San antoni Tour: a microcosm of the metropolis

Nestling snugly between the Raval and Poble Sec districts of Barcelona, bounded by the thoroughfares of the Paral·lel (the Broadway of interwar Barcelona) and the Gran Via, lies the area of Sant Antoni.

Who? Saint Anthony, the local patron saint of animals, whose holy day used to be marked by a procession of all manner of animals into the city.

Why? Because this central district is representative of the city of Barcelona as a whole: once a working-class area, it is now home to bearded hipsters riding their fixies from coffee shop to gallery. Its magnificent market, the city’s largest, housed in a hugged modernista building, is currently being restored (slowly, due to the inevitable discovery of Roman remains beneath it). The stalls—and the Sunday book market it usually hosts—are being housed in temporary structures until work is completed. The area’s architecture is a mix, with architectural gems sitting alongside more functional building.

 Food and drink also reflect both the district’s heritage and the city’s cutting-edge vibe. Sip a home-made vermouth at an old-time bodega or a chai soy latte in a groovy coffee joint. Munch on tapas on a terrace or savour 21st-century snacks crafted by the Adrià brothers. Or anything in between.

The tour will give you a real taste of the neighbourhood, taking in the old, the new, the cosy, the bold, design, tradition and more. All with a stop or two on the way, to enjoy a refreshing drink and rest your feet.