Gothic Quarter Barcelona Walk
The Gothic Quarter is the heart and historic center of Barcelona, Spain. Known by many names (Barri Gòtic, Cuitat Vella, and Old Barcelona), the neighborhood is full of Roman walls, public squares, and Gothic spires. Our Barcelona Gothic Quarter walk will take you to Placa Reial, Barcelona Cathedral, and many other Barcelona heritage sites.
Visitors fall in love with the labyrinth of winding Roman-era and medieval lanes in the Barcelona Gothic Quarter. History radiates from every arch, column, and Catalan cornice lining the cobblestone alleys. Interspersed among the amazing relics are museums, restaurants, bars, and boutiques that bring the neighborhood to life. Exploring the area’s narrow-pedestrianized streets is one of the best things to do in Barcelona. Part of the fun of wandering the Barcelona Gothic Quarter is taking unexpected turns, but there is a lot to see. Use our Barcelona walking tour to help organize your time.
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BRIEF HISTORY OF BARCELONA GOTHIC QUARTER The Romans founded the colony of Barcino over 2,000 years ago. Many of the narrow pedestrian lanes winding through the neighborhood date back to this period. In the 7th to 14th centuries, a large population of Jews called the Barcelona Gothic Quarter home. The Quarter’s Synagogue Major is one of the oldest tabernacles in Europe. The Quarter is named for the predominance of Gothic architecture that flourished during the Middle Age’s in the 12th thorough 16th centuries. This style of building can be seen at Barcelona Cathedral and in Placa Reial.
THINGS TO DO IN BARCELONA GOTHIC QUARTER Our Barcelona Gothic Quarter walking tour is a loop that begins and ends in Placa de Catalunya. The route takes in eight of the neighborhood’s most historic and atmospheric sites including: Barcelona Cathedral, Bishop’s Bridge, Placa de Sant Jaume, Placa del Rei, Picasso Museum, Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, Placa Reial, and Mercado de la Boqueria.
BARCELONA WALKING TOUR DETAILS Length: The 2.5-mile (4 km) walk is a loop that can be completed in either direction. Duration: Google Maps times the walk at 55 minutes. Plan for a 3-hour outing. GPS: The area is a maze of streets. We have provided a Google map of the route and the address of each stop. The best way to complete the walk is to GPS the address of your next stop and follow the suggested route. Dress: Due to the many uneven terrain, wear sturdy walking shoes. Churches: Dress conservatively (no bare shoulder, knees, or flip flops) if you plan to visit churches. Also, do not enter a sanctuary if mass is in progress. Safety: The Barcelona Gothic Quarter is mostly pedestrianized, but remember some streets are motorized and all streets receive deliveries and emergency vehicles - so remain alert. Always be aware of your own personal safety. Keep valuables out of sight and secured close to the body.
GOTHIC QUARTER BARCELONA WALKING TOUR MAP
BARCELONA WALKING TOUR ROUTE Walk Start: Placa de Catalunya (Address: Plaça de Catalunya, 08002 Barcelona, Spain) Our free Barcelona walking tour begins at Placa de Catalunya. The location is a large open plaza surrounded by six sets of statues. The plaza is a major transportation hub. There is a tourism office onsite as well as city bus, taxi, train, and hop on hop off bus traffic flowing in and out of the area.
From Plaza de Catalunya head northeast on Avenida Del Portal de l’Angel. As you travel along the popular high-end shopping street enjoy the artsy window displays. Trek past textile, jewelry, and clothing stores offering luxury brands and look for dancers performing in the street. Consult our map, and follow your GPS to the cathedral.
Stop 1: Barcelona Cathedral (Address: Pla de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain) Approaching the square in front of Barcelona Cathedral, view the commanding neo-Gothic building with massive arches and stained-glass windows. Buy a ticket to tour the interior of the church and see its golden alters, central choir seats, and Saint Eulalia crypt (the church’s patron). Take an elevator to the rooftop (extra fee) for exceptional city views. When you are finished, visit the attached cloisters where 13 geese live (in remembrance of the tortures Saint Eulalia endured). Outside of the complex look for street buskers performing as you consult our map. Then, follow the GPS to Pont di Bisbe.
