Poble Espanyol, Barcelona’s Open Air Museum

Poble Espanyol is an open air museum with 117 full-scale examples of Spanish architecture from different regions. My memory of Poble Espanyol is one of the happiest I had whilst in Barcelona. This is because Poble Espanyol (built in 1929) combines history, architecture, culture, gastronomy, shopping, arts and crafts all in one locale. And if you haven’t got the time to visit other regions in Spain, visiting Poble Espanyol is a great idea as you get your fix of the country in a single village.

Poble Espanyol

And from the very onset, there is no doubt that this is a quaint little village with cafes, restaurants and a lovely vibe.

Poble Espanyol

Poble Espanyol

While walking about in Poble Espanyol, you quickly identify the many varied kinds of Spanish architecture. This variation is truly fascinating! And the difference between regional architecture is quite large. In fact there are architectural styles from fifteen communities in Spain on display here – Andalucía, Aragón, Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla – La Mancha, Castilla y León, Cataluña, Comunidad Valenciana, Extremadura, Galicia, Islas Baleares, Madrid, Murcia, Navarra and País Vasco. You may even be able to spot some of these styles in my photos below!

Poble Espanyol

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Furthermore, on nearly every corner in Poble Espanyol there is a restaurant with food from a particular region. There are also little boutiques and arts and crafts shops.

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Just look at the beautiful colours of some of these facades!

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There are quite a few little narrow, cobbled streets which is really great and which adds to the magic of the village.

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Look at this view below with various architectural styles all in one spot!

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And there’s an evidently Arabic influence to be seen in some of the buildings.

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The contrast from one building to the next is really striking and since they are placed closed to each other it is even more so!

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At the very outskirts of Poble Espanyol there is the Monasterio Romanico or Roman Monastery – yet another architectural variation.

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From the monastery you have a splendid view of Barcelona.

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There’s also a very nice, quiet cafe with only a few tables. So I decided to perch here and sit in the sun.

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Nothing like some local food to complete the Poble Espanyol experience!

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On my walk back towards the exit of Poble Espanyol I noticed a sign about glassblowing. I entered and was lucky enough to see the artist in action as he created a little glass stallion.

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What I really liked about visiting Poble Espanyol is that there is also quite an interesting mix of contemporary art available for viewing – some in dedicated art galleries within the village, others in the form of unusual outdoor sculptures like this one below.

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And don’t forget to stop by one of the chocolatiers for the most divine handmade chocolate to take home.

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It is little wonder that Poble Espanyol in Barcelona ranks as one of the top 4 attractions of the city. This is a village that demonstrates the diversity of Spanish architecture, arts, crafts and cuisine in a single location. Don’t miss out on this one if you’re visiting Barcelona and especially if you have an appreciation for architecture.

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Elizabeth Joss

Elizabeth Joss is the founder and main writer at The Museum Times. She works as a university lecturer by day and is an avid travel blogger and arts and culture enthusiast by night. Elizabeth started The Museum Times out of the need to give smaller, lesser-known museums more exposure.

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