During the Great Universal Exhibition of 1929, organisers felt that something was missing: something spectacular, something that would be an emblem of the Catalan capital for generations to come. For this reason, Carles Buigas came in to the fold, submitting his project for a “colossal, daring and costly piece of work”. The committee was surprised by the immensity of the project and nearly rejected the idea because they believed it would be impossible to complete. Fortunately Buigas convinced them otherwise, and managed to complete the project in less than a year with the help of over 3,000 workers.
What was created is one of Barcelona’s most popular tourist destinations and one of the most beautiful fountains in the world, along with the Fountain of Trevi in Rome and the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Unfortunately the civil war and the post-war period saw the fountain fall into disrepair owing to neglect, and it was turned off altogether in 1955 until the 1970s. Luckily for residents and tourists alike, the newly restored fountain reopened in 1976 and in preparation for the 1992 Olympic Games it underwent a further stage of restoration, transforming it into the renowned symbol of Barcelona it is today.
Music and lights
Crowds unsurprisingly come in their droves to see the 3,620 jets of spouting water to a height of 54 metres. It’s these jets that dance to all manner of colours and hues during the famous Music and Light show every weekend when illumination technology is combined with music. Although to some, the concept of sitting by a fountain watching a crescendo of music and lights might not sound like the most entertaining thing in the world, it is disarmingly charming and exciting.
The timetable for these shows varies seasonally; in the summer (May to September) they run from 20:00 until 23:00 on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. During winter (October to April), the fountain operates on Fridays and Saturdays from 19:00 until 21:00. The shows take place every half an hour so there are plenty of opportunities for everyone to enjoy the spectacle. Crowds of people, especially young families, turn up every night, so it might be worth getting there a little early to grab the perfect viewing spot – the surrounding walls or stairways are the best!
If you’re in the city at the end of summer, look out for the Piromusical. Truly a feast for the eyes, it takes the form of a great synchronised firework and music display to celebrate La Mercè festival (24 September).
It’s not only the music and lights show that’s dazzling – the location of Montjuic is pretty impressive too.
The fountain nestles in front of the Palau Nacional de Montjuïc, which in itself is a tourist mecca, not to mention the magnificent Plaça d’Espanya with its 47m faux-Venetian towers. Thus a visit to Montjuic’s Magic Fountain is simply not to be missed whilst visiting Barcelona, the music and lights show is a chilled out way to start or finish an evening that will leave you in awe. And even better – it’s free!
To get to the fountain, take the red or green metro lines ( or ) to Plaça Espanya and walk up the Avinguda María Cristina towards the hill.
Please note that the Magic Fountain is closed for four to six weeks for annual maintenance in the winter months, usually from mid-January to mid-February. Always check official opening times as they may change.
Stay just a stone’s throw from this magical event by finding an apartment near Plaça Espanya.