Placa del Rei

Meaning 'Kings Square' this 14th century medieval public square is in the Barri Gòtic of Barcelona.

TravelCurious Tip

On the other side of the palace there is another delightful courtyard which leads in the Museu Frederic Marès with its medieval sculpture collection

A Time and a Place

Plaça del Rei may be small, but it is dense with history. The Royal Palace - the Palau Reial Major - has enclosed the square for centuries, cupping it from the winds of time. As such, the Plaça del Rei is imbued with Barcelona’s Middle Ages splendour, and is perhaps one of the best windows into the city’s past.


The palace was the residence of the Catalan counts and King of Aragon who reigned during the Middle Ages. It dates from the 11th century, but underwent alterations in the 13th century. As a result, it’s a fine example of Gothic architecture, mingled with Romanesque elements.


Set in Stone

The highlight of the palace is surely the Salo del Tinell, a magnificent banquet hall which was added in the 14th century and now houses the temporary exhibitions of the city history museum. The museum itself can be entered by the stairs to the Palau Clariana-Padellàs, which was moved to this spot stone by stone from Carrer Mercarders early in the 20th century.


On the other side of the square you will find the Royal Chapel of St. Agatha, with its unique octagonal bell tower in the shape of a crown. Within the chapel is an outstanding example of Catalan Gothic art, Jaume Huguet’s Epiphany, and its ceiling is covered with striking polychrome tiles.


Hearsay

The steps that fan out from the corner of the square were allegedly where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella stood to greet Christopher Columbus when he arrived home after his first voyage to the New World.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Barcelona
Gothic Quarter
Barcelona’s oldest and most atmospheric district.
El Born
A trendy neighbourhood with interesting bars, restaurants and stylish boutiques.
Plaça de Sant Jaume
Plaça de Sant Jaume is the administrative heart of both the city and surrounding Catalonia.
Picasso Museum
A wonderful collection traces Picasso’s creative genius from his roots in Barcelona.
Plaça Nova
See the only publicly displayed work made by Picasso at the "Architects Association Building".
Spanish pinchos
A small snack, typically eaten in bars, made of a slice of bread and various toppings above.

Related Tours

The Historic Heart of Barcelona: Family-Friendly Private Tour
Explore the historic and vibrant heart of Barcelona on this family-friendly 2.5-hour private walking tour, including tickets to the Big Fun Museum - great for kids of all ages. Discover the Gothic quarter and Roman Ruins with amazing stories of the past, and see some of the city's dazzling architecture by Antonio Gaudi as you explore with your family-friendly private guide.

On your private walking tour, you will:

  • Begin your tour at the lively Portal de l'Àngel and walk along the charming old street of Carrer de Petritxol, filled with old shop fronts and enticing smells of churros;
  • Wander through the beautiful, winding cobbled streets of the Barri Gotic, learning all its secrets and surprises;
  • Hear about the Roman origins of the Old Town, and see the remains of the ancient Roman city walls - that once had 78 towers at 60 feet tall
  • Marvel at the amazing Barcelona Cathedral with its incredible gothic spire, statues of gargoyles and other mythic creatures;
  • Walk into the Plaça del Rei - the King's Square - an imposing series of medieval buildings - each with a story to tell...;
  • Stop at Plaça de Sant Jaume in the centre of the Gothic Quarter, with its glorious buildings and learn all about the politics and political leaders of Barcelona;
  • Wander to Bishop's Bridge, one of the most photographed spots in the city, and walk underneath it making a wish on the dagger and skull and cross bones - or have bad luck forever!; 
  • Pass by the Basilica Santa Maria del Pi which was built in the 1300s; 
  • Stroll into the elegant Plaza Reial, with its fountains and palm trees, and vibrant atmosphere; 
  • Wander down the most famous street of Barcelona, La Rambla, where you will be able to see an eccentric building by Antonio Gaudi - the Güell Palace, and see if you can spot the stone trees on the rooftop;
  • See the large, circular, and brightly coloured mosaic by Miró in La Rambla;
  • Explore the buzzing, brash and brilliant La Boqueria market, a popular destination for tourists and locals;
  • End your tour at the Big Fun Museum, for a quirky series of adventures and exciting activities for kids! 

On this family-friendly tour, you'll be taken on an unforgettable journey through Barcelona's prettiest area, the iconic Gothic Quarter also known as Barri Gòtic. With its charming, winding, cobbled streets, medieval yet vibrant atmosphere, markets, artisanal shops, and amazing gothic architecture - there are so many things to see and secrets to discover! 

From the ruins of the Roman walls and gothic splendour of the cathedrals to the eccentric buildings by Gaudicolourful mosaic by Miro, and vibrant streets and markets, your family-friendly guide will make the tour really engaging for your children - with quizzes, guessing games, interesting stories, and fun activities. 

You'll see all the most iconic sites of the Gothic Quarter, including the Cathedral with its amazing gargoyles on the rooftop and the imposing Placa del Rei. Enjoy wandering along Barcelona's iconic La Rambla - famous for its flower stalls and street food vendors; you'll see the leather and jewellery artisan shops and boutiques, and soak up the fun and buzzy atmosphere of the elegant Plaza Reial with delightful fountains and elegant palm trees. 

