Walking Tour: Hidden Treasures in the Barri Gòtic

  • Start La Catedral
  • End Plaça del Rei
  • Length 1.5km; 1½ hours

This scenic walk through the Barri Gòtic will take you back in time, from the early days of Roman-era Barcino through to the medieval era.

Before entering the cathedral, have a look at three Picasso friezes on the building facing the square. After noting his signature style, wander through La Catedral; don't miss the cloister with its flock of 13 geese. Leaving the cathedral, enter the former gates of the ancient fortified city and turn right into Plaça de Sant Felip Neri. Note the shrapnel-scarred walls of the old church, damaged by pro-Francoist bombers in 1938. A plaque commemorates the victims (mostly children) of the bombing.

Head out of the square and turn right. On this narrow lane, you'll spot a small statue of Santa Eulàlia, one of Barcelona's patron saints who suffered various tortures during her martyrdom. Make your way west to the looming 14th-century Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi, which is famed for its magnificent rose window. Follow the curving road and zigzag down to Plaça Reial, one of Barcelona's prettiest squares. Flanking the fountain are lamp posts designed by Antoni Gaudí.

Stroll up to Carrer de la Boqueria and turn left on Carrer de Sant Domènec del Call. This leads into the El Call district, once the heart of the medieval Jewish quarter, until the bloody pogrom of 1391. The Sinagoga Major, one of Europe's oldest, was discovered in 1996. Head across Plaça de Sant Jaume and turn left after Carrer del Bisbe. You'll soon pass the entrance to the remnants of a Roman Temple, with four columns hidden in a small courtyard.

The final stop is Plaça del Rei, a picturesque plaza where Fernando and Isabel received Columbus following his first New World voyage. The former palace today houses a superb history museum, with significant Roman ruins underground.