Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera
It is one of the four quarters of Ciutat Vella and it is subdivided into various sub-districts, with El Born in the Ribera, the most popular.
This neighborhood is located at the furthest east of the old town and as HappyBarcelona.eu has done in other articles of Ciutat Vella, we will try to describe its geographical boundaries to get you started.
The most northerly part begins where the Eixample district ends, in Urquinaona square.
From this square goes Via Laietana, and the neighborhood of Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera is on the east side all along this street down to the sea, from which point begins the Barceloneta.
In the far east of the neighborhood it is the Passeig de Lluís Companys, guarded by the imposing Arc de Triomphe and the Parc de la Ciutadella (Citadel Park), that remember, is where the Barcelona Zoo located is, a place to consider if you're in Barcelona with young children.
The three sub-districts
The name of this quarter, indicates that they were formerly three separate neighborhoods.
In the far north, Sant Pere, with one of its main streets, Ronda de Sant Pere that links Urquinaona square to the Arc de Triomphe. Sant Pere also has the honor to host the spectacular Palau de la Música Catalana (Palace of Catalan Music).
In the center, Santa Caterina, with its fabulous market in the place where the old convent located was.
And in the far south, the Ribera where art and culture has one of its greatest epicenters, with world-renowned museums and exhibition halls, especially in the Born, the most popular neighborhood in the whole district.
It is not only the most popular area of the entire neighborhood, but it is one of the most popular areas of all the old town of Barcelona.
In the Born you'll find a bohemian atmosphere wherever you go, restaurants and bars in almost every street, art galleries, artisan products shops, alternative and auteur clothing, and a significant number of museums and art galleries.
It is perhaps due to this environment, that the Born has become so popular, that it is often confused with Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera district as the old neighborhood when it really is just a part of it.
The Born is one of the areas of the city of Barcelonathat you should under no circumstances miss, either during daytime or early evening when people go out to dinner or to have a drink.
The main streets of the neighborhood
HappyBarcelona.eu will try to describe the streets of Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera that from its criterion considers of most interest to the visitor, and as usual, we will begin with the streets that surround the quarter.
It is one of the main avenues of Ciutat Vella and connects Urquinaona square with the old port between two of its neighborhoods.
At the east of Via Laietana is located Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera whereas on the western side and also all along this street is located the Gothic Quarter.
Halfway up Via Laietana, where the Princesa and Argenteria streets are, is the underground stop named Jaume I, while in the northern part of the street, is the Urquinaona stop, both relating to the L4 line.
Passeig de Lluís Companys
Although not strictly corresponding to the eastern edge of the neighborhood, one might consider that it is the street that is farther east. Passeig de Lluís Companys is the wide promenade guarded by the Arc de Triomphe, height at where you have a L1 metro line subway stop (Arc de Triomf).
In its southernmost part links with Passeig de Picasso, and that is the height where the Citadel Park begins.
Passeig de Picasso
This is the street that lies at the west of the Park of the Citadel and you will recognize it by having archways on one side and the Citadel Park on the other.
At the height of the Fusina St., you can dive deeper into the Born and arrive at the old market and to the archaeological site in the cultural center.
In the far south, you will arrive at the França Train Stationand to the park entrance where also the main door of the Barcelona Zoo is.
Marqués de Argentera Avenue
Even with another name, this street is the continuation of Passeig de Colón, which already belongs to the Gothic Quarter, that lies to the west.
In its eastern part, there is the zoo and the Citadel Park, right next to the França Train Station whereas at the level of the station but to the north and going up the Comerç street you will get to the archaeological site in less than five minutes.
The Trafalgar street gets through the district from west to east in the northernmost part, connecting Urquinaona square with the Passeig de Lluís Companys.
It is a good choice to get to the Arc de Triomphe if you come from Urquinaona square or Plaça de Catalunya and you feel like to take a walk.
You can pick it from Via Laietana, very close to where the Princess street also begin. Together with the latter, it is one of the best choices you have to immerse into the Born if you come from the Gothic Quarter or you have arrived by underground to the Jaume I subway stop.
Argenteria street takes you straight to the Santa María square, where the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar located is.
On this street, which is very rich in commerce, you will find a market of artisans on weekends.
Passeig del Born
At one of its ends, there is located the Born Cultural Centre and in the other one, the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar. This promenade at the epicenter of El Born in Barcelona formerly housed the medieval tournaments and the gentleman joustings.
