The Barri Gòtic

Head to the medieval alleyways of the Old Town for a perfect introduction to Barcelona

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Combined with a wander down frenetic, commercial La Rambla, a stroll through the medieval alleyways and secluded squares of the Old City is the best possible introduction to Barcelona and the starting point for most visitors upon arrival in the city. For a taste of the town's more grandiose architecture, Plaça Sant Jaume is flanked by two government buildings, the Renaissance palace of the Generalitat and neo-classical façade of the Ajuntament.

Restaurants in the Barri Gòtic

Ohla Gastrobar

  • Price band: 2/4

The Ohla Gastrobar, at the top of the Ohla Hotel, is an exclusive but relaxed spot that serves small haute cuisine, courtesy of chef Richard Frank, who also runs the modern classic Saüc.

  1. Via Laietana, 49, Born-Ribera, 08003
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La Cuina del DO

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Such is the quality of this hotel restaurant, located in a basement area in Plaça Real, that the hotel seems to have been built around the restaurant. They offer inspired auteur cuisine, where the produce wins out over technique, with unusual

  1. Plaça Reial, 1, Gòtic, 08002
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Bosco

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4

A cosy restaurant with spectacular décor, and which aspires to stake a claim in the barrio through its highly effective cuisine. There’s no pretensions here, just dishes such as cannelloni stuffed with roast chicken, mushrooms and foie gras. Good

  1. Capellans, 9, Gòtic, 08002
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Can Culleretes

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Barcelona’s oldest restaurant, ​​and one of the oldest in Spain, is still going strong. The Agut-Manubens family, with mother and daughter to the fore, serve good Catalan cooking at very reasonable prices, notably their cannelloni with cod,

  1. Quintana, 5, Gòtic, 08002
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Agut

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This has been one of the best inns in Catalonia for many years. They have revived many dishes – such as brains in batter – that had virtually died out. Booking ahead is essential: Every Sunday morning you’ll see queues of people waiting to get

  1. Gignàs, 16, Eixample Esquerre, 08002
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Bars in the Barri Gòtic

Bar Mingus

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

The Mingus is just as much of a rarity among the tourist bars in the Gothic quarter as the black jazz musician Charles Mingus was, a man who dared to play a white man’s instrument back in the day. Compared to all the plastic tapas in the

  1. Comtessa de Sobradiel, 9, Gòtic, 08002
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Red Rocket Bar

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

Yes, it's another red bar, but here you can enjoy a beer for just €1 before 10pm as you watch Betty Page, projected on the ceiling with a red rocket, do her thing along to the rockabilly rhythms rocking this joint stuffed with vinyl records and

  1. Còdols, 21, Gòtic, 08002
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Ocaña

Smack-dab in Plaça Reial, this space is the namesake of José Perez Ocaña, paintor, activist and defender of freedom who was one of the main players of 'la Movida', the great counterculture movement during the Transición following Franco's death

  1. Plaça Reial, 13-15, Gòtic, 08002
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L'Ascensor

  • Rated as: 3/5

L'Ascensor (The Lift or The Elevator, depending on your side of the pond) features an old-style lift for a door, which one can only suppose that's where it got its name. The cocktails are old-school, from times gone by, maybe even a bit prehistoric,

  1. Bellafila, 3, Gòtic, 08002
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Sor Rita

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

From the classic to the kitsch. Sor Rita seemingly prides itself on a decor of animal print, Barbie dolls in compromising positions, high-heeled shoes on the ceiling, and a photo shrine to sinners. Tarot and karaoke are among the regular events, but

  1. Mercè, 27, Gòtic, 08002
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What to see & do in the Barri Gòtic

MUHBA Museu d'Història de Barcelona

Stretching from the Plaça del Rei to the cathedral are some 4,000sq m (43,000sq ft) of subterranean Roman excavations – streets, villas and storage vats for oil and wine, all discovered by accident in the late 1920s when a whole swath of the

  1. Pl. del Rei, Ciutat Vella, 08002
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Museu Frederic Marès

Kleptomaniac and general magpie Frederic Marès (1893-1991) 'collected' everything he laid his hands on, from hairbrushes to opera glasses and gargoyles. Unlike most private 19th-century collectors, Marès didn't come from a wealthy family, but

  1. Plaça de Sant Iu, 5, Ciutat Vella, 08002
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Barcelona Cathedral (Catedral)

The construction of Barcelona's Gothic cathedral began in 1298. However, thanks to civil wars and plagues, building dragged on at a pace that makes the Sagrada Família project look snappy: although the architects remained faithful to the vertical

  1. Pla de la Seu, s/n, Ciutat Vella
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Sinagoga Shlomo Ben Adret

This was the most important synagogue in the Call (Barcelona's Jewish quarter) until the Inquisition began in 1391. It is active today and is the home of the Associació Call de Barcelona. One of the rooms, which is reserved for prayer only, houses

  1. Marlet, 5
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MEAM: Museu Europeu d'Art Modern

The European Museum of Modern Art, located inside the Palau Gomis, makes figurative art of the 20th and 21st centuries its main priority, something that doesn't usually get a lot of museum space. The Museum's Foundation organises a yearly prize for

  1. Barra de Ferro, 5, Gòtic, 08003
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Shopping in the Barri Gòtic

Caelum

Jesus Christ! And don’t take that as blasphemy: it’s the exclamation you might come out with when you visit this shop in Barcelona’s old quarter. They sell all kinds of sweets made by monks and nuns in monasteries and convents around the

  1. 8, Palla, 08002
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L'Arca de l'Àvia

There are some pieces of home dressings that can stand the test of time, and are full of history. These are the stars of the show at L’Arca de l’Avia, a shop in the Barri Gótic where you can uncover treasures like trousseaus, sheets, table

  1. Banys Nous, 20
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Duke

Duke is a multi-brand shop where you’ll find both formal looks and sport attire, and it's the shop to beat for fans of street wear. Duke features classic brands like Fred Perry, chic French names Sessùn and Petits Hauts, Danish designer Ganni,

  1. Duc de la Victòria, 12
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Nightlife in the Barri Gòtic

Jamboree

Every night, the cave-like Jamboree hosts jazz, Latin or blues gigs by mainly Spanish groups – on Mondays, in particular, the outrageously popular WTF jazz jam session is crammed with a young local crowd. Upstairs, slicker sister venue Los

  1. Pl. Reial, 17, Ciutat Vella, 08002
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Sidecar Factory Club

  • Critics choice

This below-ground temple of indie rock is 25 years old and still fit as a fiddle, with a different session every day and self-assured in the knowledge that that hip, the happening, the cool and the now will descend upon the place at least once a

  1. Pl. Reial, 7, Ciutat Vella, 08002
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Café Royale

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

The most amazing thing about this place is what an oasis of luxury and modern design is doing in such a rundown zombie-ridden neighbourhood. The result is a little piece of heaven in the midst of the streets filled with menacing shadows and the

  1. Nou de Zurbano, 3, Gòtic, 08002
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Marula Café

Clubbers who are ever-so-slightly beyond their twenties ... or thirties got a bit overexcited when Madrid's famous Marula Café announced it was opening a club in Barcelona, and they have not been disappointed. The house sound is mostly R&B, Sly &

  1. Escudellers, 49, Gòtic, 08002
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Karma

Neither age nor status are social barriers at Karma, a classic rock bar that lies under Plaça Reial. Without moving from classic rock schemes, with a timid opening to the electronic music, the Karma bar has become one of the best flirting places in

  1. Pl. Reial, 10, Ciutat Vella, 08002
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