Located in the southern part of the city, Sants is one of the ten neighborhoods that form the district of Sants-Montjuïc, together with other neighborhoods like Poble Sec and Hostafrancs. Sants is an area of industrial origins, formerly the central part of a small village that later became part of Barcelona. Today, it is mainly famous for being the location of Barcelona’s main train station, which connects the city with hundreds of destinations. But what else is there to see and do in the neighborhood of Sants?
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Parque de la Espanya Industrial
The main park in this area of Barcelona is Espanya Industrial Park. Designed in 1985 by architects Luis Peña Ganchegui, Francesc Rius I Camps, Antón Pagola and Monserrat Ruiz, the park is one of the sites that show the strongest connection to the neighborhood’s industrial past. The park occupies the area where La España Industrial, one of the most important textile factories in the city used to stand.
The park has an area of 11 acres, which are divided into a green, grassy field, a big plaza, an artificial lake, play areas, fountains and sports fields. It is a very pleasant area to go to with the family, for a picnic, to exercise outdoors or to take pets for a walk.
The park features a number of statues that were built for the 1929 International Exhibition, and an amazing sculpture by artist András Nagel, called “El Dragón”, which doubles as a slide for children.
Location: Carrer de Muntadas, 37
Related article: Fun in Sants-Montjuïc
Biblioteca Vapor Vell
The Vapor Vell Library, whose name translates to “old steam”, occupies the building of one of the first modern textile factories to appear in the city. The factory opened its doors in 1844, closing about fifty years later when the business was moved elsewhere. For the next couple of decades, the old factory building served as a movie set, a wood workshop, a sports club, and finally, in February of 1998, it opened as Sants-Montjuïc’s central library.
Location: Passatge del Vapor Vell, 1
Carrer de Sants
Carrer de Sants is one of the neighborhood’s most important streets, not only because it leads to Plaça Espanya, but also because it is the most prolific commercial street in the area, considered one of the largest commercial streets in Europe.
Mercat de Sants
Like most neighborhoods in the city, Sants has its own market. Mercat de Sants is located in a beautiful modernist building which mixes ceramics and brick walls, designed by Pere Falqués. The market first opened its doors in 1913, and today it still stands as one of the best and most traditional places to go shopping in the neighborhood. The Mercat de Sants has 35 food stalls, 14 clothing and household stalls and a supermarket, ready to cater to the local population’s needs.
Location: Carrer de Sant Jordi, 6
Sants train station
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, Sants is the neighborhood of the city’s main train station. Barcelona Sants Station was inaugurated in 1979 in the district of Sants-Montjuïc and quickly became the second most important station in Spain, with a monthly flow of over 2,5 million passengers. From Barcelona Sants, people can travel not only within Catalonia but to other Spanish regions and even French cities such as Paris, Lyon, and Toulouse.
The station offers a variety of places to eat, from cafés to fast-food restaurants, a number of stores and services like pharmacies, travel agencies and a tourism office.
Location: Plaça dels Països Catalans
Related article: Vegetarian restaurant in Sants-Montjuïc
Where to eat in Sants
Zarazut is a little, family-style tavern that serves a mix of Basque and Catalan cuisine. Having opened its doors in 2000, the restaurant serves a variety of delicious pintxos that combine tastes like brie with marmalade, tuna tataki with sesame, and foie and quail egg. They also serve full meals with meat or fish dishes.
Location: Carrer de l’Elisi, 13
In business since 2012, MinE serves Catalan-French fusion dishes that are exquisitely prepared. There, you can taste creations such as paella cooked with shrimp soup and mixture of squid and chicken with Spanish sofrito, garlic, and parsley topping; wild pargo fish, grilled and finished with a fruity white wine steam and a smooth lemon cream; and cow tail in a liqueur soup, spicy pineapple, herbal mustard, finished with a traditional demi-glace.
Location: Carrer Béjar, 66
La Paradeta de Sants
La Paradeta de Sants is part of a chain of Paradeta restaurants that exist in different areas across the city. This particular restaurant specializes in seafood, having first opened its doors in 1994, under the name “Shellfish”. Today, it works as a self-service seafood restaurant, which offers good meals at great prices.
Location: Carrer de Riego, 27
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* Main photo by Year of the dragon via Wikimedia Commons