Gothic Quarter

Gothic Quarter
If you love exploring medieval streets, watching street artists and eating tapas along shared tables in tiny bars, head straight for the Barri Gòtic of Barcelona.

It’s not a nightmare but a dream to get lost in Barcelona’s bustling Gothic Quarter with its maze of narrow streets. Remains of Ancient Roman buildings, cozy Catalan bars and elegant restaurants, boutique shops and trendy clubs make this barrio irresistible for visitors and locals alike.

The Gothic Quarter forms the beating heart of the Old City (Ciutat Vella) of Barcelona. The atmospheric neighborhood stretches from La Rambla to Via Laietana, and from Ronda de Sant Pere to the Balearic Sea. This was once a Roman village and you can still see some remnants of Roman walls and columns here.

Most people start at the Plaça de Catalunya and stroll to La Rambla, Barcelona’s most famous avenue. Watch the street artists, flower vendors and restaurant touts compete for everyone’s attention as you follow the sea of people along the pedestrian-only street. Watch your belongings, because pickpockets make clever use of all those distractions. The same goes for Calle Ferran, a busy nightlife street that takes you from the Plaça Reial to Plaça Sant Jaume.

Look for hidden Gothic details on the oldest buildings of this barrio. Some are neo-Gothic touches, such as the Pont del Bisbe in Carrer del Bisbe (Bishop’s Street). The covered bridge from 1928 connects the much older Casa dels Canonges (Canon’s House) with the seat of the Catalan government, the Palau de la Generalitat.

Also don’t miss the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, better known as the Barcelona Cathedral. Visit the nearby Museu d'Història de Barcelona to admire the Roman artifacts that were recovered when the Gothic Quarter was built.

Duck into the medieval alleys to discover charming tiled patios and intricately painted façades of the old townhouses, now mostly hotels. Bookings for accommodations are recommended, even outside the peak seasons, and come by taxi or metro instead of renting a car.

On the weekend, visit the markets on the Plaça del Pi, named after its Gothic Church of Santa Maria del Pi. Find a shaded café terrace in the square and taste typical Catalan dishes, which somehow taste even more delicious in the medieval setting of Barcelona’s lively Gothic Quarter.

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