With a colorful history which dates back thousands of years, an impressive number of native artists and breathtaking scenery which provides never-ending inspiration, it’s no wonder Spain is home to many magnificent water fountains. Whilst some of the fountains go back as far as the 11th century and depict important historic and mythological scenes, others are much more modern creations, portraying what you can achieve with today’s technology and know-how.
If you’re planning a vacation to Spain and want to see some of the most impressive fountain architecture the country has to offer, check out our list of the most beautiful fountains to visit.
Fuente de Genova
Today, the Fuente de Genova is located in Plaza de la Constitución, Málaga. Although the designer of the fountain is unknown, construction is believed to have taken place during the 16th century in Genova. After originally being placed in Plaza de la Constitución, the Fuente de Genova was moved to the Alameda and various other locations throughout Spain before it was finally returned to Plaza de la Constitución in 2003.
The fountain is made up of 12 sides, each of which is decorated with iconic ornaments, divided by webs which are supported by roses. Numerous layers and basins make up the fountain, featuring symbolic statues of mermaids, women, dolphins and even Neptune holding a trident. Water spouts from eight pipes located on the second basin as well as from the eagle’s mouth located at the very top of the fountain.
La Fama Fountain
Found within the grounds of the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso in Segovia, La Fama Fountain forms part of the collection of 26 stunning fountains which are scattered throughout the palace’s baroque gardens. The fountain was designed by René Carlier, René Frémin and Jean Thierry between 1721 and 1734 and, just like all the other fountains in the gardens, depicts an intense scene from Greek mythology.
Cast in led to prevent corrosion and painted over to imitate bronze, La Fama Fountain still has its original piping which relies entirely on gravity to push water 131 feet up into the air, making it the second tallest gravity fountain in the world after the Stanway Fountain in the UK.
Las Granadas Fountain
Named after the city in which it stands (“Granada” literally translates into “Pomegranate” in English) Las Granadas Fountain is the work of talented sculptor Ramiro Megias and is one of the youngest fountains to feature on this list, being built only seven years ago in March 2007.
The fountain is situated in Paseo del Salon, close to the Genil River and was donated to the city by the local water company as a gift. Unlike many water fountains found throughout Madrid which usually depict historical or mythical scenes, Las Granadas Fountain portrays huge, decorative pomegranates in celebration of Granada’s iconic symbol.
Fountain of Cibeles
The Fountain of Cibeles is located within the neo-classical Plaza de Cibeles in the heart of Madrid. It’s named after Cybele – the goddess of fertility and nature – and was built during the reign of Charles III, between 1777 and 1782. Although the main fountain was designed by Ventura Rodríguez, the goddess and chariot which are the focal point of the fountain were designed by Franciso Gutiérrez and the lions pulling the chariot were designed by Roberto Michel.
Up until the 19th century, the fountain stood next to the Buenavista Palace where it looked onto the Fountain of Neptune. But in the late 1800s, the city council decided to have both fountains facing toward the centre of Madrid instead.
Alexander Calder Mercury Fountain
The Alexander Calder Mercury Fountain is one of the most famous fountains of its kind, located behind safety glass within the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona. Built in 1937 by Alexander Calder, this fountain was originally commissioned by the Spanish Republican Government as a piece for the 1937 World Exhibition in Paris and was later handed to the Joan Miró Foundation as a gift.
What makes this fountain so spectacular is that it is one of the few which uses mercury instead of water. It’s made from a combination of painted iron, aluminum and mercury and is a memorial to the siege of Almadén, which previously supplied 60% of the world’s mercury.
The Court of the Lions Fountain
Prominently displayed within the Alhambra in Granada, the Court of the Lions Fountain was commissioned during the rule of Muhammad V, between 1362 and 1391 and is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although there is no definitive evidence, research suggests that the 12 lions which feature in the fountain came from the house of the Jewish vizier in the 11th century.
Whether or not that’s true, we do know that the lions symbolize the 12 tribes of Israel and the two lions with triangles on their head indicate the two chosen tribes – Judá and Leví. The fountain, lions, water system and basin were carefully restored between 2002 and 2010, keeping in with the authentic Nasrid design whilst also improving public access.
Toward the end of the Passeig Jaume I promenade, opposite the beach in Salou stands the Font Lluminosa – one of the most popular attractions in the Spanish tourist resort. Designed in 1973 by Carles Buigas (the same architect behind the Magic Fountain in Monjuic), this fountain features 1,000 water jets and 500 light and image projectors which combine to create 210 different effects used in an amazing water and light show, lasting up to 20 minutes. The fountain underwent some partial restoration in 2011, when the corrugated tubes were replaced with stainless steel tube lights and enhanced LED technology for improved performance.
Fuente de Barco de Agua
Located just off the Playa de la Malvarrosa beach on the coast of Valencia, the Fuente de Barco de Agua literally translates into “Water Boat Fountain” in English and is an excellent example of modern water fountain design techniques. This spectacular fountain portrays the illusion of a sail boat through the sole use of jets of water which are propelled through numerous metal bars which form the structure of the boat and mast.
Sadly, the construction date and the designer behind the masterpiece are both unknown, although there are very similar structures in both Portugal and Israel which are thought to be the work of the same architect.
The neo-classical Neptune Fountain on Paseo del Prado is a popular tourist attraction and local meeting spot in Madrid. Commissioned under the orders of King Carlos III, the fountain was started in 1780 by sculptor Juan Pascual de Mena, although José Rodríguez was the designer responsible for finishing the project by 1786. The god of the sea, Neptune, is the main character depicted in the fountain, who is seen with a trident in one hand and coiled snake in the other. He’s shown powerfully standing on a chariot drawn by sea horses, whilst surrounded by dolphins.
Magic Fountain of Montjuic
Located on Avinguda Maria Christina in Barcelona, the Magic Fountain of Montjuic was built for the 1929 World Fair by Carles Buigas. At that time, the fountain was situated on the spot where the Four Columns by Josep Puig I Cadafalch had stood (they were demolished the year before) and featured a mere 30 water arrangements, created by old-fashioned methods. In the 1980s, music was introduced to the Magic Fountain’s water and light show, before the entire structure was renovated in 1992 in time for the Barcelona Olympics. Today, over 687 gallons of water are pumped through the Magic Fountain every second, washing into three concentric pools which feature a water recirculation system. The water, sound and light show put on by the fountain is considered to be one of the very best in the world today.