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Old town attractionsPlaça Reial (pictured) is a focal point of the Old Town area, with its restaurants and bars. But beware of pickpockets in the square, which can also be popular with drug dealers. Some of the buildings in Barcelona's Old Town ('Ciutat Vella') date back to Roman and medieval times and it's a great place to wander round without a map to discover the squares the narrow streets open up to. Steeped in history, the area has been home to both Picasso and Joan Miró.
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Museums and tourist attractionsThe Barri Gòtic is located to the right of the Ramblas and in the centre of town and most of the city's main attractions are within walking distance: highlights include the Museu Picasso (pictured) and the Catedral de Santa Eulàlia, which dates back to the 14th century (don't forget to see the geese in the cloister); the Basilica a La Mercè (Mercè is the patron saint of Barcelona) and the Portal de l'Angel, one of the city's main shopping streets
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Plaça Sant JaumeKnown to many as the heart of the city, this broad square plays host to both the City Council (Ajuntament) and the Palace of the Catalan Government (Palau de la Generalitat) (pictured).
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Amenities and places to stayAs well as impressive architecture such as in Carre Bisbe Irurita (pictured) the area boasts a huge range of bars, cafès and restaurants and attracts lots of tourists, students and revellers of an evening all taking advantage of the many nightlife options. There is also lots of accommodation available, ranging from cheap hostels and mid-range hotels to luxury boutique hotels and plenty of holiday rental apartments.
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Downtown disadvantagesDue to the labyrinthine nature of the streets, when night falls some of the less salubrious streets become a little intimidating, and as with many cities, it is wise to not carry too much cash on you and keep your wits about you if you are walking around at night. Don't have valuables like cameras and wallets on show and make sure you keep bags and other belongings in sight and close to you. Be wary of pickpockets trying to distract you while an accomplice makes off with your money.
Beautiful architecture, ancient ruins and steeped in history, the oldest part of town (Gothic neighbourhood) is perennially popular with tourists. The winding streets and open squares offer the visitor some great exploring options with loads of restaurants, bars and some fabulous nightlife too. Disadvantages include a problem with pickpockets and it can get noisy in some areas into the early hours of the morning. See our slideshow for more details