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The Ultimate Guide to Visit Montjuic Mountain from top to bottom

Barcelona what to see: “MONTJUIC”

If this is your first time in Barcelona, I would recommend you to visit this beautiful mountain, if you are planning to stay in town for at least 3 days. Why? Check my 2 days in Barcelona Youtube Video, and you’ll see there’s a lot to be seen with 2 days.

What to do in Montjuic Mountain?

Mainly you’ll find great views, really gorgeous gardens from Barcelona second world exposition in 1929 & the olimpic ring from olimpic games in  1992. This is the list of all the things to do in Montjuic Mountain from top to botton, in order of appearance:

  1. Montjuic Castle
  2. Montjuic Slides
  3. Hotel Miramar
  4. Aeri del Port
  5. Jardines de Mossen i Costa i Llobera
  6. Mirador de l’Alcalde
  7. Montjuic Cable Car
  8. Jardins de Joan brossa
  9. Jardins de Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer
  10. Piscinas municipales
  11. Montjuïc Funicular Railway
  12. Fundación Joan Miró
  13. Jardines del Laribal
  14. Teatro Griego
  15. Palauet Albeniz
  16. Joan Maragall Garden
  17. Umbráculo Garden
  18. Botanico
  19. Botánico histórico
  20. Palau Sant Jordi
  21. Estadio Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium
  22. Plaza de europa anillo olimpico Montjuïc Communications Tower
  23. Cementerio del Montjuic
  24. MNAC
  25. Fuente Magica
  26. Las Arenas
  27. Poble Español
  28. Mies van der Rohe Pavilion

From my point of view, there are 2 ways to start exploring this mountain:

  • From Montjuic Castle on top of the mountain, coming by bus/ fonicular railway/ or cable car
  • or from Miramar Hotel also from the top but coming from the port, with the Barcelona port cable car
  • You start from the top, and go down the mountain by feet. Don’t recommend to do it the other way around.

Montjuic Castle

montjuic-castle-barcelona-pickapictour

This fort, thanks to the privileged location on top of the mountain, with 173 metres above sea level, offers 360º views of the city & the harbour.

  • Price is 9€
  • It’s opened everyday
  • From March 1 to October 31 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (box office closes at 7:30 p.m.)
  • From November 1 to February 28 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (box office closes at 5:30 p.m.)

How to get to Montjuic Castle?

My recommendation to visit this mountain is to get to the top first:

  • Bus 150 from Plaza España or Paralell avenue
  • or Fonicular of Montjuic from Paralell metro station L2/L3 and then the bus 150
  • The cable car service begins in Avinguda Miramar where the Funicular and leaves visitors in front of the Castle as the last stop.
  • Coming here with the hop on hop off bus tour is also a good choice. You have many other stops in the different attractions of the mountain.
  • Then go all the way down walking until you get to MNAC, National Museum of Art of Catalunya & the Magic Fountan, going through all the places I will mention now:

Montjuic Slides

Montjuic Barcelona

You will find two fairly long metal slides united by a platform, right in the middle of nature, after visiting the Castle. Check the with google maps!

 

Aeri del Port & Hotel Miramar

Montjuic Cable Car
Miramar Hotel Montjuic
Miramar Hotel Montjuic

How to get to Miramar hotel?

The other way to start the visit of Montjuic is to get to Hotel Miramar by Aeri del Port instead of Montjuic Castle.

The Cable Car was designed in 1926 in order to connect the 1929 exhibition with its maritime section. It connects the San Sebastián tower in Barceloneta with the Miramar station, located on the Montjuic mountain. The estimated duration of the trip is 8 minutes one way and the maximum capacity of each cabin is 19 people. Total distance is 1300mts. Views are incredible!

