El Poblenou: Creative renewal by the seaside gives Barcelona’s old industrial zone a fashionable makeover

The seaside neighbourhood of El Poblenou is cultured, sophisticated and upwardly-mobile, but it wasn’t always that way. Barcelona’s old industrial district found itself in a perpetual spiral of decline, but the 1992 Olympic Games changed everything. A generation, huge investment and an artificial beach later, run-down El Poblenou has been dramatically transformed. Derelict factories have made way for studios, shops, cafes and restaurants, and new money has arrived. All of a sudden, this leafy oasis has become the Catalan flag-bearer for urban renewal.

How to get there and move around

Train / Metro

There are two ways to get from Barcelona-El Prat Airport to El Poblenou, depending on where you’re staying. If your hotel is in the north of the neighbourhood, take the R2 Nord train to its terminus at El Clot. If you’re staying in the centre or south, change for Metro line L4 at Passeig de Gràcia.

Train: Mainline to El Clot, or change for Bogatell, Llacuna or Poblenou (Metro L4) at Passeig de Gràcia


To get to El Poblenou from the airport, take the Aerobus shuttle from T1 or T2, changing for local services at Plaça de Catalunya. The night bus also serves this part of town.

Bus: Aerobus to Plaça de Catalunya, change for B20 or B25


You can pick up a taxi outside either airport terminal – a journey to El Poblenou at off-peak times takes around 35 minutes.

Taxi: Terminal 1 & 2 taxi ranks

On foot / bicycle

The well-planned streets of El Poblenou are technically part of the Eixample grid system, so you’re unlikely to get lost if exploring on foot or on a bicycle. There are several bike rental operators in the neighbourhood.

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