Ash
Written by Ash

Montjuïc Hill: Nature and Art in the Heart of Barcelona

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Whoever visits Barcelona can’t help be charmed by its artistic side, the splendor of its churches, and the energy that blows effortlessly through the city air – something that goes right to the top of Barcelona’s biggest hill.

This urban green lung is the closest escape from the city chaos and a must for any tourist.

Let’s help plan a day of exploration on epic Montjuïc Hill.

Montjuïc Hill

In Catalan Montjuïc can be translated simply as “Jewish mountain”. It was named this way due to the Jewish cemetery found there during medieval times.

The 184 metre tall flat top hill was traditionally the home of military fortifications, prisons, and the unfortunate execution site for political prisoners.

It was only with the 1929 World’s Fair that the area began to blossom. The once barren hill is now a space to walk around and take in some of the best panoramic views of the city.

Here you’ll find some of Barcelona’s biggest tourist attractions, art galleries, museums, some amazing gardens, and some important leftovers from the 1992 Olympic Games.

Montjuïc Attractions

Montjuic Castle

For centuries Montjuïc Castle was used to look down upon enemies and invading armies, until 1640 when it became a true fortress for Barcelonians against the troops of Philip IV (‘El Grande’).

After the War of Spanish Succession the castle fell into the hands of the Bourbons, who shaped it into the form we observe today.

From 1800 until 1960 the castle was used to imprison political dissidents or for mass executions. It was here that Franco tortured and later killed the Catalan leader Lluis Companys.

From the top of castle you’ll get another great panoramic view of the city and port that’ll leave you speechless.

  • General admission: €5.00.
  • Discounted: €3.00 for disabled visitors.
  • Under 16: free.

To book your ticket simply go to the Montjuic Castle website.

Hours:

  • November 1st to February 28th: Mon-Sun (10:00 am to 6:00 pm, last tickets 5:30 pm)
  • March 1st to October 31st: Mon-Sun (10:00 am to 8:00 pm, last tickets 7:30 pm)

Montjuic Castle is closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

There is free admission Sundays after 3 pm and all day the first Sunday of every month.

The Magic Fountain

This is one of Barcelona’s most spectacular attractions, and best of all it’s free.

The music, light, and water show here has been dazzling visitors since the 1929 World’s Fair though it was really taken up a notch after a restoration for the 1992 Olympic Games.

A great place to cool off in the summer.

Poble Espanyol

In this mini city you’ll find a reconstruction of a typical Spanish town using architectural styles from each of the country’s 15 regions.

Here you’ll be able to visit the classic all-white alleys of Andalusia, take in the emblematic stone houses of Aragon, or see any of the marvelous monuments made famous in the region of Castilla.

POBLE ESPANYOL
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Montjuïc Cable Car

Upon arrival you’ll find the cable car station right next to the Montjuïc Funicular.

The difference between the two lies in the cable car being suspended in the air, much like a ski gondola, while the funicular finds itself on a track.

The cable car gives you an amazing birds eye view of the area during the seven minute trip.

You’ll enjoy the cable car on three stops:

  • Parc Montjuic – Fundació Joan Miró, the Catalonian National Art Museum, Poble Espanyol, and the Olympic ring.
  • Castell – Montjuic Castle, Botanical Gardens, Joan Brossa Gardens.
  • Mirador – all the green zones including Mirador de l’Alcalde and Miramar Gardens.

The cable car is not included in any of the transport discount cards but you can get the cheapest price buying using the button below.

MONTJUIC CABLE CAR
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IMPORTANT: bus 150 and the Montjuïc Funicular are included in the Hola Bcn discount card as well as the Barcelona Card.

Open Air Cinema

Why wouldn’t you want to project the best films of all time on the walls of Montjuic Castle?

Not only will you get original version movies in English but short film fests, concerts, and the ability to picnic with your own food and booze. You’ll get more than three hours of entertainment for €6.50.

This seasonal affair typically runs June through August and listings and tickets can be found here.

