My favorite part of Barcelona was definitely the Gothic Quarter! We spent a fair amount of time wandering around and exploring, but this was the area we seemed to keep coming back to. Here’s why!
The Barcelona Cathedral
I was so excited when we found the cathedral on our first day in Barcelona! I’ve wanted to visit a cathedral for over three years, ever since we studied them in my A.P. Art History class, so it was so exciting to be able to visit one! We visited the same day we went to Sagrada Familia, and it was really interesting to see two huge, beautiful, but vastly different churches.
It’s not necessary to enter the cathedral to enjoy it, but I’d recommend it. Tickets cost 7 euros. Be aware that Sundays aren’t a great day to visit as the cathedral is closed to tourists for mass. There was a line for tickets the day we visited, but it didn’t take too long, and the cathedral is so big that we had plenty of space to spread out once inside.
I’m currently taking a class on Mary, Jesus’ mother, so I was really interested to see how many of the side chapels are dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Here are a few that I snapped photos of–I didn’t spend nearly as much time as I could have reading all the descriptions and taking in all the details of each chapel, but this was towards the end of a long day of walking all around the city, and I think I was more excited about all the Mary sightings than anyone else in our group 😉
Once you’ve looked around inside the cathedral, don’t forget to go up to the roof for a great view of the city! Unlike the towers at Sagrada Familia, going up to the roof of the cathedral is included in your ticket at no extra cost. There isn’t a ton of space up there, and it’s pretty windy, but it’s worth seeing!
As you exit the cathedral, you’ll go through the enclosed gardens. Again, I was still excited and energetic enough to keep exploring, but the rest of the group wasn’t so much, so I didn’t spend a ton of time here, but it was very pretty.
As much as I loved the Cathedral, I also really loved all the alleyways and balconies with window boxes all around the Gothic Quarter. It felt so quintessentially European!
In my opinion, the US should definitely have more photogenic doorways to stumble upon. I love Chicago, but its apartment buildings are not quite so scenic!
The Arc de Triomf
On our last night in Barcelona, we found ourselves once again in the Gothic Quarter (for the third time), and for the first time we went to the Arc de Triomf. It was dark by the time we got there, so we didn’t venture into the adjoining park, but the Arc itself is impressive, and I would have loved to go back during the day to explore more if we’d had more time.