El Born District

El Born Barcelona

Barri del Born - Barrio del Born

Things You Should Know About El Born (Area of Barcelona) Before Visiting Barcelona

El Born (Area of Barcelona) 

Where is El Born district in Barcelona?

El Born and the Gothic Quarter are the old city parts of Barcelona. They are also the trendiest and  the most popular neighborhoods for young people to hang out. 

Both areas are located in the center of the city, 10-15 minutes walking from each other. The closest tube stations to visit El Born are:

Santa María del Mar is a beautiful Gothic church located in ‘El Born’ area of Barcelona. 

Most of the buildings built during the Gothic period had some influence from other styles, however this church it’s the clearest example of the pure Gothic architecture in Barcelona.

The church was built only in 55 years  (1329 – 1384), but it had to be renovated after few vandals attacks, such as on 1936, when it was set on fire and burned for eleven days in a row.

The church is also known as ‘Cathedral of the Sea’. This name may be familiar to you from a TV show on Netflix, which is based in Barcelona and takes action when the church started being built. The TV serie is based on a book that has been translated to many languages. 

Looking for a good book before your trip?


What to see in barcelona - El Born Santa Maria del Mar -whataboutbarcelona.com

Santa María del Mar opening hours

The entry is free before 1 pm and after 5 pm everyday.  However, the opening hours may change depending on the day of the week:

Santa María del Mar Tours

The church also offers two different tours: 


The entrance can be bought at the main door of the church or online: at their official website or at the official Barcelona Tourism website.

The money raise from the tickets is used for the maintenance of the church, so if you don’t manage to get in for free or you decide to book a tour, you will be supporting a good cause.


How to get to the Cathedral?

The closest tube stop to the Santa Maria del Mar is Jaume I (L4, Yellow Line) or Barceloneta (L 4, Yellow Line), both ~4 minutes walking..

2> Santa Caterina Market - Mercado de Santa Caterina

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This market in the Born district is used by local people for their daily shopping. Is not as touristic and crowded as La Boqueria market, which is next to Las Ramblas. The market is quite small and has got few places to eat and have a coffee inside.

The outside is very colorful and the roof has some nice curves that make it very attractive to any visitor. If you like visiting local markets, you will definetly enjoy strolling through the market and seeing the variety of Mediterranean food available.

3> Museu Picasso de Barcelona

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Pablo Picasso was one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.  He was born in the south of Spain (Malaga) but spent many years learning and working in Barcelona. He is mostly famous for his paintings, although he also worked as sculptor, printmaker and ceramicist.

This musem has his largest art collection, with over 3,500 works of art.

  • Opening hours: From Tuesday to Sunday, from 11 to 21h. 
  • The adult ticket costs 7€ (free the first Sunday of each month, and  every Thursdays after 17h ).
  • Free tickets need to be book in advance. Available online up to 4 days before the date.

4> Antic Mercat del Born - Old Born Market

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The Antic Mercat del Born was Barcelona’s first large iron building and it was built as a covered market hall, used from the 1920s to 70s. The building had different uses over the time but they all failed.

During a transition to yet another use, they discovered that the whole thing was built on top of well-preserved roman ruins.

In 2013, the building was opened as El Born Cultural Centre. The entry to the center is free of charge and there are free audio guides to visit the archaeological site from the balcony. The tour takes around 15-30 minutes and will give you a good insight into Barcelona’s past history.

More info at the Official El Born MCC website.

What to see in barcelona - Old Born Market MCC-whataboutbarcelona.com
What to see in barcelona -Mercat del Born building whataboutbarcelona.com

5> Ciutadela Park - Parque de la Ciudadela

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This park is located only few steps away from El Born area, not far from the city center.

The park has a relaxing and lovely atmosphere. It’s a great spot to get away from the bustle of the city center and a good place to do a picninc on a sunny day.

Don’t miss out the gorgeous fountain in the middle of the park. You can climb up the stairs to get a closer look at the waterfall and the fancy architecture of this statuary, created by Josep Fontseré and Antoni Gaudi between 1875 and 1881.

Another beautiful spot is the lake, surrounded by palm trees, where you can row a boat.

The park is very close to the Arc de Triomf and the Barcelona Zoo.

What to see in barcelona - Ciutadela Park -whataboutbarcelona.com
What to see in barcelona - Ciutadella parc lake whataboutbarcelona.com

How to get to the Ciutadela Park?

The closest tube station is Arc de Triomf. It may be the best option if you want to also see the triumphal arch statue, so you can visit both things, arch and park, at the same time. The park is not far from the beach, the closest stops from there are Ciutadella Villa Olímpica and Barceloneta.

Do you still have energy to keep strolling around? Keep discovering the little streets of El Born, the area has many alternative shops and alive bars and coffee shops to chill out. If after all this walk, you still have energy to keep going on,  take a dip in the most popular beach in Barcelona, La Barceloneta, just 15 minutes walking from El Born area!