Tucked away in the Ribera district is one of Barcelona’s hottest neighbourhoods; Born, which makes this the ideal place to invest in property. Born also houses the Picasso museum and the new Santa Caterina Market.
Once a popular haunt of such famous artists as Picasso and Miro, now Born is a cluster of hip bars, trendy boutiques, the new Santa Caterina Market, the massive Gothic stone church of Santa Maria del Mar, and the tree-lined promenade Passeig del Born.
Picasso Museum Barcelona
A main focal point for tourists is certainly the Picasso Museum. It not only houses an extensive collection of Picasso’s famous works, but also carries many new and innovative exhibits. Currently the museum showcases over 3,800 works of art from Picasso’s formative years, up until his blue period. Some of the highlights of this vast collection include Las Meninas (infanta Margerita Maria) 1957 and The Wait (Margot) 1901. Before leaving, visit the museum shop to browse through a large selection of Picasso prints, books, and fun souvenirs.
Textile Museum Barcelona
Located across from the Picasso Museum is the Textile Museum which showcases a large display of clothing, textiles, and jewellery from Barcelona’s colourful past. On exhibit are many intricately designed garments from Spain’s baroque period through the 20th century, as well as a vast collection of embroidery and lace. Also on display are over 500 pieces of jewellery designed and produced in Spain. After learning about the history of fashion and textiles, visit the courtyard museum cafe for a quick mid-day break and a snack.
Passeig del Born
After touring these two popular museums, head over to Passeig del Born, a spacious tree-lined promenade filled with hip bars and cafes. A great place to grab a cafe con leche, and people watch from one of the many benches that line the sidewalk. Towering over Passeig del Born is the imposing Gothic stone Church of Santa Maria del Mar:
Designed by architect Berenguer de Montagut, this massive church is a perfect example of Catalan Gothic architecture, with its soaring vertical lines and vaulted ceilings. Construction of the church began in 1324 but took over 55 years to complete. Born’s history stretches far back into the medieval period as a gathering place for both religious and social events. It hosted many religious processions and jousting events, and on a darker note it was the site of executions resulting from the inquisition.
Located on the opposite end of Passeig del Born from Santa Maria del Mar is Mercat del Born, one of the city’s first popular markets. Although it is now closed for business, this old landmark is worth a quick look. Designed by architect Josep Fontseré, this beautiful wrought-iron, brick and glass structure housed the original fruit and vegetable market from 1878 to 1977. The structure was destined to be torn down, until construction crews found many important archeological artifacts under its floors.
Santa Caterina Market
Shopping at markets is a popular pastime for both tourists and locals in Spain, and with over 40 to choose from, it can be hard to decide which market to visit in Barcelona. Most visitors flock to the ever popular la Boqueria market in the Ramblas, but not many know that Born houses the city’s newest and trendiest market, Santa Caterina. Everything about Santa Caterina oozes style; from its amazing architecture, its innovative restaurants and bars, and its large selection of gourmet foods and specialties. Foodies will be in heaven, with over 60 gourmet and fresh food vendors to choose from, carrying everything from ostrich eggs to fine chocolates.
The market was designed by architects Benedetta Tagliabue the late Enric Miralles of EMBT, and showcases many creative but functional design features. It was built over the site of the original market that dated back to 1848. During construction, builders found a number of significant archeological finds, from an old convent located on the grounds before the market. In an effort to preserve its history, a small museum; the Saint Catherine Area Intepretació Archaeological Center, is located on the premises, displaying many of the findings.
Aside from the fascinating design features, its historical significance and modern luxuries, there are a number of quality restaurants in the market worth visiting. Cuines Santa Caterina is one of Barcelona’s hottest new restaurants, offering a diverse menu of Mediterranean food, sushi, tapas, and traditional Catalan specialties. Another popular spot is the Saint Joan Bar, offering traditional Catalan specialties, using the freshest food available from the market: Both restaurants are worth the trip to Born alone.
Shopping in Barcelona
Hidden in the winding maze of passages in Born is a section of shops that sell local art, unique jewellery, and hip clothing called L’ Esquirol. Don’t miss Pinzat, a shop that carries an exclusive line of creatively-designed recycled messenger bags, purses, and backpacks. Barcelona is known for its artistic street art, so as a reminder of your trip pick up a graffiti bag. These one-of-a- kind hand-painted and designed bags are created by local artists using a fade-resistant ink, so the grafitti-style artwork stays fresh and colourful. L’ Esquirol is located in the center of el Born, off carrer de Ferren and carrer de Argentina.
Located in Born are many gelato shops, cafes and chocolatiers: Demasié Galetes is a colourful shop located on Princesa 28, that specialises in gourmet chocolates of every type. They offer a huge selection of bars, truffles, cookies, and cakes, to eat right there or take home as gifts. Try the dark chocolate covered oranges or the delicious home made cookies. The chocolate bars make great inexpensive souvenirs, and come in a wide array of types, such as dark chocolate with orange, wasabi or energetico.
Museu de la Xocolata Barcelona
Need an excuse to consume more chocolate: Visit the Museum of Chocolate and find out why chocolate is so delicious. The museum traces chocolate’s roots from the Aztecs of Mexico, to its journey to Spain, and then its evolution into the decadent dessert it is known as today. The museum offers daily guided tours and a number of interesting workshops in which visitors can participate. Sign up for the marriage of chocolate and wine workshop, where participants will learn how to pair these two decadent treats, while sampling a number of the museum’s favourite wine and chocolates. Afterwards visit the museum café, to have a shot of dark hot chocolate, or to purchase a variety of freshly-made desserts and chocolates: A fun and informative stop for kids and adults.
Barcelona is a lively city filled with many must-see attractions: Gaudi’s Park Guell, the Sagrada Familia, and the Ramblas. With so much to do and see in Barcelona it can be difficult to hit the favourite hot-spots as a visitor, let alone make it to the highlights that lie off the beaten path. Owning a property in Born promises a life with the best of Barcelona; its amazing architecture, modern bars and cafes, informative museums, gourmet cuisine, and ultra-trendy shops.