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The Palau de la Música Catalana

One of the most popular architectural masterpieces in Barcelona is unquestionably the Palau de la Música Catalana which is situated in the elegant district of El Born, right in the center of the city. 

The colors of El Palau shine throughout the day, lighting up the building so that, inevitably, passersby have to stop and look up in admiration at the palace.  But it is at night when El Palau really comes into its own, communicating an air of mystery which beckons visitors to explore both the exterior and the interior.

Palau de la Música Catalana
El Palau lit up at night

What is the Palau de la Música?

The Palau de la Música Catalana (the Palace of Catalan Music) is an amazing modern theater in a truly unique style.  It came into being in 1905 as a concert hall in which to promote musical excellence, audience participation and a social commitment to Catalan arts.  It is managed by the OC-PMC Foundation (Orfeó Català - Palau de la Música) which organizes its own unique and authentic artistic discourse in unison with two choirs, that of the Orfeó Català Choir School and the Cambra del Palau Choir) and contemporary music which is performed by both Catalan and international artists. 

Useful information for your visit to the Palace

The Palau de la Música Catalana is situated at 4-6 Carrer Palau de la Música in Barcelona which you can reach via the exit for Calle Layetana on the metro,  on either the Yellow or the Red Lines or at the Urquinaona stop.  Another alternative is to approach it from the Carrer de Sant Pere, when coming from the neighborhood of El Born.  The theater is open throughout the year. 

Visiting the Palau de la Música

You can access the Palace throughout the day just by going through the entrance where the bar is located.  With regard to guided tours in Spanish and English, these are available daily from 10:00 to 15:30 and run every 30 minutes.  At busier times, such as Easter, July and August, the theater remains open until 18:00 hours. 

A Tour of the Palau de la Música lasts 55 minutes.  If you would like to do a tour at a time that is outside the normal hours, you would just have to send your request by email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to the organizing body of the Palace. 

One option which can help to save time and energy is to arrange for a private guide which can be organized through for anyone who is interested in purchasing a very convenient service: a reliable guide will be able to take to you the places you have chosen to see on a tour that is completely bespoke.  They will take care of any bookings and will collect you from wherever you like and then take you to visit the Palau de la Música Catalana with the assurance that they will speak your language and will be able to share all the building's secrets with you.

Entry Tickets to the Palau de la Música

An individual entry ticket costs €22.00, local residents just pay €10.00 for their entry tickets and for children under the age of 10, entry is free. 

It is also possible to take advantage of special discounts for large groups:  family groups consisting of 4 - 6 people can buy a special package for €50.00 whilst for certain categories of visitors, a discount of up to 20% may also be possible.  This applies to groups of more than 25 people, those who have an Aerobús ticket, a ticket from the Barcelona Tourist Bus, the City Tour, the Barcelona card for the Modernist Route or, for those who have tickets for the Walking Tour. 

There are different options for buying tickets: the quickest is via the internet at: Tickets Palau de la Música but you can also buy tickets at the ticket office in the Palace which is open from Monday to Friday from 09:30 to 21:00 (Sundays and holidays from 10:00 to 15:00).  Just a short distance away is the ticket office which is located on the Carrer Sant Pere Més Alt, which is open from 09:30 until 15:30.  And, you can also buy tickets on La Rambla at No. 9 Palau de la Virreina,

Interior del Palau de la Música Catalana
Interior of the Palau de la Música Catalana

The interior decor of the Palau de la Música.

The extraordinary nature of this modern concert hall is not just due to its exterior or to the interesting catalog of programs.  The interior decor is enough to surprise anybody!  The palace is, in fact, considered to be one of the architectural gems of the Catalan modernist movement, for which, Barcelona is deservedly famous. It is worth noting that the main stage and the great organ give the appearance of a sloping auditorium (so that the audience is almost inclined to bow in front of such greatness), but the most eye-catching feature is the central skylight. This is from whence all the light filters through into the auditorium, thus illuminating the wonderful colors of the exceptional decor which symbolizes the vitality and strength of the sun.  The main thread of the decorations is the natural world: around the stage, there are various busts and other decorative features which take their inspiration from Mother Nature which turns this into a mystical and magical space. Inevitably, it is also thanks to this extraordinarily unique atmosphere that the building was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.  The clever combination of architectural and ornamental features could not be better recognized. 

Concerts at the Palau de la Música
Another way to visit the Palau de la Música Catalana is to actually attend one of its amazing concerts. The program is extremely varied and changes every year: you can enjoy the three tenors singing Neapolitan songs, accompanied by the symphony orchestra, a Grand Flamenco Gala, violin and guitar recitals, classical dance to gospel music. 
The concerts at the Palau de la Música Catalana are scheduled throughout the year ensuring that both local residents and tourists will always have the opportunity to attend at least one of the weekly performances inside this wonderful palace. Concerts are more frequent during the winter months and you can enjoy attending a performance by international musicians.  The busiest months are October, November and December and the program is extremely busy and very varied during this time of year. 
These range from the great concerts by young people and children of the Orfeo Català Choir and the Symphony Orchestra del Valles, to solo recitals by pianists, guitarists and organists of international repute.  There is also no shortage of string quartets and the great classics by Beethoven and Mahler, but there are also innovative concerts such as “The Music Awakens”, which staged the music of the composer John Williams, who is well known for his soundtracks to some of the most famous films for young people during the 80's. 

