Montjuic: Attractions in Barcelona’s Arts and Culture Hub

Calling out to all lovers of art and culture visiting Barcelona. If there is just one area in the city you should head on over to, then it’s …

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Attractions Barcelona Montjuic

Calling out to all lovers of art and culture visiting Barcelona. If there is just one area in the city you should head on over to, then it’s by far the large hill by the city centre called Montjuic. Sure, the Born area has the Picasso Museum and the Raval area has MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona), but Montjuic has a whole selection of attractions to choose from, so much so that you could easily make an entire day out of it. So what exactly is there to see in this part of the city? Well let’s take a look as we travel from bottom to top of this fantastic landmark… But first you’ll want to know how to get to Montjuic!

How to get to Montjuic

Views from the top of Montjuic
Views from the top of Montjuic

Getting to Montjuic is not so difficult and you can either start at the bottom, midway point, or peak. To reach the bottom of Montjuic, you simply need to take the Metro (line 1 [red] or 3 [green]) and exit at Espanya, you can’t miss the two Venetian towers, just walk up that avenue and you’ll be at the bottom.

To start from the middle of Montjuic, you have the cheap way or the expensive way. The cheap way is to take the Metro to Parallel station (Line 2 [purple]) where you can change for free and take a furnicular train midway up Montjuic. The expensive way (€11.50 return, €7.80 single) is to catch a cable car from Port Vell, which stops off both at the mid-point and peak.

A alternative non-expensive way to get to the top of Montjuic is catching the 150 bus from nearby the Espanya Metro station. With a T-10 ticket, public transport in Barcelona costs under €1 per trip.

Magic Fountain of Montjuic

Magic Fountain Montjuic
Magic Fountain Montjuic in action

By far the most accessible and popular attraction for the majority of visitors to Montjuic is the Magic Fountain. For the latter half of each week (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) this beautiful fountain puts on free to view stunning water and light shows that synchronise with varying genres of music depending on which day you visit. From classical, to jazz, and even Disney hits, there are up to 6 shows each night! The full schedule is available on their website. It’s too bewitching and fascinating to describe, you’ll just have to go see it for yourself!

CaixaForum Barcelona

Goya's famous 'La Maja Vestida' at CaixaForum Barcelona
Goya’s famous ‘La Maja Vestida’ at CaixaForum Barcelona

Originally a textile factory, this building become one of the newest museums when it opened in 2002. Thought it has no fixed exhibitions, the venue is already famous for bringing in rare and acclaimed temporary showings to the city. From ancient Egyptian artifacts, to famous works and scarcely seen drawings from Goya, there’s always a reason for you to keep an eye out for what’s going on at CaixaForum when you happen to be in town.

You can find out what’s happening on the English CaixaForum Barcelona website.

MNAC

MNAC- Palau Nacional
MNAC- Palau Nacional

The National Art Museum of Catalonia holds the most diverse collection of Catalan art in the city, spanning genres and styles of all kinds. It follows Catalan art from as far back as the 11th century right up until our current day. For fans of the natural forms and styles of modernisme architects like Gaudi may be interested to know how sculptures and paintings reflected these ideas.

All this art is housed in a historic palace – a palace of nations – the be the centre of proceedings for the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition. If the renovations to Montjuic were to have been performed today, the cost would be around $350,000,000. You can head up to the roof of the building for fantastic views over the entire renovations, from the Magic Fountain, pavilions, Plaça d’Espanya and beyond.

For info on prices and how to get there, visit the MNAC website.

The Joan Miró Foundation

Joan Miro Foundation
A view gallery room at the Joan Miró Foundation

Joan Miró is by far the most famous artist to come from Barcelona, and he’s contributed so much to the city. Land in Terminal 2 of Barcelona and one of the first pieces of art you’re likely to see is the large mural he made on the exterior of the building. Stroll down las Ramblas and you’ll encounter a mosaic of his along the way.

He’s also got a park named after him Parc de Joan Miró nearby Montjuic produced a huge sculpture called “Dona i Ocell“. That’s not his lasting legacy though, for that, head halfway up Montjuic and find his museum – The Joan Miró foundation. For those unfamiliar, Joan Miró was one of the early surrealists and was tired of art being something only for rich people to hang upon walls, which is why you see many public works from him around Barcelona. He believed art should be accessible to everyone, admiring it and creating it. So, apart from housing the largest collection of his work in the world, the Joan Miro Foundation also hosts temporary exhibits of current contemporary art talent.

You can visit the Joan Miró Foundation website for directions and the latest price information.

Montjuic Castle

Montjuic Castle
Montjuic Castle – A Catalan iconic landmark

This attraction used to be free to visit, but an entrance fee was created in 2014. This castle has overseen the struggle Catalonia has faced over the years. It has seen troops from Barcelona fight in defensive battles against squadrons from other parts of Spain in civil wars, uprising, and revolutions, as well as France in the Napoleonic war.. It’s also the execution spot of Lluis Companys – the only ever democratically elected president in European history to be executed – which was by the order of Franco. This building quite clearly then, is an important part of Catalan culture and history.

There is not much around the building to explain the history to you, so it’s worth joining an English tour if the building, which there is one of each weekday at 13:00. During the summer there are open-air cinema screenings on Montjuic, something cinema-lovers won’t want to miss.

If you’re just going to admire the views or you’re not planning on a tour, you’ll be better off visiting when it’s free on Sunday after 15:00. Here is the website.

These are the main arts and cultures attractions around Montjuic. Of course there are many more, like the Greek theatre for instance. Also the Olympic legacy of Barcelona has left us with the Palau Sant Jordi, which today is mainly used for the biggest concert performances in the city. Whether it’s for the beautiful parks, wonderful attractions, or amazing views. One thing is for sure, you’ll definitely be visiting Montjuic when you visit Barcelona… Or you’ll be missing out…

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