Guide to Barcelona’s Barri Gòtic district

Vue aérienne sur le quartier Barri Gotic à Barcelone

Coming to Catalonia soon? Find out all there is to know about Barcelona’s impressive Barri Gòtic district!

When you come to the Catalan capital, you can’t miss its charming and famous Gothic Quarter! The Barri Gòtic is certainly one of the city’s most beautiful districts. Located on the site of the ancient Roman city and rebuilt in the Middle Ages, it represents Barcelona’s glorious past. Along the narrow, medieval streets, you’ll discover sublime buildings, trendy Catalan restaurants and friendly bars where you can enjoy delicious tapas!

Dynamic and lively, this Gothic quarter is also bordered by the lively La Rambla avenue. In its heart, you can admire the Plaça del Pi and the Santa Maria del Pi basilica, visit Barcelona Cathedral or the city’s history museum. Coming to Barcelona soon? We’ll tell you all you need to know about the wonderful Barri Gòtic district!

The Barri Gòtic district in a nutshell

Pont entre les bâtiments du quartier gotique de Barri à Barcelone, Espagne

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Sopotnicki

The Gothic Quarter is at the heart of Barcelona’s Old Town. Its history dates back to the reign of Augustus, the first Roman emperor. At that time, this illustrious civilization founded a colony on the site of Barri Gòtic. On Plaça Nova, you’ll see two cylindrical towers dating back to Roman times. Today, the district stretches from La Rambla to Via Laietana, and from the Mediterranean waterfront to the Ronda de Sant Pere.

It encompasses the oldest parts of Barcelona, such as the remains of the city’s Roman wall and, above all, several must-see medieval monuments. However, despite its name, a number of the district’s emblematic Gothic buildings don’t actually date back to the Middle Ages. In fact, the district was completely transformed and restored for the 1929 International Exhibition and beyond. Nevertheless, this fact does not alter the beauty and historicity of the district. The Barri Gòtic retains a labyrinthine street plan, with many small streets opening onto squares, just as in the Middle Ages.

What to see and do in Barcelona’s Barri Gòtic district?

The Barri Gòtic district is undoubtedly Barcelona’s most popular! To explore it at its best, we recommend getting lost in its labyrinth of alleys and lanes. This is the best way to visit the Barri Gòtic district and find charming cafés, tapas bars and typical boutiques. To help you on your way, here’s a short itinerary for admiring each of the district’s wonders.

Plaça Reial and La Rambla

Plaza Real (Place Royale) le jour d'été, Barcelone, Espagne

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Kert

To begin or end your visit to the Barri Gòtic district, there’s nothing better than La Rambla and especially the beautiful Plaça Reial. Quiet by day, it’s one of the liveliest squares when the sun goes down. Surrounded by arcades and dotted with palm trees, it teems with tourists, restaurants and bars, as well as more authentic stalls.

1,200 meters long, La Rambla is undoubtedly Barcelona’s best-known street. Built in 1766 along the old medieval wall, it marks the boundary between the Barri Gotic and El Raval districts. Follow it north to arrive at Plaça del Pi.

Santa Maria del Pi Church

Eglise Santa Maria del Pi, Barcelone

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Clari Massimiliano

Built between 1319 and 1391 on the remains of an earlier Romanesque church, the present building is in the purest Catalan Gothic style. One of its special features is the enormous rose window, almost ten metres in diameter, which adorns the façade. The Basilica was burnt down in 1936 by anarchists. It underwent extensive restoration in 1940 after the Spanish Civil War. Today’s stained-glass windows date from this period.

Barcelona Cathedral

Vue sur la cathédrale Santa Creu, Barrio Gotic, Barcelone

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Marianna Ianovska

Next up is the Cathedral de la Santa Creu, known as La Seu in Catalan. Built between the 13th and 15th centuries on the site of the former Romanesque cathedral, its style is predominantly Gothic, despite the various styles that succeeded one another during its construction. This majestic cathedral is a must-see. Don’t miss the chance to climb to the top of the roof. You’ll enjoy a sublime view of the Barri Gòtic.

Not far from the cathedral, you can also admire the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya, seat of the Catalan government. Next, join the Plaça del Rei, one of the city’s most beautiful interior squares. It perfectly symbolizes the city’s Gothic architecture and medieval history. Embedded in the ramparts, you’ll also see the bell tower of Santa Agueda Chapel, built in 1302.

Barcelona History Museum

Intérieur du musée de l'histoire de Barcelone

Photo credit: Shutterstock / EQRoy

After admiring the surroundings of the Plaça del Rei, don’t miss a visit to the Barcelona History Museum. This museum preserves, studies, exhibits and transmits the city’s historical heritage, from its origins to the present day. Here you’ll discover relics from Roman and medieval times, as well as exhibitions on Barcelona’s more contemporary history.

South of the district

Vue sur Barcelone et le Mirador de Colom

Photo credit: Shutterstock / kavalenkava

To round off your visit to the Barri Gòtic district, you can return to the Plaça Reial for a delicious meal, some tapas and a drink. Many of the district’s wonders are still hidden. Explore the southern part of the district. Don’t hesitate to lose yourself in its charming streets, where you’ll also come across a host of inviting bars, cafés and restaurants.

As you turn a corner, you may come to the Port Vell and the seafront. Then reach the Mirador de Colom, a monument dedicated to the famous explorer. This column marks the beginning of La Rambla.