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Montjuïc Museums

The Joan Miró Foundation

This foundation created by Mirò himself was envisioned as an artistic space that would guarantee a voice to contemporary artists of the area all the while hosting international exhibitions.

Here you’ll be able to see the different phases of Mirò’s craft and appreciate more than 10,000 paintings, sculptures by Miró and many others.

MNAC (The Catalonian National Art Museum)

This museum is home to one of the most complete romantic art collections in the world. It was born from the union of the Modern Art Museum and the Museum of Catalan Art in 1990.

Today you’ll be able to find more than 250,000 pieces at the MNAC divided into different historical periods.

Two real hits here are the Gothic section and the area dedicated to Catalan modernism. The museum is conveniently situated in the towering building in front of the Magic Fountain. If you decide to take in the show you’ll be rewarded with an amazing panoramic view.

The Mies Van Der Rohe Pavilion

This building is also known as the Barcelona Pavilion and is one of the main works of celebrated German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It was built to represent Germany at the 1929 World’s Fair.

The beauty of this building is the variety of materials used for its construction (glass, stone, and wood) and in its geometric simplicity. For lovers of design and architecture this is a must.

Tip: the MNAC and Joan Miró Foundation can be had for 45% off using the articketBCN museum discount card.

Montjuïc Gardens

Jardines de Laribal

Probably the most spectacular of the whole lot. Here you’ll find a distinct Mediterranean feel with its fig trees, pines, persimmons, oranges, geraniums, roses, lavender, and rosemary.

From an architectural standpoint you’ll be able to see some very feminine statues, plant covered arbors, stairs, a ton of flower pots, and even a few small waterfalls.

Jardines de Teatro Grec

Right next to the Jardines de Laribal you’ll be able to see a replica Greek theatre from close up, walk through yet more arbors, and see a ravishing rose garden.

You’ll also find a spectacular overlook that faces nearby Sierra de Collserola, the mountain range just to the north of Barcelona that’s home to the largest urban park in the world – 22 times larger than Central Park in New York!

Jardines de Joan Maragall

One of the most beautiful of the Montjuïc gardens even if its not that well known. Here you’ll find regal style gardens with massive tree-lined avenues, amazing fountains, all sorts of ornamental sculptures, and big well-manicured lawns where you’ll be able to relax.

It’s only open only Saturday and Sunday.

Jardines de Mossen i Costa i Llobera

Here it’s a little like being in a desert, with more than 600 species of cactus and other plants from the world’s desert and subtropical zones.

From here you’ll have an amazing view of the Mediterranean coast and the port of Barcelona.

The Botanic Gardens

Spread out over 14 hectares is this garden displaying a collection of plants from all the world’s continents that share the same micro-climate as Barcelona. For those passionate about botany this is a place you’ll be able to go wild.

Here you’ll see the beautiful harmony of so many plant species from all over the world coexisting in the same place: from Australia to California to North Africa and the Canary Islands… a trip here is like a trip around the world!

Here you have to pay to get in. It’s €3.50 a head and free for minors under 16.

Jardí Botànic Històric

Not far from the Jardines de Maragall is this veritable hidden gem that’ll take you back in time to the peaceful rural life described in Greek poems.

There’s hardly a better place to seek refuge from the burning summer sun than between the rocks and shaded benches of the most fascinating gardens of the park.

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The 1992 Barcelona Olympics

Montjuïc hill was actually the main site of the 1992 Summer Olympics.

Today you’ll see the remnants of the events here all within the Anella Olímpica – Barcelona’s Olympic park. You’ll find it between the Catalonian National Art Museum and l’Avinguda de l’Estadi, easily reached from Plaça Espanya with bus 150.

Here are a few Olympic highlights you won’t want to miss:

Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium

This is Barcelona’s second biggest stadium by capacity after the legendary Camp Nou. Until 2009 it was the old home of Barcelona’s second football club Espanyol.

What’s unique here is the massive contrast between the outside facade (built in 1929) and the interior of the stadium which was renovated for the Olympics in 1992. Totally worth a look.