 

  • One way 11.00 €
  • Full ticket 16.50 €
  • From San Sebastián Tower in Barceloneta beach
Once you get to Miramar hotel, you will be ready to start exploring the mountain. The hotel conserves the original façade of the palace built on this site in 1929, when Barcelona was celebrating its second Universal Exhibition. Whereas the first Universal Exhibition, in 1889, allowed the modernisation of the centre of the city, this second exhibition led to the reconstruction of the Montjuic area: the Plaza de España (Spain Square), the “Poble Espanyol” (Spanish Village), and, of course, the palace that is now our hotel.

 

Jardines de Mossen i Costa i Llobera

 

Right after the Miramar Hotel views, you have a fantastic garden to visit which is just 2 mins away: The Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens, popularly known as Cactus Garden. They offer a spectacular panoramic view of the city’s coastline and port. These gardens are one of the largest gardens in Europe specializing in cactus and succulents. If you are hungry already, go to Terraza Martínez to enjoy a paella with a view!

 

 

Mirador de l’Alcalde

If you start the way down the hill, coming from Hotel Miramar or from Montjuic castle, the next garden is called Mirador de l’Alcalde. It’s a belvedere overlooking the sea and the city which spectacular 180º panoramic views. The Montjuïc Cable Car (not Aeri del Port), stops here and at the castle, which stands just a few metres above the Mirador.

 

Jardins de Joan brossa

Jardins Joan Brossa Montjuic

Here, but 30 years ago, was Montjuïc Amusement Park. Now it’s just a large green space, so if you miss this park, you won’t be missing too much!

Art is represented in the gardens by poetry and sculpture. They are named after the poet Joan Brossa, in line with the tradition of dedicating Montjuïc’s gardens to Catalan poets.

As for sculptures, four have been preserved from the old amusement park:

  • Joaquim Ros i Sabaté’s El pallasso (The Clown, 1972), which depicts Charlie Rivel lifting his famous chair;
  • Josep Cañas’ Carmen Amaya (1966), a tribute to this Barcelona-born flamenco dancer;
  • Núria Tortras’s Charlot (1972), with Charlie Chaplin climbing on top of a globe
  • and Nicolau Ortiz’s Joaquim Blume (1966), depicting a gymnast exercising with Olympic rings in the background.
Two of the buildings constructed in the old amusement park in 1965 have also been preserved:
  • The first is the Damm kiosk, the brewery’s bar restaurant, which soon became the amusement park’s most popular and iconic circular building. It has been restored and is currently a venue for holding celebrations and conventions.
  • The second, the amusement park’s Bar Fanta, is the Para-Sol building, made of concrete and curiously shaped like an umbrella. Now it is a decorative feature of the gardens.

 

Jardins de Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer

Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer Aquatic Flowers

 

The Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer Gardens are by far one of the most beautiful ones in Barcelona. A combination of bulbous, rhizome and aquatic plants gives them an exceptional range of colours. It has a beautiful lake and in the upper area is where the most important part of the aquatic plant collection is concentrated. They are found in some thirty, small, interconnected ponds that are distributed from one end of a long staircase to the other.

 

If you don’t want to go to the top…

Start your journey here:

Montjuïc Funicular Railway

Montjuic Fonicular
The funicular railway gives you quick, easy access by public transport to Montjuïc from the centre of Barcelona in just 3 minutes.
The funicular of Barcelona operates like a metro with two stops:
  • Paral·lel, which links up with metro lines L2 and L3,
  • and Parc de Montjuïc, located on the mountain, which links up with the cable car to reach the top of Montjuïc and access the castle.
  • You can also grab the 150 bus from the Fonicular station that also goes to the castle, in case you are afraid of heights.
  • In addition to the castle, you can continue the visit towards Fundació Joan Miró right in front or in case you are here during the summer months, stop for a beer where the Montjuic Municipal swimming pools bar which is also right in front.

 

Montjuic Cable Car

Teleferic de Montjuic

The route starts at the Parc Montjuïc stop, right where the Fonicular of Montjuic. The cable car goes directly to Montjuïc Castle, with no stops in between. The return journey includes an optional stop at Mirador de l’Alcalde or Mayor’s viewpoint and ends at Parc Montjuïc. Its 750 meters of route allow you to gaze at beautiful views from Sagrada Familia, the Camp Nou or the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, culminating your journey in the Montjüic Castle, on the top of a mountain.

