Ash
Written by Ash

Bunkers del Carmel: The Best Barcelona Viewpoint

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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 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.

If you don’t bring food make sure you fill your stomachs at nearby Restaurante Delicias (the patatas bravas are to die for) – it also doubles as a place for coffee or a solid bar for a drink.

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.

You’ll see:

  • 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:

Hours: Wednesdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Closed New Year’s Day, May 1st, June 24th and Christmas Day.

Guided tours can be booked writing to reservesmuhba@eicub.net 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.

the barcelona hop on hop off bus at the bottom of la rambla the barcelona hop on hop off bus at the bottom of la rambla
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How to Get to Bunkers del Carmel

From Plaça de Catalunya

If you’re coming from the Gothic Quarter or Raval grab the 24 bus from Plaça de Catalunya and continue about 20 minutes uphill and get off at the ‘Doctor Bové Gran Vista’ stop – it’s number 268.

The 24 bus also stops along Passeig de Gracia and its famous attractions Casa Batllo and La Pedrera and the well-connected Diagonal metro station.

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.

Get More Info by Writing Me

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!

10 comments
  • September 22, 2019 at 9:27 pm
    Orah
    Hi Ash, In your opinion, is it too much to do Sagrada Familia, Park Guell and the bunkers in one day? I'm landing at 10am and hoping to start my day by 1pm, I don't know if all three is too aggressive, but I do want to be at the bunkers for Sunset. I am a very slow walker and will need breaks Thanks, Orah
    • September 23, 2019 at 11:35 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Orah, By no means is it too much! Park Guell and the Bunkers are fairly close to each other. If you see Sagrada at 1:00 pm and are out for there by 2:30 (normal) you can be up at Park Guell by 4 with a little break. Then be at the Bunkers by 6 for sunset... of course, this depends on the time of year! Sunset can be around this time or much later. Ash
  • March 23, 2019 at 2:09 am
    Rukshana
    Traveling to Barce in two weeks, Can you drive own vehicle up there, is there an area for parking available?
    • March 23, 2019 at 9:56 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Rukshana, Yes you're free to drive up there... while I'm not sure that there is any designated parking for the Bunkers, there is plenty of parking within 5-10 minutes walking away. Ash
  • February 25, 2019 at 12:04 pm
    Meera
    Hi Ash, I'm travelling with my parents who are elderly. Is there a way to visit Bunkers Del Carmen using public transport without having to walk/hike much? Thanks, Meera
    • February 25, 2019 at 2:38 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Meera, Unfortunately outside of getting a taxi right to the Bunkers it will require a decent uphill walk. Even after taking the bus you'll still need to do around 15 minutes (some rough terrain)... if you're really really set on it I'd simply get a taxi. Ash
  • December 4, 2017 at 3:23 am
    Michael
    Hi Ash, I have checked the Carrer Mühlberg stop of bus 24 on the google street view (https://goo.gl/maps/Sp4aojbSnAN2), but I can't find the "spotted stairs on the left". Is there anything wrong? Thanks, Michael
    • December 4, 2017 at 3:56 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Michael, I didn't mean 'spotted' like dots... but spotted as in it is easy to spot. That said, it looks like they've done some construction there so the stairs may have been removed or are under construction. Just head uphill on that windy road with the cement truck and you'll be on your way. Ash
      • December 4, 2017 at 4:21 am
        Michael
        Hi Ash, Can we catch bus 119 near El Carmel staion, Line 5? I found Panorama - Marià Lavèrnia bus stop is at the top. Thanks.
        • December 4, 2017 at 8:05 pm
          ashley
          Team Member
          Ash
          Hi Michael, I haven't taken it myself but yes it looks like the correct option. I would get off at Gran Vista-Turó de la Rovira (the official Catalan name of 'the Bunkers') for the shortest walk. Let me know how it goes :) Ash
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