Fortified castle on a cliff
Barcelona’s castle on Montjuic mountain is perhaps not the city’s most glamorous attraction, and if you’ve visited some of Europe’s grander castles you’re unlikely to be overwhelmed, but history lovers won’t regret making the journey up the hill.
First built in 1640, and enlarged through the centuries, the fortress is most famous for being the place of execution of Catalan president Lluis Companys under Franco’s rule, as well as a stronghold for Madrid-backed troops who often bombed Barcelona from its vantage point – which is perhaps why locals are rather un-enamoured with this particular piece of their heritage. The castle is more a symbol of suppression than defence.
However that doesn’t make it less fascinating for the newcomer, who will enjoy strolling over the arched bridge through the imposing entrance, admiring the stalwart ivy-covered bastions, marching through the parade ground, taking a turn on the terrace and climbing the watchtower. As of 2018, you can also enter the dungeons on a guided tour.
Military historians will enjoy checking out the guns on the sea-facing wall, but best of all are the spectacular views from the 173-metre-high cliff on which the fortress is perched. From this vantage point you can admire Barcelona’s port sprawled out in miniature, in all of its industrial glory, a side of the city you’re unlikely to see at ground level.
You can inject a little extra fun into your visit by taking the Montjuic cable car up the mountain.
The fortress is open every day of the week, Monday to Sunday, from 10am to 8pm
Montjuic Castle Tickets
You can buy your advance tickets online via their own booking platform.
Remember this pleasant wooded mountain is home to all manner of cultural treasures above and beyond the castle… so be prepared to combine your visit with a stroll in the Botanical Gardens, a look at Barcelona’s impressive Olympic Stadium, a tour of the amazing Joan Miro Museum, a circuit around the National Museum of Catalan Art and a wander around the charming Poble Espanyol. If you’re still here in the evening be sure to check out the foaming fonts of the Magic Fountain.