Guided tours of the Barri Gòtic district

If you want to learn more about the neighborhood and make sure you don’t miss a thing, you can of course opt for a guided tour of Barri Gòtic! Here’s an overview of the tours available:

Guided walking tour

Place Plaça Ramon Berenguer, Barcelone

Photo credit: Shutterstock / RossHelen

To visit the Barri Gòtic district, there are walking tours lasting from 2.5 to 3 hours. Accompanied by a local guide, you’ll wander through the narrow streets of this historic district of Barcelona.

In particular, you’ll discover the Gothic cathedral, whose construction began in the 13th century and wasn’t completed until 6 centuries later. Contemplate the remains of the Roman wall on Plaça Ramon Berenguer, stroll along Plaça del Rei and admire the former palaces of kings and popes. All in all, you’ll be immersed in the fascinating history of this district! This type of guided tour of the Barri Gòtic, frequently available in French, generally costs from €18 to €30 per person.

Guided bike tour

Personne en vélo dans le quartier de Barri Gotic à Barcelone

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Travelerpix

Not a big fan of walking? Then discover Barcelona and the Barri Gòtic district by bike in the company of a guide! These tours, lasting an average of 3 hours, will take you through the narrow streets of the Catalan capital. Admire the Gothic Quarter, La Rambla and Plaça de Catalunya.

But you’ll also discover the Sagrada Familia, the Bullring, the whole of the Old Town and the beachfront promenade from your bike. For this type of guided tour, sometimes available in French, expect to pay between €20 and €50 on average.

Guided segway tour

Femme en segway à Barcelone

Photo credit: Shutterstock / ImYanis

If cycling and walking aren’t your cup of tea, then you should know that there are guided segway tours! With this means of transport, you’ll glide effortlessly from wonder to wonder. As with bike tours, the tour generally begins in the Gothic Quarter and continues elsewhere in Barcelona. You’ll discover other important sites, such as the Ciutadella Park, the Monumental Fountain or the Catalan Parliament. Your guide will, of course, punctuate the tour with anecdotes, comments and explanations about the city, its monuments and its history.

This type of tour generally costs around €50 per person, and lasts 2 hours. As with other tours, it is possible to be accompanied by a professional French-speaking guide.

At the heart of legends

Rue vide de Barri Gotic la nuit, Barcelone

Photo credit: Shutterstock / INejron Photo

Several themed guided tours of the Gothic Quarter are available. Take the Ghosts and Legends Tour, for example. This one-and-a-half-hour tour takes place at dusk in the Gothic Quarter. Your English-speaking guide will tell you the ghost stories and legends of the district. The tour begins and ends with an intriguing cocktail in a Barri Gòtic bar.

Around flamenco

Danseuse de flamenco au milieu des touristes sur la Rambla, Barcelone

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Gimas

How about a behind-the-scenes look at flamenco? A veritable religion in every corner of the country, flamenco also invites itself to Barri Gòtic for an immersive experience. The program includes an audiovisual exhibition on the origins of this art form, followed by an express class with two English-speaking artists. Then round off your day with a dinner and show at the Palacio del Flamenco, a benchmark theatrical restaurant!

The best hotels to stay in Barri Gòtic

To get to know the Barri Gòtic even better, we recommend staying in this lively district during your stay in Barcelona! The first address we recommend is theHotel Catalonia Portal de l’Àngel. Offering reasonable rates, this hotel is ideally located in the district, just a stone’s throw from the Cathedral and Plaça de Catalunya. The Portal de l’Angel also boasts a garden with swimming pool, a very welcome bonus! A night in this charming hotel will cost you an average of €80.

The Mercer Hotel Barcelona is also an excellent choice. This very upscale hotel is located on a quiet street in the Barri Gòtic. Housed in an old building, it offers refined rooms, modern facilities, a rooftop pool and two restaurants. A night in this chic hotel will cost you an average of €250.

Finally, we recommend theHotel Duquesa de Cardona Barcelona, located right on the seafront. With its rooftop terrace, beautiful pool, cocktail bar and restaurant, it’s obviously an ideal option for a stay in the Barri Gòtic. A night at this wonderful hotel will cost you an average of €95.

Where to eat in Barcelona’s Barri Gòtic district?

As previously stated, this is Barcelona’s most popular, most visited and most loved district. As a result, you’ll find plenty of cafés, typical restaurants and tapas bars. During your visit to Barri Gòtic, or even during your stay, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to dining. We particularly recommend the following addresses

  • Les Quinze Nits: located on the beautiful Plaza Real, this restaurant offers delicious Mediterranean cuisine at reasonable prices.
  • El Salón: a small bistro with Catalan and French influences that’s a must-try during your stay!
  • Le Pla Restaurant: close to Plaça Sant Jaume, offering a relaxed atmosphere and delicious Mediterranean dishes.

How do I get to Barri Gòtic?

The Barri Gòtic district is surrounded by metro lines. So you’ll have no trouble reaching it by public transport.

  • Along the Ramblas, you can stop at Drassanes, Liceu or Catalunya on the light green L3 line.
  • On the other side of the district, the yellow L4 line offers the Urquinaona, Jaume I and Barceloneta stops. The latter is just a stone’s throw from the seafront.
  • The red L1 line also stops at Catalunya, one of the city’s main squares.

We recommend that you do not bring your own vehicle to this area. Barcelona city center is very congested and not very traffic-friendly. Parking spaces are also expensive. It’s best to leave your car on the outskirts of town and then take public transport to the Barri Gòtic.

Map of hotels and accommodation – Barcelona,es