One of the most popular shopping areas of Barcelona, the Poble Espanyol is an array of houses, shops, and other buildings done in every style seen across Spain. Enter through the gateway simulated to look like the great walled city of Avila and experience the many sights within.
Built in 1929 as part of the International Exhibit, it provides delightful crafts and entertainment, while giving a view of the many architectural styles around the country. Many of them are careful replicas of existing buildings from around Spain. There are over 100 different styles represented from Galicia, Castille, Basque, and the many other regions of this diverse country.
In the interior is a large square, the Plaza Mayor, featuring the Utebo Clock Tower. Connected to it are smaller squares with a town hall, a church, a faux monastery, and homes.
While you’re seeing the interesting architecture you can be entertained by street performers and artists. Purchase handcrafted jewelry or just sit and sip a cool drink outside the Tablao de Carmen. There are over 40 workshops here featuring ceramics, embroidery, and other handcrafts.
Art of many kinds can be seen throughout the poble. At the Fundació Fran Daurel, you can find works by contemporary Catalan artists along with their more famous colleagues from the past. The building houses art by Picasso, Dali, and many others. Lesser known (outside Spain), but still important artists like Barceló and Tàpies are represented, too.
Music is an ever-present feature of the ‘village’ with roving guitarists and horn players providing a festive atmosphere for shoppers. Wander along the boulevard and see pottery made before your eyes. Just next door is the glassblower who will fascinate you with his skill.
At night the village really comes alive.
Many of the shops remain open until 9 p.m. and offer engravings, handmade puppets, masks, leather, traditional woven baskets, musical instruments, and much more.
There are dozens of bars, clubs, and restaurants. Dancing is popular here with both tourists and locals alike. There’s an open-air discotheque called La Terrazza that attracts visitors and Barcelonans equally.
But perhaps you want a more sedate experience? If you prefer to watch rather than participate, attend the famed flamenco performances. One of the best is found at the Tablao de Carmen. Here, visitors can see the finest in Spanish dance performed by world-class performers.
The village was only intended to last until six months after the 1929 exhibition, after which it was scheduled to be demolished. But the area proved so popular it has lasted to the day, receiving a major renovation in 1988. Come see why.
Poble Espanyol is easy to find. Just take the metro to Placa Espanya, then ride the escalators to the village.