A recreational district between the centre of Barcelona and Montjuïc
Poble-sec, the neighbourhood between El Raval and Montjuïc that was home to factory workers and artisans is now a multicultural district that is full of recreational facilities and terrace bars and boasts an extensive gastronomic and cultural offering in an excellent location. From here you can easily reach the historic centre of Barcelona and Montjuïc mountain.
Why visit Poble-sec?
In the Middle Ages Poble-sec was an agricultural area. It was not until the second half of the 18th century that buildings started to be erected in it. New manufacturing activities led to the establishment of cotton bleaching fields at Les Hortes de Sant Bertran.
Thanks to its location outside the medieval city walls and its steep slopes on the northern face of Montjuïc, it was not included in the Cerdà Plan for the Eixample and therefore was not subject to its construction regulations. Some years after the city walls were demolished, the owners of the land started to develop it by building simple houses for labourers and craftsmen and their families, creating the França Xica, Santa Madrona and Hortes de Sant Bertran.
Over the years, in addition to industrial activity, the district started to be associated with show business on Avinguda del Paral·lel thanks to the appearance of emblematic theatres like El Molino, Apolo, Condal and Victòria, placing it at the centre of the city’s nightlife as Barcelona’s answer to Montmartre or Broadway. Now, its cultural outlook has generated a whole host of new recreational and gastronomic options, transforming it into a progressive and multicultural area. Its main arteries are Carrer de Blai, which is like a miniature version of La Rambla as it is full of bars and shops, and Plaça del Sortidor, where the acclaimed Catalan singer-songwriter Joan Manuel Serrat performed in his youth.
Its proximity to El Raval and Montjuïc mountain, where the MNAC, Fundació Joan Miró, the Olympic Ring and other points of interest are to be found, makes Poble-sec a good starting point to explore Barcelona.
How do you get to Poble-sec?
Hop off at the Miramar – Jardins Costa i Llobera stop on the Red Route of Barcelona Bus Turístic to get to Poble-sec by walking down Avinguda de Miramar and then along Carrer Nou de la Rambla. You can also get there from the Colom – Museu Marítim stop, which is at the start of Avinguda del Paral·lel.
For the most curious of you
- Did you know? The origin of the name Poble-sec, literally ‘dry town’, lies in the fact that the factories that rose up there in the mid-19th century dried up the wells at Les Hortes de Sant Bertran.
- Local’s tip: Poble-sec is a good place to ‘fer el vermut’, that is, to enjoy the weekend tradition of enjoying a glass of vermouth or another drink at a terrace bar as an aperitif before lunch.
- A must: For those looking for fun outside the city centre and a good starting point to explore Barcelona.
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