Welcome to Gracia! One of the coolest areas in Barcelona.
Grącia is, in the opinion of many, the coolest area of Barcelona.
Located approximately 25 mins walking uphill of Plaza Catalonia, one gets a strong sense of proud independence from this area, which stems from the fact that Grącia was indeed once a separate town, connected to Barcelona by Passeig de Grącia.
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The Barcelona council incorporated Grącia into Barcelona city in 1897, it then became an area very fashionable among radicals in the 1960's and 1970's. And still today it is very popular and trendy, with a very individual essence. The area has alot going for it; many cafés, independent clothes designers, cool bars and a plaza around every corner...more or less.
|Pop Art Martini |
It is so self contained that, speaking from experience, if you live there, you will possibly realise one day that you haven't been in the city centre for months. It's a nice place to live, though you do pay to live in Grącia. Saying that, bargains can be found, and it IS worth it.
How do you get to Grącia, you ask?
Quite simply, from Plaza Catalonia, head up Passeig de Grącia until you reach the metro stop of Diagonal. A little further on and you are more or less in Grącia. You'll know you are there when the streets shrink to about one fifth of their 'normal' size. Alternatively, you could take the metro to Diagonal or Fontana on the green line, or Joanic on the yellow line.
Technically, the area of Grącia is bound by Travessera de Dalt to the north, Calle de Corsega and Avinguda Diagonal to the south, Via Augusta and Avinguda del Princep d'Asturies to the west and finally, Calle de Sardenya to the east.
So, why should you visit Grącia? Aside from the fact that I think you should go, there is many an excellent night to be had in Grącia, many cups of coffee to be drunk and if you are just visiting and you want to leave with a whole new wardrobe, then you should definately shop in Grącia. Sure, you could go to H&M; or Zara but you can buy those clothes in any country or city. Shop in Grącia.
|Cafe I |
What else is there to see in Grącia, aside from the people, the cafés, the plazas, etc...?
First of all, if you are around in mid August, there are the festivals of Grącia which are just so much fun. It's basically a week long party.
Click here to see some photos.
The website is in Catalan but well, you can look at the pictures.
Also, one of Gaudis hidden treasures, Casa Vicens, can be found in Grącia on Calle de les Carolines 22. Pretty, pretty building which is definately worth checking out.
Go to my Gaudi page
to read about Casa Vicens.
For a cultural top-up, there is also the TeatreNeu on Calle de Terol 26, which is fun bar and theatre which will show all sorts of entertainment from cabaret, to comedy to world music.
Perched right on the top of Grącia is, of course, the Gaudi Park, i.e. Park Güell.
Go here to read my article on Park Güell.
Where to eat in Grącia
What are you in the mood for?
Lets start with snacky type things.
Well, if you are from Ireland or the UK, any café you stop into will have good coffee. Its stong, its fresh, its NOT Nescafe instant coffee. But, for particularly good coffee and snacks try the following places in Grącia.
7° Cielo, Calle Cigne near the adjoining corner with Gran de Grącia
Authentic Italian bar. I say authentic because, like the Irish bar trend in Barcelona, where the owner and staff are often anything but Irish, the same thing occurs with the Italian cafés and restaurants. But the guy who owns this place is actually Italian. Oh. My. God.
|Caffe Italiano |
Anyhoo, this is easily my top recommendation for coffee, not just in Grącia, but all of Barcelona. Firstly because the coffee is good. Secondly because the style in which you can take your coffee is snapped right out of my deepest dreams. The other day, I went there, and they had added a new member to their menu; a cup split into two parts, in one part, goes either cappuccino or espresso, in the other side goes a mouse of either chocolate or hazelnut. Drool
However, that is not my favourite. No no. My favourite is the Morocchino, which is an espresso with a shot of hot milk, foam, AAANND, a dollop of nutella /hazelnut cream /almond cream, etc
Go. Go and drink coffee.
La Musaranya, Calle lAsturies
Awfully trendy café with a moody atmosphere; they also do tapas so its a nice place for a light lunch. The coffee here has an essence of chocolate, in my opinion, so it gets a thumbs up in my book.
For tapas or a full meal, there are of course tonnes of places to go, very few of which I have personally visited. One I would definately advise you visit is the Nou Canachu in Plaza Rius i Taulet. Everytime I have eaten here I have come away feeling ill, shearly from overeating. They serve big plates of quality food. My personal choices: the fresh tuna steak or the combined plate with fried calamari. I mean, it's not a fancy restaurant but the food quality is what matters, in my opinion.
You will, at some stage be wanting ice cream.
|Paws Ice Cream |
I'm not a big fan of ice cream but even I will every now and again NEED ice cream, and so, may I aquaint you with the charming Il gelato di Grącia in Plaza de la Revolucion 2. This place is so popular that you will often see queues pouring out the door and as far as recall, you even have to take a number sometimes. Why? It's just great ice cream and it's handmade. And oh, the smugness of the women who run the place is sooo amusing. It's such a cute ice cream parlour, with tv's displaying videos of how the ice cream is made.
There. That's Grącia for ya.
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