Attend the Show of the Magic Fountain in Barcelona
FONT MÀGICA - MUSIC, WATER, LIGHT AND COLORS
Barcelona would celebrate its second World Fair in 1929, and the organizers were looking for something unique that would make it stand out from other fairs. The answer was the project suggested by the architect Carles Buigas: a monumental water fountain that would dance to music and change colors. It took over 3000 workers and an entire year to built. Since then, the Barcelona Magic Fountain has been delighting young and adults with its night shows, and participated in many other celebrations, such as the 1992 Olympics, New Years Eve or the Piromusical festival, celebrated every year in September and combining water and fireworks.
You might be asking yourself how does the Montjuic Fountain compare to the Bellagio in Vegas. Both shows are spectacular, but the Bellagio fountains are placed inside an artificial lake and you see it from a distance, whereas the Barcelona fountain is in the street level and you can get really close and feel the water spray your face. The water jets of the Bellagio are thinner and remind me of water ballerinas, while the Magic Fountain has also some larger and more powerful jets that look like a color waterfall. And while Bellagio is bigger, it's not as colorful as the one in Barcelona.
Barcelona Magic Fountain schedule
Many visitors are disappointed to discover that the Magic Fountain in Barcelona doesn’t run every day. The evening shows only take place a few days a week (even if during day time you can see it operating just like a normal ornamental fountain, without music, light nor movement). Friday and Saturday are the safest bets, but depending on the time of year it can also run on other days.
The show schedule also varies depending on the season, because of the sunlight: in the Summer it’s later, because the sun sets later too. So you should always check the official website to find out when they are running. Their chart can be a bit confusing: look for “Sessions with music and color” and double check that there’s no “Technical shutdown for annual maintenance” during your stay.
How to get to the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
The Magic Fountain of Barcelona is located in the Hill of Montjuic, halfway between the Museum of National Art (MNAC) and Plaça Espanya. You can get there by subway: Lines L1 (red) and L3 (green), the station is called Espanya. The following buses also stop nearby:
- 13 (connecting the Sant Antoni District with different areas of Montjuic)
- 150 (connecting Pl. Espanya with different areas of Montjuic)
- 23 (connecting Pl. Espanya with the Zona Franca district)
The exact address of the Magic Fountain of Montjuic is Plaça de Carles Buigas, 1.
Things to do in the area before attending the Barcelona Fountain Show
But if you don't have that much time, these are the closest sites, so you have something to do before the show starts:
- Museum of National Art of Catalunya (MNAC). A museum for hard-core museum goers: it covers the last 1000 years of local art, from the Romanesque frescoes all the way to the first vanguards of the early 1900’s. Average visit time: 2 to 4 hours.
- Caixaforum. A modernist factory built by Puig i Cadafalch, a competitor of Antoni Gaudi, now turned into a cultural center running very interesting temporary art exhibits. Average visit time: 1 to 2 hours.
- Mies van der Rohe pavilion. The reconstruction of the German pavilion of the 1929 World Fair is a must for architecture lovers. You can see it quite well from outside, but the entrance fee isn’t too expensive so it’s worth it if you are an architecture and design lover. Average visit time: 10 to 30 minutes.
- Spanish Village. Another attraction from the 1929 World Fair, you’ll see there real size replicas of buildings that are representative from the traditional architecture of Spain. It’s also a great place to buy handmade crafts. Average visit time: 1 hour.
- Les Arenes shopping mall and vantage point. The former bullring was transformed into a modern shopping mall by the architect Richard Rogers. It is now covered by a white dome surrounded by a viewing platform overlooking the city. The access is free if you use the inside escalators – but they charge you to use the outside “panoramic elevator” shaped like a needle.
Where to eat near the Magic Fountain of Barcelona
Having dinner is the big issue with visiting the Magic Fountain, because the show usually takes time around dinner time… So you’ll have to decide if you are having an early dinner or a late dinner. And of course you can choose to eat somewhere else and take taxis between there and the Magic Fountain. But it’s usually more convenient to eat nearby. Check out our post about restaurants near the Magic Fountain.
Final tips to plan your visit to the Montjuic Fountain Show like a pro
- The show is free. Do not trust anyone that says you need to buy tickets in advance.
- Double check the start and ending times of the show for the day of your visit. You don’t want to go all the way there to find out the show is tomorrow, not today…
- Know what music will be played (it’s on their website). The show often starts with “Barcelona” by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe. That’s a must. Then knowing what other music is playing will help you deciding how long you wish to stay.
- The show looks better, the darker it is. Specially in the Summer, the first sessions start when there’s still a lof to sunlight and the fountain colors don’t look too bright yet.
- There are no seats to watch the show: either you stand, or you seat in the steps of the staircase in front of the Magic Fountain, or in the balustrades of the bridge over the street.
- Arriving early to “grab a good spot” isn’t super necessary (except in the Summer) if you are fine standing: there’s a lot of room. But do arrive early if you want to seat.
- The breeze tends to send the spray more to one side of the Magic Fountain than the other. If you don’t want to get wet, find the side opposite to the breeze. Or if it’s really hot, find the side that is more “refreshing” to watch the show from there.
- You don’t need to stick strictly to the schedule: it’s not a theater. You can arrive and leave whenever you wish during the show times. I once read a review somewhere where the poster complained about the show being too long: gee, who makes you stay until the end? Leave when it’s the right time for you.
- Actually, it’s a good idea to leave a bit early, because as soon as the show is over everyone rushes to the subway stations and the taxi stop. If you leave early you’ll avoid the crowds, the carriages won’t be crammed and it’ll be easier to find a cab.
- The only toilets available are the ones in the nearby cafes, and there’ll be probably lines and they won’t be super clean: come prepared to not need them.
- Beware of pickpockets.
Is the Magic Fountain of Barcelona part of your trip plans?
Marta is the founder of ForeverBarcelona. She is a passionate tour guide that loves Barcelona and loves writing too. She is the main author of our Blog, and is committed to sharing her knowledge about Barcelona and her best tips with our readers.
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