This blog post was originally posted on January 14, 2016, and was updated on September 6, 2017.
The Gothic Quarter in Barcelona dates back over 2,000 years and is one of the most talked about neighborhoods in the city—full of charm and captivating history.
Of course, that means there is a lot to do and even more to see in this bustling neighborhood! No matter how much time you spend exploring, you will always stumble upon yet another enchanting square or mysterious alleyway. Read our suggestions for things to do in the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona for some great local’s tips on some of the must-see spots around. However, don’t forget to make sure to leave spare time for getting lost!
1. Learn About Barcelona’s Jewish Past
El Call, Barcelona’s old Jewish Quarter, is one of the most beautiful areas of the Gothic Quarter. These are some of the narrowest streets in all of Barcelona, and they are also filled with a dark history that dates back to medieval times. The street of Sant Domenec del Call is at the center of it all. Here you can find the old synagogue, a few lovely restaurants, bars and cafes, and a lovely little square for relaxing.
2. Explore Picasso’s Old Stomping Grounds
When Picasso arrived in Barcelona, he was just a young adolescent of 14 years old. Thereafter, he was admitted to the Fine Arts school that once stood on Calle Avinyó. At that time, this was a very busy street of questionable morals that later inspired some of his work. Explore the funky shops and imagine what it might have looked like for a young Pablo Picasso.
3. See Gaudi’s Very First Project
Famed Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi also spent some time in the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona. One of his very first projects upon graduating was the street lamps of one of Barcelona’s grandest squares, Plaça Reial. Today, they seem small in comparison to the towering palm trees and a plethora of bars, clubs, and restaurants that populate the square. However, once you see them, you know you’re looking at the famous work of Gaudi!
4. Party Like a Local
The Gothic Quarter in Barcelona by night is a rowdy street party that dips in and out of dive bars, dance clubs, and cocktail lounges. The lower half that borders the port is where you will find the highest concentration of great places to enjoy a true Spanish night out. Be warned, they keep going until the early hours of the morning! Read our full post on some of the best places to party in Barcelona.
5. Eat At The Oldest Restaurant in Barcelona
Can Culleretes, dating back to 1786, is the oldest restaurant in Barcelona and second oldest in all of Spain. You can find it tucked away on a small street off Barcelona’s famous boulevard, Las Ramblas. This restaurant specializes in traditional Catalan and Spanish dishes.
A set lunch menu will cost you around €17. This isn’t too bad considering what a historical place it is. Expect comfort food and gorgeous house wine! Of course, if you truly want to experience some of the best Catalan food in Barcelona—make sure to join us on one of our food tours. Our Tapas, Taverns and History Tour wanders around the medieval neighborhood of the Born and of course the Gothic Quarter too!
6. Experience La Boqueria
Though La Boqueria is technically just on the border of the Gothic Quarter, if you’re in the area it is definitely worth fitting into your plans. One of the oldest markets in Europe, the Boqueria is a colorful emporium of different products and sensory overload. Have a walk around, stop by El Quim de la Boqueria for a tapa, and above all, experience the hustle and bustle of this historic market in the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona. However, make sure to watch your things! Take an insider look with our expert guide Victoria as she shows you how to enjoy it at its best.
7. Stop Time in a Tranquil Square
There are beautiful squares throughout the Barcelona. The Gothic Quarter is, of course, no exception. Why not check out some of our favorites!
- Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, for remembering the Spanish Civil War.
- Plaça Reial, for an evening out on the town.
- Plaça d’Antonio Lopez, for a coffee with views of old Roman walls.
- Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol and Plaça del Pi, for a weekend of art and also a farmers’ market.
8. See Barcelona’s Roman Temple
Did you know that the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona has a Roman temple? It’s invisible from street view, however, many people never even realize it exists! The Temple d’August is hiding on a narrow street behind the cathedral and is open most days until 8 p.m. Inside, learn about the founding of Barcelona as a Roman colony and also where it got its name!
9. Visit The Gothic Cathedral
Of course, one of the most famous monuments in the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona is the 13th to 15th-century Gothic Cathedral. Yes, that’s right, it took nearly two centuries to build. From 8 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., visitation is free. Furthermore, outside these schedules, you must make a donation to enter. Visit inside the church and be sure not to miss the patios and beautiful cloisters.
10. Shop Around
The Gothic Quarter in Barcelona is home to one of the busiest pedestrian streets in all of Europe, Portal d’Angel. This wide street is lined with all the big brands. As you continue down it, you will also find smaller shops and independent names. Read our full post on shopping tips and where to shop in Barcelona!
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