8 secret spots and a delicious wok in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter
If you’re about to visit Barcelona, we guess you’re dying to burn your soles checking every corner out.
We agree, wandering around is one of the best ways to get to know a city. Besides, it’s free! But there’s an even better way of doing it.
Let us share it with you.
Even if you can run faster than Usain Bolt or ride a flying skateboard like Marty McFly’s you won’t be able to see all the incredible secrets Barcelona contains. Yeap, life is tough my friend!
However, in order to help you make the most of your time, we’ve designed a secret route for you to enjoy the very best of one of Barcelona’s best sightseeing areas: the Gothic Quarter.
Get ready because the path is full of great legends, dragons and fire. Lots of fire!
Where does the route start?
Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is not only the oldest part of the city; it’s a real trip back to the past. As soon as you cross one of it’s narrow streets, you’ll notice you’re in a special place.
But before you get there, first you’ll need to know where it is, right?
The Gothic Quarter is a rectangle area between the Ramblas, Catalunya Square, Via Laietana and Passeig de Colom. Easy as pie!
Nevertheless, we’re going to start the route a little further. Pick a map, point at the Ramblas (don’t tell us we don’t make it easy!) At the bottom, where they almost hit the sea, you’ll spot a Tube station named Drassanes.
That’s where your tour around one of Barcelona’s most mythical areas begins.
Our tour around Gothic Quarter’s centre starts nowww!
Oh wait not yet. First, we need to make sure you have enough battery in your cell phone, cause you’re going to need it all! So many pictures are to be taken…
Ok, now we are ready: 3, 2, 1….
1. The Forgotten Book Graveyard
If you’re a big fan of Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s books, I’m sure you’ve recognised this title right away.
His book “The Shadow of the Wind” begins right there. We’re sorry to break the magic but nope, you can’t enter that amazing library because it actually doesn’t exist.
However, steps away from the tube station there’s this peculiar Arc del Teatre street, from which people entered the library in the book.
2. Gaudi’s lampposts
Tie your shoelaces, time to speed your steps up!
Walk down Nou de la Rambla st and you’ll soon hit your next target: Plaza Real.
Yes, this one’s featured in Zafón’s novel! Gustavo Barceló and his niece Clara used to live in Ferrán Street. This area of Barcelona is very renowned because it’s packed with terraces and restaurants, but even more with palm trees.
Right in between them, you’ll see two funny street lights with six arms. You’re seeing nothing less but the first assignment Barcelona gave Gaudi. That’s where everything started!
3. The biggest rose in Catalonia
Steps away from the Plaza Real lays Santa Maria del Pi Church. Surprised? Where did you want us to drive you to; the Botanical museum? ;)
By rose we meant the gorgeous rose window on the façade. Thanks to its 10 meter diameter, it’s the biggest one in Catalonia…
Extra bonus: if the weather is really sunny, do yourself a favour and walk in the church. You’ll enjoy the view of the beautiful church AND enjoy the majesty of such a rose showing its true colours! If you liked it from outside, this will vision take your breath away.
4. Silence, history and music in Sant Felip Neri Square
Hidden from the general buzz, Sant Felip Neri Square is a really quiet, special place. It feels like a memorial place, and it somehow is. You notice that as soon as you see the marks of an aerial bombing that took the lives of 43 people during the Civil War.
The atmosphere here is so special that in fact Evanescence filmed a videoclip there. Wonder which one? It was “My Inmortal”.
But this is not the first time this iconic square has made it to the screens: in the movie version of Patrick Süskind’s “The Perfume”, this square is the place where the main character murders the plum seller.
So, if you’re back home and miss the Gothic Quarter, you know what you can do: check youtube and the videoclub!
5. Barcelona’s Cathedral
Your next destination is really close to the square. Most chances are you’re thinking “this church is gothic style!” Elementary, dear Watson.
You’re totally right, this church is the best sample of Barcelona’s Gothic style architecture.
What should you lay your eyes on? Well, you can start with the 70 meter high neogothic façade! You can then take a closer look at all the details spread around the cathedral, including 200 gargoyles, a unicorn, the bull and the elephant.
6. The story about the princess and the dragon
Right where you’re standing, in the Cathedral Square (la plaça Nova) beings one of Barcelona’s most charming streets: la calle del Bisbe (Bishop’s street).
Hidden between gargoyles and sculptures spread along the street, there’s a very special one: the princess who was saved by Sant Jordi.
According to the legend, Sant Jordi killed a dreadful dragon that threatened to destroy the city. A beautiful rose was born from the dragon’s blood.
However, that’s not the only legend attached to that street. The peculiar neo-gothic bridge that crosses has quite a story, too. Should someone remove the dagger stuck in the skull, the whole city would be covered by the sea.
So watch your hands and stay away from the dagger!
7. Feeling hungry? It’s time for your wok!
Leave Bishops’ street and walk down Llibreteria street. That’s all you have to do to find the exact craving your stomach is announcing: a delicious, custom made wok from Wok to Walk Jaume I Street (really close to Jaume I tube station).
If you’re feeling like a local, we’d suggest trying the best selling wok in Barcelona: egg noodles + chicken + broccoli + Tokyo sauce + fried onion topping.
Feeling like having something more dragon-ish?
We have a fiery recipe for you! Udon + chicken + beef + extra spicy Hot Asia sauce and jalapeno topping. We can promise you’ll spit fire, like Sant Jordi’s Dragon.
Craving fish and seafood in Barcelona?
If you’re more into Mediterranean-Asian fusion, go for rice noodles + prawns + shiitake + Beijing sauce. Our subtle oyster sauce will make you feel the sound of the waves in your ears.
Extra bonus: don’t be lazy and take your wok for a walk to the Plaza del Rey (king’s square). This way, you’ll get a beautiful view over Saint Agatha’s Royal chapel and Barcelona’s History Museum while you enjoy your wok’s Asian flavour.
8. The Cathedral of the Sea
Yeap, the last stop of our trip is also literary! You absolutely can’t leave Barcelona without paying a visit to the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, the only pure gothic catalan style church.
Despite having reached fame thanks to Idelfonso Falcones’ novel, the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar is also known among music lovers for its amazing acoustics. In fact, more than a few jazz and classical music concerts have been played in the Basilica.
A real delicatessen for your ears.
How about you, is there some secret spot you miss in our list?
If you found some other secret spot in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter during your trip, please share it with us in our Facebook page. We’ll be happy to listen to all your stories!