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Atipika Guides / Eixample

Eixample

Barcelona’s Eixample district (the word means ‘expansion’ in Catalan) is a clear testament to the power of town planning, where a period of prosperity and democracy at the end of the 19th Century enabled a man’s utopian vision to become a grid-like, homogeneous reality.

The man was Ildefons Cerdà, who formulated a plan to create an expansion based on long, straight streets and octagonal residential blocks that surround green areas and are never far from local services such as schools, hospitals and transport links.

In this way, Barcelona was widened and the Eixample now has the city’s highest population density. It is also where you’ll find some of the most famous architectural gems, including Gaudí’s celebrated Casa Batlló and Casa Milà (popularly known as La Pedrera).

Across the other side of Avinguda Diagonal, the boulevard that cuts through the Eixample, sits La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona’s most iconic building and still Gaudí’s unfinished symphony nearly a century after his death.

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Architectural innovation is on show on every corner of the Eixample, with a key part of the design being its crossroads. In every case, buildings are chamfered to maximise light and give a sense of openness. Within these buildings some of the most majestic apartments can be found, generous proportions providing the perfect environment for living and, more recently, powering the city’s commercial success.

Rambla de Catalunya is a beautiful street that leads down to the Old Town, and offers much more for pedestrians than cars. Running parallel to this leafy wonder is the magnificent Passeig de Gràcia, where glittering retail outlets and upmarket hotels are flanked by Modernista beauty and the functionality of the Stock Exchange.

The abundance of facilities is testament to Cerdà’s vision, and he would no doubt approve of the popularity of this area with the upper echelons of society, offering endless fascination for discerning tourists but also providing beautiful homes for business executives and international families looking for excellent international schools and an enviable quality of life.

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The main underground line is the L5, while the area’s proximity to Plaça de Catalunya provides a wealth of transport options including city and airport bus connections as well as trains on the RENFE and Catalan Railway (FGC) networks. Like most of central Barcelona, it’s easy – and more rewarding if you have a little time – to walk to most destinations.

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