- What to see
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Vote & Share - Public Spaces
Tell us your favourite public space for strolling through:
The Olympic ring
Parc de la Creueta del Coll
Plaça de Catalunya
Circuit de Catalunya
Parc de la Ciutadella
Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
Plaza de España
Passeig de Grácia
Parc Laberint d'Horta
Plaça Sant Jaume
Plaça Sant Felip Neri
Plaça del Rei
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The so-called Olympic Ring of Montjuïc was the nerve centre of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona and was the main area out of the four Olympic areas of the city. It was here that the most exciting moments of that magical summer were experienced, when Barcelona became the world capital of sport and coexistence.
- The renovated Olympic Stadium: The home of the opening and closing ceremonies and the athletics events.
- Palau Sant Jordi: A marvel of design and technology by Japanese architect Isozaki. It hosted indoor sports like gymnastics and handball.
- Torre de Telecomunicaciones: This communications tower was designed by Santiago Calatrava as a means to broadcast the olympic games. It works like a giant sundial, projecting the time onto the nearby Europa Square.
- Bernat Picornell Pools: Hosted the swimming events and every ten years hosts the 2013 World Aquatics Championships . (See more pools in Barcelona).
- The Olympic Museum: Dedicated to sports and the 1992 games.
How to get there
- Metro: L1 and L3, Plaça de Espanya.
- Buses: 50 55 61 25 193 125
- Barcelona Bus Turístic: Blue Route from Pl. Catalunya or Pl. Espanya
- Funicular de Montjuïc: Change at metro station Paral·lel to catch a cable car.
Park Güell is one of the most famous projects by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. The park is named after Count Eusebi Güell, who commissioned the development of the area into a luxury housing estate. The project took 14 years to complete between 1900 and 1914 and was ultimately a failure as only two houses were built. One occupied by Güell and the other by Gaudí.
In 1923, the local council bought the land and it was opened publicly for the first time. The entire park gained World Heritage Status from UNESCO in 1984.
The most important points of interest in Park Güell include:
- The park entrance - where you will find the dragon fountain adorned with a colourful mosaic. (Gaudí has other examples of dragons in his architecture.
- The columns - which support the main terrace. This area was apparently supposed to be used as a marketplace.
- The main terrace - the heart of Park Güell, where children play and tourists sit on the vibrant benches overlooking the city.
- The high point - you can traverse to the top of the park where you will see three crosses overlooking the park (Gaudí was a religious man), and you'll find fantastic views of the city.
- Casa Museu Gaudí - Count Eusebi Güell managed to sell at least one house in the park, to none other than Guadí himself. You can explore Gaudí's home, get an idea of how he lived, and see work from a variety of his projects.
Why not discover the park as part of a Gaudí Route in Barcelona. Travel tip: Visit in the early hours with your partner for a more peaceful visit, with fewer tourists, the park becomes one of the most romantic spots in the city.
- Where?: Carrer d'Olot
- How to get there?: Metro L3 (Lesseps or Vallcarca), Bus - Lines: 24 - 31 - 32 - H6 - 92 - 112. Or the Blue tourist bus.
- Opening hours: Opens - 10:00. Closes - Nov to Feb at 18:00, Mar and Oct at 19:00. Apr and Sep at 20:00, May to Aug at 21:00.
- Price of Casa Museu Gaudí: €5.50
Port Vell which literally means "Old Port" is the oldest part of the Port of Barcelona, which today has been totally renovated and modernised.
The zone of Port Vell is also home to the Columbus Monument, just at the end of Las Ramblas.
From here you can see the Golondrinas a cruise type boat which you can ride on around the port.
Close to Port Vell you can find:
- Barcelona Maritime Museum
- Maremagnum Shopping Centre
- Barcelona Aquarium
- IMAX Cinema - Port Vell
- The History Museum of Catalunya.
Every year more than16 million people visit Port Vell, making it an essential part of any Barcelona itinerary.
Today, the facilities of Port Vell are intended for sports boats but a large part of the port is also intended for cruises .
- How to get there?: Metro L3 (Drassanes), L4 (Barceloneta)
- Web: www.portvellbcn.com
Poble Espanyol, or Spanish Village, is a place full of charm where you can take a quiet, leisurely stroll through the streets and squares of an authentic Spanish village in the Sants-Montjuïc district of Barcelona. It is home to an entire wealth of traditional architecture, with styles from all over Spain being well represented. Today it is an active leisure attraction, packed with bars, shops, and craft workshops. Poble Espanyol is also a frequent venue for all kinds of events, parties, and concerts.
