Plaça Reial is a famous tourist area in Barcelona. Known as Plaza Real in Spanish which means ‘Royal Plaza’ and ‘Reial’ in Catalan also means ‘Royal’. Here you will discover Antoni Gaudí’s first commissioned works. The square has numerous palm trees, Gaudí’s streetlamps, a large fountain, and an elegant ambiance. Designed in the 19th-century by Francesc Daniel Molina i Casamajó, it is located on the Barri Gótic side of Las Ramblas. The grand plaza is encompassed by various nightclubs and restaurants.
Along Las Ramblas you will also find:
Plaça Reial History
The area was originally a convent. However, it was transformed and used as a theater from 1842 to 1848. After the destruction of the theater, the square was designed for and initially inhabited by wealthy families in Barcelona. It became very popular after the Civil War years of the 1940s and both the upper-class and the homeless were living in and around the square. A complete renovation of the square was done in 1982 to make it what you see today. This renovation has made the square even more popular than before.
Antoni Gaudí first commissioned works are located inside Plaça Reial. The two streetlamps you see within the square are his design and were installed in 1879. One is placed on the east side of the Font deles Tres Gràcies, the other can be found on the west side of the fountain. They feature coiled dragon-headed serpents heading up to a winged helmet.
Font de les Tres Gràcies
Created in 1867, Font de les Tres Gràcies was installed in Plaça Reial in 1876. The ‘Source of the Three Graces’ in Catalan, is a monument dedicated to Ferdinand the Catholic of the old monastery of Capuchins. The original fountain was destroyed by locals who did not like it. In 1926 the current fountain was installed and restored in 1983. There are three goddesses with intertwined arms and hands standing back-to-back in the center. These sculptures represent the goddess of creativity, Eufrósine; the goddess of fertility, Talía; and the goddess of charm, Aglaya.
Restaurants and Bars
The square is enclosed by bars and restaurants with Antoni Gaudi’s first commissioned works in the middle. Generally, the prices here at the restaurants are a little less than on Las Ramblas. Nevertheless, they are not cheap, nor are they the highest quality.
You may still want to have something here to enjoy the ambiance of the beautiful square. The best-priced menu in the square is at Les Quinzes Nits. You may have to wait in line, but it is worth it.
There are three areas in Barcelona that are known for bars. The beach area, Eixample, and Plaça Reial. Bars here usually open at about 11:00 pm and the party continues until 5:00 or 6:00 am. Depending on the venue, it will cost between 5€ and 15€ to enter the bar. Drink prices are the same as the rest of the city. A beer is about 5€, cocktails 10€, and specialty drinks 15€.
Events on Plaça Reial
Several events and celebrations take place in Plaça Reial throughout the year. The most important Catalan festival, La Merçè, is an annual event celebrated on September 24th. The La Fiesta de la Virgen Merçè, in Catalan, entertains onlookers with fireworks, live music, and gegants i capgrossos (people standing on stilts with giant paper-mâché heads). Several markets and open-air concerts are held here throughout the year. It is also a well-known place for a large New Year’s Eve party.
Walking down the Las Ramblas is the best way to get to Plaça Reial. Passing Teatre del Liceu, going towards the sea, you will come to Carrer de Colom on the opposite side of the road. Take this short passage into the square.
The Green metro line will also take you close. Exit at the Liceu station. It is right in front of the theatre.
Buses 14, 59, and 91 will also bring you to the area.
One favorite hotel in the city center, yet on a quiet street is the Ohla Eixample.
Another great hotel is The5rooms Boutique Hotel.