Barcelona’s Top 10 : Perfect Squares

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  1. Plaça Reial

    The arcaded Plaça Reial, in the heart of the Barri Gòtic, is unique among Barcelona’s squares, with its old-world charm, gritty urbanization and Neo-Classical flair. It is home to majestic, mid-19th-century buildings, Gaudí lampposts, a slew of happening bars and clubs, and an entertaining and colourful crowd of inner-city denizens. .

  2. Plaça de Catalunya

    Barcelona’s nerve centre is the huge Plaça de Catalunya, a lively hub from which all the city’s activity seems to radiate. This square is most visitors first real glimpse of Barcelona. The airport bus stops here, as do RENFE trains and countless metro and bus lines. The square’s commercial swagger is evident all around, headed by Spain’s omnipresent department store, El Corte Inglés . Pigeons flutter chaotically in the square’s centre, lively Peruvian bands play to booming sound systems and hordes of travellers – from backpackers to tour groups – meander about. To add to the melting pot, the square is allegedly home to 25 people (mostly homeless immigrants).

    Plaça de Catalunya
  3. Plaça del Rei

    One of the city’s best preserved medieval squares, the Barri Gòtic’s Plaça del Rei is ringed by grand buildings. Among them is the 14th-century Palau Reial, which houses the Saló del Tinell, a spacious Catalan Gothic throne room and banqueting hall.

  4. Plaça de Sant Jaume

    Weighty with power and history, this is the administrative heart of modern-day Barcelona. The plaça is flanked by the city’s two key government buildings, the stately Palau de la Generalitat and the 15th-century Ajuntament. 

  5. Plaça de Rius i Taulet

    The progressive, bohemian area of Gràcia, a former village annexed by Barcelona in 1897, still exudes a small-town ambience, where socializing with the neighbours means heading for the nearest plaça. Topping the list is this atmospheric square, with an impressive clock tower rising out of its centre. Bustling outdoor cafés draw buskers and a sociable crowd.

  6. Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol & Plaça del Pi

    Old-world charm meets café culture in the Barri Gòtic’s leafy Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol and Plaça del Pi, named after the pine trees (pi, in Catalan) that shade its nooks and crannies. The lovely Gothic church of Santa Maria del Pi rises between the two squares.

    Façade, Plaça del Pi

    Café, Plaça Sant Josep Oriol, Barri Gòtic
  7. Plaça Comercial

    The buzzy Passeig del Born culminates in Plaça Comercial, an inviting square dotted with cafés and bars. It faces the 19th-century Born Market , which is being transformed into a cultural centre and exhibition space.

  8. Plaça del Sol

    Tucked within the cosy grid of Gràcia, this square is surrounded by handsome 19th-century buildings. As evening descends, it becomes one of the most lively spots to start your night-time festivities, along with all the Barcelonins who mingle on the outdoor terraces.

  9. Plaça de Santa Maria

    The magnificent Església de Santa Maria del Mar imbues its namesake plaça, in the El Born district, with a certain spiritual calm. Bask in its Gothic ambience, people watch, and soak up the sun at one of the outdoor terrace cafés.

  10. Plaça de la Vila de Madrid

    Mere steps from La Rambla is this spacious plaça, graced with the remains of a Roman necropolis. A remnant of Roman Barcino, the square sat just beyond the boundaries of the walled Roman city. A row of unadorned 2nd–4th-century AD tombs were discovered here in 1957. The complete remains are open to the public.

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