I am a history enthusiast and have always enjoyed learning historic facts of the places I visit while I walk through their streets. However, when I had kids this became a complicated activity. These tours tend to be serious and for adults. But I got lucky during our trip to Barcelona Spain. I found a company that offers these sort of tours in a kid-friendly version. We all had an amazing time!


barcelona gothic quarter

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom


Researching is one of the smartest things you can do whenever you start thinking about traveling to a new place. It is also my favorite step. I love improvising but when you have kids this it is not a good idea. It can be quite stressful for everyone.

That’s why when I started looking for things to do and see I decided that the Barri Gotic, or Gothic Quarter of Barcelona had to be one of the areas we visited while in Spain. It kept popping up during my search.

And for good reason!

This is the most historic part of Barcelona, where it all began. There were people living here way before the Romans came to settle in the region.

When you walk along its streets, you discover that this is the quintessential European city, with its narrow, winding streets eclipsed by stone structures and churches. I felt like I had walked back in time to the medieval times. I truly think this is an area that you can’t miss.

I love taking tours around the most historic parts of the places I visit; however, traveling with kids I feel like I’m missing out because these tours tend to be on foot and serious. They give you tons of historic facts. This is not appealing to kids. So I always choose the short version or don’t take them at all.

It is extremely hard to find informative tours that are also kid-friendly. But I still search for them.

For my trip to Barcelona I was lucky enough to find a company that does. It is called Trip4Real. This is a relatively new company that works with the local guides of different cities and towns. The tour the offered me is called Medieval Barcelona: Gothic Quarter Tour for Kids.

Hooray! I was thrilled.

barcelona gothic quarter

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Barcelona Gothic Quarter – What You Will See and Learn

After living in Guatemala for years, I learned that the locals love their legends. They tend to be quite entertaining, but until our tour in Barcelona, I didn’t realize that Guatemala’s legends are nothing compared to the truths about this city.

We met our guide at the main gate, the original entrance to Barcino (the name the Romans gave to the area) by a Medieval Princess. My sons weren’t impressed by the princess thing, but they did notice it and even smiled. She was easy to find and made the tour more authentic.

Our guide spoke perfect English (as well as four other languages).  She was a lot of fun to be with and made sure that my boys were entertained at all times. She even managed to get two reluctant little boys to interact and learn about the history of this area. My goal was achieved.

We all had an amazing time and I finally got to do a tour like I wanted. I could learn and enjoy without my boys getting cranky.

I would highly recommend it for families.

Some Fun Historic Facts About Barcino

  • The city was founded by the Romans at the end of the 1st century B.C.
  • The colony was bounded by a defensive wall.
  • For over 200 years, Barcelona was under Muslim rule.
  • After the Christian reconquest, it became a county of the Carolingian Empire.
  • During the medieval period Barcelona became the economic and political center of the Western Mediterranean.
  • You can still see buildings from that golden age in the city’s Gothic Quarter.
  • From the 15th to 18th centuries Barcelona entered a period of decline.
  • In 1714 the city fell to the Bourbon troops and its people’s rights and privileges were suppressed.
barcelona gothic quarter

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Info about Catalonia and Its Independence

  • Local counties switched allegiance and became attached to the crown of Aragon.
  • For some time Catalonia kept its laws but with the Bourbon dynasty taking the throne in 1714 it all ended. Catalonia was made a province of the Castile crown.
  • People from Catalonia never really accepted being part of a larger kingdom.
  • During the civil war (1936-1939) Catalan was made illegal.
  • In 1978 Catalonia voted for the new democratic Spanish constitution that recognized Catalonia’s autonomy and language.
  • In 1979, the statute of autonomy was finally approved.
  • On 23 January 2013, parliament approved a Declaration on the Sovereignty and right to decide of the people of Catalonia.
  • In 2014 the Government of Catalonia organized the independence referendum, in which 80.8% of the cast votes supported independence.
  • On 9 November 2015, parliament approved a Declaration to start the independence process of Catalonia.

Local Legends and Traditions of Catalan and Barcelona

Caganer – Its name means the crapper. This is a small figure of a man in the act of defecation. The weird part is that it usually appears in nativity scenes of Catalonia. Its origins and meaning are unknown but there are stories of it being a local tradition since the 18th century.

Tió de Nadal – Its literal meaning in English is Christmas Log. It consists of a hollow log of about 30cm long that stands up on four stick legs and a face painted on it and a red sock hat.

This is a character from the Catalan mythology. It is set up on December 8 and fed each night. Some also cover him with a blanket. It is said that it poops on Christmas Day after the whole family sing songs around it asking it to poop. Its poop is actually candies, nuts and turrones.