Boulevards, fine buildings and plenty to do and see
The Eixample is a dynamic residential and commercial quarter designed as Barcelona expanded in the 1800s. It´s the place to find many lesser-known examples of the striking modernista architecture for which the city is famous, but also a wealth of restaurants, cafés, shops, art galleries, antiquarians, as well as squares, parks and gardens to relax and get away from the crowds.
Laid out in a grid, like Manhattan, much of the Eixample has the characteristic xamfrà (where the corner building of each block is cut back to make lozenge-shaped street junctions) often with ample pavements where you can sit out at street cafés and soak in the sun. It includes the well-known Passeig de Gràcia – with the much-visited Gaudí architectural gems – and Rambla Catalunya, a bustling boulevard with some fine buildings along its length, used by local residents for strolling on summer evenings, and a host of shops (many high-class), cafés, patisseries and chocolatiers.
If you want to experience Barcelona life as it’s lived by the locals and escape the tourist traps, it is well worth taking a detour away from these two main thoroughfares, where you’ll find and generally less expensive and more authentic shops, tapas bars, restaurants, including some of Barcelona’s best, offering both Catalan and international cooking.