In it you'll find a link to the schedule... definitely not worth missing if you're a fan of this type of scene! Ash
  • March 28, 2018 at 7:19 pm
    Timo
    Hi, We are visiting Barcelona in June (17.6-23.6) with my girlfriend, and staying in Eixample. The Conica B&B Deluxe for the whole 6 nights. I noticed that passeig degracia street is nearby with all the great architecture and all, but can you tell me is it better (prices) to go for dinner and tapas in the area of the hotel, or should we walk somewhere nearby for better food/prices/atmosphere?:) Noticed also that 23.6 is the midsummerparty but unfortunately we will be leaving on the same day.. On the other hand we would be interested to see some live music on our visit, can you recommend us some places nearby. Also some cool sport bar would be great for one night as the world cup is on at that time. And yes we are first time visitors so every tip is priceless:) Thanks in advance!
    • March 29, 2018 at 12:20 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Timo, I wouldn't eat in Passeig de Gracia because it's full of overpriced restaurants that really skip out on the quality. That said, there are lots of restaurants in Eixample you could eat at without breaking the bank. In the area you should check out Brunch and Cake, Bacoa, and Ciudad Condal. For good food and local atmosphere you're also a 4 minute walk from Bodega Joan and I've got a deal with them where my readers get 25% off a paella tasting menu. Again though, Barcelona may seem big but it's so accessible with so many metro lines. If you want to go eat in another neighbourhood you're so central that it'll take you 20-30 minutes max to get there. So feel free to explore. For a nearby sport bar go to the George Payne. For live music bars there's: El Paraigua, Harlem Jazz Club, and Pipa Club. This should get you started, please let me know if you need any more help :) Ash
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