Barrio de Sant Antoni
Are you looking for a leafy and non-touristy neighborhood in Barcelona? Sant Antoni is the place for you! Part of the Eixample Esquerre district, it is quite near to the historic city centre, but far enough from the most crowdie parts of the city to be able to sleep quietly at night. Sant Antoni offers everything, from old fashioned food markets, tapas bars and restaurants to trendy cafes and spots making the area the perfect one for a special stay in Barcelona. If you'd like to discover Barcelona on foot, then Sant Antoni is ideal because practically everything is within reasonable walking distance!
Though part of Barcelona’s city centre, Sant Antoni is not part of the historic old town. De facto the development of the area dates back from the 1880s onwards, when Barcelona expanded its territory outside its medieval walls. When its current nonofficial centre –the marketplace- was built, there were very few houses around it. Formerly a working-class area, Sant Antoni has undergone important changes in the last decades –the transformation started with the 1929 International Exposition-.
What to see
Nevertheless Sant Antoni neighborhood is a mecca for those who are passionate about foodie tours. But there are some other places you should visit.
- Sant Antoni Market
This beautiful and historic building, created by Antoni Rivera i Trias in 1882, every Sunday hosts a book market. Here you are allowed to browse through dozens of book stalls which include English language books, antique and rare titles. Located in Carrer del Comte d’Urgell, this market is worthy visiting not just for the atmosphere you can appreciate, but mainly for the building architecture and the tasty traditional food stalls. Furthermore here you can find clothes and accessories, fresh local produce, basically everything you need at a good quality with a good price –even a large selection of technology-.
- Carrer del Parlament
It is the perfect place to enjoy the neighborhood life. Here there are so many bars that it will be hard not to find the right one to suit your needs! You can have a brunch at the famous Federal Café, a heavyweight spot in Barcelona. It is so popular that you’ll have to wait quite a while for a table. Don’t miss the “secret” terrace : it is one of the best places in Barcelona to eat in the open air!
On the opposite side of the street, you can enjoy a visit to the art gallery "Escalera de Incendios", literally “a fire escape ladder”. By its name you can easily understand the creative goals and nonconformist spirit of the place : the project aims to widespread the independent contemporary art. Here you can meet artists, buy their works and take part in some events.
- Renoir Floridablanca Cinema
It is a very popular meeting place for those who are passionate about cinematography : here movies are projected in their original language. The cinema hosts seven screens and its archive includes also world movie premieres. It is the right place to spend some free time during windy and rainy days!
- Jardins de Tete Montoliu
Named after the jazz pianist Tete Montoliu, the garden is located right where the ONCE -Foundation for Cooperation and the Social Inclusion of the Disabled- was placed. It is a homage to the 5 senses : having a walk through it, you will be surprised by colors, flowers, trees, perfumes and textures. Since there is a wide variety of plants, like lavender and rosemary, it will be a feast for your senses!
- Jardins de Candida Perez
If you are tired of long walks or city noise, take a rest in this special oasis. Inaugurated in 2009, it has a couple of benches under shaded trees, a playground for kids, and the Joan Oliver City Library right next door. The atmosphere is totally poetic : it’s not a surprise that it carries the name of Càndida Pérez, a famous Catalan couplet singer of the early 20th century.
How to get there
You can get to Sant Antoni by underground : take the L2, the violet line, and get off at Sant Antoni station. Otherwise you can take the L1, the red line, or the L3, the green line, and get off at Universitat or Paraŀlel station respectively.
Every January, its inhabitants celebrate the Festival of Sant Antoni. This traditional neighborhood festival is very popular among the residents : there is a traditional Correfoc –fireworks exhibition-, Giants Parade, multiple concerts and much more, making it a truly unmissable event!