Poble Espanyol, or the “Spanish Village”, was originally built for the International Exhibition held in Barcelona in 1929, and was due to be demolished afterwards. Fortunately the popularity of the village was such that even now you can stroll around the enclosure, experiencing the different architecture of different regions of Spain.
The purpose built village has a central plaza, very often with shows and stages competitions and dances here regularly. Then each surrounding street represents the different architecture from different parts of Spain, so you have the little white houses so typical of Seville, alongside the Valencian houses with the visible gables, etc. It’s a great place to stroll around during the day, with many cultural and art and craft shops and expositions on offer.
Visitors on the Barcelona tourist bus inevitably find curiosity gets the better of them as they climb the winding roads of Montjüic Mountain and see the walls and turret-style entrance of the village. Indeed, Poble Espanyol has become the 4th most popular tourist attraction in the city. The design was copied from Modernist architect Puig i Cadafalch, and the creators visited 1600 villages in and around Spain and its islands to re-create 117 scale models of buildings and typical sites from all around Spain.
Culture lovers will be enthralled by the Fran Daurel foundation, boasting artwork from Picasso, Dali, Miró, Tapies and many others, plus there is a fantastic Sculpture Garden offering photo opportunities galore of sprawling Barcelona below. The village also has some great bars and restaurants, as well as some great nightclubs in Barcelona on an evening. Despite Catalonia not being the best place to see Flamenco – a Southern Spanish tradition – the Poble also has the fantastic “Tablao del Carmen” Flamenco show, which is as authentic as being right there in Seville! This is also a restaurant with 2 nightly performances and, according to the owners, the shows follow the style of a typical “tablao” with no set choreography, meaning that each night is spontaneous and different than the previous.
Poble Espanyol also has 22 shops and the main focus is on art and crafts, where you can watch glass blowing, pottery wheels and intricate paintings of ceramics in 40 different workshops.
The village is also a great place for kids, with a treasure hunt around the village which helps children and parents find the many curiosities hidden in the streets of the village. Adults can also follow an audio guided tour, explaining the details and history of each area and its origins.