If you’ve seen all of the main attractions in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, it’s time to take a closer look at some of the most interesting (and less touristy) places in this part of the city.
This square has a special and quiet atmosphere to it, as if time had stopped for infinity. Surrounded by renaissance styled houses, this Square was testimony of the horrors of the Spanish civil war as the square was bombarded by the nationalists, killing 42 people and destroying the cemetery that used to be in the center of the square as well as some of the houses surrounding it. Nowadays you can still see the famous marks on the Sant Felip Neri Church’s walls, a reminder of this horrific period in history.
Although its violent past, the square has a calm feel to it and has beautiful terraces to soak in the vibe.
The Gothic quarter hides bars and restaurants that tell the history of the city through both its walls and its food. One of the most well-known is Els 4 Gats, a modernist bar where many artists such as Picasso, Santiago Rusiñol or Ramon Casas (who financed the bar). It is located in a building by modernist architect Puig i Cadafalch and if we go inside, we’ll see the influence of Parisian bar le Chat Noir. Another historical place is Can Culleretes, hidden in a narrow side street, this restaurant is the oldest restaurant in Barcelona still running and the second in the whole of Spain. Opening in 1786, this restaurant has lived generations of owners and is now in hands of the third generation of the Agut Manubens family, who offer classic décor and a traditional menu.
This narrow Street is known by locals as Paintors’ Street as there are many artists living there. We can also find Sala Parés , the first art gallery in Europe, which opened in 1840 and is still running today. Many small shops are located here, so you can feel the essence of the Gothic Quarter, away from the souvenir and clothes shops. Some are locally famous like La Pallaresa, where we can taste their melted chocolate with whipped cream and some “churros”; one of the best in the city.
Popularly known as “el Camello”, this market/café is located in the heart of Portaferrissa Street, hidden past a majestic doorway with a sculpture of a camel greeting you. Inside you can find rows of stalls selling alternative clothing and accessories of all kinds. One of the gems of the place is its even more hidden away café at the end of the shop. If we climb up some steps we can take a break in this quiet terrace surrounded by hammocks, plants and flowers while enjoying a cup of coffee.
Yes, there was a Jewish Quarter in Barcelona, and this Synagogue, built in the 6th century is proof. It is also believed to be one of the oldest synagogues in Europe. It was reopened to the public as a museum, since its original use as a Synagogue after the Jewish massacre in 14th century Barcelona.
These curious buildings have part of Barcelona’s roman wall and were an aristocratic residency for years. It has recently been restored to highlight its different historic features: gothic building casa dels Marc, the roman entrance to the city from the Sea, and part of the maritime castle. It is now a public space where you can currently see many photography exhibitions.
Ever been to any of these wonderful places? Know of any others that are not featured on the list? Don’t hestitate to comment!
Metro: Jaume I ( line 4), Plaça Catalunya, Liceu (Line 3)
Bus: Most buses stop at Plaça Catalunya