Until Horta was annexed to Barcelona, around 1904, the city’s big guns had their summer homes in the area, and many have recently been restored and reused. You’ll find examples such as the premises occupied by the restaurants Can Travi Nou and Can Cortada as well as more unusual historical sites like the former public laundry. Arguably one of the most visit-worthy local buildings is Can Mariner, an 11th-century masia (traditional Catalan country home) that has housed the barri’s public library since 2008, and specialises in theatre.
This small square – which is less than 1,000m2 – is the backbone of almost all of Horta’s social and commercial life. Until 1907, it was called Plaça del Mercat (Market Square) as it was the location of the barri’s municipal market. Climb the stairs that lead out of the Horta metro stop (L5), and you’ll find yourself transported to this haven. The elderly men chatting on the benches are more famous than the statue of the Ibizan woman that stands in the square (Eivissa is ‘Ibiza’ in Catalan). And you’ll find two noteworthy bars: Quimet d’Horta, which is justly famous beyond Horta for its sandwiches, and Louise Se Va, with its own quality sandwiches and salads, and a rocking playlist.
Horta has the oldest garden in the city, which is certainly something to be proud of. It’s not easy to reach, but every good Barcelona resident, and visitor worth their salt, should make the effort and visit the Labyrinth Park at least once, because it has the aura of a place that is full of magic. Divided into two parts, a neoclassic garden and a romantic one, across its nine hectares you’ll find statues, fountains, noble buildings, and more. So it looks splendid, but it’s also loads of fun to spend a few hours playing hide and seek with your partner or offspring in such a place. This park is a treat even if not everyone realises it.