Until 1988 Raval was Barcelona’s red-light district, and the name was synonymous with poverty and criminality. Eventually, Barcelona’s council decided enough was enough and invested a great deal of money in transforming the whole area.
Today, Raval is a multicultural, trendy and buzzing district with personality and character by the bucket-load. The area’s historic heritage can still be seen in parts of Raval, but as you walk through the area you will see plenty of cranes and ongoing renovations, bearing witness to the ongoing development of the area, as slowly but surely it cuts more and more ties with its past. A wonderful mixture of Spanish and international culture has developed, reflected more than anything in the generous assortment of restaurants and bars that have sprung up in recent years. Here you can also find Barcelona’s best range of vintage shops.
Over the years, Raval has become a popular area for expressive art and culture, and you can plenty of art studios, galleries, bookshops and artisan boutiques along its streets. Raval also features the likes of the world-famous MACBA art museum, the CCCB exhibitions centre, and on Carrer Nou de la Rambla, the building ‘Palau Güell’, designed by Gaudí.
The area is characterised by smaller apartments – averaging 50squaremetres – often in turn-of-the-century buildings. The prices here are still significantly lower than other parts of the inner city. As renovations and continued clean-up operations progress, prices are expected to increase to levels similar to those of other parts of the old town.