It was originally created for the 1929 World Exhibition in Barcelona and is made up of over 117 different buildings, streets, and plazas from all over Spain. In fact there's 4.9 hectares to explore!
Some examples of the buildings that you can find here include:
- Cangues d’Onís - Cangas de Onís
- El mirador - Sigüenza (Guadalajara)
- Puerta de San Vicente - Ávila
- Casa de los Celdrán - Murcia
- La Jana - La Jana (Castellón)
And what's more is that night you can enjoy various activities, from concerts, to night clubs and wine tasting.
- Opening times: Monday: 09:00 to 20:00, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday: 09:00 to 00:00, Friday: 09:00 to 03:00, Saturdays: 09:00 to 04:00
- Prices: Adult entry and audioguide: €11.00, Child entry (4 to 12 years) and audioguide: €6.25, Students and Seniors (>65 years): €7.40
- Address: Parque de Montjuïc, la Avinguda de Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 13, Barcelona
- Official website: Official website of "Pueblo Español"
- Accommodation nearby:List of accommodation near Poble Espanyol
The Port Olímpic ("Olympic Port" in English) went through a major urban transformation triggered by the 1992 Olympic games that took place in the area, with the construction of the port itself and the regeneration of the entire surrounding coast.
The coastal renovation served for the sailing competitions and the housing and buildings in the area were used to house atheletes and sportsmen. Today the legacy of the games is reflected in this modern residential district on the waterfront, with pristine beaches for swimming and public use. The Marina has become the centre of a large area for entertainment and dining, a place where you can practice water-sports or simple go for a stroll along the beach. At the foot of one of the two towers that govern access to Port Olímpic, is the Casino de Barcelona.
How to get there
- Metro: L4 - Ciutadella Vil·la Olímpica
- Bus: 14 from Pl. Catalunya
Las Ramblas are a series of streets in succession that form one large avenue from the centre of Barcelona down to the port. Lively and full of energy day and night, during summer and winter, it's a meeting point for locals and tourists alike. It's home to human statues, artists, jugglers and talented musicians. If you want to stay near here, take a look at this list of apartments in the Gothic Quarter.
Along the way you'll find diverse tourist attractions such as the Grand Theatre of Liceu and the Boqueria Market, whilst at the end you'll encounter the Columbus Monument. It's recommended using the lift to go up the Columbus Monument for a privileged and panoramic view. In the zone one can also find the Maritime Museum, situated in a splendid gothic building of the Reales Atarazanas (Royal dockyard).
Around the port area at the end of Las Ramblas, called Port Vell. In Port Vell there is the Maremagnum Shopping Centre with a wide variety of shops, bars, and cafés, as well as a cinema.
For the more adventurous, it's recommended to explore the small side streets off of Las Ramblas, where you'll discover lots of alternative shops on the historic Calle de Tallers or walk down the elegant Calle Farrán, a backdrop for several vintage movies.
How to get there
- Metro: Green Line (L3) (Pl.Catalunya, Liceu, Drassanes)
Tibidabo is known by locals as "El Gran Mirador" or The Great Viewpoint of Barcelona, is located in the Sarria-Sant Gervasi district of Barcelona. It's from Tibidabo - the highest point on the Collserola mountain range (article about Collserola) - that you can see impressive panoramic views of the city. The mountain began to be built upon toward the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th with the opening of Avenida del Tibidabo (Tibidabo Avenue), which quickly became an area of high class in Barcelona due to its beautiful modernist buildings built by the best architects of the time. You can discover more details about these buildings in this route on Modernist buildings in Barcelona.
In 1901, the Tranvía Azul (Blue Tram) was built, which ran along Avenida de Tibidabo directly to the cable cars, which take care of the last part of the journey up the mountain. It's still active today, becoming an attraction for tourists and something nostalgic for locals.
At the top of the mountain you can find the beautiful Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazón, a neo-gothic temple, and the Tibidabo amusement park, one of the first in Europe. The park was chosen by Woody Allen to form part of his film Vicky Cristina Barcelona. It's a modest park with 25 attractions that maintain the traditional spirit of the city. The fact if overlooks the city makes if one of the most romantic spots in the city
The trip up to the area has a unique charm, as one still has to take the Blue tram to the foot of the mountain before riding the cable car. Though before jumping on the cable car, visitors to the area may want to consider detouring and visit the CosmoCaixa Science Museum in the area, which promises a great time for families.
