Considered the most glamorous street in Barcelona, Passeig de Gracia is home to not only the most exclusive shops in the city but also to two of Gaudí´s most sensational buildings.It links the historical old town to the new city, running from Plaza Catalunya to Gracia, an area that was originally a separate village but that was engulfed by Barcelona´s expansion in the latter half of the 19th century.
Dedicated shoppers will be in absolute heaven, although credit cards may suffer after a stroll up and down this boulevard; top end brands such as Chanel, Dolce and Gabbana and Ralph Lauren are all found here.There are also shops more accessible for everyone, with Zara´s flagship store to be found on the corner of Passeig de Gracia and Gran Vía, and Mango, Hennes and others amongst the long stretch of shops.There are two indoor arcades, one dedicated to antiques (Bulevard dels Antiquaris) and another filled with 50 or so small designer clothes shops (Bulevard Rosa), both located on the block between c/Aragó and c/Valencia.One shop definitely worth visiting is Vinçon (Passeig de Gracia, 96, just after the crossing with c/Mallorca).The building itself is a heritage site and the interior patio (upstairs in the furniture department) provides the best rear view of Gaudí´s La Pedrera.Hip interior design at affordable prices provides the shop’s content, and it is almost impossible to leave without some impossibly cool item, even if just a trendy spoon.
Shops asides, Passeig de Gracia is world famous for its Modernist buildings; particularly famous are Casa Batllò (No.43) and La Pedrera (No.92) by Gaudí.It would be hard to find another architect that has had such an influence on the design of one city and Passeig de Gracia is the best example of this.His unique touch can be seen everywhere from the elaboration of the paving stones to the street lamps, and anyone who stops to rest their weary feet on one of the mosaic benches found up and down the street is also sitting on one of his creations.Gaudí´s two celebrated buildings apart, there other architectural delights that should not be overlooked.The notorious ´Manzana de la Discordia´ (Block of Discord), humorously named for the widely varying styles of building on display, has Domènech i Montaner´s Casa Lleó Morera at No.35 and Puig i Cadalfalch´s Casa Amatller at No.41. Both are exceptional examples of Modernism and worth viewing on the way to Casa Batllò, Gaudí´s more celebrated neighbour.
There are plenty of places to stop for a bite to eat and drink along the way; the pavements are pleasantly wide with enough space for lots of outdoor tables and chairs.Fast food chains have unfortunately managed to sneak in, but there are good tapas bars for quick pick-me-ups and high end cuisine at restaurants such as Tenorio (No.37) or on many of the roads crossing over to Rambla de Catalunya.
Passeig de Gracia is served by two metro stations, Diagonal (L3, L5) and Passeig de Gracia (L2, L3, L4).A word of advice – the L3 line is a long way away from L2 and L4; making a change between these lines means traipsing along a hot and seemingly endless underground tunnel in which the far end is barely visible…Far better to leave the station and make the 2 block walk to the L3 entrance on Passeig de Gracia (at c/Consell de Cent) above ground if you have a metro pass with unlimited journeys.