Palau Sant Jordi

One of the most important modern architectural works in all of Barcelona, let alone Montjuïc hill. Inside you’ll find it to be one of Barcelona’s biggest events centres playing host to concerts, sporting events, and more.

Montjuïc Communications Tower

This imposing structure was built by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava for the Barcelona Olympic Games.

It’s easy to spot this landmark for its protruding 136 metre height and its unique oblique shape, something uncommon with communications towers. It is meant to represent the Olympic torch being carried in an athlete’s hand.

Montjuic Map

It’s a big space so I’ve created a handy Montjuic map which you can use clicking the button below:

How to Get to Montjuïc

Bus

A standard city bus which to my knowledge is the easiest and most convenient method of transport to reach the hill. You can catch bus 150 from Plaça Espanya (metro: Espanya).

From here you’ll be able to get to some of the biggest attractions on Montjuic: Poble Espanyol, the Miro Foundation, the Olympic Stadium, the Teleferica del Montjuïc station, Palau Sant Jordi, and Montjuïc Castle.

The route takes 21 minutes and runs between 7:00 am and 9:00 pm.

The Bus Turistic

Barcelona’s hop on hop off tourist bus is also a great option to see some of the most important Montjuïc landmarks.

This option would be ideal for families with children, people with mobility issues who won’t be able to walk around the park easily, and for anybody who’d rather enjoy the sights and sounds from the top of a double decker bus.

You’ll find multiple Bus Turistic stops on Monjuic on the red line: MNAC, Poble Espanyol, Anella Olimpica, Fundacio Joan Miro, Caixaforum, and Teleferic de Montjuic.

BUS TURISTIC
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The Montjuïc Funicular

This can be caught from the Paral-lel metro stop (green line L3 or purple L2).

It’ll leave you on Avinguda Miramar where you’ll be able to visit the surrounding garden. Right outside the exit of the funicular you’ll find the Montjuïc Cable Car.

People have asked me about Montjuic funicular tickets but remember: these don’t exist! It’s part of the Barcelona transport network and accessible with any standard ticket.

Teleferico del Puerto

Also known as the port cable car – this method of transport can get you up the hill with an amazing panoramic view of the city. Just make sure you’re not afraid of heights.

The 1300 meter long ride starts in the port area and allows you to see Sagrada Familia church, the Barcelona Cathedral, Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s beaches, the Gothic Quarter, and much more.

It’ll drop you off at Montjuic Castle at the Miramar stop.

Cost: €11.00 single (€16.50 return).

More info here.

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Montjuïc Hacks

  • Make sure to bring a bag lunch or something to snack on.
  • Set aside an entire day if you want to see everything.
  • Alternatively, do a half day of a few highlights and have a picnic lunch with a view.
  • Time your visit with the sunset for added visual value.
  • If you’re visiting Barcelona with kids Montjuïc offers a ton of play spaces.
  • To avoid a big uphill battle make sure you start at Montjuïc Castle and work your way down.
  • Make sure your cameras and phones are charged! The photography from here is insane.
  • Avoid after a night at Barcelona’s best clubs – you’ll need rest because you’ll be walking a lot!
  • Bring a hat and sunscreen in summer.
  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Take your own water bottle – the prices are steeper than the hill!
  • If you’re taking the cable car get a one way ticket (cheaper) then walk down the way back.
  • At the entrance to every Montjuïc hill park you’ll find a sign with a small map of the area – it’s a great way to get your bearings and navigate your way through its many gardens.

Get at Me in the Comments Below

It has been a lot to swallow but did I miss anything?

If you have any questions about what to do at Montjuïc hill or anything else on your Barcelona holiday I am here to answer it in the comments below.

And don’t be afraid to join the Montjuic discussion by first giving me a like on Facebook and then joining my group I’m Off to Barcelona – here you can ask any questions, air out grievances, and chat with thousands of Barcelona travelers.

Anything goes!

