The Barri Gòtic has some of the oldest and most traditional shops in the city. Here we share some of our favorites...
L'Arca, C/ Banys nous 20
Stepping into L'Arca is like stepping back into the past, a rose-tinted past with luxurious furniture, handcrafted jewelry, and couture gowns. L'Arca specializes in vintage and period fashion, jewelry and furniture offering a treasure trove of delights for the antique lover. From 19th century lingerie to 1930s Balenciaga dresses, vintage Japanese Kimonos to hand-embroidered Manila shawls, L'Arca is a shop to get lost in. A particular reason to visit (if you really needed one) would be to find a one of a kind wedding dress. L'Arca offers a collection of custom-tailored vintage wedding dresses and accessories including handcrafted replicas of vintage veils and also sell beautiful lace by the yard if you prefer to design your dress or veil from scratch. The shop also has a special claim to fame; it dressed Kate Winslet for the hit film Titanic and also dressed Penélope Cruz for Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona. Quite possibly the most romantic, whimsical shop in Barcelona, a must-visit.
Sombrerería Obach, C/Call, 2
Since 1924 Sombrerería Obach has been covering the hat needs of the people of Barcelona. An iconic shop on a busy corner in the Barri Gòtic, Sombrerería Obach harks back to the days when your outfit simply wasn't complete without a hat and still has a wide variety to choose from. Whether you just want a woolen hat to keep out the winter chill or are fancying something smarter, a fedora perhaps, or a straw Panama to shade yourself from the Barcelona midday sun, Sombrerería Obach has it all. The days may be gone where you could enjoy a Cuban cigar whilst leisurely perusing the collection but the old fashioned feel and a wide variety on offer make it well worth a trip.
La Manual Aspargatera, C/ Avinyó 7
The humble espardenya (often called espadrille in English) started life as shoes for the poorer people in society but have now become fashion items, a must-have for the summer months. One of the first shops that led the way in making the espardenya a fashion shoe was La Manuel Aspargatera in the Barri Gòtic. Opened in 1943, this shop set about changing people's minds about the espardenya and introduced new styles and colors, making their shoes a hit with the fashion elite whilst still making them in the traditional way; by hand from natural fibers in the base and a canvas upper. The reinvented espardenya and La Manual Aspergatera became so popular that people flocked from far and wide to buy a pair, including Salvador Dalí, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Jack Nicholson, Ralph Lauren, and even Pope John Paul II. These days their shoes come in every color and style imaginable and the shop also provides the traditional espardenyes for the Catalan Police' formal uniform. La Manual Aspargatera should be a stop on everyone's shopping itinerary, especially just before summer starts.