Plaça Catalunya, Barcelona
The Placa Catalunya seemed to be the heart of Barcelona. There seemed to be an energy surrounding the square. There were several demonstrations while we where there. Our hotel was just of the square which made it easy when arriving by metro from the airport. This view is from the restaurant at the top of El Corte Englis.
By all means do visit the Tourist Info Office on Plaza Catalunya.
It is downstairs, underneath the plaza. The entry is on the corner of Av. del Portal de l'Angel and C/Fontanella, on the Plaza itself, across the street from Cortes Inglis department store. Just by the water fountain (that wasn't working when I was there).
There is a good information booth, knowledgeable, helpful and friendly staff, a free map and some very good walking tours available at more than reasonable cost.
The walking tours use individual earphones, so that you can always hear the guide and s/he doesn't have to yell.
Catalunya Square is known as the "heart of Barcelona". It links four major avenues: la Ramblas, Passeig de Gracia, la Rambla de Catalunya and Portal de l'Angel. What a dramatic sight!
We had purchased bus tickets for a tour of the city and after reading the map provided, realized that many shops and restaurants were located here. As soon as its wide plaza appeared, we got off the bus and promptly walked to the Hard Rock cafe for lunch. We were famished!
The square was filled with sightseers, families out for an early afternoon stroll and hundreds of pigeons. Construction of this hub was complete between 1925-27; its purpose was to connect the Old Town with Eixample.
To re-board the bus, the line often extended for quite a length. You might want to walk a bit further to catch a bus at another stop as we did. The map lists all the bus stops along the way, so its quite easy to do so.
Placa de Catalunya -
A busy square in between Passeig de Gracia and La Rambla where you can change over tour buses or take a walk by the fountains. The Placa de Cataluyna is an area that, as a tourist, you are likely to at least pass through when you visit Barcelona. Between the two most appealing neighborhoods for tourist visits , and a major metro stop, it is also the place to catch the convenient Bus Turistic. On the south end of the square, underground, is the official office of tourism, where you can get maps, ask questions, and book accomodations and tours. At the tourist office you can buy tickets to the walking tours, and they meet just outside the office
The Plaça Catalunya is one of the central destinations for all tourists and residents of the city alike. It is a massive square and renovations on it were just completed in 2008. Just across from the northern edge of Les Rambles, it is most noticeable for its massive pigeon colony – you’ll see lots of people who don’t appear to be afraid of bird flu and enjoy feeding the pigeons from their hands. It is also a major transit point, as this is where you can catch a bus to the airport, subways, FGC (Ferrocarriles de la Generalitat) trains or Rodalies (Catalan for Cercanias) trains. This isn’t the main station for all of Barcelona (that would be Sants), but is a major hub if you are looking to get around Catalunya and the suburbs of the city. The Plaça itself is ringed by a number of monuments in and of themselves – huge office and commercial buildings that come from the city’s expansion days of the 19th century. However, there are also lots of modern structures, like the FNAC and Corte Inglés stores, which sadly do not help maintain the general character of the Eixample. The stone work of the Plaça itself is quite interesting with its black and grey tiling, and there are a number of statues and gardens all around for you to enjoy.
The Catalonia Square is perhaps the busiest and most important area in the city. It connects different parts of the city by trams, buses and metro, has a number of shops and is also the beginning point of a walk down the Ramblas. The place is full of fountains, sculptures and there is also a memorial to Francesc Macià, erstwhile president of the regional government of Catalunya.
Plaça Catalunya (or Plaça de Catalunya, both being the official Catalan language names) is a large square in central Barcelona that is generally considered to be both its city centre and the place where the old city (see Barri Gòtic and Raval, in Ciutat Vella) and the 19th century-built Eixample meet.
Some of the city's most important streets and avenues meet in Plaça Catalunya: Passeig de Gràcia, Rambla de Catalunya, La Rambla or Portal de l'Àngel, in addition to Ronda de Sant Pere, Carrer de Vergara or Carrer de Pelai. It has an area of about 50,000 square metres. It is especially known for its fountains and statues, its proximity to some of Barcelona's most popular attractions, and for the numerous flocks of pigeons that gather in the centre
Go to the Placa de Catalunya and then walk along the Ramblas.
