A high-end fashion district in Barcelona, located just north of the modernist hub of Eixample, is home to the wonderful realm of Park Guëll.
New York’s Fifth Avenue meets Paris’ Champs-Élysées in Gràcia. Visit this former village to stay in elegant hotels, shop for designer clothing, admire the street art, dine out in fine Catalan restaurants or have drinks in a leafy square. But above all, come here to visit Park Guëll.
The Gràcia you see today is very different from its humble beginnings as a 17th-century convent, although it retains some of its no-nonsense character. Gràcia was connected to Barcelona at the end of the 19th century, when the city had grown beyond capacity. The district of L’Eixample, which literally means The Extension, was developed to connect the Old City (Ciutat Vella) with the surrounding villages to make them one.
Today, Gràcia comprises not just its old town center, Vila de Gràcia, but also Vallcarca i els Penitents, El Coll, La Salut and Camp d'en Grassot i Gràcia Nova. At its northern end is El Carmel, the peak that is home to Park Guëll. The wonderful park is the legacy of Antoni Gaudí, the world-famous architect.
Walk up the mosaic stairs and admire the curving, ceramic, colorful mosaic benches, fountains and artworks. Look down across the city to spot the dripping towers of La Sagrada Família, Gaudí’s most prestigious design. The cathedral remains unfinished even today, after more than a century of near-continuous building. Visit the Gaudí House Museum, his former home, to learn more about his life and works.
Another Gaudí attraction in Gràcia is the late 19th-century Casa Vicens, a beautiful modernist house.
It’s not all about Gaudí and modernism here though. The central street of Passeig de Gràcia hosts many famous international fashion brands and attracts a cosmopolitan crowd. Come here for window shopping and people watching and take a break in one of the tapas bars or cocktail lounges.
If you happen to be in Barcelona in August, don’t miss the Festes de Gràcia. The 7-day festival sees all its neighborhoods take on a different theme with carnival-style decorations and parades. Admire the human towers, or “castellers,” part of an acrobatic Catalan folk sport that wows the gathered crowds.