Spain is a country that is renowned for its big, open squares that give large outdoor spaces for locals and tourists to take advantage of the sun and sit outside socialising.
This is no different in Barcelona, as they have many squares throughout the city, offering amazing places to get a drink with food and watch the world go by in the Spanish sunshine.
However, these famous squares in Barcelona have an important and historic background that makes them still popular today. Do you want to discover more? Well, below, we point out what are the most visited squares in Barcelona and why they are important to the city of Barcelona!
Here are Barcelona’s most famous squares:
The first, and possibly, most famous square in Barcelona is just off Las Ramblas.
Here, the ´Royal Square´ is where you will find an iconic central fountain surrounded by restaurants, bars and even some of the city´s most famous nightclubs! Popular with locals and tourists alike, the central location of this square in Barcelona is a big positive that must be considered in comparison to ones slightly away from the city centre.
As for historic context, this square was built in the late 19th Century and is twinned with Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City! We strongly suggest keeping an eye out for the detail on the squares’ lampposts as Barcelona´s most famous son, Antoni Gaudí, designed them!
Plaça Sant Jaume
Arguably, Plaça Sant Jaume is the most important square in Barcelona and Catalunya, due to being home to the City Hall and the Palace of the Generalitat, giving this square the most important administrative tasks for the whole region.
In addition to this, it has a strong historic significance that dates back as far as the Roman times! Some 2,000 years ago, this was the town of Barcino and the Plaça Sant Jaume was the heart of this settlement, meaning it as historic as it gets! Although transformed as a square in the late 19th Century, yet it is still very important in the year round festivities of Barcelona. With it being the site of the nativity every year, a topic that changes and brings the Christmas spirit to Barcelona.
Plaça Catalunya is definitely one of the most known squares in Barcelona, with its geographic importance in being where some of the main roads in the city meet.
As Passeig de Gràcia, Rambla de Catalunya and Las Ramblas meet, Plaça Catalunya is a square for shopping!
It has its own Corte Inglés, a large department store that is present in most Spanish cities and towns. Other than this, you will find many fountains and greenery to enjoy, as well as its own Metro stop, making this square the first thing that you see when getting the Metro to Catalunya!
Plaça Del Pi
Another square found in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, is the Plaça Del Pi.
Easily recognisable for it being the place the find the brilliant Santa Maria del Mar Basilica and for its historic nature. With the earliest reports of the church´s existence being in the late 10th Century, this square is one of the oldest in Barcelona, despite being one of the lesser well known to visitors. With that being said, there are many traditional cafes and shops around the square, making a welcoming place to spend an afternoon.
We recommend a tour of the Santa Maria del Mar as it has breath-taking interior and because it is free!
Plaça Sant Felipe Neri
The next square in Barcelona is a late medieval square that has lots of historic importance to the city.
Yet, still it carries the scars of Spain´s recent history. This was where a civil war bomb went off on the 30th January 1938, which killed some 40 people- the majority being children. With other destruction caused. Harrowingly enough, the front of the church on the square still has shrapnel damage from that day.
Another art-linked square in Barcelona is the Plaça Gaudí.
This wonderful green space is infront of Antoni Gaudí´s most ambitous and recognisable works, the Sagrada Familia. It was inaugurated in 1981 and has a beautiful lake, café and even a bar, allowing you to relax and take in the beautiful architectural design of the Sagrada Familia in all of its glory.
Just as Gaudí would have wanted!
Sant Agustín el Vell
The final square we will look at in central Barcelona, of Sant Pere.
Here, near to the Parc de la Ciutadella is a square that dates back to the 14th Century!
Here, at Sant Agustí el Vell, you will be able to step back in time and experience history in Barcelona. Around the early 1300s, there was a convent here, something that was examined in recent times when the area underwent and archaeological dig in 2007. They found traces from medieval times that linked to the convent that once stood there- its structural foundations and remnants from worshipping nuns who lived there.
Nowadays, there are many cafés and restaurants for people to enjoy.
Squares of Gràcia
Gràcia is a residential area to the north of the city centre and is a cultural hub that is full of independent stores, cafés, restaurants and bars.
All of which contribute to its lively atmosphere. In addition to this, the area has so many squares for its size! If you come here, you will easily be able to walk from one to the other and enjoy some tapas with a cerveza or sangria at each plaza!
The main one is the, Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia, a charming square that has the town hall and an old clock tower there! It is full of locals of all ages coming out to socialise together. Secondly, the Plaça Del Sol is where you can find some great bars to sit out and take in the welcoming atmosphere of the neighbourhood.
Finally, the Plaça de la Revolució of 1886 is where you can find more restaurants, a children’s play area and restaurants.
All of those above give Gràcia that unique feel and will leave you wanting to come back to rediscover the squares of Barcelona!