The best view in Barcelona
For great views and a chance to commune with nature, a stroll up Montjuïc hill is an underrated Barcelona experience. With structures from the 1992 Olympics and cultural venues, it’s an ideal way to explore the artistic and natural side of the Catalan capital.
Located to the southwest of the city centre and overlooking the harbour, the flat-topped hill has long been the site of forts and buildings including the still-standing 17th-century Castle of Montjuïc. Also the location of the 1929 International Exposition, edifices from this era include the majestically imposing Palau Nacional, Estadí Olimpic (Olympic Stadium), Font Màgica fountains and a grand staircase. Newer Olympic remnants include the Olympic needle and the diving pool where Kylie Minogue filmed her clip for ‘Slow’.
The Palau Nacional now houses the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya with the tagline ‘One museum, one thousand years of art’. The gallery showcases an exhaustive collection of Catalan art from the 12th to the 20th centuries. The CaixaForum, a former police barracks in the Industrial Modernism style of architecture, houses an impressive contemporary art collection, while the Fundació Joan Miró contrasts sharply with the area’s historic buildings with a bright red curved outdoors sculpture and white arched edifice with over 5,500 pieces of the surrealist artist’s works on display. Rounding out the sites are the Poble Espanyol (Spanish Village) – a reconstruction of traditional buildings and plazas from around Spain, as well as the Font Màgica de Montjuïc with illuminated and dancing fountains spouts outside the Palau Nacional.
While the hike to the top of Montjuïc offers great views for the motivated climber, don’t miss the equally picturesque Jardí Botànic – 14 hectares of Mediterranean botanical gardens with outlooks over the Llobregat delta, Olympic Ring and Barcelona cityscape. The closest metro station is Espanya, or jump on the aerial tramway from Barceloneta to Montjuïc.
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