But this isn't all!  Throughout the year there are cyclical guided tours of the interior of the Palace which include a mini-concert at the end.  There are also plenty of creative workshops on offer for children and their parents with a tour included. There are also workshops for expectant mothers and musical activities for little ones aged from 2 - 10.  And let's not forget about the conferences and interviews with musicians who are invited to play at this majestic theater as well as special features at Christmas and during Holy Week, Halloween, la Diada or other concerts that have been organized for a special reason. 

The timing for these performances is generally in the evening, although activities are sometimes scheduled during the afternoons.  Not every day of the year is booked for a concert but it is not unusual for there to be more than one event or performance on the same day. 

Shows and interesting facts

For example, at Christmas in 2015, there was a fantastic concert entitled "The Music Strikes Back:" this was an orchestral performance of the most famous soundtracks of the composer John Williams covering the cinematic masterpieces of the 90's such as: ET, Indiana Jones, Superman, Jurassic Park and even Star Wars. It was exactly this type of fantasy world which inspired the decor of the Palace which, for this special occasion, was invaded by the white armor of the royal guard and was the setting for battles between the Knights of the Jedi with their laser swords, creating a world that was so realistic that you could imagine Darth Vader himself appearing at any moment.  The concert was organized again in subsequent years with the new name of "The Music Awakens" which we have already mentioned above. 

Cartel espectáculo La musica contraataca
A special poster for The Music Strikes Back

So much more than just a theater: above and beyond with the Palau de la Música

The Palau de la Música Catalana is so much more than just a theater or a concert hall: inside the building, there is also a center that is full of interesting documents where you can have a look at the important musical archive of the  Orfeó Català. Temporary exhibitions and activities for children are also frequently organized inside the Palace.

The Palau de la Música also provides a variety of different spaces in which to enjoy some of the local cuisine: it houses a restaurant with a gastronomic selection of seasonal produce.  There is also a creative and modern catering service and, to finish off, everyone is welcome to use the service that's available at the cafetería, which is situated in the Foyer (a modern space located in the reception area of the palace) which carries on outdoors into the square which is covered by awnings in the summer and is warm in winter. What is really worth a try is the culinary offering at the Palau in its "Restaurante Mirador" which has different dishes available during the week and at weekends which you can enjoy whilst admiring Domènech i Montaner's fabulous facade from on high. 

Every day from 10:00 until 20:30, it is also possible to buy souvenirs from the shop which is strategically situated for this purpose in the modernist space of the Foyer.  For those who are keen on technology, they will be pleased to know that there is also an online shop where you can buy various items that are for sale and can also arrange for them to be mailed outside Spain. 

Bar del Palau
The Bar at the Palau
The area surrounding the Palau de la Música: bars in which to finish your night out

There is no such thing as an exhibition or a concert that doesn't deserve to be continued by sharing time together with friends or family: the emotions that you have experienced, the extraordinary music you have listened to or the show that you have just seen or just spending the evening together in general.  Chatting about music, the theater and culture in general is always a pleasant way to spend your time, particularly in a city that is as full of different art forms as Barcelona.  In order to get the most out of this time together, you will want to spend it in the perfect place, somewhere that's welcoming, intimate or elegant.  And this is what you will find in the surroundings of the Palau de la Música which lend themselves well to rounding off a wonderful evening in this fashion. 

The first suggestion is the local bar, Tosca, which is situated right opposite the Palace on the side of the Carrer Sant Pere Més Alt. This venue is notable for its elegant atmosphere and principally serves an excellent selection of "tapas and wine." Here you can enjoy a typical Catalan meal which consists of the famous tapas together with a glass of wine.  You should also try the cocktails, particularly the gin & tonic which are currently very fashionable in Barcelona, especially because you can choose from different types of gin and a variety of different kinds of tonic which you would like to drink, just like in Tosca.  For a slightly more intense evening, you may want to try a typical liquor made from "herbs" which is a kind of herbal digestive which will help to fuel your conversations! 

Interior del Bar Tosca
The Interior of Bar Tosca

If you carry on along the street, in the direction of the Plaza Sant Pere, on the left hand side, you will find Bar Pasaje (Carrer de Sant Pere més Alt), which, from its name, suggests something special.  This is a local venue that is almost a well kept secret because of its position on the inside of a staircase belonging to an old building.  You can access the bar by passing through the gateway and will come to a narrow passageway where the bar and the tables stretch out in front of you, right by the mailboxes of the nearby buildings. The atmosphere in here is very welcoming and quite animated, without being too noisy so as not to disturb the nearby tenants.  In fact, at midnight, the bar closes its doors... or rather, its gate!

In order to get to know some of the other attractions that can be found in the El Born neighborhood, you can have a look at the article that focuses on this area or the article that focuses on Tapas in Barcelona.  You can also arrange for one of our private companions to accompany you or you can try one of our tours in order to visit Barcelona...its up to you to choose!

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