Montjuic Walking Tour, Barcelona

Montjuic Walking Tour (Self Guided), Barcelona

Montjuic is a hill in Barcelona which offers a variety of great attractions of historic, cultural, and architectural value. Here, you can watch a spectacular water show at the Magic Fountain of Montjuic, visit the place where matadors faced the bulls in the past, and explore the ancient Montjuic Castle with its breathtaking views.

A convenient start point, Placa d'Espanya is the second largest square in Spain and will lead you to most other attractions in the area: from the old bullring of Las Arenas de Barcelona (now a shopping center after Catalonia’s abolition of bullfighting in 2012) to the elegantly sparse Barcelona Pavilion, to the Magic Fountain of Montjuic and neighbouring National Art Museum of Catalonia – one of the city’s most beautiful buildings, whose huge collection, as well as views from the top, are simply magical.

These alone make Montjuic an excellent place to visit, but you can carry on with a French-style royal palace and gardens (Albeniz Palace – only open at weekends!), the Olympics Stadium and associated museum, followed by the Botanical Garden, which is ideal for a short walk and to learn a bit about Mediterranean flora.

Standing atop the hill, the Montjuic Castle offers splendid views over the city, the port and the whole surrounding area, as well as lots of fascinating information on historic aspects via numerous electronic presentations of the castle itself and the personalities involved.

Discover the best spots of Montjuic with this self-guided walking tour today!
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Montjuic Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Montjuic Walking Tour
Guide Location: Spain » Barcelona (See other walking tours in Barcelona)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 Km or 3.1 Miles
Author: RoseC
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Placa d'Espanya (Spain Square)
  • Arenas de Barcelona
  • Barcelona Pavilion
  • Magic Fountain of Montjuic
  • Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC)
  • Albeniz Palace
  • Barcelona Olympics Stadium
  • Museu Olimpic i de l'Esport Joan Antoni Samaranch
  • Barcelona Botanic Garden
  • Castell de Montjuic
Placa d'Espanya (Spain Square)

1) Placa d'Espanya (Spain Square)

Argubly the most beautiful square in Barcelona, the Placa d’Espanya (Spain Square) is a must see for visitors to Barcelona. The monumental fountain that rises up in the centre of the Plaça Espanya is one of the most recognized images of Barcelona.

For centuries the site where Placa d’Espanya is located today had been used for the purpose of public hangings until the gallows were moved to the another part of the city in 1715. Later the city decided to build a square here especially for the occasion of the International Exhibition which would be held at Barcelona’s Sants Montjuic district in 1929.

Architect Josep Amargós designed the square and another architect Josep Maria Jujol designed a large fountain at the center of the square. Josep Maria Jujol had worked with Antoni Gaudí on several projects previously and his modernist style was clearly influenced by Gaudi. On one side of the square are two towers modeled after the Bell Tower of the St. Mark's Basilica in Venice. The avenue behind the two towers lead to the Magic Fountain and the Palau Nacional at the Montjuïc.

The Placa d’Espanya is a strikingly beautiful sight and nearby there are many other important attractions. Do not miss it if you come to Barcelona.

Why You Should Visit:
An icon of Barcelona and also a transportation hub with shopping, dining, views, hotels, and lots of people. A great place to cool off and restore your energy while touring Barcelona.

Nice over day and night – try both! As dusk approaches, the fountains might be switched off while illuminations begin, and this provides a totally different atmosphere.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5pm
Arenas de Barcelona

2) Arenas de Barcelona

Previously a bullring in Barcelona, the Arenas de Barcelona is now a commercial complex located close to the Placa d’Espanya. The former bullring was built somewhere during 1889-1900. The designer responsible for this project was the Spanish architect by the name of August Font i Carreras. One of the most prominent features of this arena is the horseshoe-shaped entrance which has been adorned with beautiful tiles. The arena itself has been constructed in the Moorish style, which was typical for Carreras.

The huge arena has the capacity to accommodate over 16000 spectators. Its total diameter is around 171 feet (52 meters). Conventionally a bullring, this arena has also played host to many other events such as concerts. One such memorable concert was held in 1966 when the Beatles performed live.

One interesting about the arena is that, although built as a bullring, bullfighting never caught on in the city as much as it was expected to, and the last bullfight took place in 1977, after that the arena remained unused for years. Later it was turned into a recreational and shopping complex, as seen today.

