The Gothic Quarter: Barcelona

(Part 2 of 6)

Gothic Quarter

If there’s a place to fall in love, it’s here, in Barcelona, more specifically, the Gothic Quarter. The cobblestone streets and dark alleyways, and the violinist playing in front of the cathedral and the perpetual smell of butter croissants through the air will stop your heart in its tracks.
The Gothic Quarter is a favorite among tourists. The museums, hundred-year-old cathedrals and restaurants entice more than eight million people per year. That said, if you’re going to visit Barcelona, especially during the summer months, be prepared for thousands of others doing just the same. There are so many incredible sites to see in the Gothic quarter, but, to save you the hassle of falling into the many tourist traps, here a few of my favorite things in this popular Barcelona neighborhood.

To see

The Barcelona Cathedral is the most famous cathedral in the city. Located in the heart of the Gothic quarter, the Cathedral stands tall, making you wonder about all the hands and minds wGothic Quarterho constructed it. The interior garden, open to the public only a few times a week, is a must see. If you catch the light at dusk, you’ll watch the cathedral change from a grey to shades of purple and pink, and you’ll marvel at its beauty, wondering where you’ll see such a phenomenon again.
For the craft market lovers, Plaça del Pi is the place to be. The enchanting square (or plaza) is situated in front of a cathedral, Santa Maria del Mar and surrounded by incredible architecture, little shops, and bars.

To drink

If you’re a coffee fan, Satan’s Coffee Corner is a must. This hidden coffee shop is a mecca for the hipsters and tattoo artists of the city. Locals and tourists alike can appreciate the artesian lattes and cold brew coffees. Space is clean, minimal and inviting. For a quick rest (and pick me up!) after a long day of walking, Satan’s Coffee Corner has got to be on your list!
Plaça Reial is a beautiful square surrounded by palm trees and a giant waterfall in the center. The square is located just off Las Ramblas. It’s always busy; with tourists, with street performers and diners. Have a drink at one of the many terraces or visit Ocana, an eclectic cocktail bar, and disco to let loose!

To eat

Though not at all Catalan cuisine, Koku Kitchen makes the top of my list. The tiny restaurant offers Asian cuisine, and if you visit Barcelona in the wintertime, the ramen noodle soup is what you’ve got to order!Gothic Quarter
If you’re in the mood for something local, check out Sensi Bistro Tapes. Here you’ll be able to try the famous Spanish ham, the incredible Catalan toasted bread with tomato and my favorite, patatas bravas, or brave potatoes. It’s best to go with a big group, or on an empty stomach, and order a little bit of everything on the menu. It is Spain after all and tapas are the way to go!

The biggest mistake you can make in the Gothic quarter is being lured into an inauthentic, made-for-tourist restaurant. Be careful, because there’s a lot of those out there. My advice? Walk around the neighborhood, get lost, don’t follow the crowds. The crime in Barcelona is extremely low, other than petty thievery; there’s nothing to worry about. Be smart, keep bags and valuables close to you, but please, please explore, ask the locals where they eat and remember, sipping a 10 euro sangria on Las Ramblas is not the Barcelona experience you want to have.