Barri Gotico, Barcelona
Walking the Barri Gotic area of Barcelona is a fascinating experience, tiny streets, unexpected squares and buildings still there from the Middle Ages. Inside the old walled city of Barcelona even some Roman remains can be found. You can do it on your own or use the Tourist Info Office walk for a guided tour.
Best to begin on Plaza Catalunya, or see travel directions below. Walk down Av. Portal de l'Angel to Plaza Nova where you see two sections of the original Roman walls and a couple of square towers from the 4th C. Then on to the Cathedral, in the Plaça de la Seu. The facade is currently undergoing restoration. The large square in front of the Cathedral was the former Roman forum of Barcelona.
Important - do not mistake the Sagrada Familia for the Cathedral. Many visitors do and the local people find that a serious error. Any given city can have one Cathedral only - the Bishop's seat - that is the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia in Barcelona.
Then around to the Cloisters, built between 1350 and 1448, to see the garden, including the fountain in the atrium. The cloister has white geese which may be visited. Enjoyed that :)
See also the Catalan Government building and City Hall on the Plaza de la Generalitat.
Then around the corner and down a small street (Pletat) to the Temple d'August, with it's 4 remaining columns from the Roman era. This building now houses the Catalan Hiker's association. If you speak Spanish or Catalan, there is some good information available here for good walkers.
Among other places, do stop in at the Capella de Santa Agata (Saint Agata Church), from the early 14th C, to see the Alterpiece.
This beautiful building is Barcelona's Town Hall,is also located in Barri Gotico.If you have time enough can go inside the building to take a look,some times there are some interesting expositions.During my visit to this area,many catalan people were dancing a tipical regional dance called Sardana here at Town Hall Square,it was funny for me to see them dancing this way,because I just saw it on TV before!.(I'll add a picture on local costums of it soon!)
This is BARRI GOTICO (Ghotic Quarter) is the old town of Barcelona.Walking by its narrow streets you'll find many interestings things as:Cathedral of Santa Eulalia,the Town Hall, Plaça Reial,and other interesting places to visit,on this picture you can see a view of the small church called Iglesia de Santa Maria del Pí.
In this quarter of the city,you can find also some hotels,a lot of small shops,restaurants and cafeterias,is a nice place to explore.
This square is not far from the Ramblas and is one of the prettiest in the Gothic quarter. It is surrounded by some of the quaintest little streets, lined with cafes and restaurants. The plaza is dominated by the Esglesia de Santa Maria del Pi, a Gothic church built in the 14th and 16th centuries. What I liked about this area was the lovely little shops, many ethnic shops where I purchased clothes and also souvenir shops, but not tacky ones, shops that had really beautiful ornaments in.
The Gothic Quarter is the historical centre and the oldest part of the ciy of Barcelona and until nowadays it is the centre of the political and institutional representation. Some of the most interesting places of this neighbourhood of Barcelona are the Cathedral, the Church of Santa Maria del Pi and the squares (the Plaza del Rei, the plaza Real,the plaza del Pi y La Plaza Sant Jaume with the City hall of Barcelona and the Government of Catalunya). The Gothic Quarter is going down from Plaça Catalunya to the famous Ramblas, the famous 2 km boulevard ending at the harbour of Barcelona. The Gothic Quertar can be distinguished by its narrow streets and squares full of stores, street-cafés, terraces, bars and restaurants.
It's so easy to do the Barri Gotic or Gothic Quarter tour. Just start walking from the Plaza Reial and work your way up til the city hall - a wide plaza - and to the carrer del bisbe irurita and its surrounds where you'll find lots of old buildings and museums, and churches.
Don't forget to enter the big Cathedral of Santa Eulalia where we found live geese inside the cloister around the water fountain.
If you want detailed explanation of the buildings around, then join the walking tour, but if you prefer - like we do - you can always skip the stories and just walk around on your own pace.
Barri Gòtic is the old part of Barcelona and the site of the original settlement that predates Roman Barcino. During the reign of Emperor Augustus in 27 BC, the site was chosen for the city of Barcino. Even as the city expanded outwards over the centuries, this area remained the administrative part of the city where its most important temples and palaces were located. The district is appropriately named Barri Gòtic as much of its architecture is Gothic, dating from the 12th - 16th centuries. Among its treasured monuments is the Catalan Gothic Cathedral of Barcelona and the Royal Palace. With its mediaeval architecture, narrow streets, small shops and tapas bars, this district is the most charming in all of Barcelona.
Take a step back in time to medieval europe. You really get a feel of what it must have been like, as you walk around the maze of twisting, narrow streets.
You will come across Cathedrals, churches, town squares and excellent small shops and cafes.
The highlights include the Catedral, Barcelona's great cathedral that dates back to the 14th century and has been constantly updated over the centuries with impressive additions such as the late 19th century facade. The square in front of the cathedral (placa de la seu) is certainly worth a stop for a coffee or tapas and sit and wonder at that facade.
Along the beautiful C. del Bisbe Irurita you pass the entrance to the cathedral and end up in the magnificent square, Placa Sant Jaume, which is the historical and political heart of the city. There are 2 stunning buildings that face each other, the Ajuntament and the Palau de la Generalitat.
As you travel west along C. de Ferran and down Ptge. Madoz you enter the beautiful Place Reial with its stunning architecture. There are several good restaurants and nightclubs here.
My advice, if I may, is to just find a street and continue to wind your way round. Each street seems to have it's own atmosphere and sights.
Close to the Ramblas is the old Gothic Quarter. It is comprised of narrow lanes with high medieval mansions that are quite worth a see. But the lanes are very confusing and it is easy to get lost there. Some of the mansions are really beautiful. Some small souvenir stalls are also there in the quarter.
Forget what you ever thought a modern city would be like. Close your eyes and enter the Barri Gotic. And open them while in there...
You've been transported to medieval times, to narrow streets, to beautiful churches. But wait! What's that trendy shop doing there? Why is there a CD store in a 9th century building?
Well, that's what the Barri Gotic is all about. Forget your map and loose yourself in that maze of narrow streets, beautiful buildings, amazing stores, great ice cream shops and go back almost a 1000 years. Oh, and enjoy it!
It is the main avenue for shoppers, strollers, and site site seeing people. The avenue stretches form the Port Vell harbor starting at Columbus monument all the way for about 2 miles to the west through retail, then upscale living area. Along the way are good decent shops, but also cheap junk sold under tent shelters for the low end buyers needing a souvenir
The Barri Gotic comprises the area between La Rambla and the Passeig de Picasso. It is full of back alleyways, small cafe's and incredible medieval mansions. The churches that dot the area are each exquisite and charming in their own way. Here is where you will see most of the Catalan Gothic architecture and remnants of the old Roman city of Barcino.
Behind the cathedral outside of the inner courtyard you are will come out to a very narrow street. It is lined wth medieval mansions and quite a stunning view of the cathedrals spires. These homes are not well described but are quite beautiful and worth taking a look at.
The Roman entrance to Barcino is still visible. Though incorporated into the present day buildings, much of the old Roman walls and towers still exist. Below the Plaza de la Seu and as a part of the Palau Episcopal and Casa de l'Ardiaca, you can still see remnants of the old Roman aqueduct.
More of the Roman walled city is visible in other areas of the Barri Gotic. There are some signposts which display a map and a description of what it is that you are looking at. They also detail a "Roman Walk" that you can take to see all of these old parts of Barcelona.