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Walking Tour in El Gòtic

El Barri Gòtic (or Gothic Quarter in English) forms the true historical center of Barcelona and still attracts thousands of visitors every day. And for good reason! The Gothic Quarter is packed with famous sights and beautiful museums, full of atmosphere and history. But to really discover the true charm of Barri Gòtic, you should deviate from the beaten paths and seek out the hidden and intimate spots.

Especially for Barcelona With Marta, I have compiled the following walking tour in the Gothic Quarter: here, you not only walk past all the main attractions in El Gòtic, but you also discover the most beautiful Gothic palaces and warehouses, the nicest cafes, and hidden intimate squares. Set aside half a day for this and enjoy all the beauty that will come your way!

Tour in the Gothic Quarter

This walk in the Gothic Quarter begins at Plaça Catalunya (1), the epicenter of the city, on the side of the Spanish department store El Corte Inglés. Can you imagine that in the Middle Ages, there was nothing here but an open field? First, we go to Portal de l’Àngel (2), currently the busiest shopping street in Barcelona, but formerly one of the entrances to the city.

Walk along the shops towards the Cathedral. Turn left at Carrer del Montsió if you want a glimpse inside the famous café Els 4 Gats (3), which has existed since 1897 and was designed by one of the best architects of Catalan Modernism, Josep Puig i Cadafalch.

Els 4 Gats is especially famous for the many artists and painters such as Santiago Russinyol, Ramón Casas, Picasso, and Utrillo who used to gather here.

Once at the Cercle Artístic, notice the old fountain; this is the Font de Santa Anna (4), the oldest fountain in Barcelona! Then proceed via Plaça Nova to the Cathedral.

The Cathedral of Barcelona (5), also known as Catedral de Santa Eulàlia and La Seu, is a perfect example of the Catalan Gothic style and is very much worth seeing. Step inside to discover the Cathedral and its calming cloister. A true oasis of calm in the busy city center.

Kathedraal - Wandelroute in de Gotische wijk Barcelona
Cathedral of Barcelona

Then we come back to Plaça Nova (6) and walk past an even older city gate, one from the Roman era. You are reminded of this by the large letters that spell Barcino, the remains of the old Roman aqueduct, and the piece of the old city wall that is still visible. Once in Carrer del Bisbe, your real journey back in time begins.

First, I take you via Carrer Montjuïc del Bisbe to the beautiful and intimate Plaça de Sant Felip Neri (7). Pay special attention to the holes in the façade of the church of Sant Felip Neri: they are the traces of one of the most tragic moments during the Spanish Civil War when the square and its church were bombed on January 30, 1938, resulting in 42 deaths (including many children who had fled to the church’s basement).

After a moment of silence, we continue the tour towards Carrer del Bisbe. The first thing we encounter at Plaça de Garriga i Bachs is another entrance to the Cathedral’s cloister (8). If you haven’t been able to visit it before, this is your chance to do so!

Then walk back to Carrer del Bisbe to walk under one of the most photographed Gothic-style bridges, the Pont del Bisbe (9) (and, of course, take a photo of it).

Pont del Bisbe
Pont del Bisbe

Then you arrive at Plaça Sant Jaume (10), where two of the city’s power buildings are located: the city hall on one side and, opposite it, the Catalan Generalitat. Generally, you can’t visit the interiors, but they are also beautiful to see from the outside. With a bit of luck, you might witness an event or protest here. There’s always something happening at Plaça Sant Jaume.

Next, we visit the Centre Excursionista de Catalunya, hidden in Carrer del Paradís. Here, you must definitely stop by, because behind an unassuming façade, you’ll find the remains of the Roman Temple of Augustus (11). It’s free to visit and often very quiet. A personal favorite that I always show to everyone visiting Barcelona.

Roman Temple of Augustus
Roman Temple of Augustus

The next stop is the beautiful Plaça del Rei (12), where the Gothic palace Palau Reial Major is located. This imposing building was a veritable skyscraper in its time and served as the palace for the King of Catalonia (who at that time was called the King of Aragon).

Next to it, you’ll find the entrance to the Museu d’Història de la Ciutat (13), which takes you back in time and tells the history of the city from its founding by the Romans up to the Middle Ages.

My tip if you don’t have time to visit the museum: catch a glimpse of the Roman excavations visible in the museum through the windows on the façade of the building.

Also not to be missed while here is a visit to the beautiful shop Cereria Subirà (14), one of the oldest shops in Spain (established in 1761), selling handmade candles in all colors and sizes.

