The 5 best theatres in Barcelona


Barcelona is home to a number of theatres that have become popular through offering diverse performances over many years. This city link to culture and the arts has always been present, making it stand out from other cities in Spain and Europe. Consequently, it has become a popular location for lovers of theatre to come and visit, in the hope of catching one of their favourite plays, musicals or concerts. To give you an idea of the popularity that theatre has here, there are over 50 theatres in Barcelona alone. Therefore, we will look to narrow down some of the most important theatres in our eyes, whilst still giving you an extensive list to choose from. In the process, we hope that you visit one or multiple on your next visit to Barcelona!

Gran Teatre del Liceu

The Gran Teatre del Liceu was founded on 4th April in 1847 and has become one of the most important theatres in Spain, if not Europe. Considered as a hub for classical music and opera, it also has other genres of theatre to attend, mainly musicals. Being located on La Rambla gives Liceu a hotspot for theatre fans to flood to when a performance is on. Aside from this, the interior of this building is stunning, with golden and red features. Step back in time and enjoy some live theatre performances here.

liceu

Metro stop: Liceu (L3)

Teatre Nacional de Catalunya (TNC)

Secondly, the National theatre of Catalunya, or TNC, is another large theatre that Barcelona boasts. It was built in 1996 by the cultural department of the devolved Catalan government and has been flying the banner for Catalan arts ever since. It has a very traditional styled pillar entrance that fits in well to its surroundings. The main stage is modern, with a long and ascending seating area that ensures every spectator has a great view. Just like the national theatre in the UK, there are three rooms with three stages that can hold performances any evening. With plenty of performances in the Catalan language, this theatre is ideal for anyone wanting to watch a traditional and regional performance whilst in the Catalan capital.

TEATRE NACIONAL DE CATALUNA (TNC)

Metro stop: Glòries (L1)

Palau de la Música Catalana

Opening in 1908, the Palau de la música catalana is undoubtedly one of the most popular theatres in Barcelona. In 1997 it was declared as a UNESCO world heritage site, as a way to cement its place at the forefront of Barcelona´s arts scene. With a traditional interior that, like the Liceu theatre, you will be able to immerse yourself with the performance. The exterior is also a thing of beauty, with former ticket booths visible in the original pillars around the building. With shows ranging from Flamenco to jazz performances, this should be a priority on anyone´s list. Once you attend, you will understand why tourists come here for a tour alone!

Palau de la música catalana

Metro stop: Urquinaona (L1 and L4)

Teatro Colisseo

On the second largest road in Spain, Av. Gran Via de les corts catalanes, you will find the amazing Teatro Colisseo. Built in the early 1920´s in a modern design, this eclectic building alone is a thing of wonder and attract tourists daily. In addition to this, its central location makes this theatre very popular year round. Here, you are more than likely to enjoy musicals and cabarets. However, as mentioned before, this theatre is usually very busy, so we suggest booking well in advance!

Teatro Colisseo

Metro: Passeig de Gràcia (L2, L3 and L4)

Tivoli

Originally being home to performances as early as 1860, the Tivoli theatre as we know it was completed in 1919. Since then, it has offered many popular shows to theatre fans from all over the world. It has made a name for itself as offering many ballet shows as well as mainstream musicals, such as ´West Side Story´. When it opened over 100 years ago, only the Liceu theatre was larger, underlining the size of this theatre. Tivoli should be high on the list of any fans of live dance, especially ballet, as you will not find a better theatre for this genre in the city.

Tivoli Theatre

Metro: Urquinaona (L1 and L4)

In summary, Barcelona is home to many theatres that specialise in various performances, giving fans of live theatre a chance to enjoy when in the city of Barcelona. The main theatres have been covered above, yet there are many more theatres in Barcelona that you can visit.

For example, there is the Teatre Victoria, a traditional, two tiered theatre that offers great Spanish musicals and is located near Poble Sec. The Flamenco casa lola is an intimate venue dedicated only to the art of flamenco, with performances on daily. Lastly, the Teatre Grec (seen below) is a modern take on a Greek theatre, which is found near Montjuic, in an outside space. This hosts live music performances as well as other live theatre and recitals. In addition to this, the Teatre Grec is situated walking distance from the Lliure theatre, which goes to show that the list for live theatre in Barcelona is truly endless!

Grec Teatre

The easiest way to book a show at any of the theatres mentioned in this list is definitely online, yet they do take orders on the phone. If you find yourself reading this in Barcelona and don´t yet have tickets, do not worry! You can go to the theatre and see what shows they shall be offering whilst you are in the city. Even going to wander around most of these theatres is a great daytrip idea in itself.

Sandra Roig is Marketing Director at AB Apartment Barcelona. AB Apartment Barcelona is an apartment rental agency offering over one thousand short and long term apartments across Barcelona.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blogin order to raise your profile, please contact us.


Comments (15)

  1. ayanrdd says:

    I visited Tivoli and it was an awesome experience for me. it is one of the oldest theatres .

    • Sandra Roig says:

      Hi there,

      Thank you for your comment, we really appreciate it!

      We love Trivoli as it gives you an experience like no other! They show some great dance performances in a place that you would not recognise as a theatre from its exterior.

      Kind Regards,
      Owen

      On behalf of AB Apartment Barcelona

  2. Suzy Willis says:

    They certainly don’t build theatres like the Palau de la música catalana any more. What an amazingly ambitious piece of architecture / design. It’s the sort of place where you could sit for an hour and just drink in your surroundings regardless of whether anything was happening on the stage or not.

    • Sandra Roig says:

      Dear Suzy,

      Thank you for your contribution, it means a lot to us!

      Yes, we fully agree! The Palau de la música catalana is one of the best designed buildings in the city, both inside and out. The features of the interior, as seen in the image provided above, are magical to say the least. If anything, it may distract the crowd from the performance on stage!

