The Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) is the heart of the old city of Barcelona. It is bordered in the south by the Mediterranean and in the west by La Rambla, a pedestrian-only street that is more circus than thoroughfare. Street performers, jewelry kiosks and chain stores pretty much sum it up the Rambla, so if none of these interest you, skip this boulevard altogether.
If you enter the quarter from the Rambla, it only takes a couple of turns to silence the street noise behind you. Somehow, the crowds disappear and you are left mostly to yourself to meander through the labyrinth of streets and alleys, all made before anyone thought a grid system would be a good idea. The narrow streets and maze-like layout make the Barri Gotic seem larger than it actually is, because after making turn after turn, it seems like you have walked much further than you actually have. With the lack of tourists and the quiet serenity, time seems to slow down and it is easy to be lost in thought wandering past the golden brick buildings along the cobblestones. Stuff your map into your pocket and take your time here. After all, what’s the hurry?
Some of the best (non-beach:) pictures in Barcelona can be taken here, so it’s to head over during the daylight hours.
The Barri Gotic is a must for anyone visiting Barcelona. Skip the Rambla, though.