Explore Montjuic hill – important landmarks, historic sites, fantastic viewpoints, gardens & museums
Montjuic is the one of the most significant hills around Barcelona and filled with so many amazing monuments, gorgeous viewpoints to Barcelona, lush gardens and world class museums to explore. Important historic significance to the protection of Barcelona with Montjuic castle and later to the impressive 1929 Universal exhibition with the Magic Fountains of Montjuic and then the 1992 Olympic Games made this an important place to visit and spend more time on the hill. The second tallest mountain in the city after Tibidabo, Montjuic is impressive and worth visiting the many fantastic viewpoints, monuments, gardens and museums that you can find all around the hill with stunning views to enjoy most of Barcelona below.
You’ll find a lot of Barcelona’s attractions and important historic monuments here at Montjuic and spending a day is easy or just a quick getaway from the busy neighborhoods of Barcelona to the quiet gardens and views above the parks of Montjuic.
A brief history to Montjuic
In ancient times, Montjuic was used defensively to protect the city with a fortress above to protect the city. Montjuic castle was created in the 17th century to secure a high vantage point to secure and protect the entire city. The fortress was used for defense and played a strategic role to the Spanish and Catalunya war or the Battle of Montjuic and also the Napoleanic War and then to the Spanish Civil War.
Later the hill was utilized again as an important aspect to showcase Barcelona in the 1929 Universal Exhibition with many important buildings and monuments created along with the fabulous Magic Fountains built in less than a year’s time to display the marvelous engineering and artistic genius of the city.
Montjuic again came into the spotlight with the 1992 Olympic Games the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys was used for the summer Olympic games which is still an iconic landmark along with other popular monuments that are showcased below at the Anella Olympica. It serves many purposes and will be the home of Barcelona’s soccer team FC Barcelona with redevelopment of Camp Nou during the 2023-24 season.
Things to do at Montjuic
A visit to Montjuic can easily take a few days if you love museums, culture and gardens along with several impressive viewpoints to take in the amazing panorama of Barcelona from above. Along with these monuments and gardens, there are many other attractions worth visiting up here in Montjuic area.
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
The National Museum of Catalan Visual Art is an iconic museum located on top of Montjuic hill and housed in in an impressive architectural building. The collection of artwork, sculpture and fine art here represents the most important and long period history artists of the region. It is worth a visit to learn about the artists and history of Barcelona through these beautiful interpretations of local culture, history and traditions through art.
Anella Olympica – Olympic complex
The 1992 Olympics were an important time to showcase Barcelona as a world class city and these landmarks are here to visit and enjoy the history and architecture of the Olympics including:
Palau Sant Jordi
Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys
Bernat Picornell swimming pool
Torre de Calatrava
Fundació Joan Miró
This beautiful museum was created and dedicated to one of the most important Barcelona artist of its time – Joan Miro. His work encompasses and important timeframe of contemporary art in Barcelona and showcases many of his important paintings, sculpture and art collections in a beautiful space and gorgeous views of Barcelona from the terraces.
Gardens of Montjuic
It’s fun to be outdoors at Montjuic and after seeing all the impressive museums and landmarks around the hill, a visit to the major gardens is like a breath of fresh air and easy respite from the cultural and historic visits. Here are some of the cool gardens worth visiting up at Montjuic.
Check out our post on visiting the gardens of Montjuic hill here for more information and images.
El Jari Botanic
Barcelona’s Botanical garden is expansive and houses over 2,000 plant species to explore. Formerly located on the municipal dump site for the city, the area has been transformed into a lush paradise and green oasis with all of these beautiful plant species from around the country to showcase what grows well in the area of Montjuic.
Located to the Miro Museum of Art, the Laribal gardens are a beautiful semi formal garden with lush green scape, ponds, covered pavilions and mediterrannean plantings. You can explore the boxed terraces, topiary areas with rose gardens and mixed in with annual plantings and other colorful plants. Also, the views from the Laribal gardens to Barcelona below are quite spectacular and a fantastic place to take photographs.
Mossen Costa I Llobera Garden
One of the most beautiful and exotic gardens to visit in Montjuic is the Mossen Costa I Llobera garden located on the flank of the Montjuic hill. With dramatic and with gorgeous views of the waterfront and city, the Mossen Costa i Llobera garden contains gorgeous displays of mediterranean and arid exotics from succulents and cactus plants that survive in many different parts of Catalunya and Spain. The garden is beautiful and gorgeous to explore and rarely crowded with tourists visiting the other parts of the mountain’s many attractions here.
Check out this visit to the Mossen Costa I Llobera garden here for more information and images.
El Poble Espanyol
This fascinating open-air museum shows popular replicas of the most traditional Spanish buildings you’ll find around the Pole country. Originally created for the 1929 International Exposition, the Poble Espanyol is now a popular local attraction that showcases Spanish culture and history, delicious cuisine of the region and wonderful arts, crafts, jewelry and other hand made treasures you can take home for souvenirs.
Another popular attraction that was created for the 1929 International Exposition, the Magic fountain was the impressive attraction that led to the beautiful recreated area of the Placa D’Espanya and the man areas of the Museu National d’Art de Catalunya, the Poble Espanyol and other impressive buildings. The daily music and light show at night time are the major attraction and free to experience.
