Barcelona is known as ‘The Mecca of Skateboarding’, although we believe that this nickname is a little exaggerated. Since the late 90s, Barcelona has become the most important international city for skating, but not the real ‘Mecca’ of skateboarding, which would be the Los Angeles area between Venice and Santa Monica for historical reasons.
Even so, it is obvious that the place occupied by the city of Barcelona in the collective imagination is, 20 years later, quite important. There are several aspects that make it a paradise for skateboarding: a moderate climate throughout the year, including a very mild winter; a particular geography (many slopes), a city very renewed due to the Olympic Games of 1992 with a modern and creative urban furniture; a favorable economic situation with respect to many places of the world, an enviable quality of life and an open and respectful town with visitors that does not put too many problems before the avalanche of skaters.
Below we publish a list of the 10 best known spots for skating in Barcelona, avoiding the Skateparks, which we will discuss on another occasion:
1. MACBA: The World Skate Plaza par excellence. Headquarters of the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, inaugurated in the mid-90s, it is a plaza composed of an incredible granite for skating, which multiplies your pop for two. The square has several sections, the most famous of them the 4 blocks (which a few years ago and incomprehensibly were left in 3) where many tricks of reference have been made. Nowadays, the gap of the paper basket, the top curb and the stairs in front of the FAD are the most outstanding points of the square, apart from the flatground, of course. The hot spot of the square has been and is civility. The square is in a very central place of the city, so the influx of pedestrians throughout the day is very high, and not always treated with the respect they deserve. Dirt, noise and the occasional brawl do not help keep the peace in a spot that is on the tightrope despite being the reason why many skaters from all over the world visit Barcelona every year.
2. SANTS: The other historic spot in the city of Barcelona, the Plaça dels Països Catalans, where the Sants Train and Bus Station is located. It was during the Barcelona Olympic Games of 1992 when, among other general actions, the Plaza was established as the point of entry to the Station. The square has a high roof that provides a very good shade during summer, when you can hardly skate due to the heat (and in its day there was a giant fountain where you could cool a bit), and today, despite having the ground is very damaged, the locals have built different drawers and rails since the improvements that the Barcelona City Council always promises are conspicuous by their absence. We can say that the spot has seen better days, but it is still going strong and shining with its own light.
3. PARAL·LEL: Do you like manuals? If so, surely you have already skated in Paral·lel. This spot is a real mystery: why did they design platforms if it was not to skate mannys? Finding perfect spots to get on two wheels is not an easy task, but Barcelona has one that even allows you to make lines. About 5 years ago, and within a ‘plan’ to provide the city with ‘regulated’ spots and skateparks, the City Council technicians took the platforms away, which led directly to the Avenida del Paral·lel, and replicated them inside the Parc de les Tres Xemeneies, which is what the interior plaza is called. Once the reforms were carried out, the division of opinions was served. The spot has been somewhat ‘watered down’, but you can not forget about it, either by history, possibilities and even situation, 10 minutes from downtown.
4. FONDO-LOS PLANOS: We left the big city and arrived in Badalona, perhaps the most skater city outside of Barcelona. The plaza is located in the Parc de les Muntanyetes, in the neighborhood of Lloreda, and it was quite a revolution when it was created, around the year 2003. Immediately the word spread like gunpowder, and you could see, day in, day out, whole international teams throwing down amazing sessions there. The spot stands out for the banks (it still had another larger one that was demolished), for being a fairly quiet place away from the madness of the city center, and for having a strong and well organized local scene that always organizes events for the people of the neighborhood.
5. LAS OLAS DEL BESÓS: In the limits of the city of Barcelona, very close to the Besós River (hence its name, a little jokingly, since the Besós river barely carries water, let alone waves) is one of the weirdest skate spots in the world. Also the fruit of the Olympic fever of 1992, Catalan skaters were left with this pseudo-park, a series of waves of cement with a fence at the end, as a containment. We do not know what was going on around the heads of the illuminated architects, but you really have to be very good at skateboarding to even try to make an ollie over the fence. Therefore, this spot is undoubtedly a ‘pro spot’, more used by visitors than by locals. The list of NBDs is endless, but every so often new tricks are coming out, like lately Chris Haslam (who has done mythical things there) and a double Frontside Flip you can see in the video part ‘Sterling Golden’.
6. BARCELONETA BANKS: Very close to the downtown area of Barcelona, and just in front of the Paseo Marítimo, there are some small banks located on the central island that separates the two directions of circulation. The good fun that these small banks have been giving for more than 15 years seems incredible, as well as those that are just in front of the Maritime Museum, across the street. It is one of the spots that go unnoticed throughout the center of Barcelona, but if you pass by it will be weird not to find anyone skating.
7. FORUM: Big public space created on the occasion of the Forum of Cultures of 2004 (do not ask us what it was, we don’t remember it anymore), the Forum area has become a public park with several ‘spots’ and a small skatepark where you can walk, enjoy the good weather and skate for a while without the hassles of police or passers-by. In the Forum you will find the bright roof ledge-pond (which has been skated so much that the floor is totally chopped), the 5 blocks with wallrides on both sides, and the transitions in the form of waves that encapsulate most of from the park. A good place to spend the day.
8. MERCAT DE LES FLORS: The ledge par excellence of the city. Despite being falling into oblivion and seeing how it is increasingly less present in videos nowadays, the long ledge in two parts of the Mercat de les Flors theater (which as its name suggests, is an old floral market) has been for years a reference of Barcelona thanks to its metallic edges, which makes grinding them a pleasure. There is a small flight of stairs in the middle that separates the two sections and sets you up to make a line. There are never problems with the police or with actors or spectators of the venue, who seem to be very tolerant of skateboarding. The ledges serve as a parking spot too, and many times there are too many cars parked in front, which means you need to find another spot.
9. LOS CAÑONES: Another Badalona spot, located in front of the Turó del Caritg and very close to the Mágic Shopping Mall, this spot houses a double set of 7 + 6 stairs that only the bravest ones attempt (hardly more than 10 tricks have been landed there) and an area of small blue banks. In recent times, local skaters have added several curbs and rails, which turns it into a suitable spot for both those who want to film as well as for beginners.
10. DIY: There are 3 skateparks built by local skaters in 3 towns located in the metropolitan area of Barcelona. The oldest is the ‘Spotter’ in Badía del Vallés, located in an old abandoned sports area, very centered around the transitions, not very big but very crowded with things to skate. The next to appear was ‘La Bóbila’, in Badalona, very close to the Maresme Highway. In this spot, an old abandoned playground of an adjacent school, there are fewer ramps and more curbs, although little by little the locals are contributing more ramps on the side of the stands. Finally, and with just 2 years of life, we find Mataró‘s ‘Caribú’. Located in an old abandoned textile factory, and with a huge space and a very good flatground, the Mataró locals are building non-stop, and it is one of the spots with more possibilities for the future.
These are some of the most famous spots in the city of Barcelona, but there are many more, which we will be commenting on in later editions of this ‘post’. Which are your favorite?