From the mountain to the sea
It is one of most famous roads in Barcelona and, as its name suggests, crosses the city diagonally from end to end. Travelling along Avda Diagonal allows us to get to know the city from a new perspective and enjoy the architecture that marks Barcelona out: from classical palaces to the most avant-garde buildings. It also lets us experience the entertainment, culture, trade and restaurants on this very long stroll full of life.
The beginning of a great avenue
From the buildings at the top of Diagonal you can clearly make out the sea. And that is where it ends up, this long, wide avenue that is born in one of the most splendid gardens of the city, the Parc de Cervantes, home to a huge aromatic rose garden. A stone's throw away is the Zona Universitaria, an urban campus built in the early sixties, following the precepts of rationalist architecture. Before you reach the residential area dominated by towering apartment blocks, you will find the Palau Reial, formerly owned by the Güell family, surrounded by lush gardens.
The Palau Reial and its romantic gardens are a must. You can also visit the modernist pavilions designed by architect Antoni Gaudí in the late nineteenth century, when the land now occupied by the Palace formed part of the Finca Güell. Continuing down Avda Diagonal, you can make out huge apartment blocks dotted with gardens. Crossing the avenue, you will see the sinuous skyscrapers known as the Trade buildings, an example of avant-garde architecture from the late 1960s. Nearby, one of the adjacent streets leads down to the Camp Nou, a work of reinforced concrete from 1957.
The Diagonal crosses the Eixample, the perfect grid pattern laid out by urban planner Ildefons Cerdà. The section that finishes around Carrer de Sardenya is a commercial hub of the first order, with several shopping centres, restaurants, entertainment venues and exclusive hotels. On top of this it is also a treat for the eyes, chock-full of spectacular buildings, with Modernista gems such as the Casa de les Punxes, a gothic-inspired block designed by Puig i Cadafalch, Palau Quadras, Casa Serra, by the same architect, and Casa Sayrach. At a junction where Diagonal crosses Carrer Sicília, stands one of the most unique buildings in Barcelona, Casa Planells, designed in 1924 by the architect Josep Maria Jujol.
Avda Diagonal at its most contemporary
From Plaça de les Glòries, dominated by architect Jean Nouvel's imposing Torre Agbar, to the Fòrum, the city's most modern neighbourhood and where the Diagonal finally finishes, this avenue crosses the Poblenou neighbourhood. The area still retains the feel of its industrial past, which coexists with the innovation and technology district, 22@, with impressive avant-garde buildings that house leading companies in the sector. The tower block of Torre Diagonal Zero Zero, building number 0 on the avenue and the headquarters of Telefónica, is a wonder of contemporary architecture. With its 110 metre stature it has altered the city's skyline.