The Gothic Quarter, Downtown Barcelona, is the oldest part of the city and its historical center, the Ciutat Vella. When it was founded, this area represented the whole Roman City back in the Ist Century B.C. For this reason, in this area you will find Roman remains such as the City Wall Watchtowers and the columns of Augustus Temple. El Call, a medieval Jewish quarter, is also situated in this neighboorhood together with the former Sinagoga Majo.
In this part of Barcelona you will also observe the remains of the ancient Medieval City, built literaly on top of the Roman one several centuries later.
The structure of this area remained mostly intact until the XIX Century, when the old medieval walls were demolished, and the parish cemeteries and spaces of convents and churches became public Squares and Markets, as the famous Market La Boquería.
Suggested itinerary to explore the Gothic Quarter
There are several possible routes through the Gothic Quarter to know better this area. We draw an easy itinerary for you that will allow you to explore this area on foot without missing the highlights and the beautiful buildings of the "Barrio Gotico".
Catalonia Square and Ramblas
Start your walking tour at the most famous Avenue in Barcelona: Las Ramblas, starting from Plaça de Catalunya.
The Street of Las Ramblas is really woth a visit. Is a long avenue, with a total extension of 1,5 Km that you can enjoy for a walk, for a nice tapas tour or for some shopping.
This famous street was an ancient channel, that channeled water to the sea. Its name comes from the Arabian word Ram-la, wich means water torrent.
The Rambla was once also the limit of the old medieval city, with its City Wall standing since the XIII Century. A century later, the town expanded, building a new City Wall beyond the Ramblas extension.
At the time it was still an area of popular markets and fairs. Its development as the elegant Avenue and the street we can see today came with the final demolition of the medieval walls, in the middle of the XIX Century.
Portaferrissa: Gateway to Gothic Quarter
Descending from Plaza Catalunya, and following Las Ramblas, take Portaferrissa street on the left hand side. There, you will see a Ceramic pannel showing the XIII Century medieval City Wall of Barcelona, standing once in Las Ramblas. You will also find a beautiful fountain, a remaining of the original wheel located in this former Gateway of the City Wall.
The Street will take you straight ahead to the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, the main Church of Barcelona also known as Barcelona Cathedral.
Plaça Reial is one of the most beautiful squares of the city, it's no wonder it was called "Royal" (Royal Royal Catalan). The elegant atmosphere of Plaça Reial is accentuated by fountains, street lamps and palm trees, and is one of Barcelona's busiest, most vibrant spots, particularly at night.
Plaça Nova: Cathedral’s Square
The Barcelona Cathedral is an amazing gothic cathedral from XIV Century dedicated to the sainte patroness of Barcelona, Santa Eulalia and located in Plaça Nova (Cathedral's Square). You will also find the remains of the Roman Barcelona, founded as a Roman Colony in the I Century B.C. under the Augustus Emperor Era. After visiting the cathedral, turn to your left and take Bisbe Street.
Here you will see the bronze letters forming the name of the Roman City: Barcino, some archs reproducing the former Acqueduct of Barcelona and 2 Watchtowers with remains of both Roman and Medieval City Walls. Walk across between the old towers to continue your tour.
Plaça de Sant Felip Neri
Before going there, continue in Bisbe Street and turn 1st Street on Montjuïc del Bisbe street. At the end of this street you will see a beautiful small Square with a little fountain and the Christian Catholic Church of Sant Felip Neri, built in the XVIII Century. Observe the traces of the Spanish Civil War, that caused forty-two victims, including many children. There is a terrace bar located in the plaza, where you can take a break and relax for a while.
Next to the church you will find the former Shoemaker's Trade House. The house was built in the XV Century and is now the Museu del Calçat (Shoemaker's Museum), a building moved stone by stone in 1946 from its original location, near the Cathedral, in order to preserve the house from demolition.
Beside this house, you will see the Boilermaker's Trade House, built in the XVI Century.
Plaça del Pi
The confluence of the Plaça del Pi, situated close to the Ramblas, is one of the best known places in Barcelona for artists and bohemians. The area is dominated by the Santa María del Pi Church with its large colored rose window. The square frequently hosts arts and craft fairs, as well as sales of natural food such as honey and "mató" (a mild cheese).
Plaça de Sant Jaume
From the Square, take Sant Sever Street. Walk El Bisbe street back all the way up and arrive at the political center of the city, Plaza de Sant Jaume.
Discover the Autonomic Goventment Palace of Catalonia and the Barcelona's City Hall. This square was the formererly a Forum, the political, religious and administrative centre of the Colony during the Roman Period and still the current the Political Centre of the city.
From St Jaume Square take the narrow Paradis street and discover a real paradise: inside a private Apartment Building there is an internal underground level courtyard, get in and enjoy the view (doors are opened to visitors till 6pm). Discover the amazingly well preserved Roman columns remaining from the Temple dedicated to Emperor Augustus, built in the 1st Century B.C.
Plaça del Rei
Following down the same Street, continue through the back part of The Cathedral, from there you will see the bell tower of the Church. Turn to your right you will find the beautiful Plaça del Rei, the King Square.
In this suggesting Square there are many very important and well preserved Gothic buildings. The main one is a palace knwon as The Royal Palace, residence of lords and kings of the Aragon Kingdom during the Middle Age.
Observe also the Royal Chapel, built in the XIV Century and only used by kings and the Royal family.
Another impressive building in this square is the Vicereoy's Palace, built two centuries latert as residence of the Castillian King representative, in the XVI Century.
Plaça Ramón Berenguer III
Discover an impressive statue, representing one of the most important lords of Barcelona: Ramón Berenguer III standing in his horse, that gave its name to this Square. You are now in Via Laietana Street. If you continue turning around the Square you will arrive back into Cathedral's Square.
Santa Catalina’s Market
We imagine that after all this walking and sightseeing you might be hungry. Finish your tour at thr Santa Catalina's Market, a former convent dedicated to Santa Catalina, now transformed into a public and popular Market since late XIX Century.
Observe also the Medieval Remains of the former Church forming part of the original Convent construction. On the roof there are some beautiful and colorful ceramic decorations, made by Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue when the Market was restructured some years ago. The decorations are emmulating the cerammic decorations used by Gaudí in the Park Güell.
Taste some Tapas made of the best market fresh product and cup of Spanish wine to conclude your tour of the Barrio Gotico. You can also try out one of our food tour to discover the best tapas of the city with a local!
Book a personalized tour through the beautiful Gothic quarter of Barcelona.
Hotels in the Gothic Quarter
The Barrio Gotico is the historical hearth of Barcelona and the perfect place to visit many attractions at a walkable distance. In our where to stay section you will find several hotels for each district but these two are our favorites in the area:
- The Wittmore Barcelona - a luxurious adults only hotel for an unforgettable stay
- Catalonia Magdalenes Hotel - great location and amazing swimming pool
Museum with Gothic art in Barcelona
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
Palau Nacional Parc de Montjuïc s/n 08038 Barcelona
Museu de la Catedral
c/Pla de la Seu s/n 08002 Barcelona
Museu Diocesà de Barcelona
Edificio de la Pia Almoina Avda de la Catedral, 4 08002 Barcelona
Museu d’Història de la ciutat
Plaça del Rei, s/n 08002 Barcelona
Museu Frederic Marès
Plaça de Sant Iu, 5 08002 Barcelona
Fundació Francesc Godia
c/Diputació, 250 08007 Barcelona