How to get there
- Railway FGC Line 7 - Avinguda Tibidabo from Pl. Catalunya or Provença
- Bus 58, 75 from Barcelona city centre
Barcelona Zoo is home to one of the most important animal collections in Europe
This 14 hectare zoo was opened on the day of Saint Mercé, the patron saint of Barcelona, in 1892. To begin with, animals were imported from a private collection called "La Granja Vieja" (The Old Farm) and was actually located outside the city at the time in Horta. These days however, it can be found in Parc de la Ciutadella and has over 2200 animals from over 315 species, it is one of the largest collection of animals in Europe. It's lots of fun for the family in Barcelona, and is also adapted for access for people with mobile impairments.
The zoo was once home to a unique albino gorilla called Snowflake, which was white with red eyes due to a genetic mutation. When they first received the gorilla at the zoo in the 1960s, they were so unaware of the rarity of the discovery that they told the finder to "Please send more white gorillas".
Barcelona zoo is divided into seperate areas according to the needs of the animals from that particular habitat. These sections are:
- Land of the Dragons
- The Reptile House
- The Aviary
- The Farm
- The Titi Monkey Gallery
- The Gorilla Enclosure
- The Small Primates Gallery
- Palmeral (home to various tropical birds)
The zoo organizes various activities throughout the year. Among those includes educational sessions, workshops, contests, and diverse weekly and seasonal activities for children, families, and young people. There is also a an animal research program at the zoo.
- Where: Parc de la Ciutadella, 08003, Barcelona
- How to get there: A number of metro stations will take you close to the zoo entrances (Jaume I, Barceloneta, and Ciutadella). Buses include 14, 39, 40, 41, 42, 51, 57, 59, 64, 141, 157, and B-25.
- Opening times: Open from 10AM. Closing time depends on the month
- Prices: €19.60 for adults, but there are various discounts and tariffs.
- Official website: More information about Barcelona Zoo
- Accommodation nearby:List of accommodation near Barcelona Zoo
Looking for a place to swim out in the open in the midst of the city? Then you won't go wrong with Parc de la Creuta del Coll! This hidden gem of an attraction is located in Gracia and is especially popular during the summer when the swimming pool is opened in the middle of the park.
It's a fun day out for all the family, or for couples looking for some relaxation time.
Located between the old city and the Eixample districts, Plaça de Catalunya is widely regarded as the city centre of Barcelona. This square is full of beautiful sculptures and fountains. Just like Trafalgar square once was in London, it's famous for the numerous amount of pigeons that occupy the area. This area is connected to the old Gothic quarter of Barcelona through Via Laietana and Portal de l'Angel, as mentioned in our Barcelona Medieval route.
Things to see around Plaça de Catalunya
Because it's so well located, you'll probably find yourself passing by this square more than once. On the one side you have some of the main avenues of Barcelona like Rambla de Catalunya, and Passeig de Gràcia (where you will find Casa Batlló and Casa Milà) and to the other side you have Barcelona Cathedral and Las Ramblas.
It's also a great place to go shopping, with El Triangle shopping centre featuring FNAC (electronics and books), habitat (home-ware), and various fashion shops. There is also El Corte Inglés, a huge department store where you can find practically anything. Passeig de Gracia, one of the avenues that lead into the Plaza is full of luxury branded stores.
For dining and having a drink, take a walk down Rambla de Catalunya where you'll find plenty of restaurants, and street terraces where you can relax.
How to get there
As the city centre, many of the bus routes pass through Plaça de Catalunya. If in doubt though, you can take the red line (L1) or the green line (L3), which both stop off here at the metro station Catalunya, as do local and regional trains.
The Circuit de Catalunya is a formula one racing circuit in Montmeló and is situated to the north of Barcelona in Spain.
On the 3rd of October in 1986, the Parliament of Catalunya approved a proposition for the possible creation of a new permanent racing circuit.
Later on 24th February 1989, the consortium of Circuit de Catalunya was established between the local government, the city council of Montmeló, and RACC. This was the foundation of the Circuit of Catalunya
Finally, on 10th September 1991, the Circuit of Catalunya hosted its first official race the Spanish Touring Championship (the winner being the former F1 driver Luis Perez Sala). It wasn't until 29th September 1991 that the 35th Formula One Spanish Grand Prix took place here, after 16 years of absence in Catalunya.
