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Barcelona is a vibrant city filled with enough attractions to keep travelers busy for months. Our three-day stay in Barcelona was much too brief to explore everything the city has to offer, but long enough to give us a good taste of Catalonian culture.
Aside from visiting Antoni Gaudí’s architectural masterpieces, our favorite thing to do in Barcelona was explore the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter).
Here are the best things to do when exploring Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter:
A tree-lined pedestrian thoroughfare, La Rambla is a great place to experience Barcelona’s bustle and excitement. Most of the shops and restaurants lining the street cater to tourists and weren’t the best in the city, but the ambiance along La Rambla is great.
La Rambla is a popular place, so expect crowds.
Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria (referred to simply as La Boqueria) is a market just off La Rambla. It’s a fun place to eat and explore.
We popped in at least once a day for the delicious fresh fruit smoothies. So refreshing after a day of sightseeing in the blistering heat.
Though La Sagrada Familia gets most of the attention, I really enjoyed visiting the Barcelona Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter.
The Cathedral was built between the 13th and 15th centuries and is a beautiful work of Gothic architecture.
Entry is free in the mornings and evenings, so be sure to check out the inside as well.
Eating churros and hot chocolate in Barcelona is mandatory, and Granja Viader is the best place to do it. We heard about Granja Viader while watching I’ll Have what Phil’s Having shortly before our trip, and we knew we couldn’t leave Barcelona without checking it out.
Just be warned that the chocolate is unbelievably rich. I couldn’t even finish it, which is saying something since I averaged three desserts per day on this trip and hitherto thought my stomach was made of lead.
Meander the Streets
To truly experience the Gothic Quarter, be sure to allow yourself time to simply meander the narrow streets.
While Barcelona is famous for its nightlife, our favorite time of day to explore was first thing in the morning when most people were still asleep and we had the streets to ourselves. Not to mention, we have trouble staying awake past 9:30pm since we’re secretly 90 years old…
Further Reading: Visiting Barceloneta Beach: A Beach Day Fail
Where to Stay
In order to maximize our time in Barcelona, we chose the Gothic Quarter for our home base.
We had a wonderful experience staying at Hostal Fina, a budget hotel located just off La Rambla.
Though the rooms are tiny and fairly basic, the location is fantastic. We enjoyed sitting on our private balcony and soaking in the sights and sounds of the city.
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