Barcelona has one of the greatest collections of Art Nouveau buildings of any city in Europe, and more of this style of architecture than any city in the world. The style, known in Catalonia as Modernisme, flourished after 1854. This was when the city decided to dismantle the medieval city walls to make room for development. This was previously a military construction-free zone.
Eixample is one of three great historic districts in central Barcelona, getting its name from the “expansion” that occurred in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The plan called for a rigid system of grid-aligned streets. At each intersection, the corners were chamfered to allow buildings to overlook squares. One of the great exceptions to this grid system was the “Diagonal”, a main avenue running from the aristocratic area of Pedralbes down to the harbor. Another exception was the diagonal Avenguda de Gaudi, which runs diagonally from the Hospital de la Santa Creu i de Sant Pau towards Antoni Gaudi’s church of the Sagrada Familia. This church is Barcelona’s most celebrated Modernista building. Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece was begun in 1882. It rises above the streets of Eixample. The polychromatic ceramic mosaics and sculptural forms inspired by nature are typical of Antoni Gaudi’s work, from which the term “gaudy” is derived.
For an economical stay in Eixample try our pick, Travessera de Gracia Rooms, located at Travessera De Gracia, 366-1. This apartment/hostel offers easy access to all the main attractions in downtown Barcelona. Its location is excellent and convenient. This apartment is walking distance to Barcelona’s most important monuments and buildings in the Eixample, only 5 minutes walk from the Sagrada Familia. Good restaurants are found nearby at Avinguda de Gaudi, only 4 blocks away. While one can also walk less than 2 miles to Barcelona’s Old Town, where the world famous Las Ramblas is found, it is also conveniently reached by taxi, bus, or metro. Las Ramblas is Spain’s most famous street. The third district with much interest to tourists is Montjuic, best reached from Eixample by public transportation.