Stop 2: Bishop’s Bridge (Pont de Bisbe) (Address: C. del Bisbe, 08002 Barcelona, Spain) On Carrer del Bisbe (Bishop’s Street) see the melding of a Roman main road with the meandering lanes of medieval Barcelona. This section of our Barcelona walking tour is bursting with Gothic structures dating back to the 14th century. The Pont de Bisbe (Bishop’s) footbridge is Gothic in style, but surprisingly only dates back to the 1920’s. Snap a few photos of the famous footbridge. Then, consult our map and make your way via GPS to Placa de Sant Jaume.
Stop 3: Placa de Sant Jaume (Address: Pl. de Sant Jaume, 1, 08002 Barcelona, Spain) Stop 3 on our Barcelona free walking tour takes us to the city’s center of politics. Two important government buildings border Placa de Sant Jaume; Barcelona City Hall and the Palau de la Generalitat. The square has been the site of many festivals where “castell” teams compete to build and dismantle the tallest human towers. Placa de Sant Jaume was once the center of ancient Barcino. Off the square, on Carrer Paradis, visitors can view the Temple Augustus. The temple’s four soaring columns are over 2,000 years old, and housed in the courtyard of a medieval building. View the temple, then consult our map and use your GPS to travel on to Placa Del Rei.
Stop 4: Placa del Rei (Address: Pl. del Rei, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain) The Placa del Rei (aka King’s Square or Royal Square) is one of the best examples of Barcelona’s Gothic architecture. Over the centuries the square has served as straw market and royal palace. It is reported to be the location where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella welcomed Christopher Columbus back from his voyage to the new world in 1493. In the square look for the Royal Palace, Roman walls, Santa Agata Royal Chapel, and the Barcelona Museum of History (which contains Roman archeological artifacts). When you are done here, consult our map and follow your GPS to the Picasso Museum.
Stop 5: Picasso Museum (Address: C/ de Montcada, 15-23, 08003 Barcelona, Spain) The Picasso Museum Barcelona exhibits many sketches and paintings created by the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. For anyone interested in learning about the artist’s life, the museum features exhibits dedicated to Picasso as an individual. From the Picasso Museum, consult our map and then follow the GPS to Santa Maria del Mar.
Stop 6: Santa Maria del Mar (Address: Plaça de Santa Maria, 1, 08003 Barcelona, Spain) Stop 6 on our Barcelona walking tour is the Basilica Santa Maria del Mar (aka Cathedral of La Ribera). The imposing Santa Maria del Mar is thought to be a good example of the Catalan-Gothic style of architecture. Next, consult our map and follow the GPS to Placa Reial.
Stop 7: Placa Reial (Address: Plaça de Santa Maria, 1, 08003 Barcelona, Spain) Placa Reial (Royal Square) was built for pleasure. The elegant, porticoed square was designed in the 19th century to give Barcelona’s elite a space to be entertained. The lovely plaza is decorated with palm trees, Gaudi designed street lamps, and the Three Graces Fountain. The restaurants and bars surrounding the plaza are busy during the day, but truly come alive at night. If you are famished, pause here for a meal. If you are pressed for time, travel on to our next stop for a quick bite. Consult our map, and then follow the GPS to the famous Las Ramblas Boulevard and the Mercado de la Boqueria.
Stop 8: Mercado de La Boqueria (Address: La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain) The main entrance to la Boqueria is off of Las Ramblas. The expansive food market features fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, wines, and so much more. Stop here to stock up on snacks and gifts. Then, consult the map and follow the Las Ramblas Boulevard past flower stalls and tapas bars to close the Barcelona walking tour loop at Plaza de Catalunya.
We suggest completing this walk in the early morning before the heat of the day hits; or, later in the afternoon when the heat dissipates. If you walk later, plan to finish your trek as the sun goes down and the Placa Reial is bathed in golden light. It’s the perfect dinner spot and conclusion to your day. Laura and Randy
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