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Although its settlement dates to the sixteenth century, Vila de Gràcia (Gràcia Village) formally was established as a town in 1850 and was swallowed by Barcelona in 1897.
These days, Gràcia's narrow streets and abundant courtyards are packed with trendy restaurants, bars, and shops. Its merchants often are local and independent rather than major chains, and the neighborhood still maintains much of its small-scale charm, too.
Gràcia is too well known among visitors — and too popular among backpackers in particular — for travelgasm.com to consider it one of our 7 Things Tourists Don't Do in Barcelona, But You Should, but it tends to attract tourists who are more independent than the tour bus crowd. We are quite fond of Barceloneta, also, but among neighborhoods that tourists routinely visit, Gràcia very well could be our favorite in the city.
Stroll through Gràcia
The day-to-day vibe in Gràcia is more of its calling than specific attractions. With the exception of Casa Vicens — which opened to the public for the first time in 2017 — the village doesn't really have famous sites. This lack of major attractions doesn't mean there isn't plenty to do, though.
Below, we have shared one of our favorite strolls through Gràcia that incorporates Casa Vicens as well as some of the best streets, plazas, and markets in the neighborhood.
These seven places are organized in order on our map below:
- Casa Vicens - The first important commission by the now famous Antoni Gaudí. This colorful house mixes brick, stone, and tile, as well as architectural styles and is an early look into the architect's methodology. You likely can get away with not reserving advance tickets, but the house is becoming more popular and it would be a good idea to book ahead in summer months, in particular. When we last checked, it cost less most days to buy a ticket from an independent seller than it did from the official site, so you will want to consider both options.
- Galeria Espai [b] - Showcasing both local and international artists, this cozy contemporary art museum is an often overlooked gem. Open Monday-Friday, 5 PM-8 PM.
- Carrer de Verdi - Narrow and walkable, this street running through Gràcia is well known for its trendy shops, cafes, nightlife, and the popular Cine Verdi movie theater.
- Plaça de la Virreina - This small, delightful plaza is anchored by the Sant Joan church.
- Plaça del Sol - This attractive plaza with cafes and bars is especially popular with backpackers.
- Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia - This is Gràcia's main plaza, ringed by restaurants and cafes, and centered around its historic clocktower.
- Mercat de la Llibertat - This market was refurbished not too long ago, but it is still charming. We once ate at the La Clau bar and enjoyed it.
The previously mentioned Mercat de la Llibertat is a particularly good option for breakfast or lunch. Three more of our favorite places to eat in Gràcia include Messié Pizza (which has two locations, one traditional and one entirely gluten-free), La Vietnamita for respectable Vietnamese noodles, and La Xula for a creative take on traditional tapas.
We have mapped out our preferred walk below in a logical loop from and back to Fontana Station with an alternate arrival or departure via Gràcia Station.
How to Get Here: Take Line 3 (Green) to Fontana Station and use the only exit (labeled as Gran de Gràcia / Astúries on some maps). Turn right after exiting the station to go to Casa Vicens and begin our suggested walk. For most visitors, it will be logical to depart via Fontana Station, as well. However, we also have included an alternate arrival or departure option via Gràcia Station on Line 5 (Dark Blue).
Like Gràcia or Casa Vicens? Tell your friends and frenemies on social media that you discovered them first:
Be sure to see our 7 Things Tourists Don't Do in Barcelona, but You Should, too.
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