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Where To See a Flamenco Show in Barcelona (And Why You Should!)

January 6, 2024
Flamenco Dancer in Barcelona

Before I visited Spain for the first time, I imagined that flamenco is synonymous with Spain’s national identity. It would be far-fetched to say that I expected to find flamenco dancers, singers, and guitarists performing in the streets and cafes on every corner, but it wouldn’t be far off. 

While flamenco is believed to have originated in Southern Spain — the autonomous region of Andalucia specifically — this traditional style of music and dance is so popular with visitors that you don’t have to be in Sevilla to see an authentic performance. In fact, Catalonia (or Catalunya) is one of the top regions in Spain for flamenco because so many gitanos live here. 

Who are gitanos? And where exactly should you go to see flamenco in Barcelona? You’ll just have to keep reading to find out!

What is flamenco?

Flamenco Dancer in Barcelona

If you know nothing about flamenco, you might mistake it for simply being a type of Spanish dance, but that description doesn’t do it justice. 

Flamenco isn’t just a set of dance moves — it’s an intimate and passionate emotional state expressed through:

  • Song (“cante” in Spanish)
  • Dance (“baile)
  • Music (“toque”)

These three elements are essential to a flamenco performance. You need a “cantaor” to move your heart and soul with a song, “bailores” to express emotion through the rhythm of their dance moves, and an intuitive guitarist who lets the music guide them. 

Flamenco Dancer in Barcelona

While all three elements of flamenco are important, the song is its essence, categorized as “cante jondo” (profound song), “cante intermedio” (intermediate song), and “cante chico” (light song). Each song style is unique with its own distinct rhythm, lyrics, and emotional content. You might be able to guess that the profound style, cante jondo, deals with subjects like death and despair, while cante chico focuses on love and happiness.

Flamenco Dancer in Barcelona

Musicians use a combination of instruments to produce the rich sounds of each flamenco style. Most notable are the Spanish guitar and clicking castanets the singers and dancers use to keep time with the beat of the music. 

Tip: When you watch a flamenco show in Barcelona, see if you can spot the difference in sound produced by the left-hand (a lower pitch) and right-hand castanet. 

How flamenco came to Barcelona

Flamenco’s popularity in the 19th century may have influenced how quickly it spread as a form of entertainment from southern Spain to Madrid and other regions of the country, but its reputation — especially among the Spanish elite — hasn’t always been favorable. 

It started in the 18th century with Spain’s Gypsy or Roma population, known as the gitanos, who migrated to Andalucia and were seen as outsiders.

An increase in foreign tourism and the World’s Fairs of the 19th and 20th centuries helped make flamenco a cultural symbol, which the Catholic Church and even some Spanish intellectuals weren’t happy about at the time. 

In the 1950s, the Franco Regime seized on tourists’ perception of flamenco being at the heart of Spanish culture to boost the country’s tourism industry after years of isolation. He not only increased the number of clubs where flamenco was performed, but also used the images of female flamenco dancers in travel brochures and other advertisements.

Due to Spain’s thriving tourism industry, flamenco shows are wildly popular today in cities far from where the tradition began. In Barcelona, you can learn about its history and catch mesmerizing performances around the city. To show travelers the best of Spanish culture, we’ve even added a flamenco show to one of our Barcelona tours (more on this below, but the video above gives you a sneak peek).

A night of music and dance in a 17th-century palace  

At the legendary Palau Dalmases, you can see a traditional live flamenco show with performers from Sevilla and other Spanish cities every night.

Our Barcelona Flamenco Show and El Born Art Walking Tour includes a ticket with a complimentary drink at the bar. After walking around Barcelona’s most artsy district, you’ll say goodbye to your guide — who’s already prepared you for what you’ll see next — and you’ll enter a baroque-style mansion that was owned by a medieval church before it was passed on to noble Barcelona families in the 17th century. 

One of these families was the Dalmases, who purchased the house in 1698 after it was damaged in the bombing from the 1697 siege of Barcelona. Pau Dalmases Castells and his heirs are responsible for rebuilding the palace and giving it an ornate makeover, with smooth stone walls and sculptures that represent important mythological scenes like the scenes of Neptune’s Chariot on the railing of the impressive staircase.

Palau Dalmases

The Palau Dalmases’s intimate atmosphere makes every performance feel like a powerful connection between the artists and audience. For one hour, these flamenco dancers, singers, and guitarists will transport you back to what feels like old world Spain.

Flamenco and more art in El Born

El Born

Of course, the Barcelona art scene has more than dance to offer, and that’s why there’s more than a flamenco show included with our artsy El Born walking tour. You’ll spend an hour getting to know the vibrant artistic culture of this neighborhood with a visit to three art galleries, including interactive installations and meeting a local artist to learn about their work firsthand. 

As you walk through El Born, your guide will also point out the district’s hidden gems and share insider tips for the rest of your stay in Barcelona. Then you finish with a flamenco show!

Tips for seeing a flamenco show

Flamenco Dancer in Barcelona

Is a flamenco show worth seeing in Barcelona? 

Attending a flamenco show is a must while in Spain, and Barcelona is especially great for it. The region of Catalunya — which Barcelona is the capital of — has the second highest number of gitanos in Spain after Andalucia due to the waves of immigrants who relocated here for the two world fairs (1888 and 1929).

You’ll find flamenco history around many corners here in Barcelona. Take a tour through Gràcia and learn about dances, from flamenco to rumba, at Plaça del Poble.

When you’re ready to sit and watch the action, there are plenty of flamenco shows in Barcelona to choose from. When you book our El Born art walking tour, you get a ticket for an evening show at Palau Dalmases, featuring the best flamenco artists from around Spain. 

It isn’t enough to read about flamenco — you need to experience it for yourself. 

Where are the best places to see a flamenco show? 

We recommend the Palau Dalmases (shown below), which is why we make it part of our walking tour, but you’ll also have a fun time at the Flamenco Teatro Barcelona City Hall, Tablao Cordobes, the Palau de la Musica, and Los Tarantos in Plaça Reial.

Flamenco Venue

How should audience members behave at a flamenco show? 

What’s expected of the audience at a flamenco show? Participation! This means that you can shout words of encouragement like “¡Toma que toma!” (which roughly translates to “it takes what it takes” in English). 

How long is a flamenco show? 

Flamenco shows in Barcelona, like the performances at Palau Dalmases, typically last one hour. 

How much does it cost to see a flamenco show? 

The price varies depending on where you see a show and the experience you select. Our El Born tour gets you a ticket to a show at the Palau Dalmases with a free drink at the bar, and prices are €69 for adults, including the tour. The palace has several ticket options based on how close you want to be to the stage if you’re not taking a tour. You can find more information about flamenco tickets on the Palau Dalmases website

More Barcelona art and culture 

We hope you will join us for our El Born art walking tour and flamenco show, but there’s so much more authentic Spanish culture to soak up while you’re here in Barcelona if you have the time. 

One of the best events for a real taste of local flavor is Sant Jordi’s Day. Even if you won’t be in town for the festival in April, you’re sure to find an interesting Catalan festival or tradition to experience any time you go. Check out our guide to Catalan festivals and traditions to learn more.