Looking for a Barcelona viewpoint straight out of a postcard?
If you need a romantic sunset or a day of quiet contemplation above the city chaos, look no further than the 257 meter (843 feet) high anti-aircraft battery called the Bunkers del Carmel.
Tourists and locals alike are slowly discovering this gorgeous panoramic, but trust me when I say that compared to places like Park Guell the bunkers are basically undiscovered.
Bunkers del Carmel
So why am I writing this article in the first place?
To get you to put the Bunkers in your Barcelona itinerary because:
- There’s a fantastic 360º city view with the Sagrada Familia, the sea, and Montjuic Hill.
- It gives an interesting cross-section of Barcelona history.
- It’s easily accessible with multiple Barcelona transport options.
- It’s found in an unspoiled, natural setting that hasn’t sold out to tourists.
- There are unparalleled photo opportunities.
- It’s free!
Bunkers del Carmel History
Once an abandoned Iberian settlement, the push to create modern Barcelona turned the Bunkers del Carmel (also known as ‘Turo de la Rovia’) into an important agricultural base of vineyards and almond trees.
Then there was the Spanish Civil War.
After the bombing of Barcelona by the Italian Legionary Air Force killed over 800 and destroyed 50 buildings, the local government saw the area’s viewpoint for its strategic importance and built seven circular gun platforms and a series of bunkers.
In the post-war period the bunker’s remains were transformed into a squatter settlement called Els Canons – leading to over one hundred self-built houses. These ‘shacks’ were all but destroyed before the 1992 Olympic Games.
Since then Turo de la Rovira has been refurbished and turned into a museum of sorts: handrails guide visitors upwards, five historic information panels dot the area, and the slopes of the hill have been reforested with Mediterranean pines.
How to Visit the Bunkers in Barcelona
The Bunkers del Carmel are open 24-7 so grab a seat on one of the massive concrete slabs, crack open your Estrella or a bottle of cava, and enjoy the top Barcelona viewpoint for free.
Public drinking is widely tolerated so you’ll have no problems. Just make sure to bring some water as well because the hike is a bit tiring. Add some bread, chorizo, and cheese and maybe something sweet and you’ve got the perfect meal or sunset snack.
The closest supermarket is Suma at Carrer d’Albert Llanas 30.
The Turó de la Rovira History Museum
The MUHBA (Museum of the History of Barcelona) has included Turó de la Rovira in its network of historical points of interest for a few years now.
Here you can dive into the history of the Bunkers with this free exhibition space giving you access to some of the bomb shelters used during the war.
- The officer’s pavilion
- The troop pavilion
- The battery command post
And read several informational placards about what the various spaces were used for.
The “Barcelona al límite” (Barcelona on the edge) series will tell you the story of city life during a very dark period.
Some museum visit info:
Guided tours can be booked writing to [email protected] or by calling (+34) 93 256 21 22 (Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm).
Remember: these are the museum hours, the Bunkers themselves are always open!
The MUHBA is included in the Barcelona Card.
How to Get to Bunkers del Carmel
From Plaça de Catalunya
From Sagrada Familia
The least strenuous way to get to the Bunkers del Carmel from Eixample is taking the blue line (L5) of the metro to El Carmel. Head out through the Llobregas exit and walk down to bus 86.
You could also walk to the Verdaguer metro station and take the yellow line (L4) to Alfons X. From there follow the steady incline for 20-25 minutes, but remember this will be a decent workout!
From Park Guell
If you’re visiting Europe’s best urban park it’s only a 20-25 minute walk for a place with less crowds and a superior view. Simply take the exit that leads to the bus parking lot and choose from one of three routes.
Still Want to Visit the Bunkers in Barcelona?
I’ve given you the low down on the Bunkers del Carmel but maybe I missed something? Got anything to say on the issue? If so get at me by writing a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
And remember that doesn’t just cover Turo de la Rovia: any question you have about visiting Barcelona I am here!