The Gothic Quarter, the old town of Barcelona

If you read my blog for some time you probably know I’m not a type of traveler who likes to plan everything, actually I think forgetting the map and getting lost in a new place is the best part of exploring. As the hostel I was staying in Barcelona was close to the famous boulevard Las Ramblas I decided to visit it first, but as soon as I reached it I realized it’s definitely not a place for me. It was too busy and crowded with tourists, and to be honest, running away from there was all I wanted to do.


I left the boulevard trying to not be trampled down and soon got into a maze of very narrow, winding streets that took me away from the river of people and traffic noise. I have been wandering around, admiring an amazing medieval architecture, diving deeper and deeper into this marvelous area full of so much I wouldn’t have expected to see, and soon I realized that I got lost in Barri Gotic, but instead of being worried about this fact I found my little trip even more exciting than before.


I have been reading about this area so many times in ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ and other books of Carlos Ruiz Zafon and now I tried to remind some of the places that were mentioned therein. I wish I could find the Cemetery of the Forgotten Books which obviously didn’t happen, but I recognized some other spots like Carrer del Bisbe and the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia.


The interesting fact about Barcelona Cathedral is there are 13 white geese kept in the inner courtyard, the number explained by the assertion that Eulalia was 13 when she was martyred. One story says that she was exposed naked in the public square and a miraculous snowfall in mid-spring covered her nudity. The enraged Romans put her into a barrel with knives and rolled it down the street. The body of Saint Eulalia is entombed in the cathedral’s crypt.


Hanging around the Gothic Quarter I was thinking if these walls could only speak, they certainly would have more stories like this to tell. Many of the buildings date from Medieval times, some from as far back as the Roman settlement of Barcelona. The thousands of years history unfold within a small area, fascinating how many people passed these streets before!


The Gothic Quarter is full of character. Narrow streets with buildings leaning into each other, green squares, hidden courtyards, winding alleys with charming cafes, local restaurants, tapas bars, and quirky designer shops, interesting street art… There is a lot of surprises and hidden gems around every corner.



I was lost and I loved it, for places like Barri Gotic you simply need to let go and see where it gets you. This way of exploring adds to the charm of the city. Instead of studying the map you look at the places around you, immersing yourself in its atmosphere, soak in the history. It makes the place even more magical.






I was wandering around for hours, drifting through the dark narrow streets and ancient alleys. Even though this medieval district is in the city center, I’d got a feeling like I was miles away from there. It’s a great place to forget about the world and lose track of time.



If you are going to visit Barcelona, a walk around the Gothic Quarter should be near the top of your list of things to do. There is plenty to see so I suggest you to visit this area more than once if it’s possible, but don’t run between the sights. Slow down, spend some time in a cafe, try tapas and just enjoy the moment. Let yourself to feel Barcelona.

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  40 comments for “The Gothic Quarter, the old town of Barcelona

  1. Jessica Friend
    April 20, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    What a great post! I loved Barcelona – but it rained soo much when I was there. I want to go back when the sun shines 🙂

    • April 20, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Oh what a pity :(. I hope next time you will have a better weather.

  2. Juliana Wynkoop
    April 20, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    I’m so happy to hear that you let yourself get lost in Barcelona! I totally agree that that is the best way to see a place. I’d never even heard of the Gothic quarter, but after seeing these photos, I know I’d be wide-eyed and in wonder of all the beautiful architecture!

    • April 21, 2016 at 10:03 am

      I like this feeling of getting lost somewhere, everything is so new and exciting… Exploring cities in that way sometimes you can see more than hanging around with map in your hand.

  3. Jennifer Morrow
    April 20, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Beautiful photos! We keep planning to visit Barcelona, and that really needs to happen now. Thanks for sharing the Gothic Quarter, it is on my list to see!

    • April 21, 2016 at 10:00 am

      I suggest you to not visit Barcelona in high season then, but go there at Spring or Autumn. I think it won’t be as crowded as in the middle of the Summer when I was there.

  4. Tina
    April 21, 2016 at 5:50 am

    I can actually already feel the flair of Barcelona. The way you writ is like you took me there with you ( I wish you would 😀 ) the pictures are so lovely and I can already see myself in this place getting lost and not to worry about the time

    • April 21, 2016 at 9:57 am

      Thank you Tina. I’m glad that I could show you my little trip.

  5. Veronica Pototska
    April 21, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Your photos are exceptional!
    I don’t know the reason why I did not visit the Gothic Quarter in BCN when I visited it. I Will definitely explore it next time I will visit BCN.

    • April 21, 2016 at 11:21 am

      Thank you for your kind comment, Veronica :). I think most of the people visiting Barcelona are more focused on sightseeing Gaudi architecture works. If you will be in Gothic Quarter I suggest you to go even farther and see also Santa Maria del Mar church. It’s famous because of bestseller book of Ildefonso Falcones ‘Cathedral of the Sea’, really great by the way 🙂

  6. Bernard Tan
    April 21, 2016 at 11:12 am

    I love the photos! its so beautiful, it makes me wants to fly to Barcelona now! I should start to plan a trip there soon!