Why You Should Visit:
Exclusive shops, a leisure area with 12 multiplex cinemas, a cultural auditorium, a sports and thermal center of the prestigious Metropolitan chain and several restaurants that offer panoramic views. Even the external structure has been maintained in its splendor and is a particular architecture to admire.

To go directly to the top, it is possible to take the panoramic elevator for €1, which can be recovered by taking lunch or anything else at the restaurants on the top deck.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-10pm
Barcelona Pavilion

3) Barcelona Pavilion

The Barcelona Pavilion, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich, was the German Pavilion for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona. This building was used for the official opening of the German section of the exhibition.

The Barcelona Pavilion is an important building in the history of modern architecture, known for its simple form and its spectacular use of extravagant materials, such as marble, red onyx and travertine. The same features of minimalism and spectacular is also applied to the prestigious furniture specifically designed for the building, including the iconic Barcelona chair. The design of this building and its furniture has inspired many important modernist buildings. If you are interested in modern architecture, this building should not be missed.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Magic Fountain of Montjuic

4) Magic Fountain of Montjuic (must see)

The Magic Fountain of Montjuic is one of the most spectacular sights to see in the Catalan capital. Every evening the huge fountain bubbles and burst with its lights and jets of water dancing to the rhythm of the music. It is a spectacular display of colour, light, motion, music and water acrobatics.

The fountain was built for the International Exposition held in Barcelona in 1929. There were 3000 people involved in the construction of this project. the fountain dazzled its first round of spectators when it displayed its magic for the first time on the 19th of May, 1929.

The best time to visit the fountain is before nightfall before the magic show begins. Thousands of people gather around the fountain each day to enjoy the spectacle, sitting on the many steps that lead up to the MNAC museum and watching the sunset from the vantage point of Montjuic mountain, under which the Magic Fountain sits. The magic show fountain show is completely free to watch and each one last 10-15 minutes.

Why You Should Visit:
Good (free) entertainment!

Bring food/beverages and try to get a good spot at least 45 minutes in advance, as it does get very crowded

Operation Hours:
Jan 1 - Jan 6: Thu, Fri, Sat: 8pm-9pm
Jan 7 - Feb 28: CLOSED
Mar 1 - Mar 31: Thu, Fri, Sat: 8pm-9pm
Apr 1 - May 31: Thu, Fri, Sat: 9pm-10pm
Jun 1 - Sep 30: Wed - Sun: 9:30pm - 10:30pm
Oct 1 - Oct 31: Thu, Fri, Sat: 9pm-10pm
Nov 1 - Dec 31: Thu, Fri, Sat: 8pm-9pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC)

5) Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC) (must see)

The National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC), locally known as the Museu d’Art de Catalunya or Museu d'Historia de Catalunya, is one of the most interesting museums in Barcelona. The MNAC is the centre for visual arts at the Palau Nacional. It is located on the Montjuic Hill, and was declared the National Museum in 1990 following the merger of two museums, the Museu d’Art Modern and the Museu d’Art de Catalunya. The unification of the two resulted in an impressive collection containing Gothic, Renaissance, Romanesque and Baroque art.

The museum comprises various departments including the department for prints and drawings, the numismatics department, the department for photography and the Biblioteca d’Historia de l’Art (the Library for Art History). All these departments were not present at the museum originally but were added later as a part of the expansion project.

The inauguration was held in 1995 when the museum displayed its section of Romanesque Art. The addition of the section for Gothic Art came in 1997, and the Baroque and Renaissance sections were opened in 2000. In 2004, when the building was complete with all the sections and addition of various departments, the official opening took place.

Why You Should Visit:
An absolutely magnificent museum, newly updated and modernized for the contemporary tourist.
Reasonably priced; plenty of lifts/stair lifts/toilets, and comfortable leather sofas dotted here and there when your feet ache.

The restaurant has a magnificent view of Montjuic and good price/value ratio.
Do not forget to visit the roof – the view will be multiplied!

Operation Hours:
Tue-Sat: 10am-6pm; Sun: 10am-3pm
Albeniz Palace

6) Albeniz Palace

Albeniz Palace is a royal palace built in 1929 for the International Exhibition in Barcelona. It was served as the royal residence during the exhibition. Today it is the official residence of the Spanish royal family when they visit Barcelona.