Check out our post and visit to the The Magic Fountain here for more information and images.
Montjuic Castle (Castell de Montjuïc)
The Montjuïc Castle sits proudly at the top of Montjuic hill with commanding views of the waterfront area. This old military fortress that has always been linked closely to the city and was an important defense for the city and also used as a military base, prison, torture cell and fortress.
It also has a fantastic observation area with the ramparts showcasing fantastic views over Barcelona. You can either walk up to the Castell or take the cable car or telerific from the waterfront area to Montjuic Castle.
Check out our post and visit to the The Montjuic Castle here for more information and images.
How to get to Montjuic
Montjuic is the second largest mountain in Barcelona and is serviced by busses, the Telerific cable system and taxi or Uber rides to the various attractions you can visit in the park.
Get there by Metro / walking
You can catch the Metro to Espanya station via red line or green line. Exit station and head out towards the the palace at MNAC area above and climb the stairs to the museum entrance at Montjuic
You can take bus number 150 and 13 from Plaza d’Espanya to the top of Montjuic Castle. Also bus 55 and 107 from different areas of the city climb to the top of Montjuic area
Uber / Taxi
You can easily catch a taxi or Uber to quickly get to Montjuic castle or other attractions around the hill of Montjuic
Arriving by Teleferic
You can take the teleferic cable ride from the waterfront area directly to Montjuic Castle and enjoy the amazing views along the way to the top of the hill. Check out their website here for information on riding the teleferic to the top of Montjuic hill and castle.
Check out these other posts to explore Barcelona
Traditional Catalan food you should try
Free things to do in Barcelona
15 best viewpoints of Barcelona
Enjoy the Mossen I Llobera garden at Montjuic
Top places to photograph Barcelona
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I am not really familiar with Montjuic as this is the first time I have heard about it. Thank you for sharing a brief history and I am glad to know that there is so much to see and do in this beautiful place. I would love to explore the Mossen Costa/ Llobera Garden.
Hopefully if you visit Barcelona some day, you’ll get a chance to visit the beautiful and historic places around Montjuic hill
Oh I know Montjuic Castle. Guess how? Thanks to Dan Brown’s book Origin! It would be fun to walk the route which Robert Langdon took through Barcelona in that book. Haha. It is nice that there’s a Cable Car to reach atop Montjuic. I’d prefer to take it to go up and then walk down. El Poble Espanyol sounds very interesting. My daughter would totally love the Magic Fountains.
Yes taking the Telerific going up is the best route and then exploring the castle and then all the historic places and amazing views around Montjuic Hill.
That is an interesting list of things to do in Montjuic. So much to see and discover. The National Museum of Catalan grabbed my attention. It is fascinating with amazing architecture. Plus, because it has a rich history to learn about Barcelona’s tradition and history. The Montjuic Mountain is another destination that I would like to visit. It is interesting to know that it is the second largest mountain in Barcelona. I wonder what it is the largest mountain.
Montjuic Hill has so many cool attractions and places to visit, it could easily be a whole day of exploring up here.
I visited the Montjuic when in Barcelona too! I remember the best part was seeing those views from the draw bridge of the city and then taking the funicular down to the port. Agree, if there is enough time on the agenda, this is a must-see site when in city.
That is the best way to see Montjuic on the Telerific and do all these cool things to do in Montjuic.
I remember the summer Olympics that took place in Barcelona, but I vaguely remember Montjuic as one of the locations. However, the city is beautiful and the fortress looks impressive. I would like to see the music and light show at Magic Fountain. It looks beautiful.
The Olympic sites are special along with many of these other attractions at Montjuic hill.
I wish I had the time to explore Montjuic when I was visited Barcelona. It is interesting to know the city’s history and that it held relevance during recent Olympics too. I would include Fundació Joan Miró in my list, modern museums interest me a lot. The possible photo opp in Laribal Garden too sounds enticing. A lovely place indeed.
There really is a lot to see here in Montjuic area and the museums are quite spectacular
This brings back memories of my first trip to Barcelona. Montjuic has so much to see and it’s easy to pass a day here. I’d most like to see the gardens here. I don’t remember visiting on my first trip, but your photos have inspired me to revisit.
There is a lot to see around Montjuic which is surprising to a lot of visitors and the gardens are truly spectacular.
I spent a whole day on Monjuic and want to go back for more. I am a huge architecture fan – so I visited mostly the Olympic sites. The small Olympic museum was actually quite interesting. As it was a Monday the Miro collection was closed – so I definitely have to return for that!
Surprisingly there are so many amazing attractions in Montjuic to explore, fantastic you had spent an entire day since it really is spectacular.
This is such an historically rich area to visit in Spain – and one I knew little about before reading your article! When I visited Spain this summer, I spent my time in Andalucia, but am definitely planning a return trip to see Barcelona. When I do, Montjuic will be on my itinerary, thanks to you. I am a big art fan, so the National Museum of Catalan Visual Art and seeing Miro’s work would be fun for me, as well as all the beautiful gardens. And of course, no trip to Monjuic would be complete without touring the fortress and old town. These stops will certainly enrich the itinerary for my next visit to Spain!
Montjuic is definitely worth a visit to this historic and culturally rich mountain with so many worthwhile attractions to visit.