The Passeig del Born is a lovely street that keeps many medieval elements, which will not be short in places to take a coffee during the day or a drink at night.
From here you can take the Montcada street to the north where you will pass among other museums, by the Picasso Museum.
This street that can be taken from Via Laietana at the height of the subway L1 line stop named Jaume I, reaches the Passeig de Picasso, so it crosses the district from side to side, in this case the Born, a part of the Ribera.
From the Princesa street, you will arrive at Montcada and Comerç, two major streets of Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera.
The Corders street is semi-parallel to Princesa St. and is located above that.
It is a very commercial street of the old town, especially rich in places to take a coffee or a drink and HappyBarcelona.eu recommends you to have it in mind for your walks.
It is one of the most famous streets of the Born and its southernmost tip leads to the Passeig del Born.
Among other points of interest in Montcada street is located the Picasso Museum, the Museum of Cultures du Monde and the Mammoth Museumas well as different art galleries, restaurants, etc.
You can not say you've been in the Born if you have not gone through Montcada street, from which you can catch among others the Barra de Ferro street.
Barra de Ferro street
It is a small street parallel to Princesa and you can pick it up from the Montcada street. Besides being fabulous to be part of a stroll through the Born streets, in Barra de Ferro St. is located the European Museum of Modern Art.
If you go down the Commerce street from its beginning at the Passeig Lluís Companys, you will pass in front of the former Convent of Saint Augustine and the Chocolate Museum to get to the medieval archaeological site of El Born Centre Cultural, and beyond to the Estació de França.
In addition, you will pass through one of the most important streets of El Born, the Princesa street.
Sightseeing this part of Ciutat Vella
In Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera you have a wide range of places to visit that HappyBarcelona.eu will try to enumerate below.
The Palau de la Música Catalana (Catalan Music Palace)
A must for lovers of architecture, especially the art-noveau.
This wonderful building by Lluis Domenech i Montaner, declared World Heritage Site, is in the far north of Sant Pere and is one of the architectural icons of the city.
The Palau de la Música Catalana is close to the metro station Urquinaona, belonging to the lines L1 and L4.
Sant Pere de les Puelles Monastery
It is a former nunnery located in the northeastern district of Sant Pere, in Sant Pere square a little below the Trafalgar street.
This monastery was severely attacked in 985 and after an exclaustration in the middle of XIX century, it was converted in a prison.
At the beginning of XX century, it suffered a fire after which it was reconstructed, leaving quite little from the original building.
You can visit this monastery of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, now converted into a church.
Santa Caterina Market
If there is a market in Barcelona that can compete with the Boqueria Market, it is the market of Saint Catherine, located in the neighborhood from which it takes its name, in the land occupied by the former Convent of Saint Catherine, which you can visit its archaeological remains through one of the centers of the MUHBA museumin its subsoil.
This charming market is located at the same height as the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia of Barcelona, but on the other side of Via Laietana. You will find some cafe terraces and you can buy some food reinforcement to continue your walks around the city.
This is the oldest covered market in Barcelona, and one of the outcomes of its remodeling in 2004 was its beautiful wavy and colorful cover.
It is a small Romanesque chapel located at the corner of Montcada and Corders streets, near the Museum of the Mammoth, specifically in the Square of Marcús.
It is one of the oldest chapels in Barcelona, which still remains part of the original structure of XII century.
The Arc de Triomphe
It is in the Passeig Lluís Companys, and one of its main characteristics is that it is a civil monument, unlike most triumphal arches you'll find in other cities where the reason is military.
The Convent of Sant Agustí
It is an old convent, now converted into the Saint Augustine Convent Civic Center.
We recommend you to enter into the civic center as well as to enjoy the remains of the convent, you can have a coffee or a quiet drink in the cafeteria, which has its terrace in the remainder of the cloister.
Parc de la Ciutadella (The Citadel Park)
This park occupies the site of the old military citadel of Barcelona, built after its conquest in 1714 and which formed with the Castle of Montjuicthe main set of military parts to dominate the city on the part of the Spanish invaders.
Today it is a great place to walk, especially on summer evenings where you can enjoy a green space with a small lake and a great water fountain. The Citadel Park is a space that HappyBarcelona.eu recommends if you want to take a walk with young children.
Inside the park there are the Parliament of Catalonia, the old natural history museum and the Castle of the Three Dragons.
