Not the most centrally located cultural site in the city (monasteries by their nature tend to be remotely placed, to ensure tranquility), this extraordinary former convent is worth the effort to reach it. Occupied for almost 7 centuries by an order called the Poor Clares, the convent has the largest Gothic cloister in Europe. The peaceful site also holds a superb collection of artworks and artifacts, many of them donated by wealthy 14th-century families who wanted their daughters to become novices in the same convent where Queen Elisenda was also in residence. Make a point of visiting the small Chapel of Sant Miquel, which has frescos from the 1340s that were recently restored to their exquisite original colors; the intimate room is one of Barcelona’s least known, and most beautiful, treasures.