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The Gothic Quarter and the Old Town

Where medieval history, modern art, quirky shopping and bar-hopping coexist
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 1.4 miles
Duration: Half day

Overview:  Barcelona is a clutch of different cities. It's the lively, squawking, bustling energy of the Ramblas; the elegance of the Passeig de ... more »

Tips:  Remember if planning a long weekend that the City History, Picasso and Marès museums are closed on Mondays (except for some... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Avinguda del Portal de l'Angel to Els Quatre Gats

Start your walk in Plaça de Catalunya, but instead of folowing the hordes down La Rambla, take the (initially parallel) next street on the left, the Avinguda del Portal de l'Angel. It's a useful shopping street with lots of high-end chain names, including two branches of Zara and another outpost of El Corte Inglés, though for... More

2. Soak up the atmosphere

There's a great temptation to just allow yourself to get lost in the maze of narrow, dark streets flanked by tall buildings that sprig off Portal de l'Angel. Do so and you will trip across fascinating little shops like the charcuteria La Pineda on Carrer del Pi where you can have a drink and nibble at samples of chorizo and butifarra sausage or... More

That Barcelona has a famous church--the Sagrada Familia--that has been under construction for 130 years (and is now within two decades or so of completion) is fairly common knowledge. Less well known is that the jewel of the Gothic Quarter--the ostensibly 13th century Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia only acquired its Neo-Gothic main faç... More

It's a short walk to the Plaça del Rei, which the tourist authotities describe as a "Conjunt Monumental," a remarkable legacy of surviving Gothic architecture testifying to the splendor of the city's medieval past.

An imposing watchtower rises to one side of the part-11th century Palau Reial Major, from the 13th to the early... More

The 20th century's most celebrated artist was Andalucian by birth (southern Spain), but spent significant amounts of time in Barcelona, which honors him in this ever-crowded collection housed in a lovely old palace in Carrer Montcada in the Born district. The displays take a chronological gallop through the master's career, showing the development... More

Set yourself up for a wander with a drink and some tapas at El Xampanyet (Carrer de Montcada 22). Don't count on getting a seat. This simple azulejo-tiled bar is perennially popular but the tapas are delicious, if a little pricey, and there's no more atmospheric place to enjoy a glass of cava, Catalunya's quality sparkling wine.
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Carrer... More

7. Carrer l'Argenteria

Just around the corner from El Xampanyet, Carrer i'Argenteria owes its name to the silversmiths who once plied their trade here. These days the street is full of bars, restaurants and interesting shops. There's a branch of the Basque purveyor of humorous T-shirts Kukuxumusu, which has famously collaborated on a shirt design with the Dalai Lama.... More

Just beside the Cathedral, in the Plaça de Sant lu, make your way into the little courtyard that leads to the Museu Frederic Mares. Mares was a sculptor of distinction and assembled an enormous collection of polychrome religious statuary, much of it dating back to the Romanesque period, but with some much older pieces, including tiny... More

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9. Around Plaça del Pi

If you walk along to Plaça del Pi, you will find a most atmospheric shop with window displays that might have been inspired by the obsessive collection of the Mares Museum. For 100 years the Ganiveteria Roca has been selling what can only be described as "sharp things," from knives that would look the part in the shower scene of... More

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