The Raval is one of the four neighborhoods which are part of the district of Ciutat Vella, the old town of Barcelona.
Formerly, the Raval was a brothel quarter, typical of all port cities and get the nickname of Chinatown, although this term is already outdated.
Nowadays, after the remodeling of the 90s, it is more a bohemian and alternative district of Barcelona, which already arranged, has become one of the most attractive places in the Old Town where you can walk around, among other reasons because of its multicultural people and their diversity in shops, bars, restaurants and commerce in general.
The Raval is also a reference point for culture, with important places like the MACBA or the CCCB.
Main streets of the Raval
The Raval is a great place to walk, either during the day or early in the evening, where people go out to dinner or to have a drink.
We will try to list some of the main streets so you can discover the bohemian and multicultural atmosphere of this part of the Ciutat Vella district.
The Barcelona Rambla
The Rambla is at one of the ends of the Raval and is perpendicular to the sea. This bohemian district of Barcelona is located on the west side of this famous street from the old town, from beginning to end, while on the east side is located the Gothic Quarter.
Different attractions of high interest in the Raval are touching or near the Rambla, as the Liceu Grand Theater, the Boqueria Market or the Guell Palace.
The Barcelona Rambla is undoubtedly a street of the old town you should visit without excuses.
The Pelayo Street
It is one of the most commercial streets of Barcelona and connects the northern part of the Raval, where the University Square is, with Plaça de Catalunya square at the height of the Triangle mall, where the Rambla begins.
The Pelayo street (Pelai in Catalan) is also at the eastern end of the Raval, and any given street westwards you take, will lead to the Tallers street and within this Barcelona neighborhood.
The Parallel Avenue
Parallel Avenue limits the Raval on the other end, ie on the west side, and where the neighborhood of Poble Sec and the district of Sants-Montjuïc begins.
It is relevant to this avenue, in what refers to the old town and specifically to the Raval, in the part closest to the sea, where you can easily access the Sant Pau del Camp Monastery, the Royal Shipyards or one of its main nightlife areas.
The Raval Rambla
It is a wide pedestrian promenade with terraces and palm trees in the heart of the Raval, where on weekends take place a market of artisans.
The Rambla del Raval is bounded on its northern part with the Hospital street, and in its southernmost with Nou de la Rambla St.
It is famous, the cat sculpture by Fernando Botero located in this promenade of Ciutat Vella, one of the main icons of the Rambla del Raval.
Avinguda de les Drassanes (Shipyards Av.) is where the building of the Royal Shipyards of Barcelona is located.
In its southernmost point converges with the Rambla of Barcelona in the Portal de la Pau square, where the Viewpoint of Columbus rises, in the Port Vell (old port) while in its northern part, continuing through Sant Oleguer St. you will get to the Rambla del Raval.
If you go down the Rambla, the first street to the right is Tallers street, and at the other end of this street you will arrive at University Square.
Tallers street is very rich in commerce and is known for music and clothing stores, much of them of Gothic and alternative style.
A little above halfway up, there is the parish church of Sant Pere Nolasc, and about at that point but to the west, you will find the epicenter of culture and contemporary art in Barcelona with the MACBA museum and the CCCB center.
It is a small street that can be taken from Tallers street and delves a little deeper into the Raval.
Across the Ramelleres street you will get to the Vicenç Martorell square where you will find some terrace bars and a small playground for children, while you will arrive at Elisabets street, that if you take to the west, will take you to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) and the convent of the Angels.
Halfway up on the right hand, if you're going down the Ramblas, you'll get to the Carme street (Carrer del Carme).
By taking this street you will get the building of the old Hospital of the Holy Cross.
So named because the Library of Catalonia that is located on this street and you will recognize by the great Gothic building of the XV century, which is its headquarters, formerly housed the Hospital of the Holy Cross, later transferred to the old Sant Pau Hospital, nowadays an Art Nouveau Site of worldwide reference.
Across the Hospital street, you will also get to the Church of St. Augustine in the square that bears the same name and to the Romea Theatre.
At the end of this street, will get to the top of the Rambla del Raval.
Riera Baixa street
Very close to the northern part of the Raval Rambla, the Riera Baixa street communicates the Hospital street with Del Carme St.
If you walk down this street, you will find some vintage and alternative clothing stores.
Sant Antoni Abat street
If you continue to the end of the Hospital street you will come to this street that is a continuation of the first one, and ends where the Eixample district begins, just where the Sant Antoni market is.
