When researching Barcelona I saw Castle Montjuic pop up but it was relatively difficult to find information on in English. I read a review from a mom who said it was one of the things that her kids enjoyed most and that it was free! So I decided to find out as much information as I could, but it was bits and pieces here and there. I am hoping that this post will capture everything I was looking for about the castle in one place! This was a favorite spot in Barcelona for our family because there were so many different things to do in one place and everything is outside. The castle sits up high with gorgeous views of their gardens and the Mediterranean Sea.
Getting to the castle- we stayed in a hotel on La Rambla, but regardless of where you are
staying or if you are in Barcelona for a day, you can access the castle location from the double decker bus, Barcelona Bus Turistic. The bus has three routes: red, green and blue. There is a ticket which allows you to ride on all three routes or purchase a single route ticket. For more information on routes and ticket prices please visit the site http://www.barcelonabusturistic.cat/web/guest/informacio. When purchasing a ticket for the bus, it comes with earphones to listen to the tour in 10 different languages if you choose. Castle Montjuic is located on the red route, but prior to reaching the castle, you must take a ride on the cable car, Telefèric de Montjuïc, which transports passengers to the top of Montjuic. The cable car holds up to 8 passengers.
There are fantastic views of Sangrada Familia and Torre Agbar. The Telefèric de Montjuïc hours of operation vary seasonally. Be sure to double check prior to planning your day at the castle at http://www.tmb.cat/en/teleferic-de-montjuic.
There is a lot of walking which involves going up stairs to get to the castle from the cable car. It is best to allow yourself a couple of hours to really explore. There are informational plaques throughout to read about the history, people, construction, etc. In addition, you can eat lunch there. We stopped off at La Boqueria (marketplace) on the way to the bus, purchased salami, cheese and Panini to bring to the castle for a picnic. They sell beverages, have tables and an open lawn to enjoy a nice lunch.
Stop off and take a peek through the numerous coin-operated telescopes at various points around the gardens. You will see great views of the beach, the Mediterranean sea and imagine what it was like to be on the look out for approaching ships. Be sure to bring coins!
History: Montjuïc Castle is a grand castle that controlled the city since 1640. The purpose of the castle was to repress the people during two centuries. Repression of the anarchists in the XIX century and prison for the political prisoners under Franco. The castle is famous for the execution of in 1940 Lluis Companys, the president of the Generalitat of Catalonia. Nowadays is the only place of the city where you can see a statue of Franco. In addition, the castle shelters a military museum.
The castle has a few, little shops to browse through while walking around. I found a pair of mosaic goblets that I fell in love with and would have purchased without a second thought, but they looked as if they would not ship to Hawaii well. Browsing through the shops was fun and the kids each picked something small and inexpensive.
The castle has two, large slides which I had read about but had difficulty finding. Part of the difficulty was not knowing the Spanish word for “slide” and trying to act it out for the security workers. The Spanish word for slide is “toboggan” which may come in handy. The kids loved going down the slide and then climbing up all of the stairs to go right back down the slide again. The slides are located just below the castle.
There are canons at the castle which the kids can stand and climb all over. This was quite fun for them as they read about the castle and how it was placed on the top of the hill to protect Barcelona from ships on the Mediterranean. They climbed right up and started the reenactments. It is a great photo opportunity as well, since these are real canons.
$$ saving tips: Purchase the Barcelona Bus ticket on line and save 10% on the ticket. Bring your own food into the castle and have a picnic lunch there. The views are absolutely breathtaking and it is as if you are eating in a park overlooking the Mediterranean. The castle has tables and a large, open lawn to sit down and relax. The restaurant at the castle is pricey and most of there business is on catering for large groups. Take pictures of the signs and the history rather than purchasing the brochures and post cards. That way if your child chooses to write a report on the castle later, you will have all of the information for free.
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