THE “BEST” NEIGHBORHOOD IN BARCELONA !!
Yes! Sant Andreu del Palomar is the best neighborhood in Barcelona! For me it is, it is my neighborhood !!!
If you want to know a place in Barcelona that is not very touristy, I recommend that you take the metro and get off at a stop that is not close to the center, that is, Plaza Catalunya. Specifically, I recommend that you get off at the Sant Andreu stop on the red line.
So that´s why on this post I would like to make my neighborhood known. It’s curious. I have been a local Barcelona guide since 2001 and I show Barcelona to tourists, the most known Barcelona: the Ramblas, the Sagrada Familia, the Gaudi houses, the Camp Nou, the Picasso museum, etc. etc. But I have never shown my neighborhood to any client, and in fact the tourists that I have seen in it over the years are minimal.
It is normal. When we travel to a city we usually have only a few days, and most of us want to see the attractions and important places.
Although I have shown my neighborhood to my foreign friends, who already know the “famous” Barcelona and want to know a more local Barcelona, now I would like to write and give some information for those who want to come and visit it.
SANT ANDREU DEL PALOMAR
Sant Andreu is a family neighborhood, tourists do not come here, there is hardly a hotel and of course nowhere to buy souvenirs, pay 5 euros for a beer or eat a paella for dinner (only tourists order paella for dinner !!) ah ! and the “siesta” schedule is respected, so between 2 and 5 it is difficult to find open stores.
In Sant Andreu there is a market, a church, a library, swimming pool and municipal sports centers, soccer club, schools, health centers, residences for the elderly, music school, squares, supermarkets, hairdressers, local shops, bars, restaurants of neighborhood … but above all there is a lot of life. Older people, young people, families, children … People meet and greet each other on the street, it is like a town. In fact, Sant Andreu del Palomar was a town, until 1897 when it annexed Barcelona against its will. This process was repeated in the late 1800s and early 1900s with many other towns that gradually became neighborhoods of the city, such as Horta, Gracia, Sants, Sant Martí de Provençals, Les Corts, Sarrià …
HOW TO GET TO SANT ANDREU DEL PALOMAR?
Sant Andreu has a historical part where it is pleasant to walk. To get there, it is best to get off at the Sant Andreu metro stop on the red line. You will appear in Orfila Square, the heart of the neighborhood.
Here you will find the town hall where many neighbors have married, like myself, and the church of Sant Andreu del Palomar that was built between 1850 and 1882, with later restorations. The church has a dome restored in 2019 and just behind it is a modest basketball court and a one of the squares that I like the most to have a drink or eat some tapas in one of its terraces: la Plaça de l´estació.
LA FABRA & COATS: PAST AND PRESENT OF THIS FACTORY
Nearby is the spacious Can Fabra square, always full of children playing after school and on weekend mornings. The Municipal Library stands out where you can enter without any problem. Located in a building that was part of the old Fabra & Coats textile factory, founded in 1837 and which grew and expanded until it had 3,000 workers, the vast majority of them women, who had greater skill in handling yarns. After the crisis in the sector in the 80s, it closed definitively in 2005. The premises of the old factory, is a space open to citizens, exhibitions, concerts, theater, courses are held … In one part there is an institute, a cultural center and in another, very recent social housing. It is like a small city that is worth visiting. At the entrance there is even an old industrial scale, where trucks with goods were weighed.
SANT ANDREU: A NEIGHBORHOOD WITH AN INDUSTRIAL PAST
In fact, Sant Andreu del Palomar has an industrial past. In addition to the aforementioned Fabra & Coats, there was the ENASA factory (Empresa Nacional de Autocamiones SA) that built the famous Pegaso trucks where the beautiful La Pegaso park is currently located. I still remember when it was inaugurated in 1986 when I was a child.
La Maquinista Terrestre y Marítima dedicated to the manufacture of heavy machinery for rail and maritime transport and civil construction. This company was founded in 1855 in the district of la Barceloneta and moved to Sant Andreu between 1917 and 1922. Hundreds of locomotives, bridges and metal structures of all kinds for all of Spain were built here. It worked until 1989, it was dismantled and in 2000 a park with a pond and decorations that pay homage to the old factory, and a large shopping center were inaugurated in the area.
MAIN STREETS OF SANT ANDREU DEL PALOMAR
The most popular street in the neighborhood for its inhabitants is Carrer Gran de Sant Andreu, full of small shops that resist the opening of shopping centers. Some centenarians such as the Guinart pharmacy from 1896 and the Baltasar printing company founded in 1861.
The Rambla de Fabra i Puig is wider and its central part is pedestrianized, in it there are many terraces where you can have a drink and eat, such as the mythical Bar Colombia from 1913, which has not changed practically anything in its decoration.
Very close by, you reach the Parish of Sant Pacià where many people from the neighborhood have married and many boys and girls celebrate their first communion. This church was finished in 1881 and was built by the architect Joan Torras i Guardiola from San Andres. One thing to comment and that even many locals are unaware of, is that the mosaic design that covers the floor of the church, was made in 1880 by a young architect. Unknown at that time, and who today is surely the best known architect of the city, Antoni Gaudi.
If you want to discover a less known Barcelona, come to Sant Andreu!!!
It is not the most modern Barcelona, nor the most glamorous, but it is an authentic and real Barcelona. If you want to meet him in the company of a local, do not hesitate to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
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