Plaça del Rei, Barcelona
This is the oldest area of the city and it is situated on the east side of Las Ramblas (see tip).
The main attraction of Barrio Gotico is the Cathedral. The first one was completely destroyed by the Moors in 985. The present version was begun in 1298 and completed in 1892.
One of the nicest squares in this area is Plaza Del Rey. The Royal Palace with the Salò de Tinell (a long room used for temporary exibitions) is located here. It is said that Ferdinand and Isabel received Columbus on his return from the New World in this room.
Another place in this area I like very much is the courtyard of the Museum Frederic Mares. It is a nice place to rest a bit.
Barri Gotic is the heart of medieval Barcelona. It is made up of beautiful squares and a mesh of narrow, winding streets, lined with enough interesting shops, bars and cafes to keep you exploring for days! Most of the quarter is closed to regular traffic, with some of its streets too narrow for a car to fit down.
Its squares are impressive - one of my favourite is the stunning Placa Reial, with its central fountain, palm trees and Gaudi lampposts. Or you may prefer the neighbouring squares of Placa de Sant Josep Oriol and Placa del Pi, home to the lovely Esglesia de Santa Maria del Pi. Perhaps you will enjoy the serenity a coffee or drink in the quieter Placa de George Orwell, with its unusual central sculpture.
Head to Placa de Sant Jaume, to see the home of the heads of local and regional governments, or to Placa del Rei which was once the courtyard of an old palace. From here you can navigate the really narrow lanes of the medieval Jewish quarter.
Fondest memory: You can't miss the adjoining squares of Placa de la Seu and Placa Nova, as here you will see the impressive La Catedral. Have a look behind it's gothic façade at the beautiful interior, and perhaps catch the lift to the roof and enjoy the views over the city.
Across the square you can see the Col.legi de Arquitectes with the giant, childlike scribbles on its facade which were done by Picasso in 1962.
If you are lucky you will walk by the tiny Chapel of Saint Christopher of Regomir, or perhaps go shopping in the oldest shop in Barcelona, Cereria Subira. Also while you wander, keep your eyes open for some of the Roman walls, tombs and towers that are dotted about this ancient quarter.
Favorite thing: Placa dei Rei In 1490, Columbus walked up these steps to ask Queen Isabella for money in order to finance a voyage to the New World.