Named after the famous Spanish pianist, Isaac Albeniz, the palace is neo-classical in style with a mural made personally by legendary Spanish painter Salvador Dalí. There is an interesting fountain in front of the building, decorated with sculptures, and two sculpted lions at the front entrance. The inside of the palace is off-limits to visitors, only the gardens surrounding the palace are open to the public.
Barcelona Olympics Stadium

7) Barcelona Olympics Stadium

The Barcelona Olympics Stadium was originally built for the occasion of the International Exposition that was held here in 1929. The project finished in 1927. Later, the stadium played host to the Summer Olympics of 1992. The huge stadium has the capacity to accommodate nearly 56,000 spectators. It is situated at the Anella Olimpica, near the Montjuic Hill.

The stadium was meant to be the main stadium for the Summer Olympics of 1936, an honour which was handed over to Berlin instead, resulting in protests and outbreaks. In 1955, the stadium became the centerpiece for the occasion of the Mediterranean Games.

It also played host to the National Football Cup final between RCD Espanyol and Barcelona Football Club in 1957. The condition of the stadium deteriorated significantly in the seventies. Over the years, the stadium has played host to some of the most prestigious and memorable games and sporting events in history, and today it is one of the most prominent stadiums in Barcelona.
Museu Olimpic i de l'Esport Joan Antoni Samaranch

8) Museu Olimpic i de l'Esport Joan Antoni Samaranch

The Museu Olímpic i de l'Esport Joan Antoni Samaranch, or the Olympic and Sports Museum located in Barcelona is one of the first of its kind in all of Europe as it provides an ethical, entertaining, historical and knowledgeable aspect on the world of sports and games. Cutting edge technology has been utilized in order to make this museum as interactive and up-to-date with the world of sports as possible, and it is for this reason that the museum is truly a sight to behold for sport lovers of all ages.

Multimedia has been used to the greatest degree to provide life like experiences of the most prominent names in sports worldwide, a feature that gives visitors the experience of a real living museum. Every single aspect of sports as seen today has been displayed at the museum including modalities, disciplines, regulations, and history. The museum has a number of interesting activities for all its visitors, including those for disabled people. The museum also specializes in the Olympics department and therefore instigates a great deal of Olympic spirit and practice.

This museum is an ideal place of learning for school age children, because this centre, along with providing an in depth history and information relating to sports will also allow children to engage in various recreational activities, which are a regular feature of the museum.
Barcelona Botanic Garden

9) Barcelona Botanic Garden

The Barcelona Botanic Garden is located near the stadiums where the Olympic Games held in 1992. It was inaugurated in 1999. The garden is divided into areas with botanical treasures originating from specific areas of the world such as South Africa, California, Australia, Chile, the Western Mediterranean, Eastern Mediterranean and the Canary Islands.

The botanic garden has an area of 33 acres which has been built on a rather steep, sloping ground. It comprises a huge variety of plants with over 72 plant communities from all over the world.

In a city known for its innovative designs of architecture, it is not surprising that the layout of this botanic garden is unconventional. Instead of the square botanical gardens normally seen elsewhere, this one has been created in the form of a series of triangular areas allotted to different divisions. This botanical garden truly proves that Barcelona has more than just the treasure of historic relics and ancient buildings and structures. It is indeed a treat for all plant lovers.
Castell de Montjuic

10) Castell de Montjuic (must see)

The Grand Castell de Montjuic is standing atop Mount Montjuic, the famous hill of Barcelona. The view from this location is truly breathtaking as one can see the port, the entire city and then the sea. The Castell de Montjuic was constructed somewhere in the late 18th century and still stands in all its glory.

Initially, it was used as a military prison before being made part of the city in 1960. It is now home to the Museum of the Military History and attracts a great number of locals and visitors alike. At this very site, the very first castle was created in a short span of only 30 days in 1640. At that time, it was used as a fortress. Several years after that, in 1694, this fortress was made into a proper castle with the walls of the previous fortress reinforced.

The Montjuic is already a very famous location for all tourists that visit Barcelona, but the museum at the Castell provides a comprehensive insight into the history of this area and the military history of Spain. One can gain tremendous knowledge from the museum, and one can also enjoy the truly spectacular view that Castell de Montjuic has to offer.

Why You Should Visit:
Ideal for a lazy afternoon and quite fun to get to, taking the funicular railway first, then either the cable car (quite expensive but great views) or the bus (not so scenic but free on a T10 ticket).

If you would rather climb by foot, there is a lot of walking up/downstairs, so wear good shoes.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 12:00am-11:59pm

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