The Eixample district, the grid of octagonal blocks with 45 degree chamfers that structures the central part of the city, is one of Barcelona’s symbols of identity. From this stop you can discover its most interesting corners and experience the charm of its main streets.
Urban design is Barcelona’s hallmark
The Eixample stop on the Blue Route of Barcelona Bus Turístic, located on Carrer de Balmes, is just outside Barcelona Modernisme Museum, where you can find a magnificent collection of Modernista decorative arts and furniture.
It is a good start-off point for a stroll along Rambla de Catalunya, a charming boulevard with a tree-lined central promenade, where architectural gems like Casa Serra, Casa Fargas and the Església de Sant Ramon de Penyafort (Church of Saint Raymond of Penyafort) are interspersed with bar terraces and boutiques.
Less than five minutes’ walk from the stop you can visit some of the best Modernista buildings in the city such as Casa Batlló, by Antoni Gaudí; Casa Amatller, by Puig i Cadafalch; Casa Lleó i Morera, by Domènech i Montaner; and Fundació Antoni Tàpies, which is in another building by Domènech i Montaner. Also close by is the tree-lined Carrer d’Enric Granados, which is full of restaurants where you can stop for a bite to eat.
The Eixample district was planned by Ildefons Cerdà. A follower of the hygienist movements, he sought to protect the spaces of private life and accordingly designed buildings arranged into two rows around a large internal courtyard that provided natural light and ventilation for the houses. Even though urban planning pressures meant that certain aspects of the plan could not be implemented, some of the interiors of the blocks can still be visited as they have been recovered to be the public socialisation spaces contemplated by the original design.
If you are interested in the history of the movement that marked Barcelona’s physiognomy, at the Modernisme Museum you will find objects, paintings and all manner of Modernista manifestations undertaken in Catalonia, including an extensive collection of furniture from the period that features pieces from Casa Batlló and Casa Lleó i Morera.