09 Mar What to See, Do and Eat in the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona
The Gothic Quarter in Barcelona is the heart of the city, where you can discover the very essence of Barcelona. The old city is loaded with architectural wonders, fabulous eateries and so many things to explore. Here is your insider’s guide the Gothic Quarter Barcelona and what to see, do, and eat!
Gothic Quarter Barcelona: some background
When exploring Gothic Quarter Barcelona, you’re taking a trip back in history to the city’s origins. This is the heart of the old city, and where you can see the history of Barcelona before your eyes. The Gothic Quarter includes the area from Via Laietana to Las Ramblas and down to the port. However, the name “Gothic Quarter” can be a bit deceptive since many of the buildings and architecture are from the 19th and 20th centuries. In order to add some flair for tourists for the 1929 International Exhibition, many great works of architecture were added in. Knowing this, there are so many historical spots waiting for you to see, like the cathedral and the Roman walls. The Gothic Quarter is a center of activity, especially during holidays and public festivals.
What to see
The most impressive things to see in Gothic Quarter Barcelona are definitely the works of architecture. Some notable things to see are:
- Barcelona Cathedral – The church’s origins date back to the 5th century, but the building as we know it today wasn’t completed until 1448. It is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture which is open for visits to the public. Scale to the rooftop of the cathedral for a stunning view unlike any other in Barcelona!
- Pont del Bisbe – On Carrer del Bisbe, stop and take a selfie at the famous Gothic-style bridge over the street. Built in 1928, this recent addition holds a dark secret. The architect hid symbols of a skull and dagger on the bridge, so legend says those that see it will fall under an evil spell!
- Roman Walls – As a Roman colony called Barcino, the city was protected by strong, stone walls. You can see the remnants of these walls near the Cathedral, following the 1.4km-long perimeter of ancient Barcino. The perimeter is mostly rectangular and makes for a nice little stroll around the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona.
- The plazas – There are several notable plazas in the Gothic Quarter. Stop by Plaza Reial and see the streetlamps designed by Antoni Gaudí, or see the historical Plaza Sant Felip Neri. You’ll see the facade of the church is pock-marked from shrapnel and explosions from the Spanish Civil War. Plaza del Pi is quite lively, and hosts a nice farmer’s market on the weekend.
What to do
After soaking up the Gothic architecture, stroll through the neighborhood’s small, winding streets and let yourself just get lost! It really is the best way to see Gothic Quarter Barcelona. Make your way to the Picasso Museum, one of the most popular museums in Barcelona. The collection features works from throughout the artist’s life, but especially those from his time in Barcelona. Next, it’s time to shop! The small streets of the Gothic Quarter are lined with boutiques and stores, many of which are unique to Barcelona and carry local products. If you’re looking for better-known stores, make your way up to Portal de l’Angel, near the Cathedral. You’ll find all of the big names in Spanish fashion here.
During holidays and festivals, the Gothic Quarter is an epicenter of activity. During big festivals, like La Mercè or Festa Major de Ciutat Vella, you will often see parades, performances, concerts, and markets, all right in the street!
What to eat
When it comes to food and dining, there are infinite options available to you in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. To get a sense of Catalan and Spanish cuisine, your first stop should be La Boqueria Market. This food market has stalls loaded with local ingredients and prepared food, ready for takeaway. There are also several tapas bars inside the market, great place to discover how fresh ingredients become amazing dishes. You could also try Can Culleretes, the oldest restaurant in Barcelona. Sample traditional Catalan cuisine from a kitchen that’s been open since 1786 in the heart of Barcelona. If you’re in the mood for something simple, grab a gourmet sandwich from Conesa Entrepans. This cafe has been a Barcelona tradition since 1951 and is a favorite among locals.
Of course, you can’t forget coffee and dessert! Grab a scoop of your favorite ice cream at Gelaaati di Marco, right behind the Cathedral. Ranked as one of the top ice cream shops in the city, you’ll be glad you left room for a sweet treat. To get your caffeine fix, head on over to Satan’s Coffee Corner. Don’t be intimidated by the name, their coffee creations are devilishly delicious!
If you want to discover the Gothic Quarter, join Food Lover Tour and prepare to eat your way around the city!