As you stroll towards La Boqueria, you will also see the legendary Dancing Giants on display. The Dancing Giants are wearable puppets and the traditional dances wearing these massive costumes are a highlight of the parades on Catholic feast days in Barcelona!

At the end of your tour, your guide will leave you with entrance tickets to the amazing Big Fun Museum - where you will discover a magical world, like stepping through the Looking Glass and into Wonderland... including an upside-down house!  
The Gothic Quarter: Private Half-Day Tour with Barcelona Cathedral
Explore Barcelona's iconic Ramblas and the historic Gothic Quarter filled with spectacular architecture in gothic style, including the remains of the Roman-era city walls, many medieval landmarks and Barcelona Cathedral, famous for its statues of gargoyles and other mythic creatures. Uncover the rich history of the gothic centre of Barcelona, which has developed since the Roman period to become the thriving capital of Catalonia that it is today.

 On your private half-day tour, you will: 

  • Explore the Gothic Quarter (El Barri Gòtic in Catalonian), one of the most exciting parts of the city as it’s home to some of Barcelona’s most famous attractions;
  • Take a stroll down the world-famous La Rambla promenade
  • See the remains of the ancient Roman city walls that rose up to a full 60 feet and boasted 78 towers;
  • Learn about the stories behind Barcelona landmarks and their long history;
  • Try your luck at haggling in La Boquería marketplace, and see where locals shop for their produce and meats;
  • Visit Placa Reial,  a vibrant and beautiful square in the heart of the city, with Gaudi-designed lampposts and an incredible fountain that draws in locals and visitors alike;
  • Walk through the Jewish Quarter of Barcelona, a small but vibrant district with several synagogues and other religious sights that honour the important role of Jewish merchants in medieval Barcelona;
  • Discover sleepy churchyards, medieval alleyways and crumbling Gothic Palaces;
  • Learn about the Roman beginnings of the Old Town, and see remnants of this lost past;
  • Finish your tour with a guided visit to the majestic Barcelona Cathedral and its famous rooftop filled with gargoyles and mythical creatures.

The Gothic Quarter – also known as Barri Gòtic, is the area that stretches from La Rambla to Via Laietana, and from the Mediterranean seafront to Ronda de Sant Pere and is the centre of the old city of Barcelona. It is known as the Gothic Quarter, as it used to be the location of a Roman village and some of the remnants still remain. 

You will visit the Jewish Quarter, known as the Call, a collection of streets in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter that were established by a group of Jewish merchants in the 13th century. This section of the area was established because this group of people weren’t welcome anywhere else on the main land along with everyone else, they built their own space to live, build churches or synagogues and freely practice any religion they wanted in peace.

Your tour will end with entrance tickets and a guided tour of Barcelona Cathedral.  The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia is a gorgeous Gothic cathedral in the old centre of the bustling Catalan city; it is also the seat of the Archbishop of Spain. 

Construction of the Cathedral began at the end of the 13th century during the reign of King James II of Aragon and took around 150 years to complete. While the structure and internal decoration of the Cathedral were completed by the 15th century, its neo-Gothic façade was added at the end of the 19th century, covering the rather plain original exterior; the roof (which your tickets give you access to) was also adorned with an impressive range of gargoyles. 

Enjoy this masterpiece as the capstone to your highlights tour!
Explore El Born District: Private Half-Day Walking Tour
Experience the best of medieval and modern culture in El Born, Barcelona's trendiest and most beautiful neighbourhood on this private walking tour, including tickets for the guided tour of the Palau de la Música, an icon of modernism. 

On your private half-day tour your will: 

  • Discover the highlights of the fashionable and historic district of El Born;
  • Walk through quaint streets like Carrer de L’Argenteria and Carrer Barra de Ferro and pause outside the Picasso museum;
  • See the stunning 10th Century Gothic Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar (St Mary of the Sea);
  • Stroll along with the Passeig del Born into the heart of the area, and one of the best places for artisanal, designer and boutique shopping;
  • Stop by the designer studios and small workshops along the charming backstreets such as Carrer del Flassaders;
  • Admire Parc de la Ciutadella (the Catalan Parliament) and see the Arc de Triomf;
  • See the El Born Centre de Cultura I Memòria an archaeological museum housed inside a former 19th-century market, and learn all about the history and evolution of this fabulous neighbourhood;
  • Walk by the Convent Sant Agusti and on days it is open enjoy a fantastic stroll through the ever-vibrant Santa Caterina food market;
  • End your tour with a 50' guided visit to the "Palau de la Música Catalana".

El Born, while home to some of the oldest medieval buildings in Barcelona, has become one of the city’s most lively, trendy and popular neighbourhoods. Originally inhabited by fishermen and dockworkers, it was absorbed into the city walls in the 15th century and gradually became desirable to the aristocracy and merchant classes. 

Today, it is a bohemian, artsy, cultural paradise –famous for its great tapas and fashionable bistros, museums, gothic architecture, food markets and music halls! A place where history and modernity blend effortlessly. 

Your private walking tour will take in all the highlights of the art, architecture and vibrant culture of El Born and culminate at the Palau de la Música Catalana. This opera house is one of Barcelona’s most impressive Modernist masterpieces, designed by Catalan architect Lluis Domenech I Montaner. This is where you say goodbye to your guide, who will have arranged your tickets for a guided tour inside the iconic concert hall.
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