Known for its wide avenues and grid pattern, the Eixample is a vibrant district to the north of old Barcelona with great shopping and a lively bar scene.
The Eixample was constructed in the 19th and early 20th centuries as an extension of Barcelona to the north of the original old town. The name simply means ‘expansion’ in Catalan. Although known for its large squares, wide avenues, posh shops and lively bar scene, Eixample is also a major residential area.
The district is vast and so is split into many smaller neighbourhoods. Locals most commonly refer to a location as being west or east of Carrer de Balmes. The neighbourhood to the east known as Dreta de l’Eixample (Right of the Eixample) is most relevant for tourists with the large public square Plaça de Catalunya, the upscale shopping streets Rambla de Catalunya and Passeig de Gràcia, and a little further to the east the world-famous Sagrada Familia.
Plaça de Catalunya
The place to be when FC Barcelona win a trophy, this large public square is seen by many to be the centre point of the city. Many major roads meet here, most notably La Rambla of the old town and Passeig de Gracia of the ‘new’ Eixample district.
Covering an area of approximately 50,000 square metres, the plaza is best known for its fountains, statues, and flocks of hungry pigeons. Surrounding the square are some major shopping names including the department store El Corte Inglés and a large Apple Store.
Passeig de Gràcia
The main thoroughfare is Passeig de Gràcia, which connects Plaça Catalunya to the old town of Gràcia. The district’s most interesting architecture can be found here in the area known as Quadrat d’Or. Here you can find a lot of the famous modernist buildings from the end of the 19th century, including Casa Batllo and Casa Mila from Antoni Gaudí.
Some of the biggest names in world fashion have a home on or around Passeig de Gràcia, including Chanel, Emporio Armani, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Rolex, Stella McCartney, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent. But the street isn’t just for the very wealthy or window shopping, there’s also a smattering of more affordable stores too, including MAX&Co, TCN, Mango, Zara, and & Other Stories.
The gay district
Although LGBT life is spread all across Barcelona, the most popular area among the gay community seems to be Eixample, in particular where the streets Calle Diputacio and Calle Arago meet Calle Balmes and Calle Villaroel. Around here you’ll find a diverse collection of gay bars, nightclubs, gay-friendly businesses and a friendly vibe.
Despite being affectionately known as “Gayxample” by locals and regular visitors, the district isn’t exclusively gay and there are plenty of “straight” bars and cafes side-by-side.
Hotels in Eixample
The Eixample district is a great choice for accommodation if you want to be away from the hustle and bustle of the Gothic Quarter, but still within easy walking distance of some of the city’s best bars, restaurants and shopping. Hotels vary from simple lodgings right through to full-service luxury. Search for hotels in Eixample