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Everybody knows about Sagrada Familia, La Rambla and Park Guell but the real Barcelona often goes under the radar. El Raval is a very famous area, known for different movements in the start of the 1900s. Almost 100 years later you can still feel the anarchy thriving. If we go back ten years in time, el Raval was considered a dangerous place to be in. Tourism has made the area less dangerous, although the residents of this gritty area are considered alternative and free-spirited.
El Raval is the main area for graffiti and other kinds of street-art. When you enter El Raval, you immediately feel a change to the city, a change that is vibrant, full of life and most importantly, local. Street artists from around the world take up residency in El Raval because of this energy that is felt there. The city council is well aware of this and they will allow many street artists to do their work here. Some of the most prolific street artists in history have spent time in Raval doing their works, Space Invader, Keith Haring, and Banksy, just to name a few.
There used to be a painting of Banksy around but it got erased because for the street-art community it is really important that street-art should be made for non-profit purposes, which means that they do not care for artists who sell their art. Artists like these are always returning because they know that Raval is easily one of the best places in Europe to put works of art on display in the streets. Barcelona also houses pieces from new artists like Milata and Konair. They have developed into two of Barcelona’s greatest and you can find their art around different neighbourhoods of the city.
Barcelona has had a helping hand making El Raval to the thriving art hub it is today. The city spent millions to renovate the area to make it more attractive. The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (abbreviated MACBA) that opened in 1995 functions like a heart to the skating scene of Barcelona. Barcelona still struggles with keeping prostitution and drug dealing out of El Raval but the laws are not always followed nor enforced. There are some parts you want to avoid like the lower part of the area with Carrer Sant Pau and Carrer dels Robadors as the worst ones.
To do a free tour in El Raval in the most authentic way, visit Original Barcelona Tours.
The is a guest post written by Alexander Barwén, City Manager of Original Europe Tours GmbH
Barcelona. Thanks Alexander for writing this very informative post. Barcelona, and now El Raval is definitely on my bucket list.
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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Jan WildJanuary 27, 2018
Oh I wish we had known about that tour before we visited Barcelona. We stayed on the El Raval side of La Rambla and whilst I was a little intimidated when we arrived after dark, we loved our time in the area. It was so totally different to the other side of La Rambla which was much more touristy (and undoubtedly accommodation there would have been more expensive.
KathyJanuary 28, 2018
I’ve never been to Spain Jan, but it is definitely on my bucket list. El Raval certainly looks like an interesting part of Barcelona to visit.