Photo of Gothic Quarter of Barcelona

Visit Gothic Quarter of Barcelona

The Gothic Quarter of Barcelona is its historic old town and contains many medieval buildings and even some dating back to Roman times. It is one of the most popular aea to stay if you are visiting Barcelona and is full of atmosphere and vitality both during the day and the night.

Explore the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona

The old town contains Barcelona's most famous street, Las Ramblas. This long straight road with a very wide pedestrian centre stretches from the huge square at Catalunya on the edge of Eixample, down to the sea front.

As you walk from north to south there are many sights to look out for as well as admiring the famous living statues all along the length of the road.

Gothic Quarter of Barcelona

At the north of the Ramblas is the Reial Academia de Ciencias i Arts which was converted into a theatre in 1910. Heading south is the Palau Moja, a classical building with a Baroque salon which is used for exhibitions.

Barcelona's wonderful indoor food market is housed in the Mercat de Sant Josep, locally known as 'La Boqueria'. This is well worth a visit and is a popular place to stock up for a picnic.

A little further down form here is the Placa de la Boqueria with a distinctive Art Deco dragon hanging over the street. The square also has a mosaic pavement designed by Miro who along with Gaudi and Picasso has an important place in the art and architecture of Barcelona.

Half way down the Ramblas is the beautiful opera house, the Gran Teatre del Liceu which has been damaged by fire twice and had to be restored.

A little further down is the beautiful Placa Reial, the Royal Square, which is the most popular square in Barcelona and is surrounded by graceful 19th century buildings and decorated with a large fountain, palm trees and Neo-Classical lampposts designed by Gaudi. It is a popular place to stop for a drink or a meal.

On the other side of the Rambla is the Palau Guell, one of Gaudi's most important works and not to be missed.

Headed down towards the seafront there is a great wooden pier, which is also a bridge which can open up to let one of the many yachts through. Apparently Barcelona is one of the busiest tourist ports in Europe.

The pier leads to a shopping mall, Maremagnum, an Imax cinema and an Aquarium. Inside the shopping mall are many major stores such as H&M.

Along the waterfront are many impressive buildings and it makes for a pleasant walk along the seafront towards Barceloneta.


Now doubling back in a north east direction walk towards the heart of the Barri Gotic where a warren of narrow streets are a pleasure to explore.

The Placa de Sant Jaume is home to the impressive Catalonian Parliament building, the Palau de la Generlitat. This is the seat of the Catalonian Government. It has a statue of Saint George, the patron saint of Catalonia, carved above its columned doorway.

The building is open to the public for guided visits and inside is a Gothic chapel and a lovely cloister, as well as the Salon of Saint George and the law courts.

Continue onwards up the lovely Carrer del Bisbe which has a lovely kind of arched bridge across the narrow street and as you walk up lots of gargoyles are looking down on you from above. This bridge is modelled on the famous Venetian Bridge of Sighs.

The next main sight in the Old Town is Barcelona's cathedral, La Seu. The cathedral is Gothic and in typical gothic style has lots of pointed arches and lots of gargoyles.

Inside in the Capella de Sant Benet is a famous altarpiece by Bernat Martorellei showing the Transfiguration, the crypt of St Eulalia and 15th century carved choir stalls.

The highlight of the Cathedral though is its beautiful cloister, very lush with plants that I have as indoor plants in my house, and, rather bizarrely a family of geese. Apparently no-one knows who brought the first geese but they have been living in the cloister for five centuries.

To the side of the cathedral is a beautiful little square, the Placa del Rei. This was once the courtyard of the Palau Reial Major, home of the counts of Barcelona. Inside is the 14th century Salo del Tinell which is the main hall of the palace and was once the meeting place for the Spanish Inquisition.

The Museu Frederic Marès is housed in part of the Royal Palace and contains an interesting collection of items from the travels of Frederic Marès, a sculptor as well as a collection of religious art.

Gothic Quarter of Barcelona

Also in thePlaca del Rei square is the Museu d'Historia de la Ciutat from where you can visit the underground remains for the old Roman city of Barcino. These underground remains date from the 1st to the 6th century AD.

A little further east is the excellent Museu Picasso which you won't want to miss during your visit. The collection was started by Jaime Sabartes who was a friend of Picasso and these were added to by Picasso and include early examples of his work. There is also a collection of Picasso's ceramic works donated by his widow.

Near here is the Basilica de Santa Maria dl Mar which is a beautiful Gothic church and has a 15th century rose window.

Further north is another favourite building, the Palau de la Musica Catalana, which is a Modernista building with a fabulous stained glass dome and mosaic covered columns which feature highly on Instagram pictures of Barcelona! It is possible to visit without attending a concert.

The Parc de la Ciutadella is a great place for a picnic lunch. You will be spoiled for choice of delicious treats in the shops nearby. Food is definitely a highlight of a visit to Barcelona!

The Parc de la Ciutadella has parrots flying around in the trees, lots of long palm-tree lined avenues, fountain designed by Josep Fontseré and Antoni Gaudi and partly inspired by the Trevi Fountain in Rome, quirky buildings and sometimes there are outdoor concerts in the square opposite.

For those of you with children there is also a zoo in the parc. At the entrance to the park is the fort-like building, the Castell dels Tres. This was built as a cafe/restaurant for the 1888 Universal Exhibition and now houses the Zoological Museum.

It is quite interesting to see in Barcelona that a lot of the lovely buildings were built either for the 1888 Universal Exhibition or the 1929 International Fair.

More places to visit in Barcelona

The other two main areas of Barcelona to visit, based on its architecture, are Eixample which is home to much of the spectacular Art Nouveau architecture and Montjuic which was the site of the 1929 International Fair.

see: Eixample and the stunning architecture of Antoni Gaudi.

see: Montjuic for great views over the city and the Palau Nacional.

The beautiful Monestir de Montserrat is an easy excursion from Barcelona.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Barcelona guide, and the Catalonia guide.

See also Find Gothic Quarter of Barcelona hotels

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Map of Gothic Quarter of Barcelona and places to visit


Gothic Quarter of Barcelona places to visit



Barcelona is a city with fabulous art museums, Gaudi architecture and lots more. It is one of our favourite cities.

Barcelona guide
Eixample, Barcelona

Eixample, Barcelona

The Eixample district of Barcelona is home to the largest number of Art Nouveau buildings in Spain with many examples by Gaudi.

Eixample, Barcelona guide
Montjuic, Barcelona

Montjuic, Barcelona

From the Montjuic district of Barcelona you can get some great views over the city and also see some great sights.

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Casa Batllo

Casa Batllo

The Casa Batllo building in Barcelona is one of the iconic works of Anton Gaudi and is open for visits.

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Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia is the pinnacle of the work of Anton Gaudi. It is the iconic symbol of Barcelona.

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Sitges is a highlight of the coastal towns south of Barcelona. It has some excellent Modernist architecture.

Sitges guide