Very few people know that ‘Ciutat Vella’ is the place where Columbus was given a hero’s welcome after he discovered America. In Catalan, ‘Cuitat Vella’ means “old city” and as the name suggests, it is the oldest neighborhood in the city of Barcelona. Most of the streets here have maintained their original layout, hence the place literally tells the story of the city’s history and origins. From ancient monuments to historic buildings, beautiful paved streets to the bunch of mansions, every corner is filled with the traditional atmosphere and is overflowing with rich culture. With such a sprawling area to explore, it is no surprise, Ciutat Vella is one of Barcelona’s most popular tourist hotspots.

Top Things To Do In Ciutat Vella That Will Take You Back In Time

You can spend days exploring this old city. Just to make sure you do not miss anything, here is a list of the top tourist attractions that will make your experience memorable.

Marvel At The Valencia Cathedral

cathedral in the old town of barcelona
Valencia Cathedral was built using different architectural styles.

Probably the most iconic sight in the Valencia Old Town is the Valencia Cathedral (Catedral de Valencia). Built in the 1200s, the cathedral stands between Plaza del Virgen and Plaza de la Reina. It’s a breathtaking monument built using different architectural styles. The stunning interior has venerated chapels, paintings, reliquary plus all kinds of treasures. It also has a museum which has a collection of famous art pieces from artists Maella and Goya. The 207 steps climb up to the cathedral’s 13th century tower offers great views of the city. This Valencian Gothic architecture style church is worth adding to your Valencia bucket list.

Take A Walk Around Central Market

barcelona town busy market
Image Source:

Located in the El Carmen neighborhood opposite Lonja de la Seda is Valencia’s Central Market (Mercat Central) one of Europe’s oldest and largest indoor markets. The enormous market has over 1000 market stalls selling everything from regular fruits and vegetables to unique cuts of meat and local wines. This 1920s’ building is built with ceramics, colored glass and metal work which is an architecture marvel. A walk around the market stalls while taking in the sights, sounds and smells of a bustling food market is something you just cannot miss. A visit to Mercado Central in Ciutat Vella district Barcelona Spain is definitely worth the visit. 

Catch An Event At Plaza de Toros de Valencia

ciutat vella barcelona spain
Neo-Mudéjar style was used to build this architectural wonder.

A great Valencian architect Sebastián Monleón Estellés built this neoclassical building between 1850 and 1860. Its Neo-Mudéjar style architecture which consists of 48-sided polygon and 384 brick arches is what makes this building stand out from the rest. This building which is around 18 m high and 52 m in diameter was built on sites of a previous square that was not completed. Initially it was a place for bullfights but the last two centuries has seen the arena hosting popular fairs and activities such as operas, plays, film projections, concerts and many other sporting events. If you wish to attend the bull fights, catch the action live at Fallas and the July Fair.

Stroll Down The Emblematic Street La Rambla

La Rambla Street in ciutat vella barcelona
Rambla Nova in Tarragona avenue of Catalonia

No trip to Ciutat Vella is complete without a visit to the liveliest promenade, the La Rambla Street. Everyone who visits Barcelona must stroll and spend some leisure time here. This 1.2 kilometers Long Street was laid out in 1766, since then this place has become a meeting place for all as it is placed in the central location. As you walk along narrow streets, you’ll get to see landmark buildings, flower stalls, spectacular Markets, live statues, outdoor restaurants, and much more. La Rambla is the perfect place for people looking to spend some leisure time and to discover unique attractions. 

Enjoy Symphonic Orchestra At Gran Teatre del Liceu

Gran Teatre del Liceu is an iconic landmark
Image Source:

As you walk along La Rambla, you’ll stumble across another iconic cultural symbol, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, also known as El Liceu. It is the oldest running theater in Barcelona and one of Europe’s leading opera houses. With an ability to seat 4,000 people at a time, it also holds the title for being the largest opera in Europe. Major opera and ballet productions and symphony concerts are hosted here every year. This unique cultural facility was built in 1847 and since then has heard the greatest tenors and sopranos of the times. The Gran Teatre del Liceu theater even has its own choir. One can either reserve tickets and enjoy the show from inside or simply enjoy the music from outside too.

Enroll For A Paella Cooking Class

Visitors enjoying some food cooked by them.
Image Source:

Valencia is the birthplace of the popular paella dish, so how about learning to cook Paella in the city where it originated. The paella cooking classes are a very popular activity in the old town of Barcelona. The classes are inclusive of a tour to the local market (Mercado de Ruzafa) with the chef. The class starts with handpicking the ingredients from the market and understanding how these ingredients are sourced and what is their importance in making Paella. By doing so it makes the entire experience very special. The class ends with everyone enjoying the delicious Paella they cooked together. 

Suggested Reads: Essential Spain Travel Tips To Know Before You Go

Despite being the oldest neighborhood, Ciutat Vella has all that a traveler is looking for. Every nook and corner of this beautiful place has a story to tell. Wander back in time with our list of the best things to do here and do share your experience with us in the comment section below.

FAQ’s About Ciutat Vella In Barcelona 

How to reach Ciutat Vella from the airport?

The best way to get to Ciutat Vella Barcelona Spain is by bus, metro, or taxi. If you are visiting Valencia City for the first time, hire a taxi as you can get dropped directly at your destination. You can also try the budget-friendly bus mode, however with this option be ready to spend time traveling as it takes the longest travel time. For economical tours of Ciutat Vella hop on to a Hop-on Hop-off Bus.

What does Ciutat Vella mean in Spanish?

In Spanish, Ciutat Vella means ‘the Old City’ in Catalan. It is also referred to as the oldest neighborhood in the city of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

When was Ciutat Vella built?

As the name suggests, Ciutat Vella, the oldest part of Barcelona town, was built from the early middle Ages to the mid-19th to the 20th century. Though being the oldest, it is the most lively and diverse district of Barcelona. 

What is the most famous street in Barcelona?

The Ramblas, also known as Las Ramblas, is the most famous and iconic boulevard of Barcelona. The street that connects Plaça de Catalunya with the city’s old port is a perfect place to soak up Barcelona’s unique atmosphere.

What is the best time to visit Barcelona?

The shoulder seasons of spring and fall are the best times to visit Barcelona. During this time the weather is warm and pleasant. The crowd, hotel rates and airfare are generally lesser during these times of the year.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here