Passeig de Gràcia | Barcelona Bus Turístic

During the celebration of the Eleventh of September (Catalan National Day), the Blue and Red route will operate until 14 h, and the Green Route until about 15 h.

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Passeig de Gràcia

Barcelona’s most refined and artistic avenue

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An avenue that has been the Catalan bourgeoisie’s showcase since the late 19th century, on which everything is art: its Modernista buildings, it benches and lampposts, even the very ground itself. Passeig de Gràcia, the Eixample district’s main artery and former connecting road between the old walled city and the separate town of Gràcia, is now a catwalk that showcases unique Modernista buildings and luxury boutiques.

Why visit Passeig de Gràcia?

Passeig de Gràcia was the road that joined the medieval walled city of Barcelona to the town of Gràcia, now a district of the city. Its first urbanisation project was undertaken by Captain General of Catalonia and Marquis of Campo Sagrado, Francisco Bernaldo de Quirós, who in 1827 inaugurated a 42 metre wide promenade that quickly became a favourite place for the aristocracy.

Passeig de Gràcia’s importance grew when it became the main artery of the new Eixample or city expansion project implemented by Ildefons Cerdà from 1860 to 1890. Its pavements were widened and a low-density residential nucleus, largely made up of detached houses, sprung up around it. Its centrality and breadth made Passeig de Gràcia into a commercially valuable street that attracted the middle classes and resulted in its detached houses and gardens being progressively replaced with apartment blocks.

It was at this time, from 1900 to 1914, when Passeig de Gràcia became the showcase of Modernista architecture, with gems by Gaudí like La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, true works of art like Casa Lleó i Morera by Domènech i Montaner, and Modernista buildings with Catalan Gothic influences, like Casa Amatller by Puig i Cadafalch. Moreover, in 1906, Passeig de Gràcia incorporated its impressive lamppost benches designed by municipal architect Pere Falqués i Urpí in wrought iron and decorated in the trencadís (broken tile shards used to form a mosaic) style typical of Modernisme.

But it is not only the street’s buildings, benches and lampposts that dazzle visitors. In 1974, as part of a modification initiative implemented due to the construction of an underground car park, its pavements were paved with their now famous panots, hexagonal decorative paving slabs based on the ones used by Gaudí for the kitchens in La Pedrera. The architect had originally designed this cement tile flooring for Casa Batlló, but he ended up using it in the kitchens of the apartments in La Pedrera and certainly never expected that it would now be recreating the seabed under the feet of pedestrians on Passeig de Gràcia. Each set of 6 slabs contains an octopus, a sea snail and a starfish.

Today, the heritage and architectural value of Passeig de Gràcia melds seamlessly with Barcelona’s most prestigious boutiques.

 

How do you get to Passeig de Gràcia?

You can visit Passeig de Gràcia on both the Red Route of Barcelona Bus Turístic and the Blue Route. The Passeig de Gràcia – La Pedrera and Casa Batlló – Fundació Antoni Tàpies stops are both on the street, while if you hop off at the Plaça Catalunya stop, which is the start and end of all Barcelona Bus Turístic routes, you can stroll along its entire length to Avinguda Diagonal.

 

For the most curious of you

  • Did you know? The lampposts designed by Pere Falqués i Urpí, the city’s first electric streetlights, were not well received by certain sectors of the population, who believed that the changes brought about by these ‘horrible’ and ‘outrageous’ forms would be too drastic. Moreover, a group of Noucentista intellectuals, whose influence on Catalan society at that time was not inconsiderable, launched a campaign in favour of restricting construction and ornamentation to the classicism style.
  • Local’s tip: Halfway along Passeig de Gràcia you can find one of the city’s most popular shopping centres, Bulevard Rosa. Inaugurated in the 1980s, it was named after Saló Rosa, a café-tea room that was the centre of the aristocracy’s social life from 1932 to 1974.
  • A must: To stroll along one of the most elegant streets of both present day and Modernista Barcelona.