At Montjuic castle, visitors can enjoy a gorgeous view of Barcelona and the port area. Many also tend to enjoy the view while ascending the mountain on the funicular and cable cars. However, it is also possible to reach the castle by climbing the mountain entirely on foot, starting from the district of Poble Sec. On sunny days, visitors also will see many families, tourist groups, and young people walking in the gardens on Montjuic.
During the week, tourists are the main visitors to Montjuic castle. Tourists are most interested in the impressive constructions found there, such as the watchtower that provides a bird’s-eye view of the city. By contrast, Catalonians perceive this castle, first and foremost, as a witness to crucial historical events in their homeland. It is true that Montjuic castle cannot simply be referred to as a standard tourist landmark. For instance, the building of Juan Martin Cermeno evokes some anxious feelings among its visitors: an entrance through the bridge and an underground tunnel transmit the guests of this incredible historical complex from a world of light to a realm of darkness. The building floor is completely square-shaped and resembles the premises of a prison.
The central edifice that lies along the perimeter of the patio consists of narrow rooms with such a low ceiling that it is not recommended for visitors who suffer from claustrophobia. These premises were not designed to make people’s lives comfortable in their walls. According to the Burbons’ plan, this castle was built for the purpose of repression and around-the-clock surveillance of Barcelona and larger Catalonia. In other words, this construction was situated on a site that allowed those in power constantly to monitor all the roads leading to Barcelona by land and by sea. In this way, it also was ideally situated for city bombardments.
The history of Montjuic castle in Barcelona
The first fort in Barcelona was built in 1640 during the battle for Montjuic, in which the Catalonians defeated the enemy. In 1714, the fort was conquered by the Burbons and converted into a stronghold from which the royal family would implement their repressive strategies. In 1751, a massive castle was built on the site of the fort, and 3000 soldiers and 120 weapons were deployed there as well. The presence of the castle and citadel, as well as the constant bombardment of Barcelona, ensured stable movement along the sea routes.
For a long time, the castle was used as a prison where political captives were held and interrogated. Even in the 20th century, this castle was used as a site for sentencing and executing prisoners. Here, authorities prosecuted and executed the pedagogue, Francesc Ferrer I Guardia, the founder of the modern school. During the civil war years, this somber castle served as the Republicans’ prison, and after the war it was used to imprison thousands of Republican detainees. Among them was the president, Lluis Companis, who was executed on 15 October of 1940.
The castle of Montjuic resisted the so-called transitional period in Catalonian history for quite some time. Despite the fact that the castle officially belonged to the city, it still preserved the memories of wartime. Until 1985, the equestrian statue of Franco also could be seen on the castle grounds, and Viladomat’s sculpture survived more than 10 years into the period of democracy. Drastic changes took place in 2011, when the city mayor’s office recovered the Catalonian flag that belonged to president Companis back in 1936. The military museum that operated under the auspice of the Spanish army was converted into the current visitors’ center to preserve the entire history of the castle, including its military past. In support of this change, vintage 19th-century showcases with collections of pewter soldiers were replaced with modern and dynamic installations.
The working hours for Montjuic castle in Barcelona
- From November 1 to March 31: the castle is open to the public from Monday to Sunday, 10:00 to 18:00, including on holidays. The castle is closed to visitors on December 25 and January 1. The entrance for exhibitions and educational events and ticket sales end at 17:30.
- From April 1 to October 31: the castle is open to the public from 10:00 to 20:00, including on holidays. The entrance for exhibitions and educational events and ticket sales conclude at 19:30.
The ticket price for an excursion to Montjuic castle in Barcelona is 3-5 euros and includes access to all the current exhibitions taking place there. Entrance to the castle is free on Sundays after 15:00 and on every first Sunday of the month. The entrance is also free for children under 16 years old.
How to reach Montjuic castle in Barcelona
Visitors can reach the castle by foot, car, or public transport.
- The bus line 150 circulates from la Avenida de la Reina Maria Cristina to the bus stop for Montjuic castle, ascending the mountain along the way. It takes approximately 20 minutes to reach the castle from la Plaza de España, while the descent from the mountain also takes about 20 minutes. The bus connects with the funicular and Avinguda de Miramar-Estació del Funicular station.
- The Montjuic cable car begins its route at la Avenida Miramar, stopping by Avenida Miramar at the beginning of the route, Plaza de la Sardana, and, finally, the castle.
- It is also possible to reach the castle by funicular and cable car (which take about 25 minutes). When walking, visitors can enjoy the views of the gardens of Joan Brossa and el Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer. Next to the castle, visitors will find a large public parking lot with a zone for buses. Access to the parking lots is available via Tarongers street.
The specialists of INEEDSpain will gladly answer all your questions, help you organize Barcelona sightseeing tours, purchase tickets for you, and provide you with the advantage of a professional guide. The phone number and e-mail are available on the main page of the website.