GUEST POST OVERVIEW: Today’s guest post comes from my old friend Aleix, who writes about a must-see location in Barcelona: the Ciutat Vella…aka, the Old Town.

“Barcelona’s old town is known as Ciutat Vella, which translates as Old City. This part of the city is divided in three parts or subdistricts: the Raval, the Gòtic and Born. Today we will break down these three places and discover places to see, eat and drink in each of these parts of town, which are unique in their very own way and that you should definitely visit.

image00-373x600To the right hand side of the Ramblas and delimited by Paral·lel, Ronda Sant Pau and Ronda Sant Antoni we have the Raval was what used to be known as el barrio chino, the red-light district but what is now a centre of Barcelona‘s culture.

Here we can find interesting museums to visit such as the MACBA (contemporary art), CCCB (cultural exhibitions) and the Arts Santa Mònica (contemporary art and communication) and some cultural institutions such as the Filmoteca de Catalunya, a cinema where they screen old and new alternative films in original version.

If we fancy some shopping we can head to Carrer Tallers, where we can find some of the best vintage clothes shops in the city as well as some great music shops.

When it comes to eating, Raval has some nice little restaurants but none more popular than Pollo Frito on Sant Pau 31 to sample the best roast and fried chicken in the city. For drinks we can head to Bar Pastis, a tiny classic French bar near the statue of Colombus on Santa Mònica 4, where we can drink the best French pastis and absynthe in an atmosphere reminiscing of 50s Paris with Édith Piaf in the background.

The Barri Gòtic is to the left of the Ramblas, opposite the Raval. Here we can find some great places to shop, such as the pedestrian streets of Portal de l’Àngel and Portaferrissa, a mix of high-street brands and vintage shops and some of the best typical Catalan food in Barcelona, such as Granja la Pallaresa, who make the best xurros and hot chocolate in the city, which is on Petritxol 11, just off Portaferrissa.

image01-354x600The Gòtic is also the home of Barcelona’s gothic cathedral, the oldest in the city and the original one, a majestic construction in the middle of the narrow streets. For drinks, nothing better than Carrer Avinyó, a street with plenty of bars either side full of locals where we can enjoy a nice cocktail or a fresh beer after a day’s walk.

And last but not least, El Born, what some say is the coolest district in Barcelona. Not only does it have the Picasso Museum, the gorgeous church of Santa Maria del Mar or the magnificent modernist Palau de la Música Catalana, but it also has some of the best small shops to buy vintage clothes or accessories.

When it comes to food, we can find La Fianna on Banys Vells 15, a trendy and cool bar/restaurant with dim lighting with excellent food at decent prices, where we can also have a drink after our meal in its cozy armchairs or sofas. If we fancy something more lively, head over to Passeig del Born, a wide street with bars either side that will give you many options for you to have a great night.

Visit Barcelona’s old town when you rent apartments in Barcelona. It might be the tourist district but it has many secrets to offer that you cannot miss on your trip to the Catalan capital.”

About the Author: Aleix Gwilliam is a 24 year old from Barcelona who looks English but thinks like a Catalan. He enjoys traveling, especially on old Czech trains, and trying to start conversations in Hungarian with people at Pecs station, even though his Hungarian is as good as his Bulgarian, in other words, not very good. He’s a trier.