    • April 21, 2016 at 11:16 am

      Thank you for your compliment about the photos, I’m really glad you like them. And I encourage you to visit Barcelona, it’s a city full of surprises.

  7. April 21, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    The street of Barcelona is so awesome. Would love to take selfie there too. And when I see that Cathedral l. I literally said wow! Would love to
    Visit it someday.

    • April 21, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      I wish you your dreams come true, Barcelona is worth visiting 🙂

  8. April 21, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    I did the free walking tour when I was in Barcelona and it took us through the Gothic Quarter. I remember stopping somewhere for churros and chocolate – it was lovely!

    • April 21, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      I tried churros when I was on Tibidabo and it was delicious! If you were there on guided tour I suppose you know some interesting facts about Barri Gotic.

  9. April 21, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    Absolutely beautiful shots, I love that they’re full size and lovely and bright. When I think of Barcelona, these kinds of images didn’t really come to mind, so you’ve inspired me– maybe I can look into TEFL jobs in Barcelona for next academic year 😀

    • April 21, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      Great idea! There is no better occasion to get to know all the city ins and outs than living there for some time.

  10. April 21, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    I love Barcelona and have been there a number of times, each time I find something new that I have not seen the last time. Your pictures are wonderful and this is a place everyone should visit in Barca! 🙂

    • April 29, 2016 at 9:16 am

      That’s what I like most about exploring the cities like Barcelona, there is lots of surprises around every corner. I wish I could come back there one day and discover some new places.

  11. April 22, 2016 at 4:25 am

    This is beautiful! I love the look of it and all the history hidden within the walls of each building. That old story about the woman and the snow (and then the barrel roll??) is fascinating and I love how places like this seem to have so many stories connected to them.

    • April 29, 2016 at 9:14 am

      Oh yes, it’s fascinating how many people was living there before, walking these narrow streets… This place is full of history.

  12. sanketdhume
    April 22, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Some lovely photographs you have here! Barcelona is such a beautiful city. I hope to spend some time there next year 🙂

    • April 29, 2016 at 9:08 am

      It’s something about Barcelona… Once you visit this city, you want to come back again and again…

  13. April 22, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Przecudne zdjęcia! 🙂 Świetny pomysł z tym blogiem 🙂

    • April 22, 2016 at 3:38 pm

      Dziękuję Dorota :). Od jakiegoś czasu nosiłam się z zamiarem założenia nowego bloga, zaczynam od zera, ale pisząc tu dużo się uczę i co najważniejsze, sprawia mi to sporo radości.

  14. April 22, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    The gothic architecture of Barcelona shines in your photographs! Very medieval and very beautiful.

    • April 29, 2016 at 9:06 am

      Sometimes I was thinking that this place must be unreal, it was so charming! Walking there was like a travel back in time.

  15. ANN LIN
    April 23, 2016 at 7:34 am

    I absolutely absolutely love Barcelona! It’s one of my favourite cities in Europe and in the world. Barri Gotic is also such a great neighborhood to walk around and get a little lost!

    • April 29, 2016 at 9:04 am

      Barri Gotic is really charming. And all these nice little shops and bars! I have been there many times because my hostel was in neighborhood but I’m sure I haven’t seen everything. I wish I could come back one day to Barcelona and walk there once again.

  16. April 28, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    I’ve never been to Barcelona but i heard that it’s a great idea to explore this city on a bike!

    • April 29, 2016 at 8:59 am

      Nice idea! I have seen places where you can rent a bike, one was next to my hostel. Next time I will check it, exploring city on a bike must be fun!

  17. April 29, 2016 at 8:06 am

    I loved the pictures!! Thanks fr sharing!! I will definitely have to come back to Barcelona, I went there 3 years ago, so it´s time 😉

    • April 29, 2016 at 8:56 am

      I wish I could come back there too :). And go to Barceloneta, visit La Boqueria, watch city panorama from Tibidabo… Barcelona is lovely city!

  18. Ron
    June 10, 2017 at 7:27 am

    Thank you, Ewa !

  19. October 18, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    These are indeed beautiful streets! I think I can endlessly walk around with my camera and picture all the cute things. I am a street photography enthusiast, so I really love when you share these things.

  20. December 7, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    Barcelona is one of my favorite cities because of the Gothic architecture and what Gaudi has contributed to. I am totally intrigued by the pictures of your post. Loved the way of your traveling – getting lost in exploring streets – known and unknown. You had a great time, indeed.

    • December 7, 2018 at 6:49 pm

      I have found that the best way to discover places is to get lost. Then you can see places where other tourists do not reach, see how the locals live. I wandered in the Gothic Quarter in the morning, so there were not many visitors. Thanks to that I could feel the atmosphere of this place.

  21. February 7, 2020 at 6:12 pm

    When I was in Barcelona, I fell in love with Gothic Quarter. I love Gaudi and I was mesmerized at the architecture. From your blog, I can tell you you have brought back some lovely memories of me visiting Barcelona. Your photographs are amazing. The old and narrow road, hidden courtyards, and those old paintings are all so impressive. I would definitely love to go to Barcelona again, very soon.