Plaça Espanya: Barcelona’s Majestic Gateway to Culture and Entertainment

Christian Petzold

Published November 30, 2023
Plaça Espanya Barcelona's Majestic Gateway To Culture And Entertainment

Plaça Espanya is the gate to the centre of Barcelona when you are coming from the airport. The square marks the conjunction of Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, Avenida Parallel and Avenida Maria Cristina.

It was designed in 1915 and finally completed for the Barcelona World Exhibition in 1929.

The immense fountain in Placa Espanya’s centre consists of three large columns. Designed by Josep Maria Jujol, each of the columns represents one of the Spanish seas: the Mediterranean, the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Biscay. Previously, the actual site of the fountain had been used for hangings.

Nowadays, in opposition to Placa Catalunya, Placa Espanya is the site for gatherings with a Spanish cause. Right next to Placa Espanya, on Avenida Maria Cristina, hundreds of thousands watched the Spanish national team in the 2010 FIFA world cup final in South Africa.

After the victorious match, Placa Espanya witnessed the biggest party it had ever seen.

Together with Placa Catalunya Placa Espanya is Barcelona’s most important local transport hub. Two metro lines and the airport bus cross here and all southbound metropolitan trains depart.

Placa Espanya: A Guide to Barcelona’s Iconic Square

Dive into the rhythmic pulse of Barcelona at Placa Espanya. This isn’t just any square—it’s where history winks at you from every corner, and modern vibes dance with tradition. From the majestic Venetian towers to nights lit up by the Magic Fountain, Placa Espanya is Barcelona’s storied stage. Ready to explore? Let’s get started!


Placa Espanya, established in the early 20th century, was constructed ahead of the 1929 International Exposition of Barcelona, transforming the city’s urban landscape. Designed by Josep Maria Jujol, the square has since become an iconic Barcelona landmark.

Previously, the location hosted public hangings until the Ciutadella fortress’s establishment in 1715. By 1900, the once-farming site lay barren, nestled at Montjuïc Hill’s base, home to a dwindling rural community.

Placa Espanya Circle

The intent behind Placa Espanya was to celebrate the city’s architectural and artistic prowess. Landmark structures surrounding the square include the 1929 Venetian Towers, reminiscent of St. Mark’s Basilica’s Campanile in Venice, the old Arenas bullring, and the Fira de Barcelona, all exemplifying the city’s rich heritage.

Today, Placa Espanya stands as a testament to Barcelona’s history and architectural brilliance, drawing countless visitors to its renowned structures and the legacy of the 1929 exposition.

Geographical Location

Placa Espanya is one of the most important squares in Barcelona. It is located at the foot of Montjuïc, a prominent hill in the Sants-Montjuïc district. The square is situated in the western part of the city and is surrounded by several major roads and landmarks.

To the north of Placa Espanya lies Gran Via De Les Corts Catalanes, one of the most important avenues in Barcelona. This road runs through the heart of the city and connects Placa Espanya with other major districts such as Eixample and Gracia.

To the east of the square is Carrer De La Creu Coberta, a bustling street that is home to many shops, restaurants, and cafes. This road runs parallel to Gran Via De Les Corts Catalanes and is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

To the south of Placa Espanya lies Carrer De Tarragona, another major road in Barcelona. This street connects the square with other important districts such as Sants and Les Corts.

Placa Espanya is also located near two major rivers in Spain, the Guadalquivir and the Ebro. These rivers flow through the Iberian Peninsula and are an important source of water for many cities in Spain.

Key Attractions

Placa Espanya is a bustling square in Barcelona that is home to many popular tourist attractions. Here are some of the key attractions that you should check out when you visit this vibrant area:

Arenas de Barcelona

This former bullfighting arena has been transformed into a modern shopping center that boasts stunning views of the city. The rooftop terrace is a must-visit spot where you can enjoy panoramic views of Placa Espanya, Montjuic, and the surrounding area.

Arenas De Barcelona

MNAC (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya)

This impressive museum features a vast collection of Catalan art from the Romanesque period to the mid-20th century. The museum is housed in a stunning building that was constructed for the 1929 International Exhibition.

Museu Nacional Dart De Catalunya 5

Parc de Joan Miró

This beautiful park is named after the famous Catalan artist Joan Miró. It features a large sculpture by Miró called “Woman and Bird” and a beautiful pond that is surrounded by palm trees. The park is a great place to relax and enjoy the sunshine.

Parc De Joan Miro

In addition to these attractions, Placa Espanya is also home to many restaurants, cafes, and bars where you can sample delicious Catalan cuisine and drinks. Whether you’re interested in art, shopping, or simply soaking up the local culture, Placa Espanya has something for everyone.

Activities and Events

Placa Espanya is a vibrant hub of activity and events that offers visitors a wide range of things to do. From cultural events to exciting attractions, there is always something happening in this bustling square.

One of the most popular attractions in Placa Espanya is the Magic Fountain Shows. These shows are a must-see for anyone visiting the area. The fountain is illuminated with colorful lights and synchronized to music, creating a stunning visual display. The shows are free to attend and take place several times a week.

