Barcelona attracts visitors from all over the world. One of the most prominent areas is the Gothic Quarter, or Barri Gòtic, which is what this page is all about.
Where is the Gothic Quarter located?
Barri Gòtic, or the Gothic area of the city, is located in the Ciutat Vella district and stretches from Via Laietana to La Rambla (or Las Ramblas), as well as from Plaça de Catalunya to Passeig de Colom. The Quarter bears the name Gothic due to its ancient roots and medieval, gothic-styled architecture. Furthermore, it still retains a labyrinthine street plan, which in reality is plenty of narrow streets that lead to numerous squares.
The history of Barcelona Gothic Quarter
The Barcelona Gothic Quarter, which encompasses Barcelona’s old city, dates back to medieval times when it was a Roman village. Some parts were built centuries ago – for example, the Roman wall and other notable medieval landmarks.
Nonetheless, the majority of the Quarter and its Gothic buildings were constructed much later – in the 19th and early 20th centuries. At the time, the oldest area was subject to transformation to become among the top tourist attractions in the city. It was devoted to the 1929 International Exhibition – the second World Fair held in Barcelona.
However, the reconstruction didn’t stop after the event and was further implemented up until the 1960s. That’s the time when neo-Gothic architecture appeared in the Quarter. Some buildings, including the Gothic Cathedral, a famous museum Casa Padellàs, and even the Flamboyant-style bridge, were modified.
With all the construction works, the Quarter has become a blend of Gothic-styled architecture: on one street, a tourist can find both Middle-Age buildings near ones built towards the end of the 20th century.
What are the main sites to visit in the Barcelona Gothic Quarter if you take a walking tour?
Since the old Barcelona’s Gothic area of the city is rather small, a tourist can get a truly rewarding experience by taking a walking tour along winding streets. Here are the top attractions in the old city:
One of the most notable places in Barcelona, the old square Plaça Reial, is among the top spots for city tours around Gothic Quarter Barri. The location is near Las Ramblas and offers plenty of things to do. It also brings in a lot of people during the annual La Mercè festival, being among the top tourist attractions.
Plaça del Rei
Plaça del Rei is a prime place to visit as it hosts many beautiful ancient buildings. In particular, the Barcelona City History Museum and Palau Reial Major – a complex of historic buildings – are located there.
Plaça de Sant Jaume
Plaça Sant Jaume is a square, named after the Church of Sant Jaume is Quarter. Here, you can see the City Hall and the Palace of the Generalitat of Catalonia. If you take a walk along Carrer del Bisbe street, you will reach the Cathedral.
Plaça de Sant Felip Neri
The small square takes its name after the church — Sant Felip Neri. Besides the square, visitors will find a building ensemble that used to be occupied by Barcelona’s coppersmiths’ guilds and shoemakers. Previously, both used to be located on Carrer de la Bòria. Plaça de Sant Felip Neri is also known because of numerous movies that were shot there. In particular, it’s Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and a music video for My Immortal by Evanescence.
Plaça del Pi
The old square mostly attracts bohemians and artists. However, its ensemble is spiced up by the famous Cathedral — Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi. It’s another worth-visiting Gothic Cathedral that offers to see beautiful facades and bell tower that rises 54 meters up.
The Gothic Cathedral – the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia – that dates back to the 14th century represents Catalan Gothic architecture. Its particular notable features are Saint Eulalia’s Crypt, Choir, Cloister, and Chapel of the Holy Sacrament and of the Holy Christ of Lepanto. Moreover, an amazing view of the old Barcelona opens from the rooftop.
Although Barcelona offers many other prominent medieval buildings to see and visit, this cathedral stands out from the majority not only because of its beauty but also its size. For example, it’s much higher than Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi — a church located not far from the Gothic Quarter Barri.
A prominent Jewish Quarter is one of the must-visit spots. It offers tourists a chance to see how the Jewish lived in Barcelona before they were abolished more than 600 years ago. There are still some untouched parts that allow you to experience their life.
Where to eat in the Gothic Quarter Barri
Satan’s Coffee Corner
Carrer de l’Arc de Sant Ramon del Call, 11
Satan’s offers one of the best coffee you can find in Barcelona. Have it together with the traditional Japanese breakfast, and you are fueled for the day.
Gelaaati Di Marco
Carrer de la Llibreteria, 7
If you want to cool down on a hot day in the Gothic Quarter, eat an ice-cream with the most extraordinary flavors here. The place serves the best ice-cream in Barcelona.
Carrer del Regomir, 4
It’s an artisan bakery you can pop into when in the Gothic Quarter. Although it opened its doors to Barcelona tourists and citizens only a couple of years ago, it’s already gained the popularity of the best bakeries.
Carrer de Salomó ben Adret, 12
Teahouse Barcelona is basically the only place to enjoy a cup of delicious tea and have a good time. It’s easy to find – the Barcelona Cathedral is just a street away.
Pastisseria La Colmena
Plaça de l’Àngel, 12
Although the Pastisseria doesn’t date back to the Roman time, it’s still one of the oldest cake shops in Barcelona. You will literally get the chance to touch the live history here.
Carrer de Salomó ben Adret, 12
The place serves Mediterranean, European, and Spanish cuisines. But the real diamond is the top wine list.
Las Cuevas de Los Rajahs
Carrer d’en Gignàs, 2
A cave-styled bar attracts with its interior only. However, you can also enjoy Stand-Up, live music, or performance of a local Barcelona band.
Tasca El Corral
Carrer de la Mercè, 17
The bar is famous for its home-made vermouth at an affordable price, delicious tapas, as well as a rich collection of cheese and wine. Don’t get too confused when you see Hamon on the ceiling.
Carrer Nou de Zurbano 8
If you want to have a tasty burger in Barcelona and enjoy a one-of-a-kind atmosphere, the cafe is the right pick.
Carrer dels Escudellers, 14
The restaurant that was founded in 1835 boasts traditional Catalonian food and is among the top spots in the Gothic Quarter. Fresh seasonal vegetables as well as top quality seafood are delivered here from the famous market La Boqueria which is situated nearby the Gothic Quarter Barri.
Carrer de Copons, 7
A Japanese restaurant was awarded a Michelin Star. Besides delicious meals from the chef, you will like watching the food preparation process in a beautiful spot.
Via Laietana, 49
A Michelin star restaurant Caelis is located not far from the private Barcelona museum Museu de la Xocolata. There, you can also see numerous famous sites like a concert hall Palau de la Musica Catalana and have a lot of other things to do.
The most convenient way is to take the Aerobús. It stops at Plaça Catalunya; from there, the Gothic Quarter is only a street away. Aerobús leaves every 15 minutes from airport. You can buy tickets online, at the bus stop, at vending machines, or directly from the bus driver.
The Gothic Quarter offers a lot of places to visit. The most prominent are Plaça del Rei, the Cathedral, the old Roman wall, Plaça del Pi, etc. You can explore them on your own or take tours.
Barcelona dates back to the Middle Ages, approximately to the 9th century.
The Gothic Quarter is among the top tourist attractions in Barcelona. Therefore, beware of pickpockets. Police stations are full of tourists that were robbed. The number of robberies is so high – especially, for mobiles – that the police won’t issue a statement if you don’t know your IMEI. So, write it down in advance, just in case. All in all, it’s better to leave all the precious belongings in the hotel. Be careful at night, as you can face even violent crimes at that part of the day.