The word Born etymologically means tournament, La Ribera means near the Sea. This was the place where medieval tournaments were made and where many festivals and popular parades were held, between the XIII and XVII centuries.
Historically it was an old district of merchants, fishermen, artisans and labor unions, especially during the powerful medieval times of Barcelona.
So many of the names of its streets still remind those old trades, for example dels Sombrerers (hat-makers) dels Mirallers (glaziers) or dels Argenters (silversmiths).
Nowadays is a very picturesque quarter, with its history and magic atmosphere. It is now the trendy neighborhood of design and fashion.
Nowadays, many artists chose this neighborhood to install their workshops, as the young Pablo Picasso did in the beginning of the XX Century. La Ribera can be defined as the bohemian quarter of the city, the Montmartre of Barcelona.
Discover a walking itinerary through this district and find out more about its hidden gems.
La Ribera Tour
Let's start our tour at Via Laietana, the street that connects Plaça Urquinaona to the Port of Barcelona. This street was in the past the main way to separate the Gothic Quarter and the Barrio de La Ribera.
Palau de La Música
From Via Laietana take the Ramon Mas street where you will see one of the most charming modernist buildings of the city, the Palau de la Música Catalana (Catalan Music Palace). The Palau de la Música is one of the most famous works of the Catalan architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner, one of the leading exponents of Modernism in Barcelona. For more information, discover the dedicated section Palau de la Musica.
Sant Pere de les Puel·les
After visiting the Palau, follow Pere Mes Alt street and you will see the Church of Sant Pere de les Puel·les, at the Plaça de Sant Pere.
This temple was once part of an ancient Benedictine Monastery.
In the XIX Century at the Church there was a major fire, after which it had to be rebuilt. Unfortunately, another fire hit the building during the Spanish Civil War.
Despite this unlucky past, the church is definitely worth a visit as it is still decorated with many interesting Roman and Gothic elements.
The next stop in our itinerary is the Portal Nou, one of the gateways of the ancient medieval Walls of Barcelona.
Mercat de Santa Caterina
Follow the Portal Nou and arrive at Plaça de Sant Agustí Vell. In this Square there was once a Dominican convent, which was replaced in the mid- nineteenth Century by the current market, the Mercat de Santa Caterina.
This market was renovated in the early XX century by Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue. You will be able to admire its colorful decorations inspired by Gaudi's art.
Between the market and the street Via Laietana you will find a street calle Carrer dels Mercaders, with several buildings from the XV Century, where wealthy merchants (Mercaders) were living during the Middle Age.
From the back of the market you will be able to see the remains of the old Convent de Sant Agustí, now transformed into a Military Academy. The most interesting part is the cloister built in the fourteenth century.
In this building you will also find the Chocolate Museum, with some singular artworks made of chocolate reproducing some of the most famous attractions of Barcelona as the Sagrada Familia.
Capella d’en Marcús
The next stop is the Capella Marcús that you will be able to find by following Carders Street.
This Chapel is one of the oldest in Barcelona, and one of the few intact examples of Roman Art Style in the city, built in the XII Century. It was built thanks to its benefactor, the banker Bernat Marcús, who, other than the chapel, also allowed the construction of what we would nowaday call hotel with the function of welcoming visitors to the city when the gateways of the city wall were closed.
After visiting the chapel, you can return to Via Laietana and go towards the sea. Continue until Montcada street where you will find several points of interest.
Medieval Palaces at Carrer Montcada
The street is named after one of the richest and most influential families in Barcelona: The Montcada family, a very rich and influent family, who received this land in Barcelona in the XIII Century by the Catalan Lord for their support in the conquest of the city of Tortosa, owned by the Arabic kingdom.
Observe all the gothic buildings, once homes of the richest merchant families in Barcelona.
All of these buildings have a similar construction style with a central courtyard, from which the main floor of the house is accessed through a staircase. These ancient medieval residences have been converted today into major museums. The street is nowadays an important artistic center because of the amount of art galleries and museums. Some examples are Palau Aguilar, Mecca or the Baró de Castellet and last but not least, the Museu Picasso Barcelona.
In these area you will also be able to admire some Renaissance palaces, such as Palau Cervello or also Baroque Palaces as Dalmases Palace.
We recommend you to visit the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art at the Palau Nadal, the Textile Museum in Palau del Marques de Llió or the Maeght Gallery in Palau Cervello .
The Maeght Gallery is a contemporary art gallery named after one of the great collectors and promoters of art of the twentieth century that still run the museum. Discover the masterpieces of Braque, Chagall, Miro, Antoni Tapies, Giacometti, Calder, Chillida and many others.
Passeig del Born
At the end of Montcada street, you will find the famous Passeig del Born (promenade), a pedestrian street with many shops and bars: the perfect spot to take a break and enjoy a delicious ice cream or a pancake.
Santa María del Mar
After your break it's time to continue our tour. Next stop: the church of Santa Maria del Mar.
Santa Maria del Mar is a must-see, as it is one of the most significant and most beautiful Gothic churches Barcelonabuilt by Berenguer de Montagut starting from 1329, and finished over 50 years later. Inside the church you will be able to admire the typical sobriety of the Catalan Gothic art. Observe the beautiful vaults and the magnificent dome keys. This impressive church is also known as the Cathedral of the Sea, as the famous novel by the Spanish author Ildefonso Falcones.
After visiting the church, head back to the Passeig del Born.
Mercat del Born
At the very end of Passeig del Bon you will find the former Mercat del Born with its impressive structure of steel and glass built by Josep Fontseré in the XIX Century. Nowadays this place hides a secret underground: below the market some archeologists found in 2002 many important remains of the modern city destroyed in the XVIII Century during some renovation works that had to convert the market into a public library. During your visit you will be able to see the remains of houses, shops and workshops of the former Modern neighborhood that King Felipe V destroyed to build the military Ciutadella near the market. Observe the contrast between modern materials (iron and metal) with old stones.
Estació de França
After visitic the old market, take the Avinguda Marqués de L’Argenteria street where you will find Estacio de França.
This beautiful train station is the final part of our tour. The station was inaugurated in June 1929 by King Alfonso XIII in occasion of the International Exhibition of Barcelona, held that year in the city.
It was the first railway line in Spain running from Barcelona to Mataró (a small coastal village close to the city). Observe its metal frame, the decorations, and its double porch, with typical Spanish architecture.
Although our proposed itinerary ends at the Estacio de França, you can continue your tour from Avinguda de Marques de l' Argenteria to the left handside you can access the Parc de la Ciutadella.
Discover all the guided tours and explore the city with a local guide.