An old working-class hub revitalised by high-speed rail
The old town of Santa Maria de Sants was one of the centres of 19th-century industrial Barcelona. Currently, the district of Sants is not only home to the city’s main railway station and its high-speed rail connections, but also a major shopping area.
Why visit Sants?
Santa Maria de Sants was a municipality on the outskirts of Barcelona that sprang up along the ancient high road out of the city. In the late 18th century a new road was constructed to strengthen the economy of the area and a century later it was used as one of the major thoroughfares of the Cerdà Plan for the Eixample: Avinguda del Paral·lel.
In the 19th century the Sants district took a great leap forward with the construction of the railway line and the establishment of trading areas not subject to Barcelona’s taxes. The district became a working-class area with numerous textile factories, including Vapor Vell, which is now a library and school, and Vapor Nou or Espanya Industrial, which was transformed into a park in 1983.
In 1897 Sants was annexed to Barcelona and since then, thanks to substantial urban reforms and the construction of the Barcelona Sants bus and railway stations and the introduction of the AVE high-speed train, it has become a major communications hub, in addition to a vibrant shopping area along Carrer de la Creu Coberta and Carrer de Sants.
How do you get to Sants?
For the most curious of you
- Did you know? Barcelona Sants station, or simply Sants, is Catalonia’s main railway station and Spain’s second largest, after Madrid Atocha, handling close to 30 million passengers per year. From this station you can get a high-speed train to Madrid or Paris, travel on the Euromed down the Mediterranean corridor, or use the regional rail network.
- Local’s tip: From Sants you can travel south to visit coastal towns with extensive beaches like Sitges and Castelldefels in just 20 minutes or, if you have more time, you can go north to visit Blanes, the Costa Brava and even Figueres, where you can visit the Dalí Museum.
- A must: To explore towns on the Catalan coast.
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