Measurements of the facilities
|Total surface of the circuit:||120 Hectares|
|Total practical surface of the circuit:||79.5 Hectares|
|Total area of the Paddock:||48,000 m2|
|Total area of boxes:||4,800 m2|
There are also organised guided tours of the Circuit of Catalunya in which you can visit the facilities within. You will learn how races are organised, how they are controlled, how the mechanics work, and access some of the usually restricted areas.
There are also chances to drive a Ferrari, Porsche, or Lamborghini around the circuit.
Parc de la Ciutadella is one of the largest parks in Barcelona. The park has a total area of about 17.42 hectares. It's located in the district of Ciutat Vella, between Francia station, Arc de Triunfo, and Villa Olímpica. It's also near paseo Pujades, paseo Picasso, and calle Wellington.
It was constructed in 1872 on the former grounds of the fortress of the city (which is where the name Citadel comes from), before being renovated in 1888 for the Universal Exhibition. Many of the sculptures are in the style from the century before, so in a way are slightly misleading pieces of art.
The park is home to:
- The Catalan Parliament Building
- Barcelona Zoo
- The Museum of Zoology
- The Museum of Geology
You can row around on a boat upon the lake, play table tennis, or simply stroll among the fountains, sculptures, and greenery as you enjoy the tranquility of this park. There is also a giant statue of a mammoth which is climbable!
This park has a lot of birds (over 100 species) and it's also rich in plant-life with many plants being placed at the end of the nineteenth century.
The most significant part of the park is definitely the huge monumental fountain, which was designed by Josep Fontseré in 1875, and opened in 1881.
- Opening hours: 10:00 until 8pm (until 7pm in March and November, and until 9PM from May to September)
- How to get there?: Metro: Jaume I (L4) or Ciutadella Vila Olimpica (L4)
Montjuic is an area and mountain in Barcelona, España. It peaks at 173 metres above sea level.
The mountain has historically been a strategic defense point for the city (together with the Ciutadella).
The Castle of Montjuic also served as a prison during the reign of Franco in Spain.
But today in this area, almost everything you'll find is related to sports, arts, and culture. The mountain is the home of many important cultural locations, such as :
- Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
- Barcelona Teatre Musical
- Teatre Lliure
- Mercat de les Flors
- Teatre Grec
- Joan Miró Foundation
- Museo CaixaFòrum (Art museum)
- Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC) (National Art Museum of Catalonia)
- Museo etnológico de Barcelona (Barcelona Ethnology Museum)
- Jardín Botánico Histórico (The Historical Botanical Garden)
- Nuevo Jardín Botánico de Barcelona (The new Botanic Garden of Barcelona)
You'll also find various Olympic buildings which hosted the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona like:
- Lluis Companys Olympic Stadium
- Palau Sant Jordi
- Bernat Picornell Pools
- INEFC (Institue of Physical Education)
- Montjuic Public Swimming pool
And other sports facilities.
- Parc del Migdia Athletic Stadium
- Carlos Pérez de Rozas Baseball Field
- Pau Negre Hockey Stadium (Grass)
- Joan Serrahima Athletic Stadium
- Montjuic National Shooting Facilities
In Montjuic you'll also find interesting tourist locations like Poble Espanyol, and the Telecommunications tower of Montjuic.
- How to get there? Funicular of Montjuic, Montjuic Cable Car, Port Cable Car. Barcelona Metro (Stations: Paral·lel (Lines 2 and 3) and Espanya (Lines 1 and 3) Montjuïc Tourist Bus, Public transport buses: 13, 23, 50, 55, 61, 107
- Free parking - (For more information on free parking in Barcelona read this article)
Discover the most colourful attraction in Barcelona
Back in 1929, the Montjuïc area of Barcelona underwent one of the biggest renovations in the history of the city, all in order to prepare for the Universal Exposition of Barcelona in 1929. One part of the renovation was the creation of the Font màgica de Montjuïc (Magic Fountain of Montjuïc).
The fountain plan was a last minute addition, with plans beginning just one year before the start of the exposition. Many said it was too complicated to complete in time, and perhaps it was because it took more than 3000 workers to complete the project in time for the first show in May 1929.