74 comments
  • December 23, 2019 at 10:32 pm
    Beth
    Can you take the funicular up, and after exploring, take the cable car down?
  • November 28, 2019 at 3:14 am
    Coco Pazzo
    First, thanks for such thorough info. I've booked a trip to BCN and am trying to figure what to do on each day, and there are definitely stops on Montjuc that are on my To Do List. After several Google searches, I've found that there are lots of sites that tell you how to get to Montjuc, but I've yet to find any that report on how to get around once there. Beside afoot. From the map and the size of some of the features (e.g. Olympic venues), it appears that the total area is considerable. But other than the Hop On/Hop Off, Turistic buses, there doesn't seem to be any public transportation. Am I wrong on this (and apologies if you've already answered this question. I tried to scroll through all the prior postings). Just how walkable is Montjuc, in terms of getting from one major site to another, and is there a TMB bus that runs that route, rather than the tourist buses. Thanks again for your great post, and here's hoping you can answer my questions too.
    • November 28, 2019 at 3:12 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Coco, Thanks for your very kind words :) The truth is that up at Montjuic it's not so convenient to get around via transport/taxis etc... you'll need to at least some walking to explore the spaces fully. That said, you can take the150 bus between 7:00 am to 9:00 pm from Plaça Espanya (metro: Espanya). It will take you up to the castle with many stops in between (including the funicular, Olympic Stadium, Poble Espanyol, Fundacio Joan Miro etc.). The route takes 21 minutes. I would call the area very walkable. It's a beautiful park area with lots of paths. Of course, it's better to walk down from the castle so maybe you could take the bus up to the top and do the attractions from top to bottom. Or of course there is the option to take the very exciting Port Cable car to the top. Cheers, Ash
  • November 23, 2019 at 7:20 pm
    Pranav
    I am headed to Barcelona this week and am already regretting the fact that I only have 4 nights in this city. The plan is to head to Montjuic on Thursday (November 28). I do have a couple of questions about this. a. I am trying to end my visit at the Castle. That way, I can catch the aerial views of the city right before sunset at 5:30 p.m. I have to be at a concert venue called Salamandra (near the L’Hospitalet Av Carrilet) by 6:30. I am guessing the fastest way out from there is via the funicular to Paral-lel station and the metro ride to the venue. What is the frequency of the funicular to Paral-lel station and how long of a walk is it from the Castle to the funicular. b. My planned route to explore Montjuic is to start my walk at Placa Espanya and end at the Castle. How long is this likely to take? c. How long should I factor in for the castle visit? Should I buy my ticket ahead of time? Any input with regard to the above would be VERY helpful. Thank you in advance.
    • November 24, 2019 at 1:12 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Pranav, It's a bit of a unique set of circumstances for you with the concert venue so forgive me if I don't have any personal experience with this. That said, my gut feeling is it's best to grab the funicular. It runs every 9-12 minutes or so, so don't worry too much. The walk from the castle to the station will be about 20 minutes, downhill. It's totally doable. For the route from Plaça Espanya to the Castle it's likely to take about 90 minutes if you're walking, slightly less if you take transport. I would leave 45 minutes for the castle. Buying ahead of time is always recommended just in case there are lines. Cheers, Ash
      • November 24, 2019 at 8:59 pm
        Pranav Chandrasekhar
        Hey Ash, Thanks so much for this. I also ended up soliciting input on your "I'm going to Barcelona" facebook group too for this. One of the travelers on there made a compelling case for me to start the Montjuic trip at the castle via the funicular (from near the Paral-lel metro station) and then do the walk backwards to Placa Espanya. I can head straight to the concert venue from there on Line 8. I also had these grandiose ideas of catching a Barcelona sunset and was told that the one from the terrace of MNAC was far better than that from the castle. So I think this is what I am going to do. It seems like the best approach to my rather conflicting priorities. Thanks once again! Regards, Pranav
        • November 25, 2019 at 12:56 pm
          ashley
          Team Member
          Ash
