Vila de Gràcia

Lively, radical, arty warren of fun and solidarity: Vila de Gràcia in Barcelona

8th April 2017
Map of Vila de Gràcia, Barcelona

Map of Vila de Gràcia.

Vila de Gràcia, the heart of the district of Gràcia, is a warren of very strollable streets and inviting squares fringed with café-bars, craft, design and fashion stores, restaurants offering every kind of cuisine, cool bodegas, independent cinemas, music venues, theatres, art galleries, craft workshops, two excellent indoor markets, plus much, much more. 

The neighbourhood is famed for its Festa Major in August, when hundreds of thousands of visitors cram the narrow streets to inspect the residents’ wonderfully inventive decorations.

Vila de Gràcia is also well-known for its political activism, with frequent protests, meetings and direct action which occasionally provoke a heavy-handed response from the Mossos d’Esquadra’s Mobile Group (anti-disturbance police).

You could easily spend a whole month strolling and grazing around, stopping off at squares, window shopping and dancing ’til you drop, and never get its measure.

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Until 1897 Vila de Gràcia was a town in its own right and still has its own town hall (ajuntament). 

Deceptively quiet during the day​ the squares come alive after local kids get out of school. Then the shops, markets and bars fill with locals on the way home from work. Then it's dinner and the restaurants get busy. And then the grown ups come out to play in the squares.

With streets called Danger, Friendship and Liberty, and squares named John Lennon, Revolution, and the Women of 1936, how can you not explore this intriguing neighbourhood?

If staying here you’ll have a great time. Even if you're not a party animal, it's a fascinating area to simply stroll around — you're sure to find something interesting. Getting in and out of the city centre by bus, metro and FGC trains is a breeze.

If staying elsewhere in the city then it’s well worth a visit — perhaps for lunch or dinner, or a drink and a snack on your way to or from nearby, Park Güell in neighbouring La Salut.

People

Opera diva, Montserrat Caballé was born here, at  Carrer de Igualada, 21.

Movie director, Isabel Coixet lives here, as does singer-songwriter, Jackson Browne.

Esteemed writer, Mercè Rodoreda, although she lived in El Putxet before her exile in France, immortalized the neighbourhood in her classic 1962 novel, La plaça del diamant — In Diamond Square, set immediately before and during the Civil War.

Rumba catalana Catalan rumba music, made popular in the mainstream by The Gypsy Kings, was nurtured here. 

Festivities & Traditions

Els Foguerons

Last weekend of January — in 2018: Jan. 26th & Jan 27th. Bonfires,  a parade, correfoc, music and food.

Festa de Sant Medir

March 3rd — a colourful cavalcade of horses and carriages, freely distributing tons of sweets as it parades through the streets. All good fun.

La Diada

June 4th — the neighbourhood celebrates its Diada (founding day) —when they'll be a correfoc.

Festa Major

August 15th — August 21st

The whole neighbourhood goes crazy for a week. Streets compete to construct the most elaborate and entertaining decorations from recycled materials, and every square is packed with colour and music — from traditional folk, through swing, country, jazz, rumba, havaneres, R'n'B, world music, to ska, thrash-punk and techno. And all the decorated streets have stages hosting more music, theatre and dance.

My tip: Dress appropriately and go to Plaça Revolució at 8.30am on the first day (August 15th). You will most certainly see me there — I go every year. Follow the noisome parade to the town square, rest up a while with a drink and a snack, and then visit each of the decorated streets before the hordes arrive. You will never forget the experience.

Vlia de Gràcia Castellers in Plaça de la Vila, Gràcia, Barcelona
Town clock, Gràcia, Barcelona.
Castellers Ajuntament de Gràcia

Food & Drink

Snacks

Café Diamant in Plaça del Diamant. Here's my write-up.

Pizzeria Lucania II on Carer de Terol. Here's my write-up.

Tapes

Nou Can Codina on the corner of Torrent de l'Olla and Carrer Perill. Write-up HERE.

Bar Bodega Quimet on Carrer Vic just below Travessera de Gràcia. Write-up HERE.

Bar l'Amistat on the corner of Carrer Torrijos and Carrer Ramón y Cajal. Write-up HERE.

Roure on the corner of Carrer Luis Antúnez and ​Plaçeta de Sant Miquel. WRITE UP.

Restaurants

All these restaurants offer a good value menú del día. And all are good for dinner.

Cal Boter. My write-up​.

Goliard. Write-up HERE.

​La Singular. Write-up HERE.

Somodó. Write-up HERE.​

La Llesca​. Here's my write-up.

Bars

Raïm 1886, on the corner of Carrer Progrés and Carrer Siracusa. GUARDIAN write-up HERE. Spottedby Locals write-up HERE.

Markets

Mercat de l'Abaceria on Travessera de Gràcia. WRITE-UP.

Mercat de la Llibertat. WRITE-UP.

Bodegas

Bodega E. Marin. In between l'Abaceria Market and John Lennon Square. WRITE-UP.

Bar Bodega Quimet on Carrer Vic just below Travessera de Gràcia. Write-up HERE.


Arts & Entertainment

Cinema

Cinema Verdi on Carrer Verdi.

Cinema Verdi Park on Carrer Torrijos.

WRITE UP HERE.​ LINK TO CURRENT PROGRAMME HERE.

Cinemes Texas. Great little cinema run by film drector, Ventura Pons. Recently voted the best little cinema in Europe, all seats only 3€. All movies are in original language with Catalan subtitles. LINK HERE.

Live music

Heliogàbal on Carrer Ramón y Cajal. LINK.

Centre Artesà Tradicionàrius at Plaça Anne Frank. LINK.

Pipa Club at C/Santa Eulalia, 21. LINK.

Art, Design & Photography

Galería H2O at the top end of Carrer Verdi. LINK.


Kids' Stuff

Model Railway Exhibit

Barcelona en Miniatura — a lovingly crafted animated diorama of Barcelona as it was in the 1930s. Only open on Sundays between 11am and 2pm. FREE ADMISSION for youngsters aged 12 and under. Grown-ups: 3€. Plaça del Nord. LINK.

Dracs, Gegants & Capgrossos. Dragons, Giants and Big Heads.

Gràcia Town Hall. Permanent exhibit of local processional imagery. Weekdays only. FREE ADMISSION. LINK.

Enjoy exploring Vila de Gràcia.

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