Inside El Fòrum

©Esme Fox/Lonely Planet

El Fòrum


Once an urban wasteland, this area has seen dramatic changes since the turn of the millennium, including sparkling buildings, open plazas and waterfront recreation areas. The most striking element is the eerily blue, triangular Edifici Fòrum building by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, which houses the Museu Blau.

Next door, Josep Lluís Mateo’s high-tech Centre de Convencions Internacional de Barcelona (CCIB) is a massive work in steel with intriguing contours.

A 300m stroll east from the Edifici Fòrum is the Zona de Banys, with kayaks and bikes available for rent and other activities. This tranquil seawater swimming area was won from the sea by the creation of massive cement-block dykes. At its northern end, like a great rectangular sunflower, an enormous photovoltaic panel turns its face up to the sun to power the area with solar energy. Just behind it spreads the Port Fòrum, Barcelona’s third marina. The area is unified by an undulating esplanade and walkways (with wheelchair access) that are perfect for walking, biking and skateboarding.

The Parc de Diagonal Mar, designed by Enric Miralles, contains pools, fountains, a didactic botanical walk (with more than 30 species of trees and other plants) and modern sculptures.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Barcelona attractions

1. Museu Blau

0.11 MILES

Set inside the futuristic Edifici Fòrum, whose angular facades look like sheer cliff faces (with grand strips of mirror creating fragmented reflections of…

2. Platja del Llevant

0.54 MILES

Created in 2006, in front of the revitalised El Fòrum district, this gold-coloured artificial beach is the city's easternmost and popular with dog walkers.

3. Platja de la Nova Mar Bella

0.74 MILES

Locally loved Platja de la Nova Mar Bella has gold-tinged sand and a bit of a watersports scene, and leads into the new Front Marítim residential and…

4. Platja de la Mar Bella

1.03 MILES

With a small nudist strip, soft blonde sands, some water sports and a skate park, Platja de la Mar Bella is popular with an LGBTQI+ crowd.

5. El Poblenou Platges

1.06 MILES

A series of beautiful, broad, sandy golden beaches dotted with xiringuitos (seasonal beach bars) stretches northeast from the Port Olímpic marina. They're…

6. El Parque Fluvial del Besós

1.07 MILES

Barcelona's river is little-known to visitors, but it's worth it for those who want to explore further. The River Besós lies right at the northeastern…

7. Parc del Centre del Poblenou

1.12 MILES

Barcelona is sprinkled with parks whose principal element is concrete, and this 5-hectare creation by French architect Jean Nouvel, with its statuary and…

8. Espai Subirachs


In a building next to the townhouse in which he was born in 1927, this intimate exhibition is devoted to the late Josep Maria Subirachs. It highlights the…