A New Type of Art
The fountain was created by a Carles Buigas at the foot of what then was the Royal Palace, today the National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC). As a local civil engineer, and it happened to be his first project dealing with illuminated water fountains. The concept of an illuminated fountain wasn't exactly a new one at the time, however it's most likely one of the first to do so as part of a regular and synchronized show. The outcome was so spectacular that it was described as a new artistic style, the art of "Agualuz" or "Water-light" in English.
Originally, music did not play a part in the show, it was until the 80s that this feature was added. Today there are a total of 15 musical shows from various distinct genres. You can get up to date information on the official page of the fountain Here.
Watch our HD Video and share it!
- Show hours (see them on the official website):
- 1 November - 6 January: Friday and Saturday - Between 19:00 to 20:30, at 19:00, 19:30, 20:00.
- 7 January - 18 February: CLOSED.
- 19 February - 31 March: Friday and Saturday - Between 19:00 to 20:30, at 19:00, 19:30, 20:00.
- 1 April - 28 May: Friday and Saturday - Between 21:00 to 22:30, at 21:00, 21:30, 22:00.
- 1 September - 31 October: Friday and Saturday - Between 21:00 to 22:30, at 21:00, 21:30, 22:00.
- 1 June - 31 August: Thursday to Sunday - Between 21:30 to 23:00, at 21:30, 22:00, and 22:30.
- How to get there: Metro - Espanya (L1 and L3)
- Where: Pl. Carles Buïgas, 1, 28080 Barcelona, Spain
- Accommodation nearby: Take a look at our apartments nearby the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc here.
Plaza de España was built for the Universal Exposition of 1929 and since then has been one of the main landmarks in Barcelona, around which many of the most important attractions and venues can be found. it's also well connected, featuring several metro lines, train lines, and bus lines (including the Aerobus from Barcelona airport). It is the largest square in Barcelona an the second largest in Spain after the square of the same name in Madrid.
The history of the Plaza
The project to build Plaza de España was laid out by Josep Amargós in 1915. Eventually the Catalan architects Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Guillem Busquets took on the responsibility of completing the plans. The dictator Primo de Rivera came to office and they were removed from the project due to their political ideas. In the end, it was Antoni Darder i Marsa who completed the project in 1926, the square was named "Plaça d’Espanya" to emphasize the Spain rather than Catalonia.
Several hotels were built around the square to accommodation attendees of the Universal Exposition, though none remain except one building that is now a public school, and the Municipal Institute of Education.
What can you find around the square?
- There is a fountain with large baroque columns right in the centre of the plaza. This work was created by Josep Maria Jujol and is influenced by Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican. It is a symbolic work that represents the importance of the sea and rivers in Spain, as well as religious, heroic, and artistic symbology.
- The Venetian Towers by Plaza de España are inspired by Saint Mark's Campanile in Venice. They are the work of Ramon Reventós and mark the entrance to Avenida Maria Cristina.
- It's still a hub for expositions. It is home to one of the building of the Fira de Barcelona buildings, which hosts some of the most important expositions and conventions in Europe..
- The Las Arenas Shopping Centre, used to be a disused bullfighting ring, but it has been remodeled into a shopping centre, with top brands, restaurants, and a cinema. It opened to the public in 2011.
- The main entrance to Montjüic is made through Avenida Maria Cristina.
So what do you think about Plaza de España? Leave us a comment.
Passeig de Grácia is one of the most important and famous avenues in Barcelona. It is located in the Eixample Dret district of the city and is home to two buildings with UNESCO World Heritage status among other beautiful works of architecture. The most famous pieces are by the architects Antoni Gaudí and Lluis Domenech i Montaner, which you can read about in this article about Modernist buildings. It's also recognised as one of the best places in the city to go shopping, home to some of the most high-end shops that Barcelona has to offer, especially in terms of fashion.
This renowned avenue forms part of what's known as the "Prime Zone" of Barcelona, which has the highest concentration of businesses in the entire city, meaning many people who come to Barcelona on a business trip tend to stay in this area, take a look at the selection in this article.
Passeig de Grácia was built on top of the older "Camino de Jesus", which connected the city of Barcelona to the town of Grácia (which now forms part of Barcelona). Urbanized in 1827, the street was favoured by the aristocracy at the time and was one of the most popular places in the area for leisure and entertainment.
