Not too far from the old city’s center, Montjuïc Castle is one of Barcelona’s best-kept secrets, with views of the city that are second to none.
The castle sits atop the highest mountain in Barcelona’s city center, overlooking nearby Plaça Espanya and a stunning panoramic backdrop of the city.
Brief History of Montjuic Castle
Montjuic is a hill that borders Barcelona to the south and is one of the Catalan city hills. Because of its strategic location close to the sea, it has been an important historical place throughout history. The name, which translates as ‘Jewish Mountain’ in Catalan, relates to an old Jewish cemetery uncovered on the mountain’s southern slope.
Built during the 17th century as a military fortification, Montjuic Castle played an essential part in the Siege of Barcelona in 1705 and the conflict between Spain and Catalonia, which resulted in Catalonia losing its independence. Juan Martin Cameo, an architect who finished the project in 1799, dismantled the castle and rebuilt it from scratch.
Since the end of the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714, Montjuïc has symbolized independence and submission to the Republican forces. The castle has always been under the hands of the central government. For 300 years, the guns of Montjuic were used against the citizens of Barcelona, particularly during the turbulent years following the Catalonian defeat.
Take a rest on one of the castle’s expansive, beautiful green lawns after you arrive. Bring something to drink and something to eat with you. Cheese or Spanish ham on pa amb tomaquet with water is a good accompaniment (bread smeared with fresh tomato and drizzled with olive oil).
Take a self-guided walk of the Castle grounds and look for notable sculptures like Josep Clarà’s “La Fertilitat” and Pau Gargallo’s “La Pomona,” which has apples in her skirts. At the Explanada de Miramar, you can pose and take pictures with the cannons and Barcelona’s bustling harbor.
At the lookout point, the beautiful mosaic floor of ceramic and glass deserves your complete attention.
After taking a leisurely tour of the gardens, cross the drawbridge and ascend the stone steps to the vast expanse of the castle’s roof-top terraces, which provide panoramic views of Barcelona and beyond.
For far too many years, this fairy-tale-like fortress laced with ivy served as a desolate prison where individuals were denied their liberty, humanity, and lives and where they were tortured and killed.
But today, this awe-inspiring symbol of power should be regarded as a monument of peace. The towers have been preserved, and some of the areas have been converted into a museum. Montjuic Castle is a place where myth and reality intersect, a testament to the power of a time gone by and a story that continues to fascinate.
How to Get There
For those who don’t have time to hike on foot from Plaça Espanya, you may take the metro to Parallel and get on a Funicular to Parc de Montjuïc. While climbing, take a moment to gaze down at the Plaça de Catalunya and Montjuic Palace.
General admission: €5.00
Discounted: €3.00 for disabled visitors
Under 16: FREE
Note: Admission is free every Sunday after 3 pm and the first Sunday of every month.
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)
Closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day
A visit to the castle will show you the history of Barcelona and a glimpse into what it means to be a Barcelona citizen. Make sure you take a few hours out of your day, grab some snacks and spend time at this historic ruin. We will add more articles to this series as we develop them.
We hope that this little overview of Montjuic Castle has been helpful to you. If you have any questions, please leave a comment for us.
Our Barcelona travel articles will help you plan the best places to see and things to do when you visit. You can find a few of them below.