In the heart of the Gothic Quarter is the Grand Royal Palace, in Catalan Palau Reial Major (and in Spanish Palacio Real Mayor). The term “Grand” was added to easily distinguish it from its smaller brother, the Minor Royal Palace (in catalan, Palau Reial Menor), a palace that has disappeared all except for a few ruins in the current church of La Mare De Déu De La Victòria. Despite its grand size, the palace can be easily go unnoticed if you don’t look carefully enough, as it is somewhat camouflaged by the buildings and narrow streets in the area. However, if you look hard enough we are convinced that it is one of the most beautiful palaces in Barcelona with the most rich and interesting history.
History of the palaces and must-see spaces
The Grand Royal Palace is a medieval palace in the civil Catalan Gothic architecture with many must-see spaces. In its rooms lived the Count of Barcelona and the Kings of the Crown of Aragon, where they also made decisions regarding the Kingdom and where they received the great leaders of other countries. This was until the 15th century, when the Crown of Aragon joined with the Kingdom of Castile and when all the institutions moved to Madrid.
Saló del Tinell (Tinell Room)
Built between 1359 and 1370 by King Pedro IV of Aragon, the Tinell Room is of clear Gothic style. This space in the Grand Royal Palace was used to celebrate different ceremonies and royal receptions. Currently some remains are worth noting, not in a very good state, the great mural representing the Conquest of Mallorca by King Jaime I of Aragon (the Conquistador). Occasionally they organise some exhibitions.
Chapel of Santa Àgata
Built in 1302 by the well-known master builder Bertran Riquer, and commissioned by the King Jaime II of Aragon. The chapel is of Catalan gothic style and was built on an old roman wall of the city. You can still enjoy the magnificent altarpiece made by the painter Jaume Huguet in the year 1465. The interior is usually a space used by the MUHBA for temporary exhibitions.
When the Kings of the Crown of Aragon moved to Madrid they also moved the different institutions to Madrid which were formerly in Barcelona. At that time it was decided to build a palace for the lieutenant (representative of the Monarch) for the Catalan Monarch although in reality it was never used for this. Currently the palace is the headquarters for the Crown of Aragon Archive.
Located next to the Frederic Marès Museum, is a small and charming garden flanked by various porches and with a beautiful central fountain. Its current appearance contrasts with its initial use as it was the headquarters for the Court of the Inquisition.
Rei Martí viewing point
On a rectangular floor, known as the King Martí viewing point is a tower of 5 floors built in 1555. Located in one of the corners of plaça del Rei, as well as being an excellent viewing point it separated the Tinell Room and the Lieutenant’s Palace.
The view of the Grand Royal Palace, as well as the square (plaça del Rei) and the surroundings transports us back to the medieval period as the majority of the buildings in the area date back to this period or were built in the Gothic style. Which is why we recommend that you won’t have any trouble getting lost in the streets and narrow alleyways, both during the day and night, when you can enjoy the same setting in a completely different view.
You can visit all the spaces that make up the Grand Royal Palace, expect various rooms in the Lieutenant’s Palace (only accessible during special occasions) and the Torre del Rei Martí viewing point (you can hardly ever go up to the top of the tower).
Tuesday to Saturday: 10am to 7pm.
Sundays: 10am to 8pm.
Closed: Mondays, 1st January, 1st May, 24th June and 25th December.
General admission: €7.00.
Discounts: €5.00 (under 25s and over 65s).
Free: Under 16s, tarjeta rosa, member of the ICOM and Associacions Museòlegs. Also Sundays 3pm to 8pm and the first Sunday of the month all day.
* Both the Tinell Room and the Chapel of Santa Àgata are part of the MUHBA, the History Museum of Barcelona, therefore, you have to pay to access them, except for certain times.
Plaça del Rei, Barcelona.
This information is shown above.
This information is shown above.
How to get there
Metro: Jaume I (line 4) is the nearest stop and also Liceu (line 3).
Buses: lines 17, 19, 40, 45, 59 and tourist bus.
By foot: You can get there by foot from any part of the Gothic Quarter and other parts of Barcelona centre.