Gothic Barcelona and Las Ramblas
Plaza del Rey (Plaça del Rei)
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Barcelona (MACBA)
Detalle de Las Ramblas
Monumento a Colón
Muralla romana de Barcelona
Detalle de Canaletas
- Type of route:
A tour of the city
In the first century BC, the Roman town of Barcino was founded here, and since then it has been and continues to be the historical, political and religious core of excellence in the city. Its true heart.
The tour begins at the stairs that lead to this Gothic church which was built in the 14th and 15th centuries. Inside are the outstanding Cristo de Lepanto chapel, the choir and the Santa Eulalia crypt. Santa Eulalia, along with the Virgin of Mercy, is the patron of the city. Near the apse there is a lift to the roof where the view is amazing. If possible, come at noon on Sunday to enjoy the sardanes (a popular Catalan dance) on the esplanade in front of the cathedral.
Towers of the Roman Wall
Two well preserved towers of the Roman wall are located on the Nova Square. This wall was one of the most impressive town walls in the western Roman empire, and this indicates the importance of Barcino. These two towers, the only ones remaining of the 74 that formed the wall, frame one of the four main entrances to the citadel.
Along Bisbe Street on the left, opposite the chapel dedicated to Santa Lucia, is the ancient dwelling of the cathedral archdeacon, attached to the dean’s residence. This house originally dates from the fifteenth century and has undergone numerous renovations. It has a beautiful courtyard with a palm tree growing out of the building. Since 1921 it has been the headquarters of the Municipal Archives.
Sant Felip Neri Square
On Bisbe Street, the first street on the right, is the hidden Sant Felip Neri Square, where there was a cemetery in the Middle Ages. At its centre is a fountain that gives this place the charm and poetry that makes it worthy of a visit.
Returning through the other side of the Sant Felip Neri Square to the cathedral, the cloister is entered by the Santa Eulalia door. The chapels that surround it are dedicated to different patron saints of the old craft guilds, which recall the influential guild society of the Middle Ages. Without a doubt, the cloister is a magical place.
Behind the cathedral, on tiny Paradís Street, is the headquarters of the Catalonia Tour Centre. This centre houses four Roman columns of the old Augustus Temple, an impressive archaeological jewel with open access. This temple presided over the Roman Forum in Barcelona, where the tribunals and the market were held. It is surrounded by a beautiful garden, the perfect place to relax and rest after a visit to the cathedral.
King’s Square is the noblest part of the medieval city. Here are the various branches of the former royal palace of the Crown of Catalonia-Aragon: the splendid Tinell banquet hall, the Santa Agata royal chapel and the lookout tower, now part of the City History Museum, which also includes
Roman ruins that stretch beneath the square
Sant Jaume Square It is the institutional centre of the city, located where the forum of the Roman city once was. Now the city hall - with its Gothic facade - stands here along with the Government Palace, the seat of the Catalan government. It has a Renaissance facade and is presided over by the statue of Sant Jordi, the patron saint of Catalonia.
Las Ramblas Avenue
La Rambla is a long, winding pedestrian avenue that runs through the old city, the artery that links the central Catalonia Square to the sea; a microcosm of incessant activity at all hours of the day and night.
La Rambla de Canaletes
La Rambla changes its name depending on the area it passes through, hence the popular use of the plural Las Ramblas. Downhill towards the sea, it is La Rambla de Canaletes, the section closest to Catalonia Square. On one side stands the fountain of the same name which, according to legend, grants the privilege of returning to Barcelona to the visitor who drinks of its waters.
Contemporary Culture Centre
Tallers Street enters the Raval neighbourhood, and it's worth going to see the Centre for Contemporary Culture, located in the old Charity House, also known as the Mercy House. Here exhibitions, festivals, concerts, film series, and lectures are organised and produced to encourage creation with new technologies and languages. It is a space open to groups of artists, designers and independent programmers.
MACBA-Contemporary Art Museum
The museum building, the work of American architect Richard Meier, is located in the Raval district, and is part of an ambitious architectural renovation project in this part of Barcelona. It specialises in 20th century art; on its walls are the works of Saura, Barceló and Tapies, and foreign artists Manzoni, Sonnier and Nauman, among others. The museum organises exhibitions of extraordinary quality. Academy of Sciences and Arts
At 115 Rambla, in a modernist building, the work of architect Josep Domenech i Estapà, is the Academy of Sciences and Arts, which was inaugurated 1894. Its archives contain a documentary collection nearly three centuries old and its library is one of the largest in Spain in science reference material from the second half of the 18th century. In the basement of the building is the Poliorama Theatre, built in 1883 in the progressive style.
La Rambla dels Estudis
This Rambla, which takes its name from the General Study building or University, is marked by kiosks selling animals. Thus, the sound of birds is one of the amazing features of this section. There are also some interesting facades such as the Moja Palace, also known as Marqués de Comillas Palace, and the Bethlehem church.
In La Rambla dels Estudis, on the corner of Carme Street, this church is one of the best examples of the Catalan Gothic style, with a large and spacious nave. This ancient Jesuit church suffered a fire in 1936 which destroyed much of its original beauty, but it is still worth visiting because, on many occasions, there are interesting temporary exhibitions in its nave.
The palace, which was built by the Marquis de Moja and his wife, Maria Luisa de Copons, was the work of architect Josep Mas. It was constructed over what once were the tower and wall of Portaferrisa Street. Witness to two centuries of Catalonian history, it was the home of Jacint Verdaguer. After being uninhabited for fourteen years and suffering a great fire in 1971, it was bought by the Ministry of Culture and is now the headquarters of the Directorate General of Architectural Heritage, Artistic and Literary Government.
Sant Josep Rambla
This part is also known as the La Rambla de les Flors or Sant Josep Rambla, because the former convent of San José is here. In the 19th century it was the only place in Barcelona which sold flowers and, at present, there are many traditional kiosks selling flowers, which give it special colour.
Opened in 1981, it is the headquarters of the Barcelona Institute of Culture. Inside are three exhibition halls, and in the basement of the building, the office of cultural information and ticket sales for shows. The building was the residence of Manuel d'Amat, viceroy of Peru from 1761 and 1776, and for this reason it has a colonial flavour.
La Boqueria Market
Since time immemorial, farmers, - or pagesos – came to this place to sell their products to the merchants, - or botiguers - of the city. Today it is the oldest food market and the most genuine of the many local markets that are scattered throughout the city, a temple for gourmands and a delight for the senses.
Joan Miró Mosaic
In front the Liceu Theatre and a few meters from the Crédit Boulevard in the Pla de l'Os Square, discover another hallmark of La Rambla by looking at the ground: the large circular tile mosaic by Joan Miró. If you look closely among all the intensely coloured pieces, the artist's signature can be discovered. Bruno Quadros House
In the late nineteenth century, architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas completely remodelled an old block dating from 1858, creating a striking facade decorated with umbrellas and Chinese dragons.
The Great Liceu Theatre, created in 1847, is an opera house that has maintained its role as a cultural and artistic centre over the years, and is one of the symbols of the city. After a fire in 1994, it was reconstructed and the appearance of the new Liceu is faithful to the old one, but it is equipped with an advanced technical infrastructure and expanded into neighbouring lots on La Rambla. The exterior facade is discreet and does not reveal the magnificence of the interior.
Santa Monica Convent
Near the sea is the old Santa Monica Convent, which has been converted into the Santa Monica Art Centre, which today houses interesting exhibits, with the cultural information office of the Government on the first floor.
At the end of the Banca Boulevard is the museum which was inaugurated in 1973 in a monumental building with unique historical and artistic value. It displays 360 characters, both real and fictional, evoking recognisable environments.
At the end of La Rambla, overlooking the sea, stands the monument to Columbus. Inside there is a lift that goes up to the cupola, which overlooks a stunning panorama of the city and harbour.