Observatorio Fabra in Barcelona is located, not quite at the top of Tibidabo, but a little lower, at a height of 415 meters above sea-level and far from the crowded tourist routes and the most popular city landmarks. It is not difficult to find the observatory building, for it stands out starkly due to its round, light-grey dome. This building is home to one of the largest and oldest telescopes in Europe. During the excursion, each visitor has a chance to look at the sky through the telescope. On clear nights, one can see the moon from what appears to be a very close distance.
The history of the observatory Fabra Tibidabo traces back to the beginning of the XX century. The emergence of a fully-fledged observatory was driven by a determination not to lag behind in scientific progress. In 1895, it became clear that both observatories that had been built several years earlier inside the city lines were not competitive in terms of equipment and staff. Thus, the desire to build a new scientific center emerged. The place was not chosen by chance – the highest point in the city was an ideal location for the astronomic research center. The Royal Academy of Science and Arts of Barcelona worked hard to design the project, although this design was rejected by city authorities. Partial financing was the only opportunity to launch the construction successfully. In 1901, the construction works started with partial financing and private funding. Marquis de Fabra, an influential city resident for whom the observatory is now named, invested in the project.
The grand opening of Observatorio Fabra in Barcelona occurred in April of 1904. This ceremony was a notable event in city history. It was then that the first appointment to the observatory offices was made: Josep Comas i Sola, a scientist and astronomer, was elected as director of the observatory. It took two years to search for and hire the scientific staff, and the first team of the scientific center on Tibidabo embarked on its work in 1906. 29 years before the creation of the Richter scale, these scientists managed to foresee evidence of seismic activity on the other side of the planet, predicting the earthquake in San Francisco that occurred on April 18, 1906. As of today, Observatorio Fabra is known as one of the most reputable scientific platforms for astronomic, meteorological, and seismological research in the world.
View on observatorio Fabra
Observatorio Fabra in Barcelona
Observatorio Fabra on Tibidabo at night
Observatorio Fabra on Tibidabo is #4 on the list of the oldest functioning observatories in the world. The building was designed by the famous modernist architect, Josep Domenech i Estapa, who also created the buildings of the City Court and CosmoCaixa. Astronomers at the observatory began keeping records in 1914. Thus, in the archives of this amazing place one can find data about weather conditions, seismic activity, and the location of celestial bodies for every day of these more than 100 years. It seems incredible, but in fact, record-keeping was in effect even during the devastating Civil War in Spain. In those times, Observatorio Fabra in Barcelona also served as a shelter for many members of the Royal Academy of Science.
Observatorio Fabra Barcelona: visitors’ information
Based on numerous reviews of Observatory Fabra, this place exudes a unique energy and boasts a special atmosphere. That could explain why, gradually, this attraction is acquiring popularity among many tourists to Barcelona. The observatory lies on Camí de l'Observatori and is open to the public on Sundays and on holidays, except for August, New Year holidays, and March 25, 27, and 28 (for day-time visits).
The ticket price for an excursion during the day is quite affordable: only 2 euros (children under 10 years of age do not need tickets). It is especially interesting to visit this marvelous site at night. One can take advantage of this option on Fridays and Saturdays from October to June. Hence, visitors have the chance to look through the old telescope in the dome of the observatory and enjoy the majestic view of Barcelona at night from the observation deck. The cost of a night visit along with an excursion is 12 euros (per adult ticket) and 7.5 euros (per child’s ticket).
Recently, visitors also have the option of an exclusive “dinner with the stars.” The restaurant of Observatorio Fabra is located on the terrace and features a spectacular view over the city. Moreover, while enjoying the dinner, visitors can listen to an interesting lecture. After the “dinner with the stars,” the visitors enjoy a guided tour of the whole observatory building and observe the stars through the telescope. The menu of Observatori Fabra includes exquisite meat, vegetables, and seafood dishes (with vegetarian options available) that are served in a style resembling a starry sky. Three dinner options in three different price categories are offered:
- Menú Observatorio at 71 euros;
- Menú de las Estrellas at 99 euros;
- Menú Gourmet at 119 euros, which includes the top dish, “Neptune in the Pacific Ocean,” or tender lobster in a spicy marinade.
All three options include appetizers and various snacks. The “dinner with the stars” usually starts at 20:30 and lasts until midnight.
Through many years of successful work, INEEDSpain has acquired significant experience planning vacations for our clients, organizing guided tours, designing entertainment programs, and procuring tickets to a variety of events. The professionals at INEEDSpain will make your visit to Barcelona an incredible and unforgettable experience!