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Every city has a central point in relation to its urban and social development and in Barcelona, this is the Plaça Catalunya. But this is so much more than just a square...it is a real focal point of the city's commercial life, a major crossroad for tourists and business people, an attraction for visitors and a hub for the commemoration of special events for the local population: Plaza Catalunya is like a window to the world and the starting point for so many of the activities that are organized in the city. If it didn't exist, Barcelona wouldn't be the same.
Plaza Catalunya is one of the major transport hubs in the city. The buses which travel throughout the Catalan region arrive and depart from this square. The Aerobús A1 and A2 enable hundreds of curious tourists and those who love to travel to get on and off at this central location. Taxis are always stopping and departing from here, the Ferrocarril (railway) starts its journeys to the destinations that are further from the city and the Metro is always at everyone's service. Numerous tours also depart from this huge square such as the one known as the Hop Off Hop On, which allows travelers to get on and off the bus whenever they wish in order to visit the city's main attractions.
The Plaza Catalunya is the perfect place in which to browse the shops and in which to spend the evening in the company of friends. It is also the square which is transformed into the symbolic venue for Catalan celebrations and throughout the year, there are various occasions when it is dressed up in red and yellow. The Plaza Catalunya is the unmissable heart of the city when it comes to marches, parades, meetings and fiestas....it is unquestionably the beating heart of the city.
Plaza Catalunya is the perfect place in which to go shopping in Barcelona: to start off with, just on its perimeter, you'll find the Corte Inglés, the Apple Store, the Hard Rock Café and Fnac. And in the areas surrounding the square, you will also come across all the main fast fashion chains for young people such as Zara, Bershka, Pull&Bear, H&M ... just to mention a few.
On the 11th September each year, on the Diada, dozens of Catalans can be seen wrapped in their yellow and red striped flags with a blue triangle and a white star. This is the Catalan celebration or fiesta par excellence, the day on which Catalonia's loss of independence is commemorated and which reminds the inhabitants of the region, (especially those from the capital, Barcelona), how important it is to continue fighting for the region's own objectives and renewing the promise, each year, to obtain independence from Madrid. Plaza Catalunya is amazing by day and by night, when it is lit up by the lights from the shops and the animated chatter of passers-by. Something which is really unmissable is seeing the musical show of the two fountains in the square which become almost "magical" for a few moments. This takes place in the spring and summer and is called the Font Bessones with the fountains lit up in time to the rhythm of the music (which you can listen to on the App) and takes place from Thursday to Sunday from 21:00 until midnight and occurs every 30 minutes. During the autumn / winter seasons, the shows take place from 19:00 until 23:00, every half hour.
If you, like so many others, decide to make a date to meet up in the Plaza Catalunya to go out in the evening with your other half, your family or friends, you may want to know about some of the nice places to go. You could start off with a memorable dinner in a prestigious historical venue, one that was previously frequented by well known local cultural individuals: Els Quatre Gats (located at No. 3 Carrer de Montsió) is somewhere that we would recommend booking a table well in advance. If, on the other hand, you are looking for somewhere a bit more relaxed in which to have something to eat or drink, then you could drop in to one of the 100 Montaditos (there is one very close by in the Rambla de Catalunya, No.11). This is a Spanish chain that in homage to the Basque tradition, serves small sandwiches and fries with a sauce so that you can enjoy something to eat while you are having a drink. And these only cost €1.00 each! And if you are young and enjoy meeting up with other students and tourists like yourself, you can spend a fun evening in the Oveja Negra which will be just right for you. It is located at No. 5 Carrer de les Sitges and here you will find large wooden tables to sit at and start having a chat with the interesting people around you and maybe share a beer with them. Why not?