If you're ready to delve into the 'real Barcelona', spend a day meandering through the Raval's narrow streets, gawking at the endless bars and restaurants -particularly the large number of Shawarma places - and experiencing one of the most authentic areas of the city. What was once considered to be the slums has recently turned into an edgy, trendy and very local place to frequent within Ciutat Vella (Old City).
Just a stone's throw from La Rambla, the Raval is nestled between the Gothic Quarter and Poble Sec and this up and coming neighborhood is home to some off the beaten path city gems; if you're in the mood to experience a unique side of town, then the Raval is your answer.
Start the day with breakfast at Dos Trece. This super chic, yet unassuming restaurant, turn bar, turn nightclub after 1am, serves a mean Eggs Benny, fresh toast, salmon dishes and a variety of fruit and oatmeal mixes. Located in the 'hipster/moderno' section of the Raval, once you finish breakfast stroll through the surrounding streets behind the Boqueria and discover Barcelona's coolest vintage clothing shops and antique furniture locales. If you're looking for one of a kind items at decent prices, then this is an excellent area to visit.
Dos Trece Restaurant — Photo courtesy of barcelonarocks.com
After you've spent some time looking for your diamond in the rough, check out the newest addition to the Raval, the Filmoteca. Film fan? Indie movie groupie? Architect buff? The Filmoteca attracts those from all walks of life, as it's fast becoming the cultural center within the neighborhood. This is a cool place to explore or even just to gaze at from the outside as the building’s design is quite original.
Hotel Barcelo Raval — Photo courtesy of wayfaring.info
And once you’ve had enough walking, shopping and gazing, a day in the Raval is definitely not finished until you've had a drink atop the Hotel Barcelo. Situated on Rambla De Raval, 360 is one of the best rooftop patios in the city as it gives way onto some of the most beautiful views. If you walk all the way around the terrace you'll be able to see everything from Montjuic, to the Hotel W, to Tibidabo and all of the other emerging neighborhoods springing up around the city.