When people think of Barcelona, art nouveau is generally what springs to mind, thanks to Gaudí’s spectacular works in the city. However, the historical heart of the Catalan capital also merits attention. One of the best ways to discover the city’s rich heritage is to take a guided tour through the streets of Barcelona’s Gothic quarter!
Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter
The Barri Gótic forms part of the Ciutat Vella (“Old Town”, in Catalan) and is the oldest part of Barcelona, dating back to Roman times. As its name suggests, the area is home to many examples of Gothic architecture, but that’s not all that’s on offer!
A walk through the Gothic Quarter is like a walk through Barcelona’s history, travelling through the different periods which left their mark on the city. Some buildings feature a mixture of styles, from romanesque to modern, via gothic – an architectural mish-mash which gives this area its own special character.
Guided visits of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter: itinerary
Our visit began with the area around Barcelona Cathedral, a historical and cultural goldmine! For example, we discovered the existence of impeccably-conserved pillars from a Roman temple, and a hidden square which still bears the scars of bombardments by Franco’s army during the Spanish Civil War.
Next, we headed off toward Plaça Sant Jaume, Barcelona’s political centre. Our guide told us the legend of Sant Jordí, explaining how the tale became a key element of Catalan tradition.
Following a tour of the former Jewish Quarter, we moved into the adjacent Born quarter to visit the fabulous church of Santa Maria Del Mar. Later, we walked through the mercat de Santa Caterina, an authentic food market.
A pleasant surprise awaited us at the end of the tour, which finished in a restaurant where a pintxo (a small slice of bread with toppings) and a drink were served free of charge.
Why choose this tour?
- The fascinating itinerary will take you to little-known areas, highlighting the cultural riches and historic diversity of Barcelona.
- Whilst walking between stops, you’ll be kept entertained by the guide, a licensed art history expert, who has a whole host of fascinating tales to tell.
- Whether you’re a history fan or simply nosy, this tour offers something for everyone, with a range of precise and concise explanations and anecdotes.
- We feel this tour offers excellent value for money, at prices well below those of the competition!
- Price: 14 euros
- Language: English (From March 2017)
- Time: 10am on Sundays
- Duration: 2.5 – 3 hours
- Group visits
- A bilingual English/Spanish option is offered on Thursdays at 3.30pm (this is the version we tested).
- The tour lasts between 2 1/2 and 3 hours, and you’ll be walking. There are a few steps involved, but not too many. Make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes, though, or you might regeret it later!
Cheap accessible guided walking tour of the Gothic Quarter
Top tip: There is a shorter version of the visit accessible for people with reduced mobility. It’s available in Catalan, Spanish or English on the first and third Friday of each month.
The visit lasts over an hour. It costs less than 13 euros and it’s free for children under 12 years.