By now, you’re probably getting hungry, so my next recommendation is to stop by the lovely old-fashioned Pastisseria La Colmena (15), where you can buy delicious cookies, chocolates, or croissants. In this shop, you can also get something tasty as a souvenir. Enjoy your snack on the bench opposite the remains of the old city wall and defense tower at the nearby Carrer del Sots – Tinent Navarro (16), and then walk to Plaça de Sant Just (17). The church on this square houses the relics of the first Christian martyrs of Barcelona, and it also served as the cathedral of Barcelona until the construction of La Seu. Also, very recently opened to the public is the episcopal assembly found in this church dating from the 6th century. Also, notice the Gothic fountain on the corner of the square: this used to be the only place where Jews and Christians were allowed to trade together!

We continue our walk towards Pati Llimona (18), which preserves the ancient remains of a Roman bathhouse, wall, and city gate. These are partly visible from Carrer de Regomir, but since the entrance is free, you can also admire the remains from inside. It’s usually very quiet and pleasant here, allowing you to enjoy the old ruins in peace. And at the courtyard that gives its name to ‘Pati Llimona,’ you can relax and rest for a while.

Centre Cívic Pati Llimona Barcelona
Centre Cívic Pati Llimona

Along Carrer de Regomir, you’ll come across a number of restaurants where you can eat, such as Mirilla, where you can enjoy a delicious lunch for €10.50. Then turn right onto Carrer d’en Gignàs and take a moment to appreciate the unique round corner on Carrer de Milans (19). Look up and take a photo of the blue sky and the rounded shape of the buildings above you. Pure magic!

We then walk along Carrer d’Avinyó until we reach Carrer Ample, which leads us to the Baroque Basílica de la Mercè (20); an often overlooked church dedicated to the patron saint of Barcelona, La Mercè. Then continue along Carrer Ample until you reach Passatge de la Pau (21), beautifully adorned with arches.

Through this semi-hidden passage, we eventually arrive at one of Barcelona’s most beautiful squares, the lively and stunning Plaça Reial (22). Here, you can take a break and enjoy a drink and a snack at one of the terrace cafes. My favorite spot at Plaça Reial is Ocaña, but there are plenty of bars to choose from!

Gaudí’s lamppost at Plaça Reial
Gaudí’s lamppost at Plaça Reial

After this break, we continue our tour through the Gothic Quarter, with the first must-see being the beautiful and centuries-old Herbolari del Rei (23). An antique shop that has been operating as a pharmacy and drugstore since 1823. We cross Carrer de Ferran and walk through Carrer d’en Quintana to Carrer de la Boqueria. Here, we turn right until we come across the alleyway Carrer de l’Alsina on the left. Walk through it until you reach the cozy square of Plaça del Pi.

At this bohemian and peaceful spot is the beautiful Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi (24), which contains the largest rose window in Catalonia. But the buildings around the church also deserve your attention: here, you’ll find the city’s oldest sgraffito and the hundred-year-old shop Ganiveteria Roca.

Next to the square is Carrer Petritxol (25), where you can order a delicious portion of churros con chocolate at one of the many traditional granjas such as La Pallaresa and Dulcinea. Delicious!

Granjas bij Carrer Petritxol - Wandelroute in de Gotische wijk Barcelona
Granjas at Carrer Petritxol

Then we walk along one of Barcelona’s most popular shopping streets, Carrer de la Portaferrissa. Notice the medieval fountain, Font de Portaferrissa (26), at the corner of the Ramblas, which reminds us of the former city gates of Medieval Barcelona that used to be here.

Walk a bit along the famous Las Ramblas (27) and then turn right onto Carrer de la Canuda. At Plaça de la Vila de Madrid, you’ll find the exposed remains of the old Via Sepulcral (28): in Roman times, this was the road to the city where the Roman cemetery was located. Since this is still a relatively unknown spot for tourists, you can admire the ancient graves in peace.

As a final stop, and as a reward for all the walking, I introduce you to the famous Gelateria Giovanni (29), located at Plaça de la Cucurulla. At Giovanni’s, Barcelonans always get a tasty ice cream in the summer or a warm waffle with chocolate in the winter. So, do as the locals do and queue up for something delicious to end a successful day!

Map of Gothic Quarter Walking Route

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Photo of author
Hello! My name is Marta, and I am a born and raised Barcelonian. I love introducing people to Barcelona, especially the Barcelona known to locals. In Barcelona, I am always looking for fun places and tips that I can then share with you, with the goal of helping you experience Barcelona like a local.

Marta Rubio

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