Here in Barcelona we are very fortunate to have a number of open spaces, offering havens of tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. One such location is Montjuïc – the prominent hill wedged between the Poble Sec neighborhood and the Mediterranean Sea. But Montjuïc is so much more than just a beautiful location, with spectacular views of the cityscape and Maresme coastline, to be explored on foot during a hot, sunny day. Over the centuries Montjuïc has drawn people to it for a number of reasons. Perhaps most revealing is the name itself, which in Catalan literally mean “Mountain of the Jews”, as this was the location of the Jewish cemetery in medieval times. In the twentieth century it was the focal point for the 1929 International Festival, and the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. Today Montjuïc is also home to a number of galleries, museums, music and sporting venues, and even a castle, making this part of the city a great place to visit throughout the year, come rain or shine. Here is a guide to just some of our favorites places to be found on this picturesque and easily-accessible mount.
When entering the city of Barcelona from the airport, the first major square that you will come across is Plaça d’Espanya. If you look to your right, between the two, matching towers (known locally as the Venetian Towers because they were designed in the style of the bell tower of St. Mark’s in Venice), you will see the elegant Palau Nacional, which is home to National Art Museum of Catalunya (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya or MNAC for short). This handsome building is a crammed full with exceptional examples of Catalan art and design. It is perhaps most famous for its collections of romanesque frescoes.
Address: Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc, s/n, 08038, Barcelona. Opening Hours: October – April: Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 – 16:00, Sunday and public holidays 10:00 – 15:00. May – September, Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 – 20:00, Sunday and public holidays 10:00 – 15:00. Monday closed except public holidays. Closed January 1st, May 1st and December 25th. Metro: Espanya (L1/Red Line, L3/Green Line). Website: www.museunacional.cat
Only a stone’s throw from the MNAC, the Caixa Forum offers many and varied exhibits within this contemporary arts gallery. Take time to enjoy the building building itself, which was was once a textile factory, and was built by renowned Catalan architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch, who designed such modernisme gems as Casa Amatller on Passeig de Gracia.
Address: Av. Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia 6-8, 08038, Barcelona. Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday, and public holidays, 10:00 – 20:00. Special extended summer openings on Wednesdays in the months of July and August, 10:00 – 23:00. December 24th, 31st and January 5th, 10:00 – 18:00. Closed December 25th, January 1st and 6th. Metro: Espanya (L1/Red Line, L3/Green Line). Website: www.obrasocial.lacaixa.es
More mordern art, this time a temple dedicated to one of the leading lights of the 20th century modern art world – Barcelona’s own Joan Miró.
Address: Av. Miramar, Parc de Montjuïc, 08038, Barcelona. Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (except Thursday), October – June, 10:00 – 19:00, July – September, 10:00 – 20:00. Thursday throughout the year, 10:00 – 21:00. Sunday and public holiday throughout the year, 10:00 – 14:30. Closed Monday, unless a public holiday. Metro: Paral·lel (L2/Purple Line, L3/Green Line), then take the Furnicular de Montjuïc. Website: www.fmirobcn.org
Created as part of the 1929 International Festival, the charming, formal gardens center around an amphitheater, which host a variety of open-air events and concerts during the summer months, as part of the annual El Grec festival.
Address: Pg Santa Madrona 38, Parc de Montjuïc, 08038 Barcelona. Opening Hours: 10:00 – dusk, daily. Metro: Paral·lel (L2/Purple Line, L3/Green Line), then take the Furnicular de Montjuïc. Website: www.barcelona.cat
Museu Olímpic i de l’Esport Joan Antoni Samaranch de Barcelona
The fact that the Barcelona boomed thanks to the investment bestowed upon the city by the 1992 Summer Olympic Games is well documented. We have even dedicated a blog post to the subject! However, let us not forget that at the heart of the Olympics is competition through sport. Around the city there are a number of venues that serve as reminders of the games, when Barcelona was in the global spotlight. For those interested in the Olympics story perhaps a good starting point is visiting the Museu Olímpic i de l’Esport Joan Antoni Samaranch de Barcelona (the Juan Antonio Samaranch Olympic and Sports Museum of Barcelona). Afterwards we recommend that you also take in the Olympic Stadium and during the summer months soak up the sun poolside at the Olympic diving pool.
Address: Museu Olímpic i de l’Esport Joan Antoni Samaranch de Barcelona, Avinguda de l’Estadi, 60
08038 Barcelona. Opening Hours: October to March: Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 – 18:00. Sunday and public holidays, 10:00 – 14:30. April to October: Tuesday – Satuday, 10:00 – 20:00. Sunday and public holidays, 10:00 – 14:30. Closed January 1st and 5th, and December 25th and 26th. Note: December 14th – 21st 2015 the museum is closed for renovation works. Metro: Paral·lel (L2/Purple Line, L3/Green Line), then take the Furnicular de Montjuïc. Website: www.museuolimpicbcn.cat
Castell de Montjuïc (Montjuïc Castle)
Thanks to its elevated position, Montjuïc’s naturally strategic position is obvious. Historically this has been beneficial to those occupying this the castle, who were either looking out for insurrection amongst the populace below, or any threats approaching via sea. It seems unsurprising therefore that a fort, which subsequently developed into the castle that still stands today, has been in place on Montjuïc since the 1640. Over the centuries the castle has served a number of purposes, including a military prison, venue for carrying out politically-motivated executions and a military museum. Today the castle is in the process of being restored into a municipal space. As the castle is located at the pinnacle of the Montjuïc mount the views are particularly spectacular.
Address: Castell de Montjuïc, C/ Montjuïc 66, 08038 Barcelona. Opening Hours: November to March: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 – 18:00. April to October 10:00 – 20:00. Closed on December 25th, January 1st and holy public holidays. Metro: Montjuïc Paral.lel (L2/Purple Line and L3/Green Line), followed by Furnicular de Montjuïc, followed by cable car. Website: www.bcn.cat/castelldemontjuic
How to get there
Aside from the obvious (taxis, metros, buses or on foot), you may also want to consider one to the following means for getting to where you want to go on Monjuïc.
- Funicular de Monjuïc: From within Paral.lel metro station (L2/Purple Line and L3/Green Line), you will see the access to the Funicular de Monjuïc. Simply jump onto the waiting train, and you’ll be taken directly up to Av. Miramar. Website: www.tmb.cat
- Cable Cars: There are actually two cable cars on Montjuic:
- The first, the Teleferico del Puerto, connects Port Vell (the old port) with Monjuïc. Website: www.telefericodebarcelona.com
- The second, the Teleferic de Monjuïc, dovetails with the Furnicular terminus, and takes you up to the summit of mount, depositing you outside of the gates of the castle. Website: www.tmb.cat/en/teleferic-de-montjuic
Events and Useful Links
- Sala Montjuic
- Piknic Electronik
- El Grec Festival
- Poble Espanyol
- Museu Etnològic de Barcelona (Barcelona Ethnological Museum)
Want more information? Why not get in touch! Visit our website at www.HiThisIsBarcelona.com