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Plaza Real

 

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Located just off Las Ramblas, opposite the Liceo Theatre, the Plaça Reial is a lovely square in the city centre ideally located for relaxing during the daytime and the focus for lots of night time activity once the sun goes down!It attracts locals, tourists, the odd down and out and a variety of performing artists; as with Las Ramblas it is always a good idea to be vigilant on bags whilst admiring a human tower or back-flipping acrobats.

The square was originally the site of a Capuchin convent, when this was demolished in 1835 the architect Daniel Molina was commissioned to build a new public space with housing.The result is a beautiful neo-classical design complete with palm trees and a central fountain (of The Three Graces), with the distinction of being the only arcaded square in the city.Alternations have been made over the years, including the addition of lampposts by Gaudí.Under the elegant arcades are cafés, restaurants and nightclubs, keeping the square busy practically 24 hours a day.

The cafés are busy from morning till evening and it is definitely a Barcelona tradition to sit outside here and watch the world go by.Two of the most popular restaurants are Taxidermista and Les Quinze Nits, which offers Catalan food at exceptionally reasonable prices; the queue to get in often reaches to the middle of the square and is remarkable in itself.Nightclubs include Club 13, Jamboree and Sidecar all offering different music on various nights, with flyers for discount entry or free drinks often being handed out earlier in the evening in the square and streets around.One of the more unusual venues is the Pipa Social Club; a Žsecret barŽ with no apparent closing time, entry is made by ringing a doorbell and being let in when possible.The interior has the appearance of a 6 room 19th century apartment, although the pool table and mojitos ensure its popularity with todayŽs crowd.

On Sundays the centre of Plaça Reial is taken over by a coin and stamp market, which, perhaps in keeping with the square’s edgier inhabitants, converts into a flea-market in the afternoons.

Plaça Reial, entry from Las Ramblas or Calle Ferran