“ The park is set on the hill in the southwest of Barcelona and allows great views of the city and the Mediterranean. „
Since my first visit to Barcelona back in 2003 I've almost felt drawn to the Catalonian capital. There are so many different things to see and do in the City that even after 3 visits I've still not seen it all, in fact I normally find myself returning to a lot of the places I've seen before. One of my favourite places in Barcelona is the Parc de Montjuic, which is found to the south of Barcelona on the Montjuic hill.
The hill offers some of the best views of the city with the port located on one side and the main city on the other. One of the best things about the park is of course that there is no entrance fee and no pressure to rush around t quickly. There is a very relaxed atmosphere on the hill that seems a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the City below. With Parc Guell and Mount Tibidabo nearby, Parc de Montjuic seems to be the forgotten park. That seems to add to the appeal of Montjuic and perhaps is the main reason why it seems so far from the City sprawl below, whist still offering some amazing views.
There are a few different ways to gain access to the top of Montjuic. If heights don't particularly bother you then there is a cable car from the new Port with some amazing views of its own over the City. If heights aren't really your thing there are a number of other ways onto the hill. Of course you can get a taxi, the funicular railway and even the Barcelona Bus Turistic also has a couple of stops on the hill. For the more adventurous though you can also walk up to the top from Placa d'Espanya, using a series of Escalators to make your way to the top.
The main draw for me on Montjuic has to be the botanical gardens located at the top of the Funicular Railway and the cable cars. The gardens are free to get in and walk around and wind their way further up the hill. It is a nice and relaxing environment where you can really escape the centre of the city and enjoy some stunning views. There isn't a single sight in Barcelona that can't be seen from the top of Montjuic and that perhaps is the real draw of the place. The views are spectacular and the pictures you can take from the top are stunning.
Of course the Gardens aren't the only attraction on Montjuic. At the top of the parc are the old fortifications of the watch towers and prison, once used to hold political prisoners and now home to a Military museum. As yet I haven't visited the museum but having spoken to a few people that have its well worth the hike up the hill to have a look around.
As you start to come back down the hill the next destination of note has to be the Olympic Stadium. The Stadium itself was built in 1929 but due to the Spanish Civil war wasn't used until the games in 1992, when the rest of the venues around it were built to host the games. The most impressive of which has to be the Olympic Swimming pool built into the side of Montjuic and is perhaps the location one of the most impressive views of all sports stadiums. For a few Euros you can actually use the pool and enjoy the views captured in so many photographs over the years.
Heading back towards the Placa d'Espanya there are two further museums to visit. The first of which is perhaps the most impressive in the City. Hosted in the Palau Nacional the Catalonia art museum is one of the biggest and most impressive collections of art from this part of Spain. I spent a day in there on one of my visits and didn't get anywhere near seeing all of it. At Euro8,50 it is certainly value for money and well worth visiting.
The next museum on the path back to the bottom is the Poble Espanyol. It is slightly different to a lot of museums in that it is an outdoor museum of architecture. The idea is to give an indication of the design styles and feeling that went in to a lot of the towns in this part of Spain. It includes restaurants, shops and narrow streets just as you would expect to find in a lot of the towns in Catalonia. There is an entrance fee here as well, which is the same as the Palau Nacional at Euro8,50 but again I felt this to be really good value.
Finally you return to the bottom of Montjuic where on 4 nights (Thursday to Sunday) of the week during the summer months there is a very special treat. At the bottom of the escalators leading up to Palau Nacional there is a large fountain, with smaller fountains lining the sides of the road back to the Placa d'Espanya. At night during the summer there is a very impressive fountain show set to lights and music, which is absolutely free and runs every half hour between 9pm and 12pm, the only advice would be to get there early to get a good view as this is certainly something you won't want to miss.
Overall I would have to say that Parc de Montjuic is one of my favourite places in the City. It has a nice relaxed feel to it and there is a good mixture of free attractions like the Gardens and the Olympic Stadium and paid attractions like Poble Espanyol and the Palau Nacional museums. It's well worth a visit as there is something here for everyone and I find it's certainly worth returning to every time I visit the city to enjoy the fabulous views.
We visited Barcelona last week and spent an evening at Montjuic. The park is set on a mountain that rises 700ft above the port and was the site for many of the stadiums used in the 1992 Olympics. To get up the mountain you can take a cable car from the port or approach the mountain from the southern side by a series of escalators. Yes, that's right escalators that take you up the mountain! This I had to see, so we decided to skip the cable cars and head for the escalators.
The mountain is home to several tourist sites including the Palau National which exhibits historic artwork from the region. Also on the mountain is Castell de Montjuic, which used to be a prison but now houses the museo del comic y la ilustracion. Nearby is also Poble Espanyol which has many restaurants and activities for children. We didn't actually have time to visit these but did spend some time wandering around the Olympic complex. The views from the mountain are stunning and well worth taking the escalator up.
At the bottom of the mountain in front of the Palau National is the Font Magica - the reason for our visit. Four evenings a week at dusk this fountain comes alive with countless jets of coloured water that are choreographed to music. The 15 minute show attracts a huge crowd so get there early and pick a spot on the steps in front. We got there for the first show at around 9pm, whilst it was still light, and I have to say that we were not all that impressed. The show had no music and as it was not dark the lights did not have much impact. By the second show however, darkness had fallen and the show was transformed with music. The choreography was spectacular with jets of water rising to about 15 feet in all shapes and sizes. The colours were magnificent, blues, greens, purples and oranges - it reminded me of watching Disney's Fantasia. The finale was awesome with Freddie Mercury singing 'Barcelona' with Monserrat Cabelle before the fountain faded away ready for the next show. Truly mesmorising and not one to be missed!
The park is set on the hill in the southwest of Barcelona and allows great views of the city and the Mediterranean.