Poblenou past and present

El Poblenou neighbourhood is full of surprises and is missed by most visitors to the city. Poblenou is technically part of the Eixample, its layout having been drafted by Ildefons Cerdà. However the historic centre of the neighbourhood (which was once a small village outside of Barcelona) predates the grid plan.

Only a mere 15 minutes by metro from the city centre, the area is full of pedestrian streets and is located right next to some of Barcelona’s finest beaches. This is why at Feelathomeinbarcelona have selected this area as a location for many of our best rental apartments.

Poblenou is full of nice surprises. Part village, part Eixample, and largely pedestrian, a stroll its streets reveals an architectural mix of village, interesting industrial architecture, and Catalan art nouveau (modernisme).

Poblenou’s Rambla stands tall with the best of Barcelona’s boulevards, including its more famous counterpart, Las Ramblas, in the city centre. It is lined with elegant buildings and pavement cafés where you can sit and enjoy the Barcelona sunshine. This street is the hub of the Poblenou’s cultural, social and retail life.

This is a typical Barcelona Rambla, stretching elegantly from the sea to the mountains, structured in rectangular and circular forms. Its origins date back to 1853, when the Cerdà Plan was laid out, around an industrial Poblenou which was starting to grow in the centre of the Sant Martí district. The Rambla gave locals an ideal place for a stroll where they could socialise.

Due to its position outside the city, Poblenou offered ideal conditions for setting up of factories and textile mills at the end of the 19th century. Once known as the ‘Manchester of the Mediterranean’, up until the 1940s Poblenou’s skyline was dominated with textile factories. These were surrounded by shanty settlements of Somorrostro and Pequín, with many living in appalling conditions.

Eventually the industrial decline of the 1960s brought about changes in the Poblenou with factories being pulled down and with areas of land being freed up for redevelopment. Poblenou’s regeneration culminated with the 22@ Plan in 1992 when all of Barcelona was given a very large makeover for the Olympics.

The 22@ project has transformed Poblenou’s identity, with its abandoned factories being used for design studios and fashionable loft apartments.

Alongside this modernity, the old Poblenou of narrow streets where fishermen and factory workers once lived still exists. The centre of the old Poblenou district is an area known as Taulat; this was the lowest part of the former village of Sant Martí de Provençals which stood close to the sea.

Its focus is the picturesque Plaça de Prim. Built in 1851, this forms the core of the residential area of Poblenou. This delightful spot features ombú trees and benches, set against the chimney of the old steam mill (these are listed buildings in Barcelona). The square is home to the famous restaurant ‘Els Pescadors’, which owns a sizeable terrace on the square. This is a great place to try some traditional Catalan cooking made with incredible fresh ingredients.

Nearby is Bogatell beach. Again this space was the result of the urban redevelopment before the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. Bogatell is one of Barcelona’s widest and least crowded beaches, and is not seen by most tourists. Only 5 minutes walk from Poblenou’s centre, this is a great place to relax all year round. In summer it offers unlimited swimming and sunbathing and in winter walks in the sun.

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