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No visit to Barcelona is complete without a visit to the fabulous spectacle which is the Magic Fountain.
I had first seen the Magic Fountain on TV back in 1992 when Barcelona hosted the Olympics. It is situated not far from the outdoor Olympic Pool and stadium. I can remember being quite impressed by the fountain and thinking it would be nice to actually visit and watch the show.
Sixteen years on my wish came true, as myself and my partner were on holiday in Spain and having longed to visit Barcelona, we booked a day trip to the city. We liked it so much we returned again this year.
The fountain stands at the foot of the steps leading up to the impressive National Palace, situated high up on Montjuic, and performances take place in the evenings - four times a week in the summer and twice a week in winter. There are around five shows an evening, and they usually begin around 9pm and then every half hour until 11pm.
We visited the fountain on a hot summer evening, as part of an organised trip which had seen us sightseeing and spending the day in Barcelona, and then on to the fountain show in the evening. We were taken to witness the 10pm show as by then it would be getting dark, and you can then witness the full effect of the changing coloured lights, which accompany the music.
On arriving at the fountain I was surprised at just how many people were there. I had noticed all the coach parties arriving, along with ours, but actually seeing the thousands of people gathering in the Palace grounds and on the steps leading up to the Palace, was a pretty amazing sight!
The first performance of the fountain was back in 1929 during the Great Universal Exhibition. The designer Carles Buigas commissioned 3000 workers to work on the project, and many felt his plans for the fountain were too ambitious, but after one year, the fountain was complete.
We were told by our guide that there are 4730 coloured light bulbs in the fountain, and the central stream reaches 50 metres high.
Around the base of the fountain are smaller fountains, and there are also other smaller fountains at the foot of the steps up to the Palace.
The show is a spectacular display of water acrobatics and colour, set in time to music, and we sat on a small wall at the foot of the Palace steps in front of the fountain to wait for the show to begin.
At 10pm, as the sky began to darken, a classical piece of music began, and the fountain came to life, sending streams of water up to 50 metres into the air, almost dancing in time to the music, while the colours changed.
Actually being there is an amazing experience, and one which I will never forget, as you cannot fail to be moved by the whole display.
After the classical piece finished, the song 'Apologise' by One Republic began and this was amazing also. Whenever I hear that song now, my mind drifts back to the fountain show.
Finally, the song 'Barcelona' the theme tune to the 1992 Olympics was played, sung by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe, and this literally made the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, watching the dancing water streams and colour changes . Also at this point, nine beams of lights were cast up into the sky from behind the Palace. Each beam represents one of the letters of 'Barcelona' and combines perfectly with the forms and colours of the magic fountain in front of it. It was absolutely breathtaking, and a magnificent end to a great show!
Admission to the fountains is free, and there are various burger vans etc near the entrance as well as toilets.
As I said earlier, our visit was part of an organised tour of Barcelona with Thomsons, but if in Barcelona, it is possible to reach the fountain by taking the Metro to Placa Espanya.
The fountain show takes place on Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun evenings from May - September, at 21.00, 21.30. 22.00. 22.30 and 23.00.
From October - April the fountain show takes place on Fri and Sat only at the earlier times of 19.00, 19.30, 20.00, and 20.30.
The Magic Fountain show never operates on Mon, Tues or Weds.
In my opinion, no visit to Barcelona is complete without taking in the Magic Fountain show. I would recommend you visit for one of the later shows, as the full effect of the display is better when it is getting dark.
Once witnessed, it will remain with you forever. A truly amazing spectacle, that won't cost you a penny!
A spectacular show of lights and water.