The dark horse of Barcelona's quirkiest neighbourhoods, Raval is the ultimate example of "love it or hate it" type of community in the city. Its borders are defined by Las Ramblas on the east, Avinguda de Parallel, Ronda de Sant Pau and Ronda Sant Antoni on the west and north-west, Carrer de Pelai on the north-east, and the Mediterranean on the south. Long considered the seediest, poorest and most dangerous part of the whole central Barcelona, mostly due to its barrio chino, "chinatown", in the heart of the neighbourhood, Raval has been undergoing a truly remarkable transformation in the last decade.
What once used to be a concentration of poverty and immigrant desperation is now a vibrant multicultural district that has welcomed a superb museum of modern arts (MACBA), a nice street promenade (Rambla del Raval), a host of ethnic eateries and trendiest bars. The Raval demographics are still heavily influenced of immigrants from India and Pakistan, the median income is significantly lower than that of Barri GГІtic and El Born, and some petty crime does occur along with prostitution, but modern-day Raval is very different from Raval fifteen years ago.
Accommodation in Raval is the most affordable one in central Barcelona, so Raval is a favourite haunt of students, young tourists and backpackers. Thanks to its largely immigrant population, stores do not close on Sundays and are open long hours on the weekdays, making living there not only edgy and fun, but also practical and convenient.