The Las Arenas de Barcelona bullring was inaugurated in 1900 and was the second of 3 bullfighting rings built in Barcelona. Designed by Catalan architect August Font i Carreras, the plaza had a capacity for nearly 15,000 spectators.
During the 1970s, as bullfighting became less popular, the arena faced declining attendance and finally closed in 1977. In 1999 the structure was purchased by the company Sacresa who gave British architect Richard Rogers the task of converting it into a shopping centre and entertainments complex.
The project took 8 years to complete and opened it’s doors to the public in 2011. Rogers’ ambitious design maintains the original Neo-Mudéjar façade, now topped by a 27m high dome and circular roof terrace. For most visitors, however, the shopping centre’s most interesting feature is the view from the roof.
The Arenas Viewpoint
The roof terrace is lined with bars and restaurants surrounded by a large circular platform with 360º panoramic views of Barcelona including; Plaça d’Espanya, Joan Mirós Woman and Bird sculpture, the National Palace and Montjuïc as well as distant views of the Sagrada Familia, Torre Agbar and Tibidabo.
In addition to shops, the Las Arenas shopping centre houses a food hall, multi-screen cinema, gym, restaurants, exhibition halls, music venue and an auditorium. There is also a supermarket and an underground car park with space for over a thousand cars.
Tickets and opening times
Entry to the Las Arenas viewpoint is free of charge. The glass elevator (see photos above) costs €1 but the escalators inside the shopping centre are free and also give access to the rooftop viewing platform and restaurants. There’s no reason to take the lift since the best views are from the roof.
The viewpoint is open at the following times:
Monday – Thursday 10:00 – 01:00
Friday – Sunday 10:00 – 03:00
Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes 373, Barcelona
How to get there
The Las Arenas mall can be accessed directly from the Espanya metro station which is on the red (L1) and green (L3) metro lines and also served by FGC trains including the trains to Montserrat and nearby towns.
When you disembark the metro follow the signs from the platform to the Creu Coberta exit. At the exit you will see signs with the shopping mall’s pink “a” logo which lead you directly to the basement level of the shopping centre. From here you can take the escalators up to the 6th floor viewing platform on the roof.
There are also several bus lines which stop at Plaça d’Espanya square including the airport bus and night bus.
Note: Plaça d’Espanya is the nearest metro station to The Magic fountain, Palau Nacional, MNAC, Caixa Forum and Poble Espanyol. It’s a good idea to spend a few minutes here enjoying the view before visiting the other sights.
Other attractions nearby
Parc de Joan Miro
The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
Palau Nacional & MNAC museum
Poble Espanyol (Spanish Village)
The only bullfight I ever saw was in Las Arenas de Barcelona in 1968 while travelling to Washington, DC for the US Navy. I was astounded that the building still exists and happy that its historic features have been preserved. I have photographs of the structure in its original form, I presume, from that 1968 visit. I can see most of the original red brick and white stone in the photographs although the upper levels are somewhat obscured from weathering and urban atmosphere. I presume that the only change was a good cleaning.
Thanks for your comment, the bullring closed long before I first visited Barcelona back in 1997 so it would be interesting to see your photos. Although the façade has remained intact, the building has undergone quite drastic modifications. Firstly the terraces and other interior features were stripped out to make way for shops. Then the entire façade was raised about 5m in the air and supported by a new steel and concrete structure. Then finally a large dome and the viewing platform were added.