Parliament of Catalonia
In the eastern part of the park is located the former arsenal building for the Military Citadel, now converted into the Palace of the Parliament of Catalonia.
This palace was the residence of the royal family during the Universal Exhibition of 1888, and you will see it, walking near the Joan Fiveller square inside the park.
The Castle of the Three Dragons
In the northwestern part of the Citadel Park, you will find this beautiful Art Nouveau building, work of one of the best examples of Catalan modernism, Lluís Domènech i Montaner, whose initial function was to be used as a cafeteria and restaurant for the Barcelona Universal Exhibition in 1888.
If you enter the park from the Passeig de Lluís Companys, it will be the first building that you may see on your right.
The Barcelona Zoo occupies a large area of the Parc de la Ciutadella, being a very complete zoo.
It is a very attractive place to spend the whole day with kids as it has a children's zoo dedicated especially to the young ones.
Plaça de Santa Maria
You will get to this square if you go down by the Argenteria street where besides cafeterias for a coffee or soda, there is located the wonderful Cathedral of the Sea.
Basilica Santa Maria del Mar
Also called the Cathedral of the Sea or Cathedral of the Poor, the Santa Maria del Mar was built by the people, unlike the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, located in the Gothic Quarter, which was built by the clergy.
To visit this beautiful basilica, becomes a mandatory stop you should do if you find yourself in the neighborhood of Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera.
Fossar de les Moreres
On one side of the basilica is the Fossar de les Moreres, an old cemetery used to bury the faithful, by the pastor of the Cathedral of the Sea, now turned into a square.
Many of the Catalans who died defending their land during the invasion of 1714, were buried in the Fossar de les Moreres, it is for this reason that this square includes elements commemorating the fallen defenders.
His name is not quite popular, but the Commercial square is where the old Mercat del Born located is, by it crosses the Comerç street, and also comes the Passeig del Born.
In this square, which is right in front of the gates of the cultural center, you will find bar terraces and places to eat or drink some soda.
El Born Centre de Cultura i Memoria (Memory Cultural Center)
During the construction of a library in the old Market of the Born, there was discovered an archaeological site of the medieval Barcelona.
The project for the library was canceled, and the space was adapted for the display of this site belonging to the history of Barcelona.
Undoubtedly it is another place that you should have in mind during your visit to this part of Ciutat Vella.
Estació de França (França Train Station)
Exiting the Citadel Park westwards from the square where the main entrance to the zoo located is, you will get to the old End Train Station of Barcelona.
It is a beautiful Art Nouveau train station that if you are an architecture lover, you should visit both, the lobby and their platforms.
La Lonja de Barcelona (The former Fish Market)
It is the building that is located in the lowest part of Via Laietana, on the Ribera side, in the Antonio López square.
It is a neoclassical building with Gothic interior which has undergone various historical stages and has had different usages specially related to the business world, it is currently the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce.
Museums in Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera
Although in the district of Ciutat Vella in general you can visit a large number of Barcelona museums, this neighborhood is a good cultural representative offering a huge range of exhibition halls and museum spaces.
We will try to present those, HappyBarcelona.eu consider most important.
It is the most visited museum of the Born. Located on the Montcada street, it is an absolute must for lovers of art, especially of Cubism.
You can access the Picasso Museum with the Articket BCN and the Barcelona Card saving money and time, so if you are interested we advise you to take a look at them.
Museum of World Cultures (Ethnology Museum)
In the Born and specifically in the Montcada street, you can visit this museum that brings visitors the artistic and cultural diversity of different peoples of Africa, Asia, America and Oceania.
This museum offers through its web few guidelines and guides for a visit with children, which makes it a valuable resource if you want to perform an activity with the little ones while you enjoy your visit to this area of El Born and the old town.
In the same Montcada street but across the Princesa street, is located the Mammoth Museum of Barcelona.
It is a small but very friendly museum where the life of the mammoths and the main animals that coexisted with them in the Ice Age is exposed. We recommend you to sign up for the guided tour.
European Museum of Modern Art (MEAM)
It is located on the Barra de Ferro street, very near the Picasso Museum. The MEAM, unlike other modern art museums, bet strongly on their exposure by figurative art, something hard to find in other museums of modern art, which basically work on elements like abstraction.
