Best Things To Do In Montjüic Barcelona
By Holly Stark
Montjuïc Barcelona is a scenic, wooded hill overlooking the city’s harbour and is home to a great number of attractions that are worth checking out if you’re visiting Spain. Located in the South West of the city, between Plaça Espanya and the industrial port, Montjuïc takes its name from Catalan, meaning ‘Jewish Mountain’, as it was once the home of the city’s Jewish community. Over time, the hill has played a strategic part in the defense of the city as one of the Barcelona’s prominent, natural elevations. Nowadays, the area is a great spot to enjoy off the beaten path Barcelona. Take the teleferic (Montjuïc cable car) up to Montjuïc castle and soak up the fascinating history of the ruins, wander around the Olympic Stadium, stop by a Catalan art museum or two, stroll through leafy parkland and finish with a performance at the iconic Magic Fountain. Seeking things to do in Montjuïc? Take a look at what there is do on Barcelona’s mountain, the best hidden spots of the hill such as La Caseta de Midjia and how to get to Montjuïc.
How To Get To Montjuïc?
Montjuïc Barcelona can be accessed any number of ways, especially if you’re willing to hike. But hiking aside, there are two practical ways of getting here. To save getting lost and confused along the winding paths of El Poble Sec up to the foot of the hill, consider taking the Montjuïc funicular train that leaves from Paral-lel metro station.The Montjuïc funicular is a one track, one train system, that shuttles locals and visitors towards many of the cultural gems on the leafy slopes of the hill. It takes you to the side of the mountain which is home to the castle; Avenida Miramar, and is within comfortable distance of the fortress, the Olympic Ring and Joan Miro Foundation. It leaves every 10 minutes and takes around 3 minutes. Or, if you’ve taken the metro to Paral-lel, you can ride the funicular as an extension to your journey, at no additional cost. Once you’ve taken the Montjuïc funicular, take the Teleferic de Montjuïc Cable Car up the slope to Montjuïc Castle. Riding the ski-style carriage is a fun way to get up, but you might want to book your tickets in advance. From this side of the mountain, you can see the entire city, as well Barcelona’s sprawling commercial port.
The Castell de Montjuïc was chosen as a spot to protect the city because of its raised altitude (rising 173m above sea level.) The site of the old military fortress has roots dating back to 1640. However, it was also a site which bombed the city in 1842 during the uprising when Barcelona revolted against the Spanish government in Madrid. Also serving as a political prison and even a place of execution for nonconformists, such as the Catalan ex president Lluís Companys who was killed there in 1940, the site has a turbulent and sinister history. As one of the top things to do in Montjuïc, Montjuïc Castle commands stunning views of the city. Nowadays, the area is a peaceable spot where you can soak up panoramic views and enjoy the rich history of Barcelona and beyond. The memory of the fortress is a reminder of repression and the city's struggles during different periods in its history.
Wondering what to do in Montjuïc? Check out the Olympic Stadium which was designed for the 1936 Games. However, the Games were not actually hosted in Barcelona until 1992, as Barcelona lost out to Berlin. There were plans to stage an anti-fascist Games in their place but the Spanish Civil War put a swift end to that. Before the 1992 Summer Games, Montjuïc saw a second wave of exciting projects, as many of the original constructions were renovated, such as the Olympic diving pool. The Anella Olympic or Olympic Ring was constructed. You can’t go inside many of them on a standard day, but the area is beautifully landscaped and tranquil to stroll around, with water features, Calatrava’s stunning Torre Telefonica Communications Tower needle, Sant Jordi Palace sports hall, the Picornell pools. Opposite the stadium you can check out the Olympic and Sport Museum.
Catalan Art Museum (MNAC) And CaixaForum
Seeking artsy things to do in Montjuïc? The Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, also known as MNAC, has great collections covering exhibits from a collection of Romanesque paintings and Catalan art to 19th and 20th century Catalan modernists and impressionists. The building is a landmark in Barcelona, which was originally constructed in 1929 as the main pavilion for the World Exhibition. If seeing lots of medieval religious iconography is not your thing, head up to the modern art collection exhibited on the first floor. There you’ll find amazing works by Picasso, Dali, Ramon Casas and many more of Barcelona’s most influential artists. For more modern art, check out Montjuïc's CaixaForum; a modern art gallery housed in the old Casaramona textile factory. With a portal designed by Japanese architect Arato Isozaki; the museum exhibits nearly a thousand works from various artists, including Anish Kapoor, Tony Cragg and Juan Uslé.
The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc's (Font Màgica de Montjuïc) is not to be missed when exploring the area. One of the more alternative and best things to do in Barcelona at night, the Magic Fountain’s first performance was on May 19, 1929 during the Great Universal Exhibition. Designer Carles Buigas submitted plans just a year before the exhibition and many thought that the project was too ambitious to be created, let alone completed on time. However, he achieved it and the Magic Fountain was born. Head there to witness an amazing display of motion, light, colour, music and water acrobatics - when these elements are combined together in just the right way, you end up with pure magic. The Magic Fountain is a must see Barcelona attraction if you’re spending the night in the city, and if you only have the later part of the day, the Magic Fountain is a great way to spend half a day in Barcelona. From June to the end of September, the show takes place from Wednesday to Sunday at 21:30.
La Caseta del Migdia
Explore Barcelona off the beaten path and head up to La Caseta del Migdia, or The House of the Midday Sun. One of the Barcelona’s best kept secrets, the bar is situated on the grassy cliff tops just behind the castle on Montjuïc. It’s difficult to get to and not the easiest to find, but so worth it once you are sat at a table sipping a cool drink and looking over at the stunning sea views, especially at night. This hidden gem in the pine forest is a great spot to enjoy a BBQ in the afternoon, watch the sun go down and hear a DJ set, at a much more laid back pace than you’ll find in the city below. Looking for things to do in Montjuïc that are hidden? Seeking Montjuïc restaurants? Then check out Montjuïc park and the beautiful House of the Midday Sun; a leafy green haven away from the busy Barcelona streets.