Las Ramblas is an historic avenue which is always busy. The name comes from the Arabic "Ramla" meaning the dried up bed of a seasonal river. The city wall of the 13th century barcelona followed the left bank of such a river which flowed from the Collserola hills down to the sea. In the 16th century convents, monasteries and the university were built on the opposite bank. With the passing of time the river bed was filled and these buildings were pulled down. between the Placa de Catalunya and Port Vell (old Port) there are in fact five Ramblas lined with shops and cafes, and it is there you find the wonderful Boqueria market and the Liceu Opera House.
From the Placa de Catalunya you can wander along the Ramblas. There you can see little stalls selling birds and stalls of beautiful flowers. There is also the fruit, vegetable and fish and meat market which is great fun to walk through and it gives great photo opportunities. From about 10.00 the Ramblas is also the place to see the 'human statues' and some are really wonderful.
There are wonderful facades are building around the Placa de Catalunya - it is lovely to sit in the little area around the fountain and look at the buildings and people watch.
When we were there we spent some time watching these marvellous "statues". They were along the whole length of the avenue and they were wonderful - how do they stand so still?
The square is most peoples first taste of the city as it's where the aiport bus & trains stop. The square always seemed packed, newly arrived tour groups, lone backpackers, buskers (a Peruvian band was there all the time) & many pigeons jostling for space.
Maybe this is the most popular square in Barcelona. It's at the end (or at the beginning) of Las Ramblas. It is also a hub for metro, bus (for example Aerobus to/from the airport) and train.
Metro: Catalunya (lines 1 and 3).
The Plaça de Catalunya functions as a hub for the city's public transportation. Below the square is the main subway junction; three metro lines and a city railway line meet here. Many of the city's buses, as well as airport express and tourist buses stop here at the square.
Until the middle of the 19th century the Plaça de Catalunya was a rural area just outside the city walls. In 1858 the central government in Madrid finally allowed the defensive walls to be demolished. It also approved construction outside the walls so a public competition was organized for the design of a new district.
The first place was awarded to a design by Rovira i Trias, which consisted of plan with streets radiating from the historic Barri Gotic district. The central government however chose for a more modern design with a grid plan by Ildefons Cerdà.
The central government prevailed and the new Eixample district was designed according to Cerdà's design. Barcelona's government however opposed what they perceived as a lack of integration between the new and old districts. They supported Rovira i Trias's plan of a wide esplanade leading to a plaza. Cerdà's plan consisted of an extension of the Rambla towards a large square to be created on the Passeig de Gracia.
Eventually the local and central government agreed to another plan as a compromise. The new design by the architect Puig i Cadafalch (better known for his modernist building 'Casa de les Punxes') resulted in the current enormous square, created between 1925 and 1927.
It is not the perfect solution since the Plaça de Catalunya is not integrated with any of the surrounding neighborhoods, but for a square this size it is surprisingly pleasant.
Catalunya square altogether with Ramblas boulevard is the best point to start your visit in Barcelona.. Gothic quarter, Born or aka La Riber quarter, the seafront and Raval are at hand from this square.. be so aware of mob people and pickpockets all the time.. so be carefull with your belongings.. craps apart, the square offer so many activities at hand and too many malls on each side.. El Corte ingles or el Triangle with Fnac inside are worth to visit. Also is a departing point of many all night buses in Bcn, the several lines of tourist bus and the airport bus
Plaza Catalunya can be considered as "THE" center of Barcelona. It is a huge open square surrounded by shops, offices, cafe's and is used by many tourists and locals as a meeting point.
It is always crowded, on a nice sunny day it is enjoyable to sit at one of the cafe's and watch people. Otherwise, well it's just a big, nice meeting point :)
Placa de Catalunya is a pretty plaza in the heart of the commercial area of Barcelona on the dividing line between Dt. 1 Ciutat Vella and Dt. 2 L'Eixample. It is surrounded by some beautiful buildings, such as the Banco Espanol building, and the not so beautiful mega department store, El Corte Ingles. Southeast is La Rambla, a street with activity all night long; west is the beautiful and trendy old city; northwest is the upscale shopping - the Rodeo Drive of Barcelona with all the designer stores.
Use it to get your bearings when you first arrive at Barcelona.
My first contact with Barcelona (beside the airport of course) was Placa Catalunya, where the Aerobus (the bus that connects the airport with the city) have the final station. This plaza is very big, having a round space in the middle (not very good for sunny days but good for the rest), two fountains, bus stations, the metro station, the big El Corte Ingles fashion store, and from here the famous Las Ramblas starts.
Placa Catalunya seemed to me as a focal point, a center of Barcelona for the tourist. Though you don't spend too much time here, it's more like a starting point for your trips in Barcelona.