Sightseeing in Barcelona? In your own city? And why not? Even if we are from here, there are always corners and points of interest to discover. And even more so in Barcelona, a city with endless hideouts, monuments, parks, museums, exhibitions… It’s always a good plan to go sightseeing in Barcelona.
In this article we will focus on the Montjuïc area, the closest to the Abrassame restaurant. So take a backpack, water bottle and comfortable shoes, and we started the excursion.
Montjuïc Castle. It is located on the flattest part of the mountain. There are two options to get there, with buses 150 or 55 and also by cable car from the Parallel Metro stop.
Like all castles, this one also has its own peculiar history. In the year 1074 it began as a lighthouse, where there was a hut inhabited by a sailor who was in charge of watching if hostile ships arrived on our coasts. During the years 1940-1952 the lighthouse was walled in, becoming a fort. And it was not until the years 1688-1697 that it became the Castle it is today. You can buy tickets at the following link, but keep in mind that on the first Sundays of the month they have open days, that is, admission is free. Admission is also free every Sunday from 3:00 p.m. So now you know, if you can, organize the excursion for the first Sunday of the month. When we leave the castle, we’ll go down the Carretera de Montjuïc to take the opportunity to go to the Mayor’s Viewpoint and enjoy the panoramic views of the city.
Botanical garden. There are two in Montjuïc, the Barcelona Botanical Garden and the Historical Botanical Garden.
We’ll start with the first one, which is the one closest to the castle, the Barcelona Botanical Garden. Its function is to raise awareness and preserve the plants of the Mediterranean. In its main itinerary it shows the similarity that we will find with the Californian, Chilean, South African and Australian landscapes. The best time to visit it is in spring, you will find a spectacle of colors since that is when most of the flowers bloom. In the following link you will find information about schedules and prices. Although, like Montjuïc Castle, admission is also free on the first Sunday of the month and every Sunday from 3:00 p.m.
Historic Botanical Garden. Here we will find plants from colder climates. The reason is because it is located in a hollow and shady area of Montjuïc where the temperature can drop up to 4º, ideal for cooling off in these hot days of summer. Here admission is always free, although in the following link you will find information about opening hours and location.
Parks and gardens. There are many parks and gardens around the Montjuïc area. You can visit them as you walk from the Barcelona Botanical Garden to the Historical Botanical Garden. The most popular and best rated on Google are the Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer Gardens, the Laribal Gardens and the Joan Maragall Gardens. Any of them is ideal for making a technical stop and setting up a small picnic to recharge your batteries and continue with the walk. So don’t forget to add a white and red checkered tablecloth to your backpack to give a more chic touch to your photos.
The wonderful Poble Español. A must for those who do tourism in Barcelona. It was built thanks to the International Exhibition held in Barcelona in 1929, which was a great urban development for Barcelona, more specifically for the Montjuïc area and surrounding areas. Poble Español is one of the most popular and charismatic venues in the city. It represents the most popular architecture and culture of Spain. In addition, they organize thousands of events, concerts, exhibitions… We leave you the link to their website so you can inquire about the schedules, prices and all the information you need.
The Greek Theatre. Its name is not because it was built by the Greeks, it is because the architect was inspired by the theatre of Epidaurus from ancient Greece when designing it. It was built in 1929 for the International Exposition. It is an open-air theatre located in a landscaped environment of 1.65 hectares, it hosts 1900 spectators and performs plays and dance. In the following link you will find functions, schedules and prices.
The majestic National Palace, the MNAC. It was also built thanks to the International Exposition. Classicist-style building crowned by a large dome inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica and four towers inspired by the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. A harmonious combination giving rise to one of the most emblematic and majestic buildings in Barcelona. It stands out for housing one of the most complete collections of Romanesque art in the world. In addition to housing collections and organising exhibitions, it has large interior spaces that can be rented to organise unique events. In the following link you can soak up all its history, schedules and prices. Unlike Montjuïc Castle, admission here is free on the first Sunday of the month and every Saturday from 3:00 p.m. Important note, take a break on the steps of the front door, the panoramic views invite you to relax while enjoying the scenery.
