The Gothic Quarter is full of life and a great place to start exploring Barcelona. However, what if you don’t want to get stuck in tourist traps and feeling like you just stepped out of a page of a Rick Steves book. I thought I would do a few posts that take you through the different barrios of Barcelona and give you a unique experience with some local flair. I should acknowledge that I am not a local but my husband and I consider ourselves visitors, not tourists, just having spent 5 weeks exploring the city. Some might say this is too much but eating fresh food, drinking amazing wine and vermouth and taking in the sights of the city will never get old.
I actually prefer this neighborhood to the Born. You can easily check out both the Born and Gothic in one day as they are divided by a street, but we would prefer to separate the trips. One of the things I love most is twisting and turning through the narrow alley ways in these districts and getting lost and finding little shops to weave in and out of.
These are a few of my favorite things in the Gothic Quarter:
Fargas Chocolate Shop: This chocolate shop has been around for over a century. One quick note is that they are currently relocating and if you land at the location still listed on Google Maps, walk towards the end of the block to the newest location. It’s a quaint little chocolate shop designed with the chocolate lover in mind. You can build your own grab bag of chocolates or buy one of the sample boxes. I did both!
El Ingenio: One of my favorite things learned on this trip was the tradition of the Gegants. You can read about it here. But what if you wanted to take one home with you! This shop is a magic shop and Gegant fabrication store where they sell the heads. The only way I could probably get one home is to wear it and I don’t know if I could get past security in it. This is not my photo, but one I found online.
Satan’s Coffee Corner: Come here for the coffee but also the amazing food! As Americans, we have an idea of what a coffeehouse is. It’s a bustling place where the lines are long and you can sit and do a day’s worth of work on the coffeehouse wifi. This is no such place. Don’t be turned off by the name. It’s called this because it is hot as hell but you are basically sitting in the kitchen around giant windows that give this place a greenhouse feel. However, the food and drink are worth it and you can get a bottle of mineral water to cool you off. Try the avocado toast. You won’t be disappointed.
La Alcoba Azul & Zona d’Ombra: I posted about Zona d’Ombra in my vermouth posting here. If you step out of the fires of Satan’s Coffee Corner, the courtyard houses 3 dining spots: Zona d’Ombra, a tea shop and La Alcoba Azul, which is a dinner spot only. We stumbled into La Alcoba Azul after doing the vermouth at Zona d’Ombra. We did not eat here but decided to have a few classic cocktails at their indoor bar. This is a great place. The bartender was super friendly and gave us two of their toastas on the house. They specialize in a traditional Southern Spanish cuisine and after having tried these two bites we had high hopes of returning (timing just didn’t work out).
Climent Disseny: As I mentioned earlier, getting lost in between the alleys is sometimes the best way to find the hidden gems in the city. We stumbled upon this tiny jewelry shop. The shop owner sells jewelry making materials in addition to all of her handmade works. I could not have been happier to walk away with these three pairs of earrings, the red ones resembling Wonder Woman’s earrings!
There are tons of places like this throughout the Gothic Quarter and I hope this gets you started on your adventure.