We continue our walk through Barcelona! If you think we’re done after part three… well, we’re not! We toured some of the city’s popular landmarks, but now await one of the most interesting walks … We’ll ride a lift over downtown, we will admire the beautiful view from above, we will descend on the Montjuic Hill, all the way to the Spain Square… We start another part of “The neighborhoods of Barcelona”!
(If you haven’t read the past three … you can find them at the end of this one! 😉 )
Climb to Montjuic
Montjuic Hill rises above the port south of downtown. Many tourists climb it to visit the castle at the top. But… we’ll go down! That’s right, I’ll give you one of the secrets to getting to the hill that will give you a different view of Barcelona! You can also walk to the castle or get there with a funicular that is included in the public transport. But… so you won’t be able to see some of the most beautiful views of the city… That’s why I advise you not to do it and head directly to the cable car!
Yes, Barcelona has a lift that runs over the port and the heart of the city – La Rambla. Breathless views! Where to get it? The first station on the cable car is at the port – San Sebastián Tower. The price for a one way ticket is 11 euros. You can check out more details about the lift HERE. Keep in mind that it opens at 10:30 and in winter at 11:00. Something that reinforces my thesis that the Spaniards are in no hurry to get anywhere and start working late… This is a great opportunity to start your day with coffee around the coast! Tickets are purchased from the cashier of the tower, it becomes quite fast. And the views from the lift … I dare to say that these are the most beautiful views from above in Barcelona!
At the foot of the hill
The last station Miramar is at the foot of the hill. We have about a 20-minute walk to Montjuic Castle at the top. There are numerous gardens and parks in the area that allow local people to isolate themselves from the urban environment. The shortest way up is through Mirador Gardens. You can sit there for a few minutes of relaxation and enjoyment and admire the beautiful water cascade. And from there, there is also a good view of the port.
The Castle Montjuic (Castell de Montjuïc)
And we are already at the top! The entrance to the castle is about 5 euros. Rising from the top of a 180-meter hill, the castle has become a symbol of oppression of the city. Today, the Catalan flag is proudly worn here, but that is only since 2007 when it was returned to Catalonia. It dates from the 17th century! Impressed by the deep ditches and solid supporting walls. The place has been used differently over the years – from a defensive fortress to a prison. More about the history of the castle is shown in some of the galleries inside. Today it is used to host a variety of events and screenings. Especially popular destination because of the views of the city.
From here down to the city there are plenty of places to visit! The first stop might be the Botanical Garden (Jardí Botànic de Barcelona), which is small but very beautiful. Another interesting place is the Joan Miro Foundation (Fundació Joan Miró). More than 10,000 works by one of the most famous 20th-century modernist artists are on display here. However, we skipped both and headed directly to the Olympic Complex.
The Olympic Ring of Barcelona (Anella Olímpica)
The 1992 Olympics revolutionized tourism in the city. Visitors are amazed by the infrastructure and the beautiful architecture. Thus, the spotlights are aimed at Barcelona and the Catalan capital attracts worldwide attention. The complex is known as the Olympic Ring (Anella Olímpica) and includes the buildings around – Sant Jordi Sports Hall (Palau Sant Jordi) – 188 m high communication tower of Santiago Calatrava (Torre de Telecomunicaciones), the Picornell Swimming Complex and Olympic Stadium Luis Companis. In fact, the Olympic Stadium was built for the 1936 Olympics, which was to be held in Spain. The outbreak of the Civil War moved them to Germany. The stadium was reconstructed for the 1992 Olympics. The facility accommodates 65,000 people and is free to peek through one of the terraces.
Village Museum – Poble Espanyol
Only a few minutes from the complex is located one of the most beautiful and visited places on the hill – The Museum of the Spanish Village “Poble Espanyol”. You can get your ticket online with a 10% discount from the site of the complex – HERE. The venue was built to mark the occasion of hosting Barcelona at the 1929 World’s Fair. If you cross its threshold, you fall into an architectural mix! Its architects have toured more than 1600 settlements from all over Spain (and part of Portugal) in search of the most worthy buildings and squares to find their place in Poble Espanyol. 117 typical locations from all over Spain are reproduced here! As you walk past the Buildings from Castilla, turning around the corner you will find yourself in a whitewashed Andalusian house and the flowers hanging on their walls…
The energy of the place is indescribable, you can easily enjoy the architecture of all of Spain. The beautiful squares make this place a favorite destination for relaxation and rest and is visited by thousands of tourists. In fact, it should have been destroyed immediately after the exhibition… Thanks to the interest it has generated, we can still enjoy it today! There are also many restaurants to sit and relax with a cup of coffee or sangria… And why not paella! Our choice was Tapes Tapas – a small traditional restaurant on a quiet and peaceful small square…
Spain Square (Plaça d’Espanya)
Before heading to the beautiful Spain Square, we pass the National Museum of Art… And this building was built for the 1929 World’s Fair, and there are the treasures of Catalan art inside… And… the museum closed on Monday… Something we didn’t check beforehand! We decided not to return in one of the next days and maybe it was a mistake… But so I left a reason to visit the city again!
The building and its huge staircase are impressive in themselves… And the view from it to Spain Square is captivating… And here comes the next reason to visit Barcelona again… The Magic fountain! Of course… something needs to be in restoration. And in reality… there were no fountains… Hope next time they work!
The square itself… As we walk towards it, we glance backwards… No way, the view is worth it… And Spain Square is one of Barcelona’s many throbbing hearts… Charming! Despite its hectic traffic and many tourists using it as a starting point… The two Venetian towers are about 50 meters high, marking the beginning of Queen Maria Cristina Street… You can assume that in this vision the square was changed for the 1929 World’s Fair…. And in the evening, when the fountains work naturally, here is one of the busiest spots in the city! It remains to be seen next time…
And for the day’s finale… you can visit the nearby Las Arenas Mall – across the street. The former bullfighting arena is full of shops and is a place for a cocktail overlooking the square (and it stayed for next time…). And my choice was to slip through the streets of El Raval and walk to La Rambla…