From spacious parks and plazas to high end shopping districts, Barcelona has something for everyone. But for this article I am going to concentrate on the best views you can have of Barcelona for next to nothing.
Getting Around Barcelona
Barcelona is a sprawling city. It is one of the most populous cities in Europe with roughly 30,000 people per square
You can purchase just one journey, a T Dia card for one day or a card that allows 10 seperate one way journeys but the best value is the Hola Barcelona Travel Card. Available in durations from 2 up to 5 days the card also allows transport to and from the airport.
The distances in Barcelona are too far to walk so I will assume you already have budgeted for or have use of a railcard to get around. Cost wise, the Barcelona Metro is on a par with most other major European cities. You can expect to pay around €8 per day for unlimited use of the Metro and busses. Find out about all your options on the official Barcelona Metro website.
Mirador del Poble Sec
Cost – Free
Parks are dotted throughout Barcelona. Near the port on the sea facing side of Montjuïc Mountain, this pretty overlook gives a great panorama of the busy industrial and port area as well as views over the city to Tibidabo Mountain on the north. If you are staying in the area it is a short walk from Paral-lel station to the base of Montjuïc Mountain and a further 10-15 minutes stroll up to the lookout point.
Once you arrive there are a couple of expensive restaurants or the formal gardens of Hotel Miramar to explore. This is also the start of the port cable car if you want to head out to the waterfront without the walk. The cost for a return trip on the admittedly impressive looking cable car is rather steep at just under €30. Busses are included in Hola Barcelona passes. If you rather spend your cash on some drinks at the beach while watching the world go by than on actually getting there, busses V27, H16, 59 and 92 will drop you off much closer than the cable car or the nearest Metro stops will.
Getting Here – A short walk uphill from Paral-lel Station on lines L3 and L2 or downhill from the Funicular de Montjuic extension from Paral-Lel station.
Castell de Montjuïc
Cost – €5 per adult
At the top of Montjuïc Mountain, the impressive 156 meter long Castell de Montjuïc sits guarding over the port, as it has done for hundreds of years. Since 2014 there has been a nominal €5 entry free. Exhibits are sparse but informative. People come here to admire the views from the battlements.
Getting Here – Keep heading up the mountain from Mirador Poble Sec. The upper slopes of the mountain are scattered with peaceful gardens to enjoy and explore as you climb. To save getting lost follow the lines of the Montjuïc cable car which end at the gates of the Castell. If you would rather let the cable car take the strain it’s €12.50 return while you enjoy the views on the way up and down the mountain.
360 Barcelona @ Arenas Placa de Espanya
Cost – FREE
One of the busiest plazas in Barcelona thanks to the nightly Magic Fountain show a short distance away on summer evenings. Opened originally in 1900 as one of three bullfighting rings in Barcelona. As well as bullfights, the near 15,000 capacity arena played host to many musical acts including Carlos Santana before closing its doors one final time in 1977. 30 years later it opened its doors once more in 2011 as a thoroughly modern shopping centre. While the outside keeps its neo-gothic look, indoors it is now thoroughly modern with 30,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space on 5 levels.
The new owners clearly knew the special spot the Arena has and installed a
Getting Here – The Arena is very hard to miss when you exit the Metro stop at Plaça de Espanya on the L1 and L3 lines.
Rooftop View From MNAC – Palau Nacional
Cost – FREE
One of the most impressive city centre views is hardly advertised and was surprisingly hard to find even once inside the building. The imposing building of Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, sometimes abbreviated to MNAC has been housed in the Palau Nacional since 1934 although the 32,000 square meter building dates back to International Exhibition of 1929. It is one of the largest museums in Spain and entrance is free.
Wandering up the famous steps to the entrance you may notice people looking out from a rooftop bar but finding the lift to take you to the roof is no easy matter. Be patient, the lift stops at several
Once you locate the Oval Hall in the centre of the building follow a passage to the right of the cafe on the arena floor which will take you to a small lift. Once on the roof follow the walkway as far as you can go and you will arrive at the rooftop terrace bar with seating and breathtaking views over the Palau Nacional, Placa de Espanya and beyond.
Getting Here – A short 5 minute stroll from Plaça de Espanya, you can head here straight after admiring the view from Arenas.
Turó de les Tres Creus – Park Güell
Cost – FREE
Park Güell is famous worldwide for Gaudi’s influence on its construction. The Gaudi House museum, a house he lived in for over 20 years while overseeing various projects. He devoted the last 12 years of his life to his masterpiece that is still under construction, the Sagrada Familia.
Like many of Gaudi’s works in Barcelona, entrace to Park Güell isn’t free but much of the park is free to access. Only a small proportion of the entire park is cordoned off between 8am and 8pm in summer, shorter hours during winter months.
The view from his famous bench within the Monument Zone is perhaps one of the most photographed images of the city but you can get an equally good look over the city for free.
Today the Hill of Three Crosses is a popular spot for people to get amazing views with Barcelona spreading out majestically until it meets the shores of the Mediterranean below. Don’t expect to be the only ones up there and you may have to wait for a couple of minutes to get a spot but the wait, and climb, is entirely worth it.
Getting Here – Park Güell is perhaps the most awkward of places to get to from the main city centre. The nearest Metro stops are Lesseps and Vallcarca on the L3 line but the park is still a 15-minute steep uphill walk from the stations. Bus 116 runs a circuitous route past the main entrance of the Monument Zone from Lesseps and also Plaça D’en
Even if you have tickets for the Monument Zone, and plenty of people do, don’t underestimate the time you will need to really explore the full park and do it justice. Make an afternoon of a visit to Park Güell, enjoy a leisurely stroll around the 45 acres of pristine park land.
If you don’t have time to get to all of these wonderful places on your visit, try and make it to at least one of them. The view over the city will stun you into silence and marvel the the beauty of mother nature laid out before you.