Are you an Archaeology fan? Do you love old stones? Are you passionate about history? Barcelona was founded 2000 years ago by the Romans, who called it Barcino. Although it was still a small town, as the capital was Tarraco (make sure to check out our Tarragona Roman ruins day trip as well), archeologist have discovered many interesting Roman ruins in Barcelona.
However, lots of them are hidden in the alleys of the Gothic Quarter, or even inside buildings that you might not dare accessing on your own. It’s so easy to miss those hidden gems! Plus unless you are a highly trained specialist, just by looking at those elements it’s hard to figure out what they were part of, or understand their importance.
But we love history, and we know our city by heart. We love taking our guests into those buildings where you can still find embedded elements of hour Roman past. And we know how to make the stones alive and transport you 2000 years back in time. Want to come with us exploring the origins of Barcelona?
Final itinerary and timings might vary due to many factors (day of the week, your location and pace, your main interests…)
The Romans placed their cemeteries along the roads in the outskirts of their towns. Very close to La Rambla was discovered a portion of a burial area with an interesting collection of tombs that can be seen from a balcony. The Museum of History of the City has opened an Interpretation Center next to it, where you can learn more about how Romans approached death.
The Barcelona Roman wall was used in the Middle Ages as foundations for other buildings, what has helped preserving a large portion of them. The line of the walls can be traced following the streets of the Gothic Quarter on a map, and a bit part of the wall can be still seen, either from the street or inside some buildings.
The reconstruction of the last arch of one of the two Aqueducts of Barcino can be seen where it used to stand, right next to the main Entrance Gate into the city. There the local poet and artist Brossa created a metal sculpture with the latin name of the city. The base of the two round towers that protected the city entrance are now part of two medieval buildings. And just a couple of blocks away, a piece of the aqueduct can be seen embedded on a wall.
The layout of the Roman city, with its particular grid of cardus and decumanus crossing in the Forum can still be identified as you walk around the Gothic Quarter. And in the highest point of the city, hidden inside the patio of a medieval building, your guide will show you the 4 columns that are left out of the Roman Temple. The story of how they were discovered will fascinate you.
The Southern Gate of the city faced the port, and strangers were requested to bathe before entering the city. Also, in order to spare themselves the entrance tolls, often businessmen would rather close their deals in the Bathhouse that was conveniently located near the city’s Southern access. A gate and a pool can still be seen inside a building owned now by the city council.
After visiting it, you’ll follow the outside line of the Roman walls back north, towards your last – and most important – stop of this tour.
On Sundays we’ll visit a Roman Domus instead (mornings only – in the afternoon both sites are closed).
The Museu d’Historia de Barcelona – MUHBA hides some wonderful Barcelona underground Roman ruins. The Placa del Rei has been excavated to unearth a large portion of the Roman and Visigothic (early Christian) Barcelona. Just a few feet below the street level you can walk on top of the narrow alleys of Barcino, see what’s left of a laundry business, a fish paste processing facility and a winery, get familiar with the objects they used in their daily lives and visit the Baptistery where many of them became Christian, leaving behind their old Roman beliefs.
Your guide can suggest some place for lunch or dinner, put you on a taxi or give you directions to take the subway or walk back to your hotel.
This tour has been designed for adults with a strong interest in Roman ruins.
If you are traveling with kids, this tour might not have enough variety to keep them entertained. We suggest you book a tour of the Old Town and request to customize it to add a bit more Roman history than we usually include.
If you have walking issues, this tour requires you to be able to walk for about 3km (2 miles) divided in strolls of 5 to 15 minutes each, with not many opportunities to seat down. The Roman sites being located in pedestrian areas, this tour does NOT admit a chauffeured version of it.
If you are on a wheelchair, some sites might have short flights or steps but most of the itinerary is accessible.
If you’d love a longer tour, add a couple of hours to include the Museum of Archaeology in Montjuic.
If you want even more Roman ruins near Barcelona, check out our Tarragona tours showing you the Roman sites declared Human Heritage by the UNESCO.
DURATION: 4 hours
Taxi rides, if any, not included.
PAID ON SITE skipping lines:
* Fees given as an orientation only. Sites might decide to change them without notice. Discounts might apply for students and/or seniors.
We can only secure a guide for you after full payment has been received. Don’t wait until last-minute: we often book out in high season, and Park Guell & Sagrada Familia tickets sell out, too.
This tour is:
|AVAILABLE||Tuesday through Sunday.
Best times for this tour: Mornings of Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
|AFTERNOONS||Tuesday through Friday: The Interpretation Center of the Roman Cemetery is not open (but the Cemetery can be seen from the balcony pretty well).
Saturday: The Southern Gate and the Bathhouse is closed.
|SUNDAY||Morning: The Southern Gate and the Bathhouse is closed: we'll visit a Roman Domus instead that only opens on Sunday morning.
Afternoon: None of these three sites can be visited: you'll spend more time at the other sites instead.
|AUGUST||The Southern Gate and the Bathhouse are closed.|
1 January, 1 May, 24 June and 25 December.
Recommended starting times:
|Morning Tours Tours:||10AM: if you are seeing the Roman Cemetery only from the balcony
11AM: if you wish to enter the Interpretation Center of the Roman Cemetery
|Afternoon Tours:||Anytime between 1PM and 3PM|
It was fantastic seeing remains of Roman that are scattered all over parts of Barcelona. Marta is a delightful individual and a very, very knowledgeable guide. She knows and presents the Roman history very well but Marta is also well versed in Spanish history generally and I learned a lot during a very pleasant walk through Barcelona.