 

Montjuic Municipal swimming pools

Piscina Municipal de Montjuic
Piscina Municipal de Montjuic
The Piscina Municipal de Montjuïc is a sports venue situated in the Olympic Ring in Barcelona. The venue consists of two swimming pools that hosted the diving events and the water polo preliminaries for the 1992 Summer Olympics. The location of the venue gives panoramic views of the city. Apart from the pools, there’s a bar opened during the summer where you can enjoy a beer, the sun & whole Barcelona underneath.

 

Fundación Joan Miró

Fundació Joan Miro

The Fundació Joan Miró was created by Miró himself, at first principally with works from his own private collection. The Fundació opened to the public on 10 June 1975 and has since become a dynamic centre in which Joan Miró’s work coexists with cutting-edge contemporary art. The Fundació is located in a building designed by Josep Lluís Sert, making it one of the few museums anywhere in the world in which the complicity between artist and architect underpins the dialogue between the works and the space that houses them.

  • General tickets €13
  • Opened from Tuesday to Sunday

 

Palauet Albeniz

 

The Palace of Albéniz formerly known as the Royal Pavilion of Montjuic, is a palace that currently serves as the official residence of the Spanish royal family in the region.
The gardens of the palace, Joan Maragall Garden, are named after Spanish poet Joan Maragall. The original gardens were designed by Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier with the assistance of Spanish landscape architect Nicolás María Rubió Tudurí. I call them Little Versailles Gardens, they make me remember the lovely gardens in France.
  • Weekends & holidays from 10am to 3pm
  • Free Admission

Laribal Gardens

Jardins del Laribal
And here we are in my favourite gardens in whole Barcelona.
Jardins de Laribal, completed in 1922, are associated with a later event: the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition.

 

The upper part of today’s gardens once belonged to the estate of Josep Laribal, a prestigious lawyer and journalist. The City Council acquired the estate in 1908 and founded a school there, the Escola del Bosc that still exists. A stroll in these gardens, one of Parc de Montjuïc’s gems, is a real pleasure. The lush vegetation, the water dropping from the cascades and gently flowing between the broad side walls, tiled benches and small squares form a whole of exceptional beauty.

To connect the upper part of the park with the Jardins del Teatre Grec, Forestier designed a series of steps that took their inspiration from the ones in the Jardins del Generalife, with water flowing down the bannisters, pools with fountain jets on the landings and stone benches for resting on, enjoying the fresh air and sound of the water. In fact, water is the essence of these gardens, with their ponds and pools.

Teatre Grec Gardens

montjuic-gardens-teatre-grec-barcelona-pickapictour

 

The Greek Theater, in Catalan Teatre Grec, is an open-air theater located on the Montjuic mountain. Despite its name, it is not a construction made by the ancient Greeks. It was designed and built in 1929 for the Barcelona International Exposition by the architects Ramon Reventós and Nicolás María Rubió Tudurí, who were inspired by Epidaurus theatre. It was located in an old quarry on the mountain, whereupon the stone-cut wall serves as a stage for the theatre. The 460 m² venue can accommodate around 1,900 spectators. Next to the theater there are some beautiful gardens, designed by Rubió i Tudurí and Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier.

 

The Umbracle Gardens

Los jardines del Umbráculo se encuentran en la montaña de Montjuïc y fueron realizados entre 1917 y 1924, con motivo de la Exposición Internacional de Barcelona de 1929, siendo obra de Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier y Nicolau Maria Rubió i Tudurí. Su nombre proviene del Umbráculo de la Font del Gat, un invernadero desaparecido en un incendio en los años 1960, del que quedan las paredes.
The Umbracle Gardens were built between 1917 and 1924, on the occasion of the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition, and were the work of Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier and Nicolau Maria Rubió i Tudurí. Its name comes from the Font del Gat Umbracle, a greenhouse that disappeared in a fire in the 1960s, of which the walls remain.

 

Barcelona Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden Montjuic
The botanical garden of Barcelona, to be honest, is not my favourite. It specialises in showcasing the biodiversity of Mediterranean flora from all around the world. It enables dozens of species found in all the city’s gardens to be put in their proper geographical context. These are plants that have adapted perfectly to temperate climates despite being native to other shores. Do not expect flowers all around nor beautiful floral decorations.

 

  • Opened Everyday
  • General ticket: € 5
  • Combined admission Museu de Ciències Naturals – Jardí Botànic: € 7
  • Combined admission Castell Montjuïc – Jardí Botànic: € 10

 

Barcelona Historic Botanical Garden

Vista de la Masia del Jardí Botànic Històric de Barcelona.
Jardí Botànic Històric (Historic Botanical Garden), a tiny gem among the gardens of Barcelona, nestles in the hollows of two disused quarry pits in the Foixarda sector of Montjuïc, behind the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (National Art Museum of Catalonia, MNAC). This one, on the other side, is worth visiting, not too big and really charming.

 

Palau Sant Jordi

Palau Sant Jordi Montjuic
Palau Sant Jordi is an indoor sporting arena and multi-purpose installation that is part of the Olympic Ring complex located in Barcelona. Designed by the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, it was opened in 1990. The maximum seating capacity of the arena is 17,960. It is the largest indoor arena in Spain. The Palau Sant Jordi was one of the main venues of the 1992 Summer Olympics. Today, it is used for a variety of indoor sport events as well as for concerts and other cultural activities, due to its great flexibility.

 

Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium

Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium Montjuic
Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys formerly known as the Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc is a stadium in Barcelona located in the Anella Olímpica of Montjuïc. Originally built in 1927 for the 1929 International Exposition in the city. It was renovated in 1989 to be the main stadium for the 1992 Summer Olympic and 1992 Summer Paralympics.

With its current capacity of 60,713 seats, Estadi Lluís Companys is the 5th largest stadium in Spain and the 2nd largest in Catalonia.

 

Olimpic Ring & Plaça d’Europa

Olimpic Ring – Plaça d’Europa – Calatrava Tower

The construction project of the Olympic Ring took place as a result of the city of Barcelona’s candidacy for the 1992 Olympic Games, taking advantage of the space and the possibilities offered by the Montjuic mountain, following the idea projected by Puig i Cadafalch for the urbanization of the International Exposition of 1929.

The major facilities consist of the Olympic Stadium, the Palau Sant Jordi sports hall, the telecommunications tower designed by Santiago Calatrava, the National Physical Education Institute (INEFC) and the Picornell swimming pools. The Joan Antoni Samarach Olympic and Sports Museum is also located in the Olympic Ring. The original plan was designed around the main square, Plaça d’Europa and the Olympic Stadium.

 

Montjuic Cementery

Montjuic Cementery

The cementery was inaugurated on March 17, 1883. I would only visit it if you have a car. Is too far away! This enclosure came to replace the problem that Barcelona had with the lack of space in the small neighbourhood cemeteries scattered around the city. The cemetery is located on a slope of the Montjuic mountain, and is divided into 14 sectors. The cemetery has a large number of tombs and pantheons of great artistic value. 

Mies van der Rohe Pavilion

Mies van der Rohe Pavilion

The Barcelona Pavilion designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich, was the German Pavilion for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona, Spain. This building was used for the official opening of the German section of the exhibition. It is an important building in the history of modern architecture, known for its simple form and its spectacular use of extravagant materials, such as marble, red onyx and travertine. The same features of minimalism and spectacular can be applied to the furniture specifically designed for the building, including the Barcelona chair. It has inspired many important modernist buildings.

