I’m fairly certain we didn’t plan on visiting Montjuïc at sunset.
After all, Simon and I had just arrived in the northern hemisphere for the first time in two years via three planes and more than thirty hours of traveling. We didn’t even know what season we were in, let alone what time the sun would set.
Also, I’m not great at planning. I eat when I’m hungry, I sleep when I’m tired, and I follow my boyfriend around because I can’t read a map properly. I’m a bit skeptical about my ability to coordinate solar movements with the timetables of not one, not two, but three modes of transportation. (As the saying goes: it is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.)
Yet go at sunset we did, planning or no; and I can’t deny it added a bit of magic to the experience. If I was a guidebook, I’d probably tell you it’s the perfect thing to do at the end of a long day of exploring Barcelona, right before you open that bottle of wine I know you’re already thinking about.
But I’m not a guidebook, and I would never be that cheesy. Ahem.
To be honest, I’m not really sure why I make getting to the top of Montjuïc sound like climbing Mount Everest. Yes, you have to take a metro, and then a funicular, and then a cable car. But it’s a fairly quick trip altogether, and you get to say the word “funicular.”
You also get a decent view of the city and the harbour – provided you’re not afraid of heights. (If you are, or you just don’t like
fun cable cars, there’s also a bus. See the end of this post for more info.)
At the top, you’re greeted by Montjuïc Castle: previous site of wars, seiges, and protests, and currently — hold onto your hat! — used as a municipal building.
If you make your way down a bit on foot, there are a number of sculptures, fountains, and picturesque little spots. (And if you get a bit carried away at this point, you might wander so far that you’ll wind up back at the beginning of the cable car line. I regret nothing.)
There were a few people scattered around, especially near the castle, but overall, the area was fairly quiet. If you’ve recently battled the crowds at La Sagrada Família or, I don’t know — taken a long, disorienting flight halfway round the world — Montjuïc is a nice, peaceful place to unwind a bit.
Or pretend to shoot a cannon, if that’s more your thing.
To get to Montjuïc: Take lines 2 or 3 on the metro to Paral-lel station and take the funicular from there. The funicular fare is included on your metro ticket.
After coming off the funicular, you can take a cable car (tickets available online for €11.50 return) or bus 150 to the castle at the top. The cable car is worth the money and then some, in my humble opinion. (Click for map.)