As far as fashionable neighbourhoods in Barcelona go, Passeig de Sant Joan is one example that has made a striking comeback. Starting at the Arc de Triomf and stretching westwards through the Eixample district in Travessera de Gràcia, this well-known street comprises a myriad of popular spaces and attractions along the way.
However, its greatest trait is probably its modern resurgence that has turned it into what it is today: trendy Passeig de Sant Joan.
Passeig de Sant Joan dates back to 1872 when it was designed as part of the Modernist Eixample neighbourhood. The original vision for the street was to become one of Barcelona’s two grandest tree-lined avenues, along with Passeig de Gracia. But where Passeig de Gracia immediately became a sensation, Passeig de Sant Joan didn’t quite live up to its promise, even though it did attract some of the city’s wealthiest families.
Time moved on, and the smarter Passeig de Gracia became with its luxury brands, the more behind Passeig de Sant Joan seemed to fall. It wasn’t until a major boulevard restoration, implemented between 2012 and 2013, that the area’s attractions started coming to life.
The result was a shabbier side of the city transforming into the heart of Barcelona. Today, trendy Passeig de Sant Joan is growing in popularity, not only among residents and tourists seeking a great time out, but also those looking to expand their property portfolios.
Modern-day Passeig de Sant Joan
After reducing the number of traffic lanes for wider sidewalks and moving one of Barcelona’s busiest bike lanes into the avenue’s central part, Passeig de Sant Joan was able to offer more space for outdoor seating – just what the numerous outdoor terraces and stylish restaurants were waiting for.
Today, trendy Passeig de Sant Joan is quickly earning a reputation as one Barcelona’s best foodie hubs with its up-market brunch spots, fashionable eateries and gourmet food stores.
Popular attractions and hangout spots
Situated just below the Arc de Triomf and sharing its location with the city zoo, the tranquil Ciutadella Park is the biggest park in Barcelona. Its spectacular 17-hectare layout features a lake for rowing boats, an assortment of picnic spots, numerous sculptures, the Museum of Zoology and Geology, various trees older than a century, and its prime piece: the Cascada fountain which was designed to resemble Rome’s Trevi Fountain.
The Arc de Triomf
Regarded as the late 19th century gateway to the modern Barcelona, and one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, this monument flaunts a classical shape and features striking sculptural and decorative finishes abound with symbolism
With over 2,000 animals from 300 different species, and more than 1,300 trees, bushes, and plants from 332 botanical species, the Barcelona Zoo remains a top-notch destination for many locals and travellers, young and old.
Known as one of the first brunch spots to open in the improved and trendy Passeig de Sant Joan, Granja Petitbó offers stylish leather sofas and wooden tables for customers looking to enjoy their famous brunch with burrata cheese, pastries and coffee.
As the name suggests, ChichaLimoná treats patrons to natural and delicious lemonade, but it’s certainly not the only item on the menu. High-quality ingredients make up an enticing brunch menu which includes eggs Benedict, various pastries, and fresh smoothies and juices.
An add-on from the original El Árbol Brunch, this second location ensures a versatile menu for diners looking to explore Passeig de Sant Joan. Expect colourful décor, hanging plants and swings, and a non-stop kitchen which even serves dessert for breakfast.
Located right next to Granja Petitbó and ChichaLimoná, Cafe Búho treats Barcelonians to an industrial-type interior style akin to New York. Along with breakfast and brunch, the menu offers up coffees, cocktails, mocktails, plus a range of vegetarian dishes.
Catering for Catalonians’ love of pizza, Parking Pizza serves up its slices on large communal wooden tables. Those not keen on pizza are advised to try the starters, salads, and delectable ice creams.
Other well-known eateries along Passeig de Sant Joan (especially for brunch) include Firebug Bar and Bistro, La Foga, Panorama Bar and others.
Smart location for property investors
In terms of location, Passeig de Sant Joan is pure gold with its collection of boutiques, restaurants, cafés, parks and other attractions – a major advantage for locals and foreigners looking to invest in Barcelona property.
The stylish El Born area (with its narrow medieval streets, cocktails bars and samba), Passeig de Gracia (regarded as modern-day Barcelona’s most glamorous shopping avenue), The Parc de la Ciutadella (280,000 m² grounds which include a zoo, a lake, and various museums), the beach, and a mixture of other appealing sites are all within walking distance.
What also sets Passeig de Sant Joan apart is the fact that although it’s in the middle of the Eixample with all its charm, it has none of the overcrowding found in other areas. Locals relish in the wide and bright streets with lots of parking, ample playgrounds for children, a sturdy public transport system, health facilities, as well as good schools and an all round healthy neighbourhood ambience. Families, especially, find Passeig de Sant Joan appealing, forming a big selling point from a residential angle.