Escape the Crowds in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter
Barcelona's labyrinthine Barri Gòtic is one of the city's highlights, but what happens after the novelty of meandering the little streets wears off (happens pretty quickly in 35°C!) ? It's time to take refuge from the summer's heat and tourists, but parts of the Gothic Quarter can be more seedy than charming, and most tourists seem to aimlessly wander or just eat on or off La Rambla and Passeig de Colom. While it's fun to cross overs to La Barceloneta, I'm really happy I had a tip for a new place from my savvy friend Ulrica and went to The Wittmore, a five star boutique hotel nestled in a quiet corner of the Barri Gòtic.
I've been going to Barcelona since the 90s when I was a student in Belgium, so these days it's just incredible (and somewhat unbearable) to see it bursting with tourists. For the times I do end up going to Barcelona when the crowds do, I have a few favorite spots in town to relax and always love to discover new ones. On my trip last week, this cheerful sun deck proved to be such a haven because I was exhausted from a morning of viewing art and walking around El Born—a must-visit neighborhood way less touristy, but equally as charming as the Barri Gòtic. (Tip for art lovers: in addition to cafes and coctelerias, the Museu Picasso is also located in El Born and has an important collection of the artist's earlier Barcelona period works, as well as his famous studies of Velasquez's masterpiece Las Meninas. Even if you don't love art, it's still another lovely oasis in the city center! Buy tickets online to skip the line!)
We had originally reserved our table for The Wittmore's elegant main restaurant, The Witty, but it was surprisingly empty even at Spanish prime lunch time, so we went up to their white and yellow Mexican cuisine Chihuahua Sun Deck. It was a perfect place to cool our feet, chill with a couple of glasses of cava and delicious ceviche tacos, and take in the beautiful 360 view of town, sea, and Montjuic. We were almost alone; but not quite, there was the attentive staff of course, and an English architect enjoying some FaceTime and a drink on the sunny deck! Cheers!
Note: The Wittmore has a no photography policy, but I was allowed to take photos on the deck, and I was tickled that the setting perfectly matched my silk marigold yellow! (Dress: Amanda Uprichard.)