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Plaça Reial

General Information

Plaça Reial (The Royal Square) is a popular square in Barcelona, located in the center of the city, in The Gothic Quarter. Situated in the old town area, near La Rambla, Plaça Reial is known for the lively atmosphere it constantly provides to its numerous visitors. Therefore, with time it has become one of Barcelona’s most-visited tourist attractions, renowned for the various entertainment events that take place here and the community gatherings.

Today, Plaça Reial is an area full of bustling activity. It is home to a remarkable array of bars and restaurants, surrounded by palm trees, The Fountain of the Three Graces and the impressive street lamps created by Antoni Gaudi, which elegantly light the square during the evenings.

History of Plaça Reial

Plaça Reial’s current identity has been shaped by a few resounding historical events. During the 18th century, the land was owned by the Capuchins, who built Santa Madrona monastery on this spot between 1718 and 1723 (for additional information – History of Barcelona).

The monastery was destroyed by fire in 1835 and soon after, the City Council made deliberate efforts to construct a theatre in its place. However, a few years later, the City Council considered the idea of building a square instead. Thereby, in 1848 the Catalan architect, Francesc Daniel Molina i Casamajó, was chosen to design the new town square, Plaça Reial. The architect’s vision was influenced by neoclassical architecture, hence his outstanding artistic touch is considered today a symbol of timeless elegance.

As the name implies, The Royal Square was initially built to honor King Ferdinand VII and to be inhabited by the wealthy citizens of Barcelona, transforming it into a relatively affluent area during the 19th century (for additional information – Barcelona during the 19th and 20th Century).

In 1982, the square was entirely rehabilitated and it has successfully become one of the most popular attractions in Barcelona since.

What do you see in Plaça Reial?

The Fountain of the Three Graces

The Fountain of the Three Graces (Fuente de las tres Gracias), designed by Antoni Rovira i Trias, was inaugurated in 1878 and it is installed in the center of the square. In Greek mythology, the three goddesses, Aglaea, Euphrosyne and Thalia, are the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, and they represent beauty, charm and grace. Being inspired by such intriguing tale, the fountain is a mesmerizing piece of entertainment, which invites visitors to relax and socialize. Consequently, it often serves as a meeting point.

 The Three Graces Fountain in Plaça Reial

The Street Lamps Designed by Antoni Gaudi

In 1879, Antoni Gaudi’s street lamps were installed in the proximity of the fountain, counting as the architect’s early work for Barcelona. The two street lamps were Gaudi’s first post-graduation project, whose signature style reflects a fine line between modern architecture and symbolism. The design gracefully portrays a winged helmet and a dragon, a symbol which can be found in Gaudi’s other works in Barcelona.

Up to this day, the architects’ authentic street lamps are able to evoke the distinct atmosphere of the city during the end of the 19th century.

 Gaudi’s street lamps (Jaume Meneses)

Nightlife in Plaça Reial

Plaça Reial is known for its vivid nightlife and it has become a notorious gathering spot where tourists can easily mix with locals. When the sun sets, the visitors can enjoy a casual stroll through the square, but also a few unique late night experiences provided by the wide range of restaurants, bars and music venues (for additional information – Visit Barcelona at Night).

One of the busiest places in the nightlife scene is Los Tarantos Flamenco Show. The club hosts eye-catching flamenco shows and it attracts a significant number of visitors, who become a part of the dynamic and vibrant atmosphere with great ease. The intimate venue features a considerable number of remarkable performers, therefore it is an excellent option for those who want to celebrate the art of dancing flamenco.

Tips and recommendations for Visiting Plaça Reial

  • Throughout the year, Plaça Reial is known for hosting various important celebrations, such as La Merçè, an annual Catalan festival which takes place at the end of September, and the New Year’s Eve party. This event is highly recommended for tourists who visit the square during the winter holidays (for additional information – Winter Vacation in Barcelona and Sports and Events).
  • There is a wide range of bars and restaurants you can choose from in Plaça Reial. You can grab a light snack at Viana, try the Mediterranean cuisine at Mariscco Reial, or enjoy a few sweet treats at Artisa (for additional information – Bars and Restaurants in Barcelona).
  • As Plaça Reial is famous for being the liveliest nightlife spot of the city, visiting the square once the sun sets is recommended for those who are interested in the variety of nightclubs, such as Sidecar Factory Club and Jamboree. However, be aware that the square tends to get crowded during the evenings (for additional information – Visit Barcelona at Night and Barcelona Night Card).
  • If you are planning to attend a flamenco show, it is recommended to purchase your tickets in advance and online, especially during the summer, when tourists are showing more interest in visiting the city (for additional information – Los Tarantos Flamenco Show and Book Tickets in Advance for Tarantos Flamenco Show).
  • Overall, Plaça Reial is a wheelchair-friendly area, however not all the restaurants and bars that can be found here will provide toilets designed to accommodate people with disabilities (for additional information – Accessibility in Barcelona and Accessibility in Gothic Quarter).
  • Plaça Reial is accessible only to pedestrians, therefore driving a car through the square is not permitted. However, if you are interested in driving around the center of Barcelona, the nearest parking location can be found a few meters away, in La Rambla. Due to the narrow and crowded streets, this option is not recommended (for additional information – Car Rental in Barcelona and Car Rental in Spain).
  • It is recommended to reach Plaça Reial by public transportation, using the metro. The square is close to the metro station Liceu (L3) and bus stop (14, 59, 91) and, in case you are exploring the city with the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, Passeig del Colom is the nearest stop for the square, following the red route (for additional information – Public Transportation in Barcelona and Hop-on Hop-off Barcelona Bus Map).
  • You can enjoy a couple of free guided tours that go through Plaça Reial and other famous tourist attractions. Gaudí Tour and Gothic Quarter Tour Barcelona will introduce you to the memorable culture of Barcelona while strolling through the historical part of the city (for additional information – Attractions and Tours in Barcelona).
  • There are plenty of accommodation options available all year round in the oldest part of the city. Hotel DO, Roma Reial Hotel and Hotel Fornos are all located in Plaça Reial, however, in addition to their exclusive gothic design, they are substantially more expensive (for additional information – Hotels in Barcelona).
  • In order to find a budget-friendly accommodation, it is highly recommended to search and compare hotels located nearby other major landmarks. A good starting point is by narrowing your search to the entire Ciutat Vella area (for additional information – Cheap Hotels in BarcelonaHotels near Gothic QuarterHotels near La Rambla and Hotels near Ciutat Vella).


Useful Information

Getting there

L3 (green) – Liceu Station.


No. 14, 59, 91

Opening Times

Public Area

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