Author: Anna MacDonald
The Gothic Quarter is where it all began for Barcelona which is shown by its many historic features. Parts of it even date back to the Roman times, such as the remains of the old Roman wall! It covers the area between La Rambla and Via Laietana and also from the port to Ronda de Sant Pere and is a part of La Ciutat Vella (the old town). This ancient part of Barcelona is characterised by its narrow streets and small squares, or plaças. The are is almost entirely pedestrianised as well, giving locals and tourists alike the chance to wander through the interesting little streets at their own pace. There are so many things to do and see in this beautiful part of Barcelona, but we’ve picked out the top 5 to get you started!
Plaça Reial is undoubtedly one of Barcelona’s most loved squares! The beautiful buildings lining the square were once home to important Barcelona families but now they are mostly restaurants, bars and clubs. The square has a vibrant atmosphere throughout the day and into the night, being home to both Jamboree and Sidecar Factory Club, which are both very popular! Sidecar has great live acts and DJs playing a mixture of rock and pop whilst Jamboree is a club that plays mainly Hip Hop and R&B. Whilst you’re there, be sure to spot the first piece of work Gaudi was commissioned for by the government; an ornate lamp post!
Plaça del Pi
Plaça del Pi is home to an artisan food market, selling items such as cakes, honeys, cheeses and wines. This is the perfect place to find an authentic souvenir for friends and family and there are often tasters being handed out so you can try before you buy! The market runs on the 1st and 3rd Friday every month and continues till the Sunday of the same week. Overlooking the square is the beautiful church of Santa Maria del Pi, giving a medieval feel to the square. One of the streets leading to this lovely square is called Carrer de Petritxol, and it is where you will find the best chocolate shops in Barcelona! There are also several traditional churrerias along this tiny street which are well worth trying if you want to try Spain’s famous delicacy, the churro!
This beautiful and intricately designed cathedral is probably the most famous attraction in the Gothic Quarter! The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Eulalia, Barcelona’s patron Saint, who was tortured to death in the Roman period. It’s main facade, pictured above overlooks the La Seu square where parties and events often take place. Our favourite event that takes place here is the Christmas Market that’s on every year! The church itself is breathtaking and the inside is well worth a visit, where you will find a relaxing cloister, which is home to 13 geese. These 13 geese represent the age that Saint Eulalia was when she tragically died. This cathedral is not only beautiful but has a very interesting past and an important part to play in the history of Barcelona!
Sant Jaume Square
Sant Jaume Square is considered the political heart of Barcelona, as it’s home to the City Hall and the building of the Catalan Government. Every Sunday morning, the City Hall opens its doors to the public allowing everyone to view the inside of the important building. You can often find all sorts of festivities and Catalan traditions happening in the wide square in the middle of the two important buildings. Each year during La Mercè the Castellers event takes place here. This is where a group of Castellers build a human tower and have a young child climb to the top of the tower and stand up. It takes months of practice and there is a great atmosphere at the event! To find out more about the festivities of La Mercè , check out our blog post on the festival!
Whilst Barcelona has several big shopping centres that are very popular, there is something special about wandering the narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter to do your shopping! The area also has many more independent boutique stores than you would find in a shopping centre, meaning you’re sure to pick up some items that everyone else isn’t also wearing! If, however, you want to find some bargains in the big department stores and international brands, Portal de l’Angel is the place for you. This wide shopping street is located between Plaça Catalunya and the famous Cathedral. For lesser well known shops, you can visit Carrer Avinyó where you will find little boutiques like I mentioned earlier. Here you can find everything from clothes to home decor!
We hope you enjoyed this blog post on the top 5 highlights of the Gothic Quarter! What’s your favourite place to visit in the Barri Gòtic? Comment below!