To Barcelona as a native. Drinks, food and local shopping in El Raval and Gothic Quarter
Journeys | 27.11.2019
MAPS.ME user Daria Menshikova told us about the unpopular Barcelona and filmed it. Underground atmosphere, local bars and local shopping.
Enough has been said about Barcelona. Both the adherents of urban and beach recreation set their hearts on the capital of Catalonia, after all, Barcelona and its surroundings are even one of the main directions of package tours. This is not surprising that here is the perfect mix of warm climate, sea, incredibly delicious food and prices that do not force you to subsist on a diet of bread and water after returning home.

But I still shied away from this direction, going on trips anywhere, but not there. I was probably waiting for some "right" time, but, ironically, I chose exactly the opposite. The fact is that the day before our arrival in Barcelona, there began civil disturbances of the supporters of the independence of Catalonia. The protesters tried to paralyze the operation of the airport, filled all the streets and were extremely serious – at least that is how it was presented on the news. On the day of our departure, we were on pins and needles, waiting for reports that our flight was canceled, and Barcelona is closed for entry at all. But this did not happen, the flight was not even delayed, and we peacefully flew to Barcelona to see an absolutely empty airport, where only a couple of reporters gave the idea that there had been some unrest yesterday.
You can get from the airport to the city center by transport suiting any taste – there is a subway, and buses, and taxis. For travelling by metro, I advise you to purchase a permanent ticket for 10 trips for 10 euros. What is especially nice, in addition to saving – it can be used by two people. If you were lucky enough to fly in or fly out of Girona airport, then you can also get to it by public transport – a direct bus from the center of Barcelona goes there. It's better to arrive at the station in advance so that there is definitely enough space in the bus.
In the tips where to rent housing in Barcelona, the areas Gracia and Eixample are always leading, as the examples of a calm and measured life. We rented a room in the El Raval district, which does not have the best reputation, but in a week of living there I realized that it was impossible to find a more perfect area for me.

The underground and creative El Raval is located next to the popular Gothic Quarter. Therefore, every day we volens nolens fell into the crowds of Chinese tourists with their huge cameras. Let this not frighten you – it's easy to hide from them in one of hundreds of narrow streets, and at the same time stumble upon secret (or not) local places. One of them is La Xampanyeria. A place where for 14 euros you can get a plate of jamon, cheese and a whole bottle of cava. It's difficult to leave, and it's not necessary.
All the classic sights have been described many times before me, so I won't repeat. But I will give you one piece of advice: before visiting, be sure to buy tickets in advance on the website, because there may simply be none, and also check if something is closed for reconstruction. We were partly lucky: the day we were going to Park Guell, there were already no tickets left, and we only got to the free part of the park, which offers a great view of the reconstruction and tourists trying to photograph the park without scaffolds.
The tourist center – the Gothic Quarter and the famous La Rambla Street – could be reached in about 10 minutes, but every time the way stretched out for at least half an hour, because it is impossible to walk along El Raval and not to drop into at least a couple of seconds, designer shops or bars. Here you can go to the first places that you find, and you will definitely find something for you in each of them, but I still advise you to pay closer attention to some.
  • El Indio Vintage – the store where the new Dr. Martens shoes and Alpha Industries bombers coexist with cowboy vintage shirts and stylish Budweiser caps, which you often saw in American films from the 80s and 90s. It is extremely difficult to get away empty-handed.
  • Бар "Manchester" – ● in addition to the perfect soundtrack of Oasis, Joy Divison, The Smiths and James, there are also delicious cocktails, a friendly atmosphere and the neon inscription "There is a light that never goes out".
  • A stone's throw from the Manchester there is the second jewel in the crown of El Raval – "Two Schmucks". The original cocktail card, in which I absolutely loved the Carry Colada, the bartenders with whom you can chat about life, and the same friendly atmosphere, though it is attached to all places in Barcelona by default.
  • The third bar that won my heart is "Nevermind". It's a real skate bar: inside, everything possible is done of boards, there is a separate room with a quarter pipe and skate video on TV. An ideal place to drop in for a couple of bottles of beer, recollect a skate video from the beginning of 00x and eat a hot dog made right there.
  • If you want something sweet, you should definitely visit "Natas" ● an ice cream parlor from Satan's coffee, a popular coffee shop in Barcelona. But be careful: there are a lot of flavors of ice cream, and you'll want to taste all at once.
  • The main place of El Raval is, of course, the MACBA Museum of Modern Art, which has long ago become a place of strength for skaters from around the world. That is why the party never stops here.
  • The best souvenirs from Spain are jamon, cava (Spanish sparkling wine) and olive oil. For the latter, I advise you to go to "Oleoteca Gourmet". Here you will find olive oil with different tastes (my favorite is truffle), and cosmetics with olive oil, and chocolate with olives, and wine.
  • Pinchos, tapas, paella and other delights of Spanish cuisine can be found left and right, so feel free to go anywhere.
  • I already mentioned "Satan's coffee", but I definitely need to say about it again – a classic third-wave coffee house with clear positioning: "no wifi, no decaf, no vanilla, no bullshit, no baby strollers, no fun for children". So if you need something from this list, it is better to look for another place, if not, take a croiss-waffle, a coffee and enjoy.
  • The Boqueria Market can be quite a commonplace, but a large glass of fresh fruit for 1 euro will definitely overcome the desire not to go to tourist places.
  • For dessert, go to Chök — a small chain of pastry shops with artwork donuts. There are economy options for 2 euros, they cook only one of each type per day, there are cupcakes, mini-cakes, chocolate of all possible types and, of course, coffee. And two pleasant moments at once – donuts are not sugary at all, despite their appearance, and the menu has vegan options.
  • Now, get ready, because I tear from my heart the best place in Barcelona. Gallo Nero looks like it is actually from Diagon Alley, and it appeared in Barcelona by accident. The playlist contains all the indie rock of 90s and 00x, the menu includes focaccia with truffle paste, giant plates of all kinds of cheese and meat, a huge number of pizzas, and the staff is the most pleasant of all that we have ever met. Be sure to sit down at the bar to watch the cooking process, and ask the waiter for puzzles – Barcelona is not only about drinking and eating :)
  • Walking from the Gothic Quarter towards the Eixample district and Plaça de Catalunya, you will find hundreds of stores (H&M alone has four stores!), but if the mass market is not for you, pay attention to the showroom of the Barcelona brand "Angle" on Carrer dels Mirallers, 10. Prices are much higher than those of the mass market, but you can be sure that you'll hardly meet someone dressed like you in the streets of Moscow/any other city.
I was sure that I was going to Barcelona prepared – an impressive list of places to visit, stories of friends and acquaintances, but in fact it turned out that this is exactly the city for which it is impossible to get prepared. You just need to relax and try to catch the Barcelona chill wave. And the rest will come by itself.
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