The Barceloneta is a triangular spit of land that cuts into the sea boats in the old harbour, or Barcelona's Port Vell, on one side, and sandy beaches on the other. The neighbourhood, with its narrow, rectilinear streets, was built on a military grid structure to provide accommodation for the former inhabitants of La Ribera who had lost their homes due to the construction of the citadel. The houses were low-rise and small in scale so as not to obstruct views of the city.
The Barceloneta was once the home of fishermen, people associated with the fishing trade and the metal industry, and is now one of the city's most visited and popular districts. In 1988, in pre-Olympic days, the decision was taken to demolish the old beachfront restaurants, known as xiringuitos, and public baths, heralding a process of opening the city up to the sea and the modernisation of an area which now offers first-class beaches as the main attraction for its visitors.