          This is definitely true! Always best to go downhill from the castle as it's less stress. Please let me know how it works out or if you need any more help. Cheers, Ash
          • November 26, 2019 at 11:49 pm
            Pranav Chandrasekhar
            Thanks a ton Ash! It is going to be an intense day for sure!
  • October 24, 2019 at 2:23 am
    Dana
    Hi Ash, we will be in Barcelona on 28 Dec2019 -4 Jan 2020. My question is this, is anything open at all on New Years Day. We travel over the holidays and find many things are closed, so we try to schedule in the rare things that are open. We will be attending a Flamenco show at 5pm that evening. thank you, I have enjoyed your website.
    • October 24, 2019 at 2:24 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Dana, Most shops will be closed on New Year's Day and I've got a list of holiday hours for attractions (to be updated for 2020 but usually the same) listed in my Christmas article: https://www.barcelonahacks.com/barcelona-christmas/ In short, there is stuff to do but the hours are limited! I would schedule everything for the middle of the day because not much is open late. If you're looking to do some shopping you'll need to go to Maremagnum and the bottom of La Rambla. Ash
  • October 23, 2019 at 6:38 pm
    Karen Zeng
    Hi Ash, Thanks again for helping me out with my question regarding transportation. I have another question: We plan to ride the Hop on/Hop Off Bus and get off at the Teleferic de Montjuic stop. From there, can we take the tram (funicular) to get up to the castle? We prefer not to take the cable car. Many thanks, Karen
    • October 24, 2019 at 10:16 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Karen, Unfortunately there is no funicular that takes you from there up to the castle. It's either the Teleferic or walking. That said, it's not the longest in the world... 400 meters or so, so it won't take long! Ash
  • October 17, 2019 at 9:43 pm
    Mrs H
    Hi, if visiting in October/ November and staying at hcc montblanc,is it safe to walk to the magic fountain and back on a Saturday night? Walking isn’t an issue for us, we happily walk 7-10 miles a day.
    • October 18, 2019 at 9:37 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hola Mrs H, Yes indeed, provided the weather is nice (which is usually is) it's actually quite a nice downhill walk in the fresh air down to the Magic Fountain. For people who like walking it's not only doable but recommended :) Cheers, Ash
  • October 4, 2019 at 12:42 am
    Carri
    Hi Ash What an awesome & helpful guide to tourists. I don't think I could've planned my trip without it. I bought the Barcelona City Pass and opted for the Teleferic de Montjuic. I have received my ticket and was wondering if one now needs to book a day and time to go or do you just pitch up at anytime and skip the queue? How long is the ticket valid for? Can I use it at the end of my trip about 7 days after arriving? Thank you so much!
    • October 4, 2019 at 2:00 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hola Carri, Thanks so much for the very kind words, always glad to help :) For the Teleferic I can't remember exactly but I remember it being valid for either 6 months or a year so I wouldn't worry about using it after 7 days. You won't need to book any any time... just show up, get on, and enjoy the ride :) Cheers, Ash
      • October 5, 2019 at 1:08 am
        Carri
        Thank you!!
        • October 5, 2019 at 12:27 pm
          ashley
          Team Member
          Ash
          No problem! :)
  • September 7, 2019 at 8:43 pm
    Lynn Momboisse
    Hi - Great site - I need to figure out the easiest way back to our hotel (least amount of walking) the Hotel Continental Barcelona on Ramble from Parc de Montjuic after we have ridden the tram. My questions are: Are taxi's easily accessible at the entrance to Parc de Montjuic - this is probably the fastest way, and least walking What is the walk like from Parc de Montjuic to the closest metro Paral lel (I think that is the closest metro). Is it easier and faster to get off at the Mirador and walk from there to the Paral lel? Looks like it is all downhill but would be get lost going this way? We will be doing this after a long day of walking, so I am trying to limit the amount of walking we have after we ride the tram. Thank you!!!!! Lynn
    • September 9, 2019 at 10:49 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Lynn, Honestly the walk, especially on the way down, isn't too tough at all so if it's a nice day there's no problem doing so. That said, there are so many different spots to see up there that without knowing exactly where you're departing from it's hard for me to give exact directions. Are you just going to take the cable car up there and head back down? Or do you plan on seeing a bunch of sights first? Please let me know... at any rate it would be very hard to get lost on the way down as there are plenty of indications/signs etc. Taxis are not so common so I wouldn't count on them. Cheers, Ash
