Between The Port and Barcelona Airport
The Zona Franca-Port area, although included as part of the Sants-Montjuïc District, is not technically a neighbourhood because it does not include any residential zones.
Bordered by the Barcelona neighbourhoods that comprise Marina de Sants and the towns of el Prat de Llobregat and l’Hospitalet de Llobregat, the Polígon Industrial de la Zona Franca is exclusively a logistics and industrial area.
The origins of the industrial estate date back to a failed attempt to create a duty-free zone close to the Port of Barcelona in 1929 but the project only really took off in the 1950s when factory space was needed as Catalonia became massively industrialised.
The most iconic factory of the time was the SEAT car production plant, which not only became a symbol for the growth of Barcelona but also was heralded by the Franco Regime as an example of Spain’s economic miracle.
Following SEAT’s acquisition by the German automotive giant Volkswagen Group, the plant no longer produces cars, but is now solely used as a press shop, stamping out metal body panels. It currently employs 1,269 people.
The Zona Franca also has a Nissan Motors factory, which produces the Nissan Pathfinder and Nissan Primastar, and an important factory owned by the paint manufacturer Bruguer.
However, today, the area takes advantage of its strategic location between the Port of Barcelona and Barcelona-El Prat Airport and, although many factories and warehouses remain, the primary activity is logistics.
At the time of writing, the only public transport is the bus but there are plans to extend the L11 Metro Line to Zona Franca, which will make connections with Barcelona much easier.