As you are walking the streets of the gothic quarter in Barcelona it’s difficult to not get caught up in the moment. Everything is right there within a very short walking distance (and if you need to go further you can always use the Barcelona metro!). It is a place that is like no other and will mesmerize you from your first steps out until the wee hours of the morning! Personally, I fell in love with walking the little alleyways and stumbling upon new little shops throughout this lovely area of Barcelona.
HISTORY OF THE GOTHIC QUARTER IN BARCELONA
One of the oldest parts of the city, the Gothic Quarter is a labyrinth of narrow streets. It is easy to get lost (without really getting lost) and spend a whole day exploring. With many building dating back to the Middle Ages, it is easy to fall in love with this neighborhood. With the city dating back as far as 15 BC, when the Romans created a barrack here, it has changed hands many times thru history. Over the years, the city has survived multiple wars and a plague that nearly halved the population of the city. In more recent history, the city has gone on to host the Olympics (1992) and currently is proud to have one of the leading world football (soccer) teams.
RESTAURANTS AND CAFES
No matter the size of the street, you are sure to find lots of delicious food to eat. Everything from a full restaurant to small coffee shops to a big supermarket. And boy oh boy are they all super tasty. We ate twice at a small restaurant that was across from our hotel…once for breakfast and then for dinner. They always had a special that was perfect for what we were looking for! The restaurant is small on the first level, however there is an upstairs seating area that means there is room for larger groups. I would love to be able to tell you the name but I don’t remember it and google street view isn’t very helpful on this one! I can tell you that it was in the Gothic Quarter on Carrer de Santa Anna. It was across from Hotel Nouvel and down toward Las Ramblas a little bit.
After closing from the night, the shops in the gothic quarter in Barcelona close their roll down doors so do not be surprised by the graffiti and lack of store fronts.
So alleyways…almost all the streets in the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona are alleyways. This part of town is heavy with foot traffic with most streets being nearly impossible to fit a car down. Although I did see a taxi go down a street and I have no idea how he did it! It is so fun to walk thru all these little alleyways that kind of twist and turn without real reason. Don’t forget to look up, there are some amazing balconies and brickwork to be seen!
With the Gothic Quarter being the oldest part of the city, you can be sure that there are amazing churches to visit! The largest church in the heart of the Gothic Quarter is the Barcelona Cathedral. You can enter the church and the cloisters any day for free but only during certain hours. It was the middle of the week, during late afternoon when we decided to visit and the church was still pretty crowded. One thing not to miss is in the center of the cloisters they have some geese that were so fun to see! They are in a fenced off area but they will come right up to the fence if you wait.
I have to say that I love street performers. There is real talent out there and if they are willing to show it, I am certainly willing to give them my time and a little bit of money! Near the Barcelona Cathedral, we found a very talented opera singer that we watched for a bit. Incredible! Also not far from that area we saw artists displaying their work, a magician and some dancers doing a performance for people passing by!
The most popular markets lives right on Las Ramblas, La Boqueria Food Market. For visitors it is free to get in and they are open Monday to Saturday from 08:00 – 20:30. This market was an amazing place to visit and therefore very crowded. We visited during a slower time and still got caught in some crowds. Throughout the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona you will find many small market and bakeries selling produce and other foods.
There are so many neat things to see and I feel like we didn’t even scratch the surface! Spend a few days walking the alleys, eating the food and people watching! Gothic quarter was my favorite area of the city just because of everything there is to see and you can really spend hours walking around without really going anywhere and seeing something different with every turn of a corner.
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