Museu de la Xocolata (Chocolate Museum)
Located on the Commerce street it is a museum where you will learn among other things the characteristics and properties of this food so prized by many cultures.
It is an option to consider if you visit Barcelona with children and you find yourself in the area of El Born.
El Rey de la Magia (Museum of Magic)
In addition to having a shop specialised in magic items in Princess street, the King of Magic is very close to Urquinaona square, a center offering magic shows and where you can visit the Museum of Magic of Barcelona.
At Cervello Palace in Montcada street is located the Gaspar Foundation, where you can visit exhibitions of contemporary art that are renewed periodically.
MUHBA Santa Caterina
In the subsoil of the Saint Catherine Market is found an archaeological site managed by the Barcelona City History Museum where you can not only visit the archaeological rest of the former Dominican Convent of Saint Catherine, but have also the opportunity to learn about the history of this part of the city from prehistoric times until the present days.
A must for archeology lovers who are in this part of the old town of Barcelona.
Commerce in the neighborhood
You will find similar shops to that you can find in the rest of Ciutat Vella. A mix of craft and bohemian products as well as a great deal on clothing and household goods, alternative to the big brands. In El Born you will find quality, originality and many auteur products.
Furthermore this part of Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera, is popular because of its enormous supply in art galleries, something you can see if you walk through its streets during business hours.
Restaurants in El Born
Although you will find quality restaurants throughout the neighborhood of Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera, it is in El Born where perhaps a higher density and variety of places where you can have lunch or dinner are found, which offers all the variety you can imagining.
Perhaps it can be compared with the variety of restaurants offered by the Raval quarter, also in the old district. Restaurants in the Born offers a range of nationalities and styles that you have to discover walking through its streets.
Nightlife, have a drink in the Born.
This area of the Ribera is one of the most frequented by the locals to go out and have a drink, in many cases going to dinner at one of its restaurants.
Among the bohemian atmosphere of the streets of El Borne and people of all nationalities and cultures, you will find a huge assortment of quiet places where you can combine a conversation with a drink.
How to get to Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera
It is the easternmost district of the old town, and it is very easy to get because it starts in one of the squares of the city center, the Urquinaona square, where they stop L1 and L4 subway lines.
From Plaça Urquinaona, you only have to head south as it is adjoining Sant Pere. We suggest to walk down Via Laietana and at the first street to the left, you will see the Palau de la Música Catalana.
Getting from Catalonia square
To get to Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera from Plaça de Catalunya, you must go first to Urquinaona square. For that, you will have to find the building of the Corte Ingles, and the square is right behind.
The first street you will see when arriving at Urquinaona square is Via Laietana, but if you keep straight on Trafalgar street, you will arrive at the Arc de Triomphe.
Directions from the Port Vell
You will have to look for the most eastern part of the Moll de la Fusta or the Columbus promenade (Passeig de Colom) and find a monument of American pop-art style entitled The Face of Barcelona. At this point, in the great street intersection, you'll see a street in the north coming down cars. This street is Via Laietana.
At that point and to the east is already the Born, the most popular neighborhood.
How to get to the Born from Plaça de Catalunya
If you are in Catalonia square we recommend you to stroll through the Gothic Quarter before arriving at the Born. It is a straightforward route to this bohemian district of the Ribera.
You can go deep by Portal de l’Angel avenue and at the bottom take the intersection to the left until you arrive at the Cathedral of Barcelona.
Once you get to the cathedral, go straight on the Bisbe street to Plaça de Sant Jaume. Once in this square, turn left (east) along the street of the bottom, and that one, will take you to Via Laietana which tells you that you've arrived at Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera.
At that point, you can continue down the Princesa or the Argenteria streets. Both will go deep into the Born, the most popular area. While the first one will take you to the Montcada street, the second one will do it to the Santa Maria square, where the beautiful Cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar located is.
How to get to the Born by metro
To get to the Born by subway, the quickest option is to get to the stop named Jaume I of line L4 and cross over Via Laietana, to take Princesa or Argenteria streets.
Another option is to get off at the Barceloneta, also from the line L4. In this case you'll be close to the França train station and the former Born Market.
If you prefer to be near the Arc de Triomphe, the L1 line drops you off right there at the station which is called Arc de Triomf. At this station, they also stop trains from RENFE.
To get to the highest part of Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera, also serves you perfectly Urquinaona square on as discussed above, they stop lines L1 and L4 of the metro.
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