Caixa Forum, former Casaramona factory. Modernist style building built between 1909 and 1912 on the slopes of Montjuïc. It was owned by a cotton industrialist who made blankets and towels. It would have to be very well done to be able to build a factory of such caliber. But it seems that the success was short-lived, the factory went bankrupt and in 1919 it had to close its doors. It then went on to serve as warehouses for the International Exposition of ’29 and was even the headquarters of the National Police. The La Caixa Foundation acquired it in 1963 and 10 years later it was declared an asset of cultural interest. It was in 1993 when restoration work began for its social and cultural use as CaixaForum, inaugurated in 2002. It houses permanent collections, holds temporary exhibitions and organises a myriad of activities. Go to the following link to find out about schedules, prices and activities. If you are a CaixaBank customer, you will get discounts and you can even enjoy free activities.
Magic fountain of Montjuïc. It was also built in 1929 for the International Exhibition of 1929. Clearly, the exhibition meant a big change for the Montjuïc area and the surrounding areas. This project encompassed from the luminous rows of Av. María Cristina to the waterfalls and ponds of the National Palace (MNAC), with the fountain being the main element. It is located in Plaça Carles Buïgas, named after the architect who was in charge of building this colossal combination of architectural works, highlighting water as an essential element of the project. The charm of the fountain is that it combines the play of light with water to the sound of music. In the following link you will find the updated schedules.
Plaza España. We finish in Plaça d’Espanya, here we will find the most famous roundabout in Barcelona, listed as Catalan Cultural Heritage. Do you know what year it was built? That’s right, in 1929 because of the International Exposition. It was designed by the architect Josep María Pujol and the ornamental sculptures were commissioned by Miguel Blay, Frederic Llobet and the brothers Miquel and Llucià Oslé. Each designer captured his own style, observing it carefully we will discover classical Greco-Roman, Baroque, Classicist Realism, Noucentisme and Art Deco architecture. And then they say that it’s not good to mix, looking at this work it seems that sometimes combining styles gives extraordinary results. Giving the square its name, the statues represent a poetic allegory to Spain, symbolizing the rivers that flow into the three seas that surround the peninsula.
Right next door we will find Las Arenas de Barcelona. An old bullring built in 1900 and converted in 2011 into a cultural and leisure centre, maintaining the original neo-Mudejar style structure. There are shops of all kinds, fashion, supermarket, cafes, exhibitions, restaurants and even a gym with SPA. Up in the dome, in addition to being nosotr@s, you will find spectacular panoramic views of the entire city. Ideal to end the day of sightseeing in Barcelona, so you can have dinner at Abrassame to put the finishing touch to your day of sightseeing in Barcelona.
Montjuïc Cemetery. Cemetery tourism, also called necrotourism. With a long tradition in Europe, it is becoming more and more established in our lands. Tourists understand that it is an architectural and cultural element of the region, beyond the function it plays.
The Montjuïc cemetery, declared a Catalan Cultural Heritage Site, was built in 1883 by the eclectic architect Leandre Albareda. It covers practically the entire southern slope of the mountain, has an area of 560,000 hectares with more than 160,000 graves, to visit it can give you more than a week if you are a fan of this type of tourism. In addition to treasured infinite stories, the site has a hearse museum. The cemetery organizes two-hour guided tours, in which the most unique and interesting obituaries are recounted. In the following link you will find schedules and prices.
Air raid shelter 307. Shelter created in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. At this time, an extensive network of tunnels was created so that the population could protect themselves from the bombardments. They were built by the residents of the neighbourhood, with the help of the Generalitat, providing tools and materials to carry out the construction. The 307 is one of the best preserved and one of the few that is still accessible. It currently belongs to the MUHBA, Museum of the History of Barcelona. It is located in the Poble Nou neighbourhood, specifically on C/ Nou de la Rambla 169. In the following link you can buy tickets, although keep in mind that on the first Sunday of the month admission is free and also every Sunday from 3:30 p.m. So take advantage now, there are still free sightseeing activities in Barcelona!