The MACBA is the popular name and the initials of the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, one of the most importants in the city. The MACBA is also very famous internationally. Even if the idea of creating a contemporary art museum in Barcelona had been born before, it wasn’t until 1986 that its construction started. The great white building with huge windows located in Plaça dels Àngels was designed by the American architect Richard Meier. The MACBA, though, wasn’t inaugurated as a public museum until 1995.
However, with just 20 years of history, the MACBA has managed to be a museum internationally respected. Nowadays, it includes several buildings, a foundation and a very important library and art research centre.
The apartments near the MACBA are located in the neighbourhood of El Raval
, which is part of the district of Ciutat Vella (Old Town)
. It is part of Barcelona’s city centre. El Raval is at the same time one of the trendy neighbourhoods of the city and one of the dangerous areas at night, although it isn’t especially dangerous if you are careful, same as in any other big city. It can get a bit sketchy at night.
The neighbourhoods of El Raval are usually young students or professionals, young couples and immigrant families that have been settling in there during the last decades. You will find plenty of Pakistani and Indian supermarkets as well as Halal butcheries and bakeries. El Raval is a very interesting and multicultural part of Barcelona, and it’s definitely worth visiting.
Since both the MACBA and the Raval are in Barcelona’s city centre, there are plenty of options for shopping as well! In El Raval itself, you will find many little record shops and book stores, as well as vintage second hand clothing shops and designer’s shops, as well as bazars and antiques shops. You can find some expensive ones, but there are also many bargains – you just have to look for them!
If you want to do some regular shopping, you’re at walking distance from the main shopping streets in the city centre: Carrer Pelai, Portaferrissa, Portal de l’Àngel and Passeig de Gràcia
. There, you will find all the major brands, both high couture and regular.
Finally, the MACBA has its own shop, which is one of the libraries from the chain La Central. You will find lots of interesting books about art, culture and philosophy, as well as design items. It’s hard to go in without buying anything!
The best way to move around Barcelona is with the underground system, called the Metro. The MACBA is right in the city centre, which means that you can access different lines. The closest metro stations are Catalunya, where you can get the L1 (red) and L3 (green), the main lines in the centre. With L3, you can go up Passeig de Gràcia until Lesseps and Vallcarca, from which you can go to Park Güell. In the opposite direction, L3 will take you to Paral·lel or Espanya, from which you can get to Montjuïc: In Paral·lel, taking the Montjuïc cable car, and from Espanya climbing up the mountain. In Passeig de Gràcia you can also take L4 (yellow), especially useful in the summer, since it’s the metro line that goes to the different beaches. If you walk past the MACBA coming from Plaça Catalunya, you will arrive to Sant Antoni, a metro station where you can get L2 (purple). This line will take you directly to Sagrada Familia.
Of course, the main attraction around the apartments near the MACBA, is the MACBA itself! This great building hosts one of the most important museums in Barcelona, and one of the best contemporary art museums in Europe. If you’re travelling with the whole family, check the agenda, because sometimes they organise activities and workshops for children.
Next to the MACBA, you will find the CCCB, Barcelona’s Centre of Contemporary Culture, where you will find many other interesting exhibits. Often, the CCCB hosts film festivals of all kinds, and they show films for free in the hall.
Of course, around the MACBA you will be at walking distance from the rest of tourist attractions of Barcelona located in the city centre: Plaça Catalunya and Passeig de Gràcia, where you will be able to see Gaudí’s Casa Batlló
and La Pedrera
as well as other gems from Catalan Modernisme; the lively avenue of Las Ramblas
, which will take you to the Columbus Monument and the Port Vell. Crossing Las Ramblas from El Raval, you will be in the Gothic Quarter, a never-ending source of landmarks and beauty. It will be hard for you to choose where to go next!
El Raval is a trendy and multicultural neighbourhood, so you have plenty of options to eat. In La Rambla del Raval, you will find nice and affordable tourist menus as well as tapas place. Next to the MACBA itself, there are a couple of bars with terraces that offer very nice tapas. Besides, in El Raval you will find plenty of restaurants, vegetarian options and Moroccan, Indian and Pakistani restaurants.
But there is a unique option you may not know of. Do you know what’s a great place to go have lunch or a snack as well? The market of La Boqueria! Don’t stay just at the beginning, where those gorgeous fruit stalls are located. If you go to the back, you will find stalls that sell food to go. It’s yummy and affordable!
As we’ve mentioned before, if you book one of GowithOh’s apartments near the MACBA you will be in the neighbourhood of El Raval, which is one of the main partying areas in the city. If you want to go dancing, you will find plenty of options nearby, such as Apolo, the most beautiful club in Barcelona – yes, beautiful! It’s an old theatre and dancing hall, and it’s worth going just to see the the lamps and the decorations in red lights. They play different kinds of music depending on the evening: Indie rock for their parties on Mondays and Tuesdays, rumba, or electronic music during the weekend. The fans of electronic music can also go to Moog, a little club famous for the quality of the DJs.
But if you just want to go for a drink and then retire to the apartments near the MACBA, you are in the right area as well! Around the museum you will find plenty of great bars, such as Casa Almirall, Beirut or L’Horiginal, which also has a terrace for an ideal summer night plan.