The Gothic Quarter is crammed with tiny, winding alleyways and streets, with quaint squares and diminutive parks, with centuries-old structures sitting next to modern buildings. It’s beguiling and bewildering and very easy to get lost. But this 2.5-hour guided walking tour through the neighborhood is certain to set even the most directionally challenged traveler straight. Learn the history of the neighborhood, see the important sites and finish off with some traditional ‘pintxos,’ or small snacks, at a cool restaurant in El Born, a neighborhood crammed with wine bars and boutiques.
The Gothic Quarter dates back to the Middle Ages, when Gothic architecture was all the rage (hence the name of the neighborhood). It’s filled with streets so tiny that most of it is closed off to traffic. Meet your guide at Plaça Nova to start the walking tour and immediately cross through the city’s ancient city gate of Barcino. Your guide will set the scene, providing historical detail to give a sense of what life was like in medieval Barcelona. Stroll through the old Jewish Quarter, home to most of the city’s Jewish denizens until they were banished from Spain by Queen Isabella at the end of the 15th century. Then continue on to Plaça del Rei , Plaça de l’Àngel, Argenteria Street and Santa María del Mar Church. See the Santa Caterina Market, a great market that is often overlooked because of the popularity of the city’s main market, Boqueria.For the final part of the tour, pop into a restaurant in El Born to sample some pintxos, bite-size snacks that are popular in the Basque Country in northeast Spain (one pintxo included in price). Choose a drink, either a soft drink, a beer or a glass of Txakoli, a slightly effervescent white wine that also hails from the Basque Country. Sit back and raise a glass to medieval Barcelona and the new knowledge you have of the city. The tour concludes at Santa María del Mar Church, leaving you free to continue to explore this remarkable area on your own.