      Kind Regards,
      Owen

      On behalf of AB Apartment Barcelona

  3. Liz says:

    I don’t know much about Spanish drama. It would be brilliant to watch something Spanish, hopefully in English.

    I saw Lorca’s Blood Wedding, in London, a few years ago. Although it was written back in the 1930s, it still seems a very radical piece with all its surreal imagery. It must have said a lot to the people of the time as it shows the old rural ways and family life disintegrating.

    Tragically, Lorca was shot by Franco’s troops the day after they captured him. It was a great talent, a voice that the Fascists did not want to hear, cut off in its prime.

    • Sandra Roig says:

      Dear Liz,

      Thank you for your comment. I have not heard of Blood Wedding by Lorca before! Having researched it now, it seems like a very vivid and tragic play that would stun its audience.

      Luckily, the arts scene in Spain now enjoys true freedom of expression. Allowing for plays and other performances to explore deeper and give the audience more to digest.

      Thank you again for an insightful contribution!
      Kind Regards,
      Owen

      On behalf of AB Apartment Barcelona

  4. Dick says:

    A trip to the theatre, something to stimulate the old grey matter, is always good for you.

    It is all too easy in Barcelona to be seduced by the local bar and cafe lifestyle. The hours just fritter away if you sit down to some tapas and a paella watching the world as it goes by.

    Never forget the theatre of the Nou Camp too. You’ll always get plenty of drama there on the pitch as you watch Barcelona play football and passion amongst the crowd too.

    • Sandra Roig says:

      Dear Dick,

      Well said! There are so many ways to spend time in Barcelona, yet theatre is often forgotten. That was the reason behind this blog.

      Yes, we should not forget the drama of the Camp Nou! As teams put on great performances there on a weekly basis. Never lacking quality, passion or excitment! Exactly what you would want to see in any theatre!

      Kind Regards,
      Owen

      On behalf of AB Apartment Barcelona

  5. Becky Winters says:

    I went down La Rambla the other year but sadly didn’t have the chance to catch a show, but it certainly looks incredible in there. It’s not hard to see why it’s so famous and popular worldwide. The Grec is interesting and Barce has such a great climate that they can get away with an outdoor theatre quite easily I imagine. Unlike in the UK, where everyone would freeze or be drenched with rain 95% of the year. If ever I make it back, which I hope to do at some point, I’ll have to make sure to book something in at one of these. Not sure which one as they all have something appealing about them, so maybe I’ll do a lucky dip.

    • Sandra Roig says:

      Dear Becky,

      Thank you for your contribution. Yes, Liceu is magnificent, but so are all the others! The Grec theatre offers a unique outdoor experience of live theatre. Yes, thanks to the great climate, you can catch a show there year round- however not in the winter months! As a British intern living in Barcelona, I can confirm that there next to no chance of a show being rained off!

      Well whichever show or theatre you would decide, we hope that you enjoy it and make the most of seeing this side to our culture- something which we have no doubt in you doing!

      Kind Regards,
      Owen

      On behalf of AB Apartment Barcelona

  6. Pete says:

    Many people get a mental block when it comes to going to “the theatre” when they are travelling. Usually there’s more to a theatre’s programme than just the spoken word. I’ve enjoyed some top-class concerts on my travels. Let’s be honest, if you go to the opera in London the performance will rarely be in English. I’ve even seen an amazingly poignant mime show too. Language isn’t necessarily a barrier to enjoying some local entertainment.

    • Sandra Roig says:

      Dear Pete,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, it is important that people are aware of this. It is an experience that everyone should embrace- exposing yourself to new cultures enriches the soul. Language differences are not the be all and end all. Many performances, as you have mentioned, do not require an understanding of language. Instead, they play on your ability to understand art, in whatever form that may be.

      Thank you once more for a great discussion in favour of experiencing theatre in Barcelona.

      Kind Regards,
      Owen

      On behalf of AB Apartment Barcelona

  7. Wilma Tran says:

    Watching a play, musical, or even something very Spanish such as Flamenco, is something I want to experience in Spain. I know nearly every tourist to the country includes Barcelona in their itinerary, and so I also know that I shouldn’t miss this city as well. I was wondering though, which theatres would show an opera besides Gran Teatre del Liceu. I would really like to experience it as it’s very different from the Broadway musicals I’ve been able to watch.

    • Sandra Roig says:

      Dear Wilma,

      Thank you for your comment! You sound like a knowledgeable traveller to me. It may interest you in knowing that although Flamenco is the national dance of Spain, in Barcelona´s region of Catalonia the national dance is the Sardana, where people link hands in a circle and all walk in and out of the centre whilst raising their hands. This movement reminded people of Sardines, and so they named it the Sardine dance! With that being said, you can enjoy flamenco dances in the theatres in the city because they are such an iconic piece of Spanish culture.

      As for where to see opera in the city. As you rightly said, Liceu is the most common place to see it. You can also see opera at Palau de la música catalana and the Teatro Poliorama which we left out of our list (due to being so many!)

      I hope this helps and I wish you all the best for 2020!

      Kind Regards,
      Owen

      On behalf of AB Apartment Barcelona

  8. Benny Murray says:

    European culture is evident in every part of Barcelona, but theaters provide a clear reflection of its beauty and heritage. Many of these theaters were built in the 1800s and it can be easily noticed in the interior design even if some are renovated on the outside. The best performances to watch in these theaters are the classics because it brings you closer to the culture and arts. It allows you to travel in a certain time period wherein plays, operas, and musicals are flourishing. On the other hand, I have not tried visiting an open space theater. I am looking forward to watch a jazz performance while enjoying the night and the cold breeze.

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