The Gothic Quarter in Ciutat Vella
The beautiful neighbourhood known as the Gothic Quarter used to be the Roman village and thus vividly has some remnants of its glorious past. Barcelona is a city that organically combines echoes of the medieval and the modern architectures of this space. The Gothic Quarter is one of the most famous areas of the city, located in the heart of old Barcelona. It consists of randomly situated mazes of narrow streets; this area is infused with history and legends of a bygone era. This rather small but ample part of the city was built, mainly in the 14th-15th centuries on the site of the former settlements of the Roman Empire.
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What to See in the Gothic Quarter
The narrow, winding streets in this area create quite a labyrinth and so if you’re heading somewhere; give yourself some time to get to your bearings! Be sure to always look up and around you or you may miss some of the best bits. Whilst strolling through this quarter, you will walk past the merchants’ palaces of Carrer Montcada, stand mesmerized by the watchtower of the Plaça del Rei or you can admire the cloisters and choir stalls of the stark yet imposing Gothic Cathedral.
Shopping is also incredible in the Gothic Quarter, from the more commercial area of Calle Portal de L’Angel to all the little boutiques on Calle Avinyo. Make sure you walk around to experience all you can; the Gothic Quarter is perfect for an afternoon stroll. At the top of Las Ramblas you will find Plaça Catalunya where you can go onto Passeig de Gràcia, if your shopping tastes are slightly more designer orientated, or if you want to see Antoni Gaudí’s remarkable buildings.
If you go beyond the medieval trappings, you will find remnants of the ancient Roman city of Barcino and walk by the amazing Picasso Museum, a must-see on your list of things to do here! You can even visit Les Quatre Gats, which is famous for being the site of Picasso’s first exhibition. He was also known to drink there quite regularly. Moreover, if you are walking throughout the Gothic Quarter you should check out:
# Cathedral of Barcelona
The official name of the church is Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia; and it was built between the 13th and 15th centuries. One of the highlights inside the cathedral is the crypt below the Capella Major; which contains the sarcophagus of Santa Eulalia. You can also visit the cloister; where you will find a beautiful garden with a charming fountain in the middle. You can also go to the top of the church by elevator to enjoy amazing views all over the city.
Address: Pla de la Seu, 08002 Barcelona
Opening hours: Every day from 08:00-12:45; 13:00-17:30; 17:45-19:30
# Plaça del Pi
The best highlight on the square is the large and beautiful Gothic church Santa Maria del Pi. On the left side of the church you can find a small art market during the weekends occupied by local artists selling their paintings. On the first and third Friday and Saturday of the month, this square holds a lovely artisan food market in front of the church.
Address: Pla del Pi, 08002 Barcelona
# Plaça Sant Felip Neri
This small square carries a dark, unfortunate history behind it. In 1938 the Plaça Sant Delip Neri was bombed which caused 42 fatalities; mainly children who were playing on the square. You will notice that the walls on the church and the buildings on the square are severley impacted by the bombing. During the middle ages, the square functioned as a cemetery; but currently you can see a small fountain, a church, a school and El Museu del Calçat.
Address: Plaza de San Felipe Neri, 08002 Barcelona
History of the Gothic Quarter Barcelona
Behind the history of Gothic buildings, there is another secret city of folk tales and arcane traditions; many of which were collected between the 1920’s – 50’s by the remarkable Catalan folklorist Joan Amades. One of the most famous is the tale of the Jewish alchemist and his daughter. The last building on Arc de Sant Ramon del Call was owned by the alchemist. He had a daughter, in which rumors about the beauty of the girl came to a young Christian knight; who, by all means, captured the coveted heart of the young maiden. But, much to his regret, she refused to marry the knight. The young man became enraged with anger and so he went to see the famous Jewish alchemist and told him he wished to avenge a disloyal lover.
The alchemist accepted the rich man’s seven gold pieces and made a unique formula. To which he planted a few drops of the deadly liquid on the young nobleman rose; designed for the daughter of the alchemist. Receiving the bouquet from the knight, she inhaled the alluring fragrance. She fell unconscious and died in terrible agony at the hands of his father. He had killed his only daughter and was disconsolate. By way of penance, he avowed to wander in the wilderness for the rest of his life; but before he did, he uttered a curse for all to hear saying that anyone who came to live in his house would meet the same fate as his daughter. And so it stayed empty.
Where to eat Gothic Quarter
You will be spoilt for choice of restaurants and bars, especially around Plaça Reial which is always packed day and night. The night-life in the Gothic Quarter is lively to say the least and you will always find somewhere to have a drink or a dance. Calle Ferran, which is just to one side of Plaça Reial and leads up to Plaça Sant Jaume with its imposing government buildings, is also great for bars and cafes. The street petritxol is a very cool place to hang out. You will bump into two famous churros places here and many fine bakeries. The street is one minute away from La Rambla, and it is definitely worth an adventure.
# 1 Satan’s Coffee Corner
Satan’s Coffee Corner may has the best coffee in the town. A corner with large windows and high tables to share in a current place specialized in coffee, with pastries and muesli!
Address: Carrer de l’Arc de Sant Ramon del Call, 11, 08002 Barcelona
Opening hours: Temporarily closed
# 2 The Federal Café
Federal is a good place to grab brunch on your lazy Sunday. Federal is a small cafe shop in Barcelona’s Gothic neighbourhood. Come by and drink a coffee made with fresh, pure milk and imagine you’re on the Binna Burra Rd!
Address: Passatge de la Pau, 11, 08002 Barcelona
Opening hours: Every day from 09:00 to 16:30
Where to live in the Gothic Quarter Barcelona
In terms of location, the Gothic Quarter gives you excellent access to many of the city’s main attractions; being so close to La Rambla means that everything is within walking distance. In terms of accommodation in Barcelona, for your stay there are numerous, remarkable apartments available to rent for family holidays; visiting with a group of friends or even rooms for couples. There are endless advantages of living in the Gothic Quarter, from the beautiful historical sites to the buzzing nightlife; it’s the perfect holiday destination.
APARTMENT IN HISTORIC CENTER OF BARCELONA
This apartment in historic center of Barcelona is located in the neighborhood of Born in particular. There are some of the most interesting restaurants, bars, and boutiques there. This accommodation is newly renovated and decorated, creating a bright environment, full of light.
From 1200 €/month | 45m2 | Reference: BHM1-1716
APARTMENT IN THE GOTHIC QUARTER OF BARCELONA
This charming and distinctive apartment located on the first floor of a building in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona mixes various elements like traditional and trendy styles in a unique way and preserves the open spaces.
From 1250 €/month | 55m2 | Reference: BH-1463
You can further view and rent apartments in the Gothic Quarter or if you want something smaller, rent rooms in the Gothic Quarter for amazing prices.
Address: El Barri Gòtic Barcelona, Spain.
Public transport: There are metro stops on both sides of the Gothic Quarter, there are 3 on Las Ramblas which runs up one side of the area, and on the other is Jaume I. However you are in the centre of the city and many of the city’s attractions are a walk away.
NOTE that once you cross Via Laetana, you are no longer in the Gothic Quarter. This is now La Ribera.