  • August 13, 2019 at 11:51 pm
    Paul Arking
    Hi, I'm so glad I came across your site. It has been super helpful. I'm just confused about the different cable car options for Montjuic. One is at the port, and the other is at the bottom of the mountain, correct? I am planning to take my family here on our first afternoon in the city. Which one is best? you have commented that the port one is spectacular. Where do i find that? and I'm having trouble buying a way one ticket (your site indicates that this is an option, but the purchase page doesn't reflect that). I wanted to ride the car up and then walk down. We are visiting on Sunday (after 3) and I understand that the castle is free then. I'm coming with 5 children ( 15-7). please help me figure this out. Thanks again for all your helpful advice.
    • August 14, 2019 at 4:25 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Paul, Thanks for the kind words :) And yes... the names are annoyingly close so it can be confusing. The Port Cable Car departs from near the beach and takes you to the top of the mountain, while the Teleferic (which is more like a gondola) takes you from the terminus of the Montjuic Funicular further up the mountain. It doesn't actually get to the bottom of the mountain and sort of exists on it, for lack of a better term. The Port Cable Car is superior in my mind... I unfortunately don't sell them in my webshop, however I'll send you a link to the website: https://www.telefericodebarcelona.com/en/telefericodebarcelonaen/ One way tickets are available. Cheers, Ash
      • August 24, 2019 at 8:07 pm
        Paul Arking
        Thank you so much for all your helpful advice. We just came back from our 5 day trip and really used your site a lot. Thanks for the tips, tricks, savings and info. I'm really glad I stumbled upon your site.
        • August 26, 2019 at 9:21 am
          ashley
          Team Member
          Ash
          Thank you so much Paul! I appreciate it :)
  • July 28, 2019 at 7:36 am
    Jenae
    Another great article! Extremely informative site this is. 1) I had mentioned to you in your other article about Tibidabo that my friend is afraid of heights. Can you go here if you are afraid of heights? Like could a taxi and/or bus take us directly up? The water fountain light show , is that part on solid ground? 2) also as a quick aside, if we did a day trip to Monestratt would that be a place we could even go since she is afraid of heights? And for me , I have a back injury so do you have to hike to explore this area? 3) and since I have a back injury, would you recommend getting a bus & or taxi to get to Montjuic Castle and then work our way down to the other sites? Or how would you best recommend exploring these sites without putting any unnecessary strain on my back? Trying to figure out if the above should go on our itinerary. The best part is there are so many things to do in Barcelona. Thank you
    • July 28, 2019 at 10:49 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Jenae, Yes indeed you can go up with a taxi though most people take the funicular from Paral-lel station. Again though, I would advise you read the entire article as I explain how to get there via bus etc ;) Most of the attractions are on a slope... I don't know how bad she is with heights but to me it seems a bit much since at no point will one be almost dangling off a cliff or whatever. The fountain is on solid ground, I don't see how anybody could be afraid of its height, which is at the bottom of the hill. Montserrat on the other hand is impossible to avoid without taking the tram/funicular which would probably be uncomfortable for her. I would maybe tell her to wait for you in an underground station while you go explore the amazing heights ;) All joking aside, I don't think it would work for her. Once on Montserrat you don't have to do any hiking if you don't want to. Transport will take you right to the main sites. Ash
      • July 30, 2019 at 5:34 am
        Jenae
        Awesome!!! Thanks so much! I now have a much better idea how to handle this; thanks to you! And I am assuming with Montjuic Hill...we will start at Montjuic Castle and work our way down and since my friend is afraid of heights we will use the bus. I know there is the regular bus and the bus turistic you mentioned would both take you directly to Montjuic Castle? And then would both bring you back down? Thank you!
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