Just 10 km from the centre of Barcelona, Badalona is one of the hidden joys within the city’s metropolitan area. It is one of the oldest cities in Catalonia and one of the places with most character. Being on the sea, and connected to Barcelona by metro, bus, and local trains, it is very easy to get there. The recently opened Pompeu Fabra metro stop, and metro Line 2 offer a direct link straight to the very centre of the city.
History and Heritage
The Roman Town and the ‘Venus’ of Badalona, A Marble Sculpture.
Originally called “Baetulo”, Badalona was built by the Romans on the back of the wine trade. The old city is now hidden in the subsoil, but after long and painstaking work, some of it has been exposed. The medieval part of the city, Dalt de la Vila, is home to some of the oldest Roman remains in Catalonia. Access to this once prosperous Roman city can be gained from the Museu de Badalona. Its streets and drainage system, artisan workshops and boutiques, and the public baths can all be viewed in recently updated displays with audiovisual installations. The museum holds the Venus of Badalona, a beautiful sculpture approximately 30cm high, of which a faithful reproduction is available in the museum shop. A visit to the museum includes access to three sets of remains close by: the Casa dels Dofins, a house belonging to a wealthy family of the time of the emperor Augustus; the Jardí de Quint Licini, which recreates what were the gardens of a well-to-do family complete with swimming pool – now by the side of a car park; and lastly, a section of the underground conduit that brought water to the city.
Museu de Badalona
Address: Pl. Assemblea de Catalunya, 1.
Phone: 933 841 750.
Metro: L2 Badalona. Pompeu Fabra last stop on the line.
Bus: 1, 3, 4, B22, B25, B27, B30, B31, N9 and N11.
Museu de Badalona: Tuesday to Saturday, from 10:00 to 14:00, and from 17:00 to 20:00. Sunday, from 10:00 to 14:00.
Closed Monday, and 25th and 26th of December.
The Casa dels Dofins: the Jardí de Quint Licini and the Roman water conduit are only open at weekends and on public holidays, with the same opening hours as the museum.
Prices: entrance to all the exhibits and remains € 6.00.
Site: www.museudebadalona.cat (English version)
A Walk Through the Historic City Centre
Badalona has a small and well-kept historic city centre with some curiosities that are well worth a closer look. The Carrer del Mar, which takes us from the Ajuntament (Town Hall) to the shores of the Mediterranean, has become the principal thoroughfare and commercial hub of the city. Some older establishments are worthy of a stop, such as the Drogueria Boter (Carrer del Mar, 71). This pedestrian street meets La Rambla, which is a pleasant street for a stroll while flanked by Modernist houses on one side and by the expanse of Badalona beach on the other. The Rambla is the artery where Badalona residents take a walk or sit at the café terraces. The Antic Cafè is one such place whose walls could tell the whole story of the history of Badalona. Another good place for food is the Ca l’Arqué restaurant, which specialises in Catalan cuisine (Carrer Arnús, 89, two streets from Carrer del Mar). The five-kilometre beach of Badalona can be enjoyed at any time of the year thanks to a beachfront path that takes you along the shore to neighbouring towns and villages. If we go south towards Barcelona, we will pass by the Anís del Mono factory to another relic of the industrial age. The Pont del Petroli, now converted into a pedestrian walkway, is an old pier that extends 250m out to sea, and was used to offload fuel for the former power station. It is now an ideal place for a walk, to fish, and for romantics who like to see the sunset over neighbouring Barcelona. A bit further on you will find the port of Badalona, which has a good restaurant called “Sant Anastasi” specialising in contemporary Catalan cuisine.
The Tourist Information Office.
Address: Passatge de la Plana, 14.
Phone: 934 832 990.
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 19:00.
Site: www.badalona.cat (English version)
The Aroma of “Anís”
The Anís del Mono factory is on the sea front of this city, which is using its industrial heritage to reinvent itself. The brand label for “anís”, or Pastís- style liquorish flavoured liquor, was founded in 1870 and became the leading brand of anís in Spain. It achieved its popularity for the quality of the product and because of a well-liked picture on the label – a monkey with features inspired by none other than Charles Darwin. The design of the bottle is also rather unique, with its diamond shapes on the surface resembling cut glass. It is said that it originates from a bottle of perfume that the proprietor, Vicent Bosch, bought on a trip to Paris towards the end of the nineteenth century. Bosch also commissioned prominent Catalan Modernist artists, such as Ramón Casas, to create large advertising hoardings, which can be viewed in this expansive liquor factory. Visitors to the factory can see the whole production process and the Modernist rooms where the archive is kept and the owner has his office. On the way out there is of course the possibility to buy a bottle of this traditionally made alcoholic spirit.
Address: Eduard Maristany, 115.
Reservations: 933 841 750
Opening hours: the third Sunday of every month at 10:00 and at 12:00.
Visits: with guide, must be pre-booked and for up to 25 people.