Today Lindsey shares her tips for Barcelona’s quirkiest neighborhood with a Gracia neighborhood guide. I’ve spent months living in Gracia these past few years, and agree with her that it’s one of Barcelona’s best neighborhoods!
Visiting Gracia after experiencing the hustle and bustle of central Barcelona almost feels like stepping into another world. With a charming small-town feel and authenticity around every picturesque corner, you might even get the feeling that you’ve been transported to a picturesque Catalan village.
Centuries ago, that would have been exactly the case. Until 1897, Gracia existed as a completely separate town! As Barcelona continued expanding, however, it officially annexed Gracia, incorporating it into the metropolitan, cosmopolitan world of the Catalan capital.
That being said, even more than 120 years later, Gracia hasn’t changed its small-town feel. This picturesque corner of Barcelona, just north of the city center, has miraculously managed to retain its warmth and welcoming feel and a strong sense of Catalan culture and community. If you’re looking to immerse yourself completely in local life while visiting Barcelona, this is the place for you.
It’s hard not to fall in love with Gracia, and once you’ve experienced it for yourself, you’ll see why. This Gracia neighborhood guide will help you make the most of your time in Barcelona’s most beautiful neighborhood (in my humble opinion!) and live like a local while you’re there.
Gracia Neighborhood Guide
What to See in Gracia
When looking at a map of the Gracia neighborhood, one name might jump out at you immediately: Park Guell. That’s right: Gaudí’s whimsical fairytale park calls Gracia home! It’s a stop on many a Barcelona itinerary, and a great place to take young kids. However, it’s hardly the be-all-end-all of things to see and do in Gracia.
In the interest of responsible travel, expand your horizons beyond Gracia’s most famous attraction and you’ll see that this gorgeous area has so much more to offer. The most rewarding way to experience Gracia is by acting like a local—not like a tourist.
And what would a local do?
One of my all-time favorite ways to experience local life in Spain is also one of the simplest: sitting outside on a sunny terrace enjoying coffee and a good book, or drinks with friends. Luckily, Gracia is teeming with picturesque plazas where you can do just that.
Plaça de la Vila de Gracia is a history buff’s dream come true—it was the original town square back in Gracia’s humble village days (the old town hall still stands!), and remains a thriving center of local life even today. Another great option is Plaça de la Virreina, home to the historic Sant Joan church and plenty of great bars and cafes. Finally, Plaça del Sol is perfect for visitors seeking out Barcelona’s iconic nightlife right here in Gracia.
To stretch your legs, head to Carrer Verdi for a stroll. This lush, green avenue exemplifies the heart and soul of Gracia. Rustic Catalan taverns stand alongside eclectic immigrant eateries, and it’s a great place to do some shopping as well (but more on that in a bit!). If you’re getting tired, pop into Cine Verdi to see a show—this funky theater shows everything from Hollywood blockbusters to independent art house films, all in their original language with subtitles in Spanish.
If you’re visiting in August, you’ll definitely want to check out the Festa Major de Gracia. This colorful neighborhood festival brings Gracia’s proud small-town spirit and Catalan culture to life with elaborate street decorations, tasty local street food, and of course Catalonia’s famous giants!
Can’t make it to the party? No worries—check it out for yourself in the video below as Devour Barcelona takes you inside this exciting event.
Where to Shop in Gracia
Like I mentioned above, you can’t go wrong with Carrer Verdi when it comes to where to shop in Gracia. In addition to being one of Gracia’s most picturesque pedestrian streets, it’s also home to some of Barcelona’s quirkiest shops and top independent boutiques. Pick up a handcrafted piece of home decor made from recycled wood at Rekup & Co. or browse the vintage clothes at Revolution. When you’re done, pop into Çukor and treat yourself to something from their delicious selection of artisanal chocolates and sweets.
Another great shopping street in Gracia is Carrer Torrijos, which runs parallel to Carrer Verdi. Here, you’ll find Té Quiero, a cozy little bookstore and tea shop with a unique selection, as well as Layer Boots, a shoe lover’s dream come true with footwear handmade in Spain.
Where to Eat in Gracia
With scores of traditional Catalan and Spanish spots as well as a respectable selection of international fare, narrowing down where to eat in Gracia simply comes down to whatever you’re craving!
For the former, you can’t go wrong with vermouth and a selection of charcuterie and cheese at Bar Bodega Quimet. If you’re hungry for something more substantial (and craving good, simple, homestyle food), you’ll love the traditional offerings at Casa Pages. And for a top-notch fine dining experience with Catalan flair, don’t miss Con Gracia or Roig Robí.
For a chic, sophisticated meal and plenty of innovation, check out La Pubilla, where the menu changes daily in order to use only the freshest ingredients available. And don’t forget the dozens of great international restaurants in Gracia, either. Gut serves up delicious Mediterranean-Asian fusion (with plenty of gluten-free options), and when it comes to excellent south-of-the-border fare, colorful Mexican spot Cantina Machito always delivers.
Where to Stay in Gracia
Before you shop, eat, or enjoy Gracia, you’ll need a place to stay! Rather than the multinational hotel chains common in the city center, here, you’ll find plenty of great boutique accommodations and chic hostels. To fully cement the local experience, consider an apartment rental rather than staying in a hotel.
That’s not to say there aren’t some seriously great hotels in Gracia, though. One of the most luxurious is Casa Fuster, housed in a stunning Modernist building that dates back to 1908. However, there are plenty of great budget-friendly options as well, such as Casa Gracia, a beautifully decorated modern hostel offering both shared and individual rooms.
Ready to explore Gracia already?
Feed your wanderlust by joining Devour Barcelona’s Gracia Neighborhood Food & Market Tour to experience this charming neighborhood with a local!