Today we are going for a walk around one of the most representative and emblematic neighbourhoods of Barcelona: l’Eixample. A network of avenues and streets where to wander with no destination in mind, where you can enjoy jewels of modernism with just looking up. Do you want to join us?
More space and a new way of life
The Eixample of Barcelona was built more than 150 years ago. Eixample in Catalan means extension: a new way of living for its population that today is one of the symbols of the city; Wide streets full of light, terraces to enjoy the atmosphere at street level, courtyards and an architecture full of details and modernist motifs that is admired around the world.
At the end of the nineteenth century Barcelona had the highest population density in Europe because its walls limited its growth. L’Eixample emerged as a new neighbourhood with which to solve this problem and connect the city with its periphery, where industries were beginning to emerge.
Many projects were presented to build this new area of the city, but only the controversial engineer Ildefons Cerdà was able to carry out his project. Most people didn’t understand Cerdà’s avant-garde proposal because according to the most conservative sectors, it was an unattractive and too restrained idea, nowadays it’s one of the symbols of the city thanks to its practicality but also to its unique architectural style in the world.
The Cerdà plan not only pretended to create an advanced and different neighbourhood, but also wanted to improve the living conditions of its population without minding their social class through building spacious homes with all kinds of services nearby; Markets, parks, leisure spaces … He even built some chamfers, anticipating the future traffic in the streets.
Today l’Eixample is a very large district in which houses, restaurants, gardens, cafés and cinemas coexist, among other attractions. However, what attracts most attention is its impressive architecture thanks to which you can move to the golden age of the Catalan bourgeoisie.
A neighbourhood known by foot
L’Eixample today is a must-seeto know the authentic modernist Barcelona, and it also remains as the most populous neighbourhood of the city, so it is a good way to discover the daily activity of Barcelona and its restaurants, shops, local shops, cafés… And if you have expensive taste, you will love the Golden Square, a set of blocks around Passeig de Gràcia, a wide avenue full of shops of the most luxurious brands in the world.
You don’t need to prepare an itinerary to walk around Eixample. Although some places such as casa Batlló, la Pedrera or Sagrada Família, are a mandatory stop, there are many other buildings that don’t appear in the touristic guides but are small one-of-a-kind treasures; Balconies, portals, façades, interior passages or gardens that reflect the modernism of the neighbourhood. You just need time to stare around you and discover for yourself the surprises that l’Eixample has to offer.
In addition, when the sun goes down l’Eixample becomes one of the favourite places to meet for an afterwork and, later, for the university parties of the youngest. Over the last 20 years, Gaixample has also emerged, an area of bars, shops and entertainment venues for the city’s gay community.
If you want to go to l’Eixample from Twentytú, you can get off at several stops on line 1 where you start the tour; Universitat, Urquinaona, Plaça Catalunya … you decide where to start your route around modernism!