In addition to the Magic Fountain Shows, Placa Espanya also hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the year. These events include music festivals, art exhibitions, and theatrical performances. The square is also home to several museums and galleries, offering visitors a chance to explore the rich cultural heritage of the area.

If you’re looking for something more active to do, Placa Espanya has plenty of options. The square is surrounded by parks and gardens, offering visitors a chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. There are also several outdoor activities available, including cycling, hiking, and horseback riding.

For those who love shopping, Placa Espanya has plenty of options. The area is home to several shopping centers, including the Arenas de Barcelona, which is housed in a historic bullring. Here, you’ll find a wide range of shops, from high-end boutiques to popular chain stores.


If you’re planning a trip to Placa Espanya, you’ll want to find the perfect place to stay. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for accommodation in the area, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels.

One popular choice is the Hotel Catalonia Barcelona Plaza, which is located just a few minutes walk from Placa Espanya. This hotel offers comfortable rooms with modern amenities, including air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs. Some rooms even have private balconies with stunning views of the city.

If you’re looking for more budget-friendly options, there are plenty of hostels and guesthouses in the area. These options can be a great choice if you’re traveling on a tight budget or if you’re looking for a more social atmosphere. Some popular options include the Hostel One Paralelo, which is located just a few blocks from Placa Espanya, and the Hostal Sans, which is a short walk from the metro station.

No matter what your budget or travel style, you’re sure to find the perfect accommodation in Placa Espanya. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious hotel or a budget-friendly hostel, there are plenty of options to choose from. So start planning your trip today and get ready to experience all that this vibrant neighborhood has to offer.

Shopping and Dining

When it comes to shopping and dining, Placa Espanya has plenty of options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite to eat or a day of retail therapy, you’ll find it all here.

Las Arenas Shopping Center

One of the most popular shopping destinations in the area is the Las Arenas Shopping Center. This former bullring has been transformed into a modern shopping center with over 100 stores, restaurants, and a cinema. You’ll find everything from fashion and beauty to electronics and home goods. The center is open every day from 10 am to 10 pm, making it a convenient stop for all your shopping needs.


Placa Espanya is also home to some of the best restaurants in the city. Whether you’re in the mood for traditional Spanish cuisine or international flavors, you’ll find it all here. Here are some of the top restaurants to check out:

Las Arenas de Barcelona: Located inside the Las Arenas Shopping Center, this restaurant offers stunning views of Placa Espanya. The menu features a mix of Mediterranean and Catalan dishes, as well as a great selection of wines.

Creu Coberta: This cozy restaurant is known for its delicious tapas and friendly service. It’s a great spot to grab a quick bite or enjoy a leisurely meal with friends.

No matter where you choose to dine, you’re sure to have a memorable experience in Placa Espanya.

Nearby Areas

Placa Espanya is a bustling area in Barcelona with plenty of nearby areas to explore. Here are a few areas you might want to check out:


Located just south of Placa Espanya, Hostafrancs is a residential neighborhood with a few notable attractions. One such attraction is the Sant Antoni Market, which is a popular spot for foodies. 

The market is known for its fresh produce, meats, and seafood. You can also find a variety of prepared foods, including tapas, sandwiches, and more.


If you’re coming to Barcelona by plane, you’ll likely land at Barcelona–El Prat Airport. The airport is located about 15 kilometers southwest of Placa Espanya, and there are several ways to get to and from the airport. One option is to take the Aerobus, which is a shuttle bus that runs between the airport and Placa Espanya.


Placa Espanya is a major transportation hub in Barcelona, and several bus lines run through the area. One such line is the H16, which runs from Placa Espanya to the Montjuic Castle. Another line is the 13, which runs from Placa Espanya to the Gothic Quarter.


While Venice is not exactly nearby, it is possible to take a day trip to the city from Barcelona. Several flights run between Barcelona and Venice, and the flight time is just over 2 hours. Once you arrive in Venice, you can explore the canals, visit St. Mark’s Basilica, and more.

Buildings Around the Plaza

The bullring of Arenas de Barcelona

The Parliament of Catalonia has declared bullfighting illegal from the year 2012. This second-largest bullring in Barcelona will now be converted into a shopping center.

Parc de Joan Miró

In 1979 this was the first of the large urban parks being built after the years of Franco. It has been named after one of the most famous sons of Barcelona, Joan Miró, whose 22-metre statue Woman and Bird (Dona i Ocell) is the most impressive sculpture of the parc.

Venetian Towers

These twin towers mark the entrance from Placa Espanya to Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina. Architect Ramon Reventos y Farrarons designed the Venetian towers with an altitude of 47 meters.

Venetian Towers

Following Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina along the exhibition grounds of Fira de Barcelona, after 300 meters you will reach the Magic Fountain and the stairs to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) on Montjuic.

How to get to Placa Espanya?

Use metro line 1 or 3 or one of the regional trains to Placa Catalunya. From the airport take the blue airport express bus outside the terminal.