One of the things on our bucket list was to watch an authentic flamenco show. We took that opportunity last fall when we had the best Flamenco Barcelona show we had to-date.
Barcelona’s fame for its rich history, delightful dining experience, arts, and culture enticed us to explore a few things that will enable us to get a solid feel of the city’s local vibe and experience. One we had lined up for ourselves was to watch a flamenco show, an event we so desperately wanted to experience.
When we were there, a limited Flamenco performance was running at the Palau de la Musica, and we grabbed the opportunity. We relate below our unique experience of what turned out to be the perfect cap to the last day of our Barcelona stay.
What is Flamenco?
Flamenco has been part of the Spanish culture for centuries, and its popularity has spread all over the world in recent times. It is an emotional style of dancing characterized by fast beats, clapping of hands, snapping of fingers, playing of guitar, and great music. The dance movements are passionate, evocative, intense, fast yet fluid.
Flamenco is performed exquisitely by trained dancers and performers and is very entertaining to watch. The dancers express their deepest emotions through their body movements as well as their facial expressions. As they dance clapping their hands or snapping handheld percussion instruments called “castanets,” they would also kick their feet on the tablao.
A tablao is the term used for the floor platform on which the flamenco dancers perform. Now, the term also refers to the place or where flamenco shows are performed. Tablao venues were developed in Spain during the 1960s as replacements for the café’s cantantes.
History of Flamenco in Barcelona
History tells us that this beautiful and passionate art-form originated in Andalusia, in the South of Spain, centuries ago. During that time, Andalusia was home to people of many races, backgrounds, and traditions. They adopted various folk dances and concocted a dance influenced by different cultures, styles, and traditions. Flamenco’s popularity significantly grew during the Romantic era in Europe. This Spanish art eventually became famous all over Europe, and finally the world.
Several theories abound with respect to the origin of the word Flamenco itself. The most widely accepted one is that it was derived from “Felah-Mengus,” an Arabic phrase that translates to “wandering country person.” Another theory considered plausible by a lot of people be that the name came from what the local Andalusians used to call then the Gypsies, the people behind this art-form, “flamencos.”
Refer to Wikipedia for more details flamenco.
Our Venue – Palau de la Musica Catalana
The show we watched was at the Palau de la Música Catalana, a Catalan Art Nouveau architectural jewel. It is the only concert venue in this style to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, it is a landmark in the cultural and social life of Catalonia and represents a symbolic emotional heritage for all the people identifying with its history.
The building is located at Sant Pere district, one of the most beautiful areas of Barcelona. This modernist building is designed around a central metal structure covered in glass, which exploits natural light to make it into a magical music box that brings together all the decorative arts. Besides, the acoustics are superb – perfect for flamenco shows, concerts, and similar performances.
Other Venues for Best Flamenco Barcelona
There are a lot of other venues for this experience. The more famous ones are listed below. One suggestion we offer is for you to get book your tickets well in advance they sell like hotcakes.
- Palacio del Flamenco – one of Barcelona’s most famous and popular restaurant-theaters
- Tablao Flamenco Cordobes – most well-known tablao in Spain located in the famous La Rambla
- Los Juanele – another fantastic place, very popular amongst the locals for its tapas and rebujito
- El Tablao de Carmen – Named after one of the most celebrated Flamenco dancers, Carmen Amaya
- Los Tarantos – right in the center of the Gothic Quarter and is one of the oldest venues in the city
Tips for watching Flamenco in Barcelona
- Tickets: Book your tickets online and well in advance as tickets to these shows go out fast. Also, booking online saves you time and allows you to leverage excellent discounts and offers.
- Dress code: There is no specific dress code. It is generally an informal event, although people usually dress well for these. Smart casuals will also do. However, we recommend you bring something to keep you warm as it can get chilly inside due to the air-conditioning.
- Arrival Timing: Plan to arrive at least 20-30 minutes before the show starts to enjoy your dinner (if your event includes one) to avoid distraction and allow you to enjoy the show fully
- Seats: Book seats closest to the stage, if you can, to have the best experience. Doing so will allow you to see the dancers’ expressions and emotions for a fulsome experience
Our Incredible Experience
We were initially hesitant because the only tickets that were available for us when we were booking were for the 9 pm show. After a full day of being out during our last day and having still to pack and leave the hotel for our flight back home very early the following morning, the timing was not ideal. Nevertheless, we could not let this opportunity pass.
It was raining very hard when we had to leave the hotel to head out to the venue. We took a taxi rather than venturing on a bus or the Metro. The taxi ride turned out to be quite challenging. Traffic was slow, understandably due to the rainy weather. Also, part of the route the taxi was taking was closed (as there was a traffic accident).
It was perfect that we gave ourselves extra time and headed out early. Despite the traffic delay, we got to the Palau de la Musica around 20 minutes before the show started. We had enough time to settle in comfortably and took some pictures of the venue. We were lucky to get tickets for our best seats available, 2nd row from the stage, and just two places off the center aisle.
We were a bit disappointed at first when it was announced that no pictures nor videos could be taken during the performance. As soon as the music started, we understood why. We watched a very intense, passionate, fluid, fast flamenco performance during our last night in Barcelona. What a performance by the dancers and the musicians!
Barcelona is indeed famous for so many things. And a flamenco show was top on our list and something that we desperately wanted to experience. The show we managed to see at the Palau de la Musica did not disappoint us.
It was a remarkable performance. Besides, the famous art nouveau venue known for its ornate décor and excellent acoustics provided the perfect ambiance and heightened our Flamenco experience. A truly unforgettable last night and a fitting finale to our Barcelona stay.
We hope we inspired you to explore and experience some of the best Flamenco Barcelona. If you plan to do so and need some help, check out relevant resources by clicking the banners below.
If you have had such experience, we would love to hear your stories. If not yet, we would also appreciate your insights. Please share them through the comments section below.