Things to do
Walking around and just absorbing the rich atmosphere of the district is a vital part of the experience to your visit to El Born, the Heart of Barcelona, and where better than streets that have been rich in history since mediaeval times.
Passeig del Born or "Paseo del Borne", in Castilian, is the wide avenue from the old market to the cathedral and has been in existence as a major route since the days of the Knights in Armor, and in fact those very Knights held their jousting tournaments on horseback along the Passeig during festival times. This is the best place for people watching.
Carrer Montcada is most important as an example of medieval architecture in the district. Starting from the 12th Century Marcus chapel and going as far as the Plaça del Born it is now two streets having been split in in the 19th century. Originally a road from the rich merchant families homes to the then sailing and shipping quarter it has been a road of riches for hundreds of years, and this is reflected in the magnificent buildings. As well as architectural interest this is a street of many interesting shops. Wine, pastry, medicines and others can be bought from shops which have been operating in the same location for hundreds of years.
The Picasso Museum is held by 5 palaces and can be reached from Carrer Montcada. It contains many of the great arists early works and is a must-see for the real student of art seeking to understand his development before he created his more widely known abstract styles. Beside the art on display a visit to the Museum offers a great opportunity to see inside some of the medieval palaces with grand square and sweeping arches built by skilled Catalonian stone masons of antiquity. Open hours: 10AM to 8PM (but last visitors entry at 7:30PM). Closed Monday. Entry fee €11.
The Textile Museum (El Museo Textil) is housed in two historic palaces and holds fabric items including medieval Hispano-Arab textiles, and a collection of fashion from the baroque to the 20th century. Open hours: 10AM to 7PM. Closed Monday. Entry fee €5.
The Chocolate Museum is run by the Confectionery Guild of Barcelona and is targeted at the younger visitors with many special activites arranged. Check their website for details. Open hours: 10AM to 7PM (3PM on Sunday). Entry fee €4.30.
The Barbier-Mueller Pre-Columbian Art Museum houses artefacts from pre-Columbian south america. Located in the next street fromt he Picasso Museum it is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11AM. Closes 7PM Tue-Fri and 8PM Sat/Sun. Closes 3PM on holidays. Entrance fee is €3.50 with discounts for students, young people and groups over 10.
The Santa Maria del Mar, is so named because in medieval times the say came all the way up to the outside of this grand building. Still used today as a place of worship it is a must-see in El Born.
One of the oldest buildings in the city the Chapel of Marcus (Capella d'en Marcus) is now only partially formed as walls have been absorbed into neighboring structures. However should be seen as one of the rare examples of 12th century buildings.
More things to do around Barcelona
Looking for more things to do around Barcelona but don't want to spend a fortune on tickets? Check out this great guide to free activites in Barcelona from acouplefortheroad.com. They've reesarched everything from Parks to Public Art, check out their tip on how to get into the Picasso Museum for free!