Sant Pau street
You can take it also from the Rambla, at the height of the Liceu Grand Theater and at the other end you will arrive to the Parallel avenue, after passing by the Sant Pau del Camp Monastery.
If you take the Sant Pau street, you'll pass through the lower part of the Rambla del Raval.
Nou de la Rambla street
It links Parallel Av. with the Rambla, crossing the Raval from east to west. It's a good choice for entering into the Raval if you have arrived to the area by metro getting off at the Paral.lel station which by the way connects with the Montjuic Funicular Railway, a relevant fact if you want to take a walk around Ciutat Vella after visiting the wonderful Montjuic Park.
What to visit in the Raval quarter
In addition to walk the streets and discover the multicultural and bohemian atmosphere of this old neighborhood of Barcelona, you should consider some specific places whether they are of interest for you.
El Gran Teatre del Liceu
In the Barcelona Rambla, a little down from the Boqueria Square you will find one of the most prestigious theaters in the world.
It is the Gran Teatre del Liceu, the most important theater in Barcelona, where great works of performing arts as operas and dance are performed.
Former Hospital de la Santa Creu
Between Carme St. and Hospital St. you will see a Gothic building that draws attention to others. This is the former Hospital of the Holy Cross which today houses the Library of Catalonia.
You can enter the enclosure and visit the main garden, the Garden of Rubió i Lluch.
Sant Pau del Camp Monastery
It is a Benedictine monastery and one of the best preserved Romanesque buildings of the city.
You will get to this monastery along Sant Pau street almost reaching the Parallel avenue and will have the opportunity to visit its beautiful church and the smallest cloister in Europe.
St. Augustine Church
This is a beautiful church that you'll find at Hospital street, in the Plaça de Sant Agustí.
It is a former convent, which only survives the church, whose Baroque façade is one of the few remaining in the city.
The Romea Theatre
The building of the Romea Theatre was built on the place where the former Convent of San Agustin located was. So, you will find it just down the Hospital street, at the east of the church and the Sant Agusti square.
The first official name of the theater was Teatre Català, because its mission was to promote interpreted works in this language, for the popular classes and the little Catalan bourgeoisie.
The Royal Shipyards of Barcelona
There are part of the Port Vell (old port of Barcelona) and are on the Raval nearest part to the sea. The Royal Shipyards are one of the best preserved Gothic buildings in the world and inside is located the Maritime Museum.
Maritime Museum of Barcelona (MMB)
As discussed above, this museum is in the building of the Royal Shipyards of Barcelona. You can access for free on Sunday afternoons.
Two of the main pieces of the Maritime Museum are the Royal Galera that you will find inside the building and the Santa Eulalia schooner that being a fully operational vessel, you will have to visit it at the Moll de la Fusta, where it is moored if it has not been gone sailing.
The Columbus Viewpoint
Already at the Port Vell and at the lower part of the Barcelona Rambla, stands one of the most emblematic monuments of the city, the Christopher Columbus monument, which is simultaneously a fantastic viewpoint that you do not have to miss the opportunity to go up and delight the views of the old city from above.
The Boqueria Market
It is the most famous market in Barcelona. The Boqueria Market is internationally known and if you make a visit, you will enjoy some showcases full of colors and flavors of an exceptional category, where you can buy freshly squeezed juice, some nuts, candies, chocolate or other snacks for continue with your walks around the city.
Its official name is Mercat de Sant Josep (St. Joseph Market), and you can access from the Rambla.
Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA)
The MACBA is a museum dedicated to the exhibition of works made during the second half of the twentieth century and is located in Plaça dels Angels, in the northern part of the Raval.
Most of the works exhibited in this museum are renewed annually.
Contemporary Culture Center of Barcelona (CCCB)
The CCCB is located in Montealegre street, close to the MACBA in the same area of the Raval. Its thematic is the urban culture and the city, and it is one of the most visited cultural centers of Barcelona.
The CCCB is additionally the headquarters of the Independent Film Festival of Barcelona, an annual event held during the month of November.
Sant Pere Nolasc
On Tallers street, in the north of the Raval, near the CCCB is a former convent which only remains the the church and a wing of the cloister that works as front porch.
The Güell Palace
It is an Art Nouveau building located in the Nou de la Rambla street, close to the Barcelona Rambla.
Work of Antoni Gaudí, the Güell Palace was the first major commission that received the Catalan architect.
It is one of the oldest theaters in Spain and the oldest of Barcelona. It is on the Rambla on the side of the Raval at the height of the Theatre Square, which is approximately at the level of the cartoonists.
