If you’ve wandered the streets of Barcelona for any time at all, you’ve probably stumbled upon a quaint square lined with eateries, bars and people sitting out watching the world go by. There are several central squares that everyone knows or has heard of, such as Plaça Reial or Plaça de Catalunya, however if you look a little further, narrow alleyways and labyrinth-like streets open up to hidden squares brimming with quirky cafés, authentic tapas bars, street art, and rich history. Live like a true local and discover the lesser-known plaças in Barcelona…
Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol
On your way to see the Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi, which runs parallel to this square, be sure to take time to check out Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, named after a priest born in Barcelona in 1650. Due to its central location, many use this plaça as a point of passage to reach other places; however amidst the constant flow of people, there are many historic and artistic details to be discovered, as well as great food and drink! The square is home to flower shops and scattered boutiques, and the weekend often brings a small art market where local painters exhibit and sell their work, giving the square an artistic touch and friendly feel. Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol also offers many bars and cafés with terraces allowing you to sit out in the square to watch the action. This is the perfect place to sit back and take in Barcelona life and its history!
Plaça del Rei
The Conjunt Monumental de la Plaça del Rei in Barcelona is one of the greatest examples of the city’s medieval past. The royal palace, Palau Reial Major, and its surrounding buildings enclose a peaceful square which takes you right back to the 13th century. Tucked away among a city of contemporary and modern design, this Gothic architectural masterpiece seems to be untouched by time and provides a harmonious and peaceful experience for all who venture in. Although not brimming with cafés, restaurants and shops, Plaça del Rei makes the perfect place for history and architecture enthusiasts, as both aspects come alive when entering this charming, hidden square. Discover the facts further with a guided tour of the area, offered by many local companies.
Plaça de Sant Felipe Neri
This corner of the Gothic Quarter is presided over by the baroque church, from which it gets its name. Plaça de Sant Felipe Neri is another authentic square that stands out due to its rich historic elements and its quiet and serene ambiance. Labyrinth-like streets of the Gothic Quarter open up to this tiny square that features an idyllic fountain in its centre. Next to the church, the school of Sant Felip Neri still stands, and etched into the side of the building remain bomb wounds that fell from the sky in January, 1938 during the Spanish Civil War. The painful memories contrast today with the peace of the shady spot and unlike most squares in the city, this is one of the quieter ones, providing a perfect spot for reflection and peace from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia
Once an independent village, Gràcia offers a maze of quaint and quirky streets, dotted with some of the city’s most charming squares to spend an afternoon or evening. Today, Vila de Gràcia still holds the clock tower and town hall, offering history as well as charm. The square is buzzing with cafés, small shops, and terraces full with locals sitting out enjoying Barcelona life. Without doubt, this square is worth a visit for a coffee or a glass of vermouth and some patatas bravas after a wander around the streets of Gràcia.
Plaça de la Barceloneta
Although Barceloneta is known today to be a neighborhood brimming with tourists, some corners have resisted and maintained their quaint and authentic essence. At Plaça de la Barceloneta, you can find the perfect place to relax after a long beach day. Unwind in this fisherman’s quarter with a glass of wine and delicious seafood dishes, just a stone’s throw from the Mediterranean Sea and buzzing Barceloneta life. Authentic tapas bars and Sant Miquel del Port Church complete this hidden square for a perfect afternoon in the sun.