The idea of buying property in El Raval is becoming increasingly attractive as more people find out about this centrally located and upwardly mobile area.
If you are uncertain of its precise location, El Raval runs off to your left as you walk down The Ramblas from Plaça Catalunya and given its long and interesting history, it is not surprising that the neighbourhood oozes character.
Centuries ago El Raval was where all the vegetables for the city were grown, so if you've ever wondered about the location of the Boqueria market, it was once a convenient place for farmers to bring their produce just outside Barcelona's medieval city walls.
Enclosed by the second set of city walls in the 14th century, El Raval was the site of monasteries, convents and churches until the arrival of the industrial revolution 400 years later.
El Raval became home to Barcelona's early textile factories and the building of cheap workers' housing turned it into an overcrowded slum, which when the factories moved away in the 20th century became a notorious red-light district known as the Barrio Chino.
In the last two decades, open spaces have been recreated, artists have moved in and wonderful museums, such as MACBA and CCCB, have opened.
However, El Raval remains El Raval where Romanesque churches sit alongside grafittied walls and on its streets immigrants rub shoulders with tourists staying at one of the neighbourhood's new luxury hotels.
If you are thinking of buying property in El Raval, you are best advised to bear the neighbourhood's stimulating past and present in mind.
If you are prepared to put some renovation work in and don't mind walking up stairs, you can still find some incredible property bargains in El Raval at under €100,000.
Plenty of mid-range apartments are available at around around €400,000 in fully refurbished properties with lifts and you'll also see luxury flats priced at between 800,000 and a million.
However, given the nature of the area, I find that most enquiries come from youngish professionals or couples who have recently moved to Barcelona and want to to enjoy the exhilarating lifestyle on offer in Ciutat Vella.
Similarly, there is a lot of interest from people looking for a holiday apartment in Barcelona city centre which they can easily rent out to tourists when they are not using it.
Their budget is generally around €200,000 and they tend to be looking for a two-bedroom flat in reasonably good condition ideally with some kind of balcony or terrace.
If you're looking to spend around €200,000 and want a two-bedroom apartment in Barcelona's funkiest city centre neighbourhood, the following El Raval properties are what you are likely to find.
The first of our property in El Raval options comprises a recently refurbished 70 m2 apartment located on Carrer Nou de la Rambla just a minutes' walk from the Ramblas.
The property is right in the heart of Barcelona's Ciutat Vella, equidistant from both Drassanes and Liceo metro and to do your travelling, you have walk past Gaudí's magnificent Palau Güell.
This would be perfect as a permanent residence for a young professional or couple and as a holiday home, its location means you would have no difficulty renting to tourists when it's vacant.
The property has been immaculately refurbished and boasts a fully equipped bathroom with bathtub and a separate toilet and
the modern kitchen comes with fridge-freezer, cooker-oven, dishwasher
and washing machine.
The large sitting-dining room has a small balcony and the whole apartment features Catalan beams and high. ceilings.
This two-level flat is furnished with parquet flooring and double-glazing makes for complete silence in this busy part of the city.
This 70 m2 attic-loft apartment on Carrer Tallers just off the top of The Ramblas close to Plaça Catalunya really does take some beating.
This section of El Raval is incredibly close to great shopping and monuments making the apartment ideal as a permanent residence or as a holiday home that can be rented out to tourists when you aren't there.
This apartment dates from 1936 and has two bedrooms and a large living room and one of its nicer features are the visible beams so typical of pre-Civil War Barcelona.
With air-conditioning and heating installed and parquet floors, you'll be extremely comfortable particularly given the amount of light the attic position affords.
The fully-equipped kitchen and bathroom have been renovated recently and the building has a new lift.
Although theoretically belonging to the community, the apartment gives on to an expansive roof terrace which in practice is almost private given that other residents have to climb stairs to gain access.
This 80 m2 apartment is a good example of a property in El Raval that really requires some investement.
It is located at the Sant Antoni end of Riera Alta looking out onto Carrer de la Cendra so it's well-situated for the metro, Sant Antoni market and the absolutely brilliant Taller dels Musics jazz and flamenco school.
Jam sessions and student performances at the Jazz Si bar are generally free or very cheap, by the way.
However, this is a quiet part of the neighbourhood well away from the tourists, making this property in El Raval more practical as a permanent residence.
It's got one double and two single bedrooms as well an ample 14 m2 sitting-dining room.
The kitchen and bathroom have a certain rough and ready feel about them and are the apartment's weak point, in my opinion.
The wooden floor conceals absolutely gorgeous stone-ceramic floor tiling that combined with parquet would make this flat very special.
Realistically, given the amount of work that needs doing, it's probably overpriced and with some astute bargaining, it should be easy enough to make a successful lower offer.
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