The neighbourhood of La Barceloneta is located along the seafront. Its name literally means ‘Little Barcelona’ and it forms part of the Ciutat Vella district. Barceloneta is the smallest part of Barcelona city and forms a triangle between the Port Vell, the old port and the Platja de Barceloneta.
History of La Barceloneta
The Barceloneta was once the home of fishermen, people associated with the fishing trade, and today is one of the city’s most visited and popular neighbourhoods. In 1988, in pre-Olympic days, the decision was taken to demolish the old beachfront restaurants (xiringuitos), and public baths, a process of opening the city up to the sea and the modernisation of an area which now offers first-class beaches as the main attraction for its visitors.
Its history goes back to the 18th century, when it was established as a new, planned neighbourhood, with a Baroque grid layout that has been preserved almost intact. At that time it was a sandy area on the outskirts of the old city, which was reached through the Portal del Mar, the gate located approximately where the Museu d’Història de Catalunya is today, in the Palau del Mar.
The first project of construction of the district was led by General Marquis Castel Rodrigo, who in 1718 designed was to be called, Barrio de la Playa (district of the beach). This area was designated to the inhabitants of La Ribera neighbourhood, who had been evicted from the neighbourhood of the Born-Ribera when Barcelona was taken during the Spanish Succession War, between 1713 and 1714.
The original architecture of Barceloneta has been described as an excellent example of Peninsular Baroque Urbanism, with single-floor low houses.
One of the original houses of that time (CASA DEL PORRÓ) can still be seen and visited in Carrer Sant Carles, 6.
Until the mid-nineteenth century, the activities of the inhabitants of the Barceloneta were primarily related to the sea: fishing, port activities and construction of sailboats. It was from the ban, in 1846, to build other steam engines inside the walls of the old town (current Gothic Quarter) when a certain industrialization of the district of Barceloneta, especially industry gas production began.
From 1920’s and forward, the industrial sector of the district began to stumble under the increasing competition and lack of capital, and new sectors developed in the neighborhood , such as carpentry, furniture making, small chemical factories, jewelers, watchmakers, and so on.
La Barceloneta nowadays
La Barceloneta is one of the most loved districts of Barcelona, both by the locals and tourists. Because of the success and increasing popularity of the neighborhood, some locals prefer to go to other beaches of Barcelona or even outside or town, such as Sitges, Roses, or Ocata.
And there are good reasons to this success. Barceloneta offers countless activities and places to go. You can walk by the beach, enjoy a mojito at a chiringuito, rent a surf or paddle surfboard, have dinner at an amazing paella or fish restaurant, and at night, get ready for Barcelona’s cosmopolitan nightlife.
Barceloneta beaches are artificial
There were no beaches in Barcelona until 1992. The seaside of Barcelona was full of local industries up until the city decided to host the Olympic Games.
The district consists of a total of four beaches. Sant Sebastià beach is the closest to the modern W Hotel, then comes the beach of Barceloneta, and further down you will come across the beach of Sant Miquel, where the magical sculpture of Rebecca Horn (L’Estel Ferit) is located. The beach of Somorrostro is the last one in the district where there used to be a shanty town that housed 15,000 people up until the mid-20th century.
It’s the biggest beach in Barcelona at 1,100 meters long. Barcelona has 9 beaches, which occupy some 4.2 kilometres. From North to South, the beaches are Playa del Llevant, Playa de la Nova Mar Bella, Playa del Bogatell, Playa de la Nova Icaria, Playa del Somorrostro, Playa de la Barceloneta, Playa de Sant Miquel and Playa de Sant Sebastia. In addition to these beaches, you also have a bathing area, the Fórum.
To discover all there is to know about the magical fishing neighbourhood of La Barceloneta join us on our unique and authentic tour of Barceloneta, it is so unique from the rest of the city it even has its own flag!
We love Barcelona. We love Catalonia. We want you to fall in love with it too!