The neighbourhood of El Raval is one of the most eclectic neighbourhoods in Barcelona. It has become a very cosmopolitan area, with a melting pot of cultures after the arrival of residents of all nationalities, among whom are immigrants of European, Arab, South American and Asian origin. And although lately there have been a few problems related to rapidly increasing rent caused by gentrification, the truth is that this is still an ideal neighbourhood for bohemian people, who love to experience street life and who enjoy leisure facilities, multicultural crowds and restaurants only a few meters from their home. Another benefit that is undoubtedly interesting about the neighbourhood of El Raval, is that it is located next to the city center, something that contributes to this area of Barcelona because it adds culture, services and good connections.
The neighbourhood of El Raval is located in the district of Ciutat Vella, the oldest part of the Ciudad Condal. It probably originated from the first medieval settlement, after it expanded behind the initial walls that defined the original city. It is bordered by the other Ciutat Vella neighbourhoods of Poble Sec and the El Gotic. In general the neighbourhood has old buildings, with the exception of some newer buildings.
Apartments are generally of more modest dimensions, and many of them have been renovated, as it is one of the neighbourhoods where prices have increased over the last few years. Prices are relatively affordable, compared to other neighbourhoods in Ciutat Vella, but keep in mind that you pay for the proximity of the city center and that Barcelona is not a cheap city. The neighbourhood has all kinds of services, many different types of restaurants and several nightclubs and bars.
The most important streets of the neighbourhood are Nou de la Rambla and Rambla del Raval, both full of a multitude of establishments, with restaurants of all nationalities and plazas full of life. Cera Street is famous for having many gypsy citizens and it is the cradle of the famous Catalan rumba. The name of the street originated from a tragic event, the plague, that took place all throughout Europe. It devastated the lives of thousands of people because of inadequate health care, which means they had very poor means to fight the plague. The inhabitants of that period lit candles, calling upon the mercy of the virgin not to be infected. The streams of wax (cera) that ran through the streets braught about the name that it currently has. El Raval houses monuments, such as the Monastery of San Pablo del Campo, the Church of San Agustín, the Boquería Market, which you must see at least once, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA), Güell Palace and the original sculpture by Fernando Botero, Raval Cat, located at the Rambla del Raval.