This is the old Theater of the Holy Cross, and his mission was to collect through their works, funds for the Hospital of the Holy Cross, in which building is nowadays the Library of Catalonia.
Arts Santa Mónica
In the lower part of the Barcelona Rambla, near the Viewpoint of Columbus, is located the Cultural Center of Arts Santa Monica.
Located very close to the Royal Shipyards, this cultural center is a showcase of creativity, as this element is developed in his works.
The Angels Convent
In front of the MACBA, just across the square is located the Convent of the Angels, which is used as an extension of the museum for its exhibition constituting the Capella MACBA space.
Inside the convent, of gothic architecture, is located one of the most important Renaissance porticos in the city.
The Catalonia Cinematheque (Filmoteca de Catalunya)
Alternative films lovers have at the Raval one of the main cinemas of this kind in Barcelona.
You will arrive at the Cinematheque from the southernmost part of the Rambla del Raval, in the square that is located in the east, the square of Salvador Segui.
How to get to the Raval
The Raval district belongs to the district of Ciutat Vella and is the area that is farther to the west of the old town.
You could say that if you place yourself at University Square looking south, you'll be facing the Raval, therefore this square in Barcelona’s city center is at the north end of this Barcelona neighborhood.
As usual, you have to choose one or other directions depending on the particular place you want to visit and where you come from.
Getting the Raval from Plaça de Catalunya
If you place yourself in Catalonia Square, we suggest you to look at the southwest of the square, at the corner of the Triangle building.
You'll see a street where cars go down, which is the Pelayo street. You will also see the beginning of the Rambles. The Raval is everything at the west side of these two streets. So whatever street to the west you take, you will be entering into the Raval.
If you do not know anything of Barcelona, a good choice is walk down the Rambla and take the first street to the right, which is the Tallers street, described above.
Getting the Raval from University Square
Ciutat Vella district begins in the south of the square and that part belongs to the Raval quarter.
From the square you can take the Ronda de Sant Antoni street, which is quite commercial and any street southwards you pick, shalt come into the Raval.
You can also walk down the Pelayo street and every building at your right are part of the Raval.
A recommendation that makes HappyBarcelona.eu to you, if you have already walked through Pelayo St., is to walk down the Tallers street, which can be taken from the square and is very commercial. This option is especially good if you want to visit the MACBA or the CCCB, as they are very close to this street.
How to get to the Raval from the Port Vell
If you place yourself on the Portal de la Pau square, that is, where the Viewpoint of Columbus and the Golondrinas are, you'll see on the north, the Barcelona Rambla. The Raval is the neighborhood that is located at the west, ie on your left if you look towards the Rambla.
You can walk up a little bit by the Rambla and you will see at the left side the Cultural Center Arts Santa Mónica. If you take that street, you will come to the Royal Shipyards and to the Drassanes Avenue, that if you pick straight, you will get to the Rambla del Raval at the very center of the neighborhood.
How to get to the Raval from Sants Station
The easiest way to get to the Raval from Sants Station, is to take the L3 metro line and get off at Paral.lel station on the western edge of the neighborhood, or Drassanes, Liceu or Catalunya at the eastern end, depending on what part of the Raval takes your fancy to visit. The last three stations drop you off at the Rambla.
Getting the Raval from Montjuic Park
If you are in this fabulous mountain of Barcelona and depending on where you are, you have it very easy to get to the Raval area. In Montjuic Park there is a station of the funicular that drops you off at Paral.lel station, very close to the district of Ciutat Vella.
This funicular station shares the building with the Montjuic Aerial Tramway, which rises to the top, where the castle is, so you'll have a fabulous combination to get to the Raval if you are visiting this historic fortress of Barcelona.
The Funicular Railway station in Montjuic is quite close to the Joan Miró Foundation and the Olympic Park of Barcelona.
Getting to the Raval by subway
You can use several metro stations, depending on the place from the Raval you want to visit.
In University Square there are L1 and L2 lines at the north end of Raval, as well as in Catalonia Square where lines L1, L3 and several lines of Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat (FGC) and also the commuter trains RENFE, stop.
Along the Rambla, you have three stations from the L3 line, Catalunya at the top, in the center the stop named Liceu at the height of Hospital Street and in the lower part, the Drassanes station.
In the far west of the Raval there is the Paral.lel metro station of L2 and L3 lines, which are quite close to the Sant Pau del Camp Monastery. This stop connects with the Montjuic Funicular as discussed in the preceding paragraphs.
About English translation
If you have found this article useful, please help me by clicking one of the buttons below, or following me on social networks. Thank you very much!