BARRI GOTIC WALKING TOUR: INTO THE BACKSTREETS
Are you a history freak? Have you already seen the Gaudi sites and now want to focus on the Old Town? Do you enjoy walking around Barcelona and entering old backstreets and alleys where you wouldn’t venture on your own? Are you planning to visit the Picasso Museum but find audioguides boring?
The Old Town constitutes one of the best walks in Barcelona. Some of its streets can be navigated by pretty much any tourist on their own… however they miss all the history behind the stones, and lots of surprising details that only a local can show you. And the rest of the historical district is a maze of medieval alleys that can be confusing to navigate unless you are constantly checking a map, but hide unique shops, unexpected sites and lovely plazas.
The Picasso Museum is located in one of this narrow streets, and in our experience it’s a museum that is likely to disappoint you without good explanations because it’s not the Picasso you expect to see but the early works that have little in common with his famous cubist works. However, there’s a story behind every painting and after going through his early works your understanding of Picasso will change forever.
This tour will reveal you the secrets of the Old Town, starting with an insiders tour of the famous Boqueria Market, a stroll around the Barcelona Barri Gotic and the hip Born district and a private tour of the Picasso Museum. Our Old Town tours are never the same, because the area offers plenty of opportunities to custom the itinerary and spice it up with stuff that matches your personal interests.
IN THIS TOUR OF THE GOTHIC QUARTER YOU WILL SEE:
ADAPT YOUR TOUR TO YOUR UNIQUE NEEDS
This tour is perfect for people able to walk about 2 miles in a morning, with frequent stops but mostly standing although there are some opportunities to walk or take a coffee break.
HINT: Add one or two extra hours to stop for a lovely tapas lunch or see more sites.
If you are traveling with kids, this tour can be child-friendly if we limit the historical facts and focus on the fun details and the exploration. The explanations at the Picasso museum can also be adapted. A stop for gelato or hot chocolate with churros half way through the tour will definitely make their day!
If you have walking issues, remember that this tour is 100% walking and that there are some opportunities to seat but not frequently. If your pace is slow, you might not be able to complete the whole itinerary in 4 hours. We are reticent to recommend a driver for this itinerary because it won’t save you much walk, just give you the opportunity to seat for a 10 minute ride to move from one of the visited areas to the next (the itinerary would be modified accordingly).
If you are on a wheelchair, the Old Town is relatively flat and has no cobble-stoned streets. The Cathedral and the Picasso museum are wheelchair accessible, but the medieval Synagogue is not: there are a few steep steps at the entrance.
If you aren’t a Picasso fan, no problem! Ask your guide to take you to the Museum of History of the City to see its Roman ruins, or just continue exploring other areas of the Old Town off the beaten path. Or let us take you on a great tapas meal!
If you are more than one day in Barcelona, our Barri Gotic Tour combines beautifully with our Gaudi tour. Or consider going on a day trip out of town (for more medieval history and museums, don’t miss our Tour of the Dali Museum and Girona).
Our tours only include the towers upon request. You need to know that:
It is not possible anymore to just climb the stairs: the way up is now only possible by elevator. However, the number of tickets available is restricted to just a few every hour, for an extra fee.
If there is availability, you are given a specific time to get in the line for the elevator (either the one in the Passion façade or the one in the Nativity façade, but not both), and after a 5 to 20 minute wait you finally get in the elevator that takes you to almost the top of the towers. From there you must walk down: it is not permitted to use the elevator to go down anymore. The whole process takes almost one hour, so unless you are OK shortening the rest of the tour itinerary, you should book one extra hour to be able to do the towers.
Do we recommend the towers, though? Only for the adventure of climbing spiral stairs, but not for the views as you’ll get better views from many other city sites. After all, those towers were designed to be bell towers, not vantage points. Also, the way down is narrow and occasionally claustrophobic, and it is definitely not for people scared of heights.
Tour operators like us are only allowed to book tickets for the Passion Façade towers – should you be interested in the Nativity Façade towers you’ll have to go back to Sagrada Familia on your own some other day as those tickets are only available for individual visitors.
THE TOWERS ARE NOT ACCESSIBLE FOR WHEELCHAIRS, AND NOT SUITABLE FOR PEOPLE WITH HEART OR LUNG CONDITIONS, CLAUSTROPHOBIA OR FEAR OF HEIGHTS. CHILDREN UNDER 6 YEARS OF AGE ARE NOT ALLOWED INTO THE TOWERS.