Looming dramatically over the Barcelona skyline, Montjuïc Castle (Castell de Montjuïc) is a 17th-century military fortress perched atop Montjuïc Mountain. After a tumultuous history, including various wars, the site now functions as a municipal facility and hosts cultural events—and offers great views of the city and beyond. The Basics
Standing more than 558 feet (170 meters) above the city, Montjuïc Castle and the hill on which it sits feature some of the best panoramic views of Barcelona, distant mountains, and Mediterranean Sea. Castle visitors learn about the turbulent history of the edifice and the city, from the Catalan Revolt in the 1600s through the Napoleonic Wars and into the 19th and 20th centuries, when it was used as a place to execute political prisoners. You can also walk around the surrounding gardens and see a number of renowned sculptures and the castle’s ancient drawbridge.
Barcelona tours that stop at the castle typically also include neighboring sights, such as Olympic Park (Anella Olímpica), Plaza España (Plaça Espanya), and nearby museums. Guided city tours—on foot, via bus, by cable car—are also available to get a deeper understanding of Catalonia, its history, and its tensions with Spain.Things to Know Before You Go
- Montjuïc Castle is a must-visit for fortress fans and those keen on Catalonian history.
- Admission is free on Sunday after 3pm and all day on the first Sunday of the month.
- There is little shade atop the mountain so bring a hat and some sunscreen.
- The castle is not recommended for those with reduced mobility.
How to Get There
The castle sits in eastern Barcelona, between the botanical garden (Jardí Botànic de Barcelona) and the sea. Take the metro to Paral·lel station and then bus 150 to the top of Montjuïc Mountain. Alternatively, from Barceloneta Beach you can board the Montjuïc Cable Car, which drops you in front of the castle.When to Get There
Montjuïc Castle is open from 10am to 6pm daily, and to 8pm March through October; it is closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day. Crowds gather at the castle during the summer months so arrive early for the best views.
The Mountain of the Jews
Since prehistoric times, the mountain of Montjuïc has played an important role in Barcelona life and lore. Most notably, it is believed that the southern slope of the mountain was the site of an ancient Jewish cemetery, granting it the Catalan name Montjuïc, or Mountain of the Jews.