When Eixample -a plan to extend the city- was carried out by Ildefons Cerdà between 1860 and 1890, a residential core for the upper-class was created by replacing they multiple houses with gardens with multi-storey apartment buildings. Throughout the 20th century some of Barcelona's most influential architects left their mark on this avenue.
Points of Interest
- Casa Milà; also known as La Pedrera.
- Casa Batlló.
- Casa Lleó Morera.
- Casa Amatller.
- A great shopping experience, including high-end shops like Chanel or the Apple Store
- ...and much more.
Whether you're a lover of art and architecture, a fashion victim, or you are just simply looking to stroll through one of the most interesting streets in the city, it's worth visiting Passeig de Gràcia.
Have you visited already? What surprised you the most? Is there another avenue in Barcelona that you like? Let us know and leave your comments, thoughts, and sugguestions below.
Horta's Labyrinth park (or Parc Laberint d'Horta) is the oldest garden park in Barcelona. It was created in 1802 and was designed by the Marquis Joan D'Antoni Desvalls Ardena along with the Italian architect Domenico Bagutti. Visiting is one of the most romantic activities you can do in Barcelona
As the name suggests, this park can be found in the Horta neighbourhood in the Horta-Guinardó district. This neighbourhood is close to the Collserola mountain rang. The park boasts a large variety of plant and wildlife.
What to see?
The entrance to the park is found at the old entrance to the Desvalls family mansion, a neo-gothic building adorned with orientalist details (Middle Age Arabian style). You can see this wonderful building whether or not you decide to even enter the park!
Once inside, there are two main areas. Because it was made at the turn of the 1800s, there is an 18th century style neo-classical garden and a 19th century style romantic garden.
The neo-classical area is where you'll find the main attraction - the Cyprus bush labyrinth that covers an area of 45m x 50m. You'll need to make your way to the centre, where you'll be greeted by a statue of Eros and from there you'll then need to find the exit. It's not an extremely difficult maze, so it's ideal for families... If you're really worried though, you could always use a thread, just like Ariadne gave Theseus in the myth of the Minotaur's Labyrinth so he could find his way out. You can also find their likeness on a marble relief at the entrance to the maze.
The park is made up of a number of different gardens and sculptures inspired by greek mythology. On the intermediary terrace there are temples dedicated to Danaë and Ariadne surrounded by tuscan columns. On the lower terrace you can admire on the the "infant gardens" designed to be popular amongst the children. The Jardín del Bossi for instance, features living plant sculptures in the shapes of various animals.
The park is full of various plant-life as well as animals like peacocks, swans, ducks, frogs, terrapins, and much more. There are also beautiful coves, fountains, streams, and waterfalls. It is a paradise that feels like a world apart from the busy city beneath it.
- Where: Pg Castanyers, 1, Barcelona
- How to get there: Metro - Exit at Mundet L3 (Green Line)
- Opening hours: Monday to Sunday. 11:00 - 21:00.
- Prices: Standard entry: €2.23. Discounted entry: €1.42 Free entry: Wednesday and Sunday
- Website: Official Park Information
- Where to stay: You can find an apartment close to the park by staying in the peaceful Horta-Guinardó district
On this huge square in the centre of the gothic quarter, you can find the two most important political buildings in Catalonia: The Ayuntamiento de Barcelona (Barcelona City Hall) on the south side and Generalidad de Cataluña (Parliament of Catalonia) on the north side, which is about 500 years old.
Plaça Sant Jaume is not only of political and historic importance, but also the location of cultural and public events such as concerts, expositions and celebrations of victorious football matches. Protected by policemen and soldiers, this place is often frequented by tourists, demonstrators and sometimes even Castellers.
Before and after
In this picture you can see the Generalitat de Catalunya building in 1915. A major restoration on this building took place almost a century before this picture was taken — during 1823 — so we don't see much change apart from the new street lamps in front and some minor modifications on the windows. Also on the roof is a lot less cluttered.
When Barcelona was a Roman colony named Barcino almost 2000 years ago, this place was used as a forum to hold speeches and public debate. This square is named after the famous church Sant Jaume that was situated next to it until 1349 when it was moved to the street 'Carrer Ferran'. In 1823, it was reconstructed and renamed as Plaça de la Constitucio. In 1931, the Republic was announced on this place and in 1977 the former president Tarradellas announced his return from exile with the words "Ciutadans de Catalunya, ja sóc aquí" ("Citizens of Catalonia, here I am") as a message for regained Catalan autonomy rights.
- How to get there: Metro L3 (to Liceu), L4 (to Jaume I) Bus: 14, 45, 59, 91, 120, V15 and V17.
- Price: Free of charge.
- Opening hours: The square is open daily. Usually you can enter the two buildings on Sundays.
This so-called romantic and peaceful square was named after the Baroque church, Sant Felip Neri, which was built between 1721 and 1752 before the square existed. In the centre of this place you will find an octogonal fountain that was added at a later date. This square is in the heart of The Gothic Quarter, but you'll only find it if you set out to search for it. Many people are unaware of its existence and locals enjoy it's calm atmosphere day and night. Next to it you'll find other neo-gothic buildings that were added not too long ago and the Escola Sant Felip Neri.
Before and after
The photo of the church on this square was taken in 1916, when the door was flanked with two street lamps and the rose window also looked slightly different. In the second picture, you can see that the wounds of the civil war can still be witnessed on the facade. An octogonal fountain was added in the centre of the square. Nowadays there'll be children playing around the middle of Plaça Sant Felip Neri, not knowing that kids their age suffered wrongful deaths less than a century ago while seeking refuge under the church.
In 1752, the square was designed by Adolf Florensa — known as "The father of The Gothic Quarter". It was built atop the medieval cemetery of Montjuic de Bisbe. Shoemakers and coppersmiths had to relocate from this area and some neo-gothic buildings were added to this square to fit the overall gothic style.
In 1938, this square suffered a tremendous tragedy... The fascist Francisco Franco bombarded the city during the Civil War and one of those bombs exploded right here. 42 civilians died, most of them children who were hiding in the church's air-raid shelter. That's why its facade keeps the remains of that shrapnel in visible holes in the wall. During the dictatorship, and years later, people were made to believe that they were dealing with the shots that the army of the legitimate Republic applied to their enemies, having turned this space into a firing block. That was proved to be false, and you can still see the damage on the church's facade, which will always remind the visitors of the unjustly murdered victims.
If you already thought this was heartbreaking enough, you should know that there's more. Antoni Gaudí attended the church Sant Felip Neri daily to pray, but on 7 June 1926, he made his last walk towards this square and was hit by a tram. Always the austere dresser, he wasn't recognized and so help came too late. Three days later — 10 June 1926 — Gaudí died at the age of 73 at a hospital.
- Where: Plaça Sant Felip Neri, 5, 08002 Barcelona.
- How to get there: Metro L3 (to Liceu) and L4 (to Jaume I). Bus L14, 45, 59, 91, 120 and V15 (to Plaça Sant Jaume).
- Price: Free of charge.
Plaça del Rei is a rectangular medieval square situated in The Gothic Quarter at the heart of the Ciutat Vella district. Surrounding it, you can see historic buildings like Salón del Tinell (behind the stairs), Mirador del Rei Martí (tower in the back), Capilla de Santa Ágata (on the left side), Palacio del Lloctinent (on the right side) and Casa Padellas. The Gothic buildings reflect Barcelona's medieval past and are partially used for exhibitions that can be visited as a part of the Barcelona City History Museum (MHCB).
Before and after
The column you can see in the picture of 1916 is a remnant of the former Roman colony Barcino. This column was removed and eventually transferred to back to its original site at the Centre Excursionista de Catalunya. Also, some additions were made to the facade and parts of the walls were removed to restore buildings. Instead of the markets and tournaments that were held here back in the day, today you'll be able to sit on the terrace of a bar and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere. You could also attend a local event if there's one on.
This noble square was once Barcelona's courtyard of the counts' royal palace and the Crown of Aragon. The rectangular shape occurred due to urban developments in the 14th century. At the time, King Martin I the Humane was king of the Crown of Aragon, Valencia, Sardinia, Corsica and Count of Barcelona. Tournaments took place in this square, but before that markets created a huge mess around this place. This was ultimately stopped and moved to another place by the king, allegedly due to the noise that kept him from having a restful sleep. It is said that Columbus was received here from time to time when he would lobby Isabella I and her husband, Ferdinand II of Aragon before discovering the Americas.
- Where: Plaça del Rei, 7, 08002 Barcelona.
- How to get there: Metro L4 (Jaume I) | Bus 45, 120, V15 and V17.
- Price: Free of charge.
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