There are a number of exciting places to visit in a city like Barcelona, spots full of history, old and new, where life happens on a daily basis. Some of the most emblematic spots in the city are its many plazas, some of which you may have already visited and some of which you are yet to discover. Here is our list of the most important plazas in Barcelona.
Commonly referred to as Plaza Catalunya, this is, without a doubt, the most important plaza in the entire city. It is, in fact, so important, that it is considered by many as the center of Barcelona. Located in the district of Eixample, Plaça de Catalunya is the meeting point between some of the city’s most important streets and boulevards: La Rambla, Rambla de Catalunya, Passeig de Gràcia, Ronda da la Universidad, Ronda de San Pedro, Calle de Pelayo, and Portal del Ángel. Plaça de Catalunya is decorated with a number of sculptures like “La Diosa” by Josep Clarà, the monument dedicated to Francesc Macià, and “Barcelona” by Frederic Marès. There are also two beautiful fountains which light up at night in different colors, while the water performs a choreography, much like the one in that takes place in the famous Font Màgica de Montjuïc.
Located in the district of Sants-Montjuïc, Plaça d’Espanya was one of the many constructions erected for 1929’s International Exhibition. It is one of the largest plazas in the city, designed by Josep Amargós. It is decorated with a fountain created by Josep Maria Jujol, and statues designed by Nicolau Maria Rubió i Tudurí. The central part of the plaza, where all of these decorations lie, is not easily accessible since it is located inside a roundabout in an area with heavy traffic, but it can be seen from relatively close. Located right next to the plaza are the Venetian Towers, two impressive 47-meter tall constructions that welcome visitors who are taking Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina towards MNAC. This is also the location of Fira Barcelona, the largest events and fairs space in Barcelona, Parc de Joan Miró, and Arenas de Barcelona, a unique shopping mall that still maintains the façade of the former building that used to stand in that spot, a Moorish style bullring.
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Located in the Gothic neighborhood, Plaça Sant Jaume is considered the administrative center of the city due to the fact that both the Palacio of the Generalitat and the Ayuntamiento (City Hall) are located here. This normally peaceful plaza is often the selected spot to host a number of traditional Catalan celebrations, which means that if you visit it during national and local holidays, you will probably stumble upon a castellers demonstration or even a gegants parade.
Plaça de la Universitat is bordered by two districts: Ciutat Vella and Eixample. The plaza, which is located at the intersection of Ronda de Sant Antoni, Carrer d’Aribau, and Grand Via de les Corts Catalanes, owes its name to one of the most important universities in the city, Universitat de Barcelona, designed by Elis Rogent and built during the second half of the nineteenth century. It is very common to find skaters practicing their moves in this plaza not only due to its flat surface but also due to the existence of long, rectangular benches.
This plaza, most commonly referred to as Glòries, is located in the startup-friendly district of Sant Martí, connecting Avinguda Diagonal, Avinguda Meridiana, and Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes. Many don’t know, but Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes was originally designed by Ildefons Cerdà to serve as the city’s center, a position that was taken by Plaça de Catalunya. Some of the important landmarks located next to the plaza are the modern Agbar Tower, which comes to live with color during the night, the Design Museum, and the Encants Market.
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Plaça del Rei is a medieval square located in the Gothic neighborhood, where Palau Reial Major, Mirador del Rei Martí, and the Capella Reial de Santa Àgata, and MUHBA (Barcelona’s City History Museum) can be found. This plaza was one of the real-life sets used to shoot a scene from the movie Perfume, based on the book by Partick Suskind.
Plaça Reial is a somewhat hidden spot located in the Ciutat Vella district, just off La Rambla. It is a gorgeous palm-tree lined plaza, decorated with a fountain and amazing street lamps designed by Antoni Gaudí. This is a wonderful spot to visit during the day, with a number of restaurants where visitors can stop for a coffee or have a full meal, and an even more exciting spot to visit during the night, since it is the home of some of the city’s most famous nightclubs and, such as Sidecar, Karma, and Jamboree.
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* Main photo by Ralf Roletschek via Wikimedia Commons