Spain has some of the most impressive and lauded theaters in the world. Visit the best theaters in Spain and discover some of the best annual theater festivals.
Spain is a buzzing hub of culture and the arts. From coast to coast, Spain has some of the best indoor and open-air theaters in the world showcasing classical and contemporary plays. Below are some of the top theaters in Spain.
Teatro Romano de Mérida
Around 2,000 years old and supposedly Spain’s largest theater, the open-air Roman theater of Merida is a stunning sight. Every summer the venue’s Roman stage showcases theater, music, ballet, film, and opera for the annual International Festival of Classical Theater. There are other stages too, such as the Temple of Diana.
Getting there: Mérida is in the Extremadura province of Spain and has good connections to other cities such as Seville and Madrid by train or bus. If you arrive by car, take the A-66 if coming from north or south, or the A-5 if coming from Madrid. The theater is at Mérida’s central Plaza Margarita Xirgu.
More information: festivaldemerida.es (Spanish)
Corral de Comedias, Almagro
Another of the most famous theaters in Spain is the Corral de Comedias in Almagro, near Ciudad Real. It bears a striking resemblance to London’s Globe Theater. According to history books, the first performance took place back in 1629. It continued as a theater until the 19th century, when it was bricked over in order to make way for something else. The theater finally resurrected in 1953. The Almagro Theater Festival occurs here every July and attracts theater fans from all over the world.
Getting there: If traveling by car from Ciudad Real, follow the CM-412 all the way to Almagro which shouldn’t take longer than 45 minutes. There are regular buses from Ciudad Real too. The theater is at Almagro’s Plaza Mayor, where all roads lead.
More information: corraldecomedias.com (Spanish)
The Grec Theater, Barcelona
In contrast to most other open-air theaters in Spain, the Grec Theater in Barcelona is a relatively new establishment, having only become a theater in 1929 after being used as a quarry for countless years. Since 1976 it has hosted the Grec Festival of Theater each July, drawing hundreds of spectators from all over Spain. The theater also hosts music evenings in its gardens and the occasional comedy event.
Getting there: From Poble Sec Metro Station, head south towards the Teatro Grec gardens (‘Jardins de Teatre Grec’). The walk is about 10 minutes.
More information: barcelona.cat
Teatro Español, Madrid
Although not an open-air theater, the Teatro Español, built in the 16th century, is thought to accurately recreate the traditional, comedic feel of open-air Spanish theaters. The interior is as grandiose as it gets, and the acoustics are equally as impressive. What’s more, this Madrid theater is more affordable when compared with other similar theaters in Madrid, with ticket prices ranging from €15–25 on its website.
Getting there: If traveling by Madrid Metro, the nearest stops to the theater are Antón Martín (L1), Sevilla (L2), and Sol (L1, L2, L3). If arriving by car, you could take your chances or take advantage of online parking services like Parking Kong, which locates the cheapest nearby parking spaces in Madrid.
More information: teatroespanol.es (Spanish)
Teatro Alhambra, Granada
Not to be confused with the actual Alhambra – the staggering palace for which Granada is famed, perched on the hill opposite – the Teatro Alhambra is a small theater that holds regular performances, ranging from national and Andaluz to international and Shakespeare. It is located in the beautiful Realejo barrio of Granada, and tickets are usually around €15–20.
Getting there: Teatro Alhambra is within walking distance of Plaza Nueva, Granada’s focal point. Walk into the Realejo barrio, where you will find Calle Molinos. From here just keep going, and you will find the theater on your right.
More information: juntadeandalucia.es (Spanish)
The Arriaga Theater, Bilbao
Discounting the Guggenheim, the Arriaga Theater is perhaps the most important building in Bilbao. Designed by architects Joaquín Rucoba and Octavio de Toledo and opened in the late 19th century, the striking edifice was modeled on the Paris Opera House and named in honor of the Bilbao-born musician Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga.
The beautiful façade has an eclectic style, with large balconies and intricate stone carvings. It suffered a major fire not long after opening and was rebuilt before reopening in 1919. The theater closed again from 1980 to allow for six years’ restoration work. It continues to host the city’s finest theater, opera, ballet, and other cultural events.
Getting there: Take the Metro to Casco Viejo or Abando and walk from there. The theater is at Plaza Arriaga – you can’t miss it!
More information: bilbaoturismo.net