Poble Español

Poble Espanyol/ Spanish Village
Poble Espanyol/ Spanish Village
Poble Espanyol/ Spanish Village

Poble Espanyol, or Spanish village, is an open-air architectural museum in Barcelona, approximately 400 metres away from the fountains of Montjuïc. Built for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition, the museum consists of 117 full-scale buildings replicated from different places in the Iberian Peninsula, joined forming a small town recreating urban atmospheres of disparate places in Spain. It also contains a theater, restaurants, artisan workshops and a museum of contemporary art.

The idea was promoted by the Catalan architect Puig Cadafalch and the project was realized by architects Francesc Folguera and Ramon Reventós, art critic Miquel Utrillo and painter Xavier Nogués. The four professionals visited over 600,000 sites in Spain to collect examples as an attempt to synthesize characteristics that might be attributed to the Iberian Peninsula.

 

  • General ticket 9€
  • Poble Espanyol + MNAC 20€

 

What to do in Montjuic Mountain if you have only a few hours?

Montjuic MUST SEE:

MNAC – National Museum of Art of Catalunya

MNAC Montjuic Barcelona

The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is a museum of Catalan visual art situated on Montjuïc hill near Pl Espanya. The museum is especially notable for its outstanding collection of romanesque church paintings, and for Catalan art and design from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including modernisme and noucentisme. The museum is housed in the Palau Nacional, a huge, Italian-style building dating to 1929. 

The Oval Hall was reopened in 1992 on the occasion of the Olympic Games. The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya was officially inaugurated on 16 December 2004. It is one of the largest museums in Spain. The view around sunset time, is really amazing. I would combine its visit, at least from the outside, with the Magic Fountain light & water show.

 

  • General ticket 13€
  • Winter opening times: October to April, Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sundays and public holidays, 10am to 3pm.
  • Summer opening times: May to September, Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 8pm; Sundays and public holidays, 10am to 3pm.
  • Mondays closed, except public holidays. Monday public holidays 2017: April 2nd, May 21st and September 24th


Magic Fountain

Magic Fountain Montjuic
The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc is a fountain situated below the Palau Nacional on the Montjuïc mountain and near the Plaça d’Espanya and Poble Espanyol de Barcelona. The fountain, like most of the surrounding developments, was constructed for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition. It sprays 700 gallons of water a second through 3620 jets to create its effect. The highest water spout is 170 feet.

 

The Magic Fountain was designed by Carles Buïgas. The site where the fountain was constructed was the previous location of The Four Columns. The columns, representative of the Catalanism movement.  In the 1980s, music was incorporated with the light show. Performances include film, classical, and modern music, such as The Godfather, The Lord of the Rings, Gladiator, a Spanish zarzuela movement, “Barcelona” by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé, and modern pop songs. Performances take place at half-hour intervals every weekend, with weekends extended during the summer season.

 

Las Arenas Shopping Centre

Plaça Espanya Montjuic
Arenas Shopping Centre Montjuic
Las Arenas de Barcelona is a commercial shopping complex located in Plaça España. The structure was first used as a bullfighting arena but was reconstructed and designed into a commercial centre in March 2011 by Richard Rogers. Arenas de Barcelona is now a shopping, sports and music centre with a 360 rooftop view of the city. Bullfighting is forbidden in Catalunya since 2012!

How to get to Montjuic?

  • Metro L2/L1 to Plaza Espanya

 

My tips to visit Montjuic

  • If you want to visit the whole mountain, you will need like 6 hours or more.
  • Bring a picnic and take advantage of the gardens, there’s only a few bars in the area.
  • I would start definitely from the top and would finish where the MNAC for sunset time, to avoid a big uphill.
  • Check the magic fountain timetable so that after the visit you can enjoy the show.
  • Take your own water bottle and re fill it in the fountains.
  • If you’re taking the Montjuic cable car or Aeri del Port, get a one way ticket (cheaper) then walk down.
  • Bring sunglasses and comfortable shoes!

 

Hope this help you to get around in Barcelona! Please leave your comments below if you have any questions or any better idea 🙂

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