5 Great Things to do in Montjuic

So many visitors overlook Montjuic in favour of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter and the beaches, but this hillside neighbourhood is well worth a wander, particularly if you like museums and good views.

Visit Montjuic’s many museums

MNAC and montjuic stairs
The Catalan national art museum occupies one of Barcelona’s most majestic buildings

The area is a cultural hub, featuring a number of the city’s great bastions of art, design, and history. There’s the Catalonian National Art Museum, with grand Romanesque frescoes and Catalan delights, there’s the Miro Foundation, dedicated to the iconic sculptures and paintings by Miro, and there’s the CaixaForum, a cultural complex with regularly rotating exhibitions. For something a little further back in time, head to the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya.

Explore a castle with a rich history

montjuic castle at night
Montjuic Castle has a rich history, including some particularly gristly episodes worth learning aboutNathan Rupert/Flickr.com

Ah, Montjuic Castle is basically the cherry on top of the hill. Despite its pretty, ivy-covered facade it’s had a pretty tough life, having been battered and bruised during the Civil War. Now it celebrates a much calmer scene, with great views of the Mediterranean.

See the magic fountain show

magic fountain water and light show
The magic fountain show is a great way to end a day exploring Montjuic hill

Barcelona’s one and only light show takes place in Montjuic on Thursday and Saturday evenings – reason alone to take a wander here. Hotfoot it to the fountains in Placa Espanya to watch light and water dance to heavy beats and cheesy pop music. What’s not to love? Find out more about Montjuic’s Magic Fountain here.

Get to know the rest of Spain at Poble Espanyol

street in poble espanyol
Poble Espanyol is an open-air Spanish architecture museumShadowgate/Flickr.com

Spain is a hotbed of architectural design, particularly Barcelona, what with Gaudi’s gaudy contributions and plenty of old classical facades sitting shoulder to shoulder with new-age design. At Poble Espanyol you can explore several of the architectural gems of Spain, from Galician townhouses to wine cellars in Jerez. It offers a little taste of traditional Spanish life in the quaint surroundings of Montjuic. Find out more about Poble Espanyol here.

Visit a bull fighting ring turned shopping mall

las arenas facade
Las Arenas is a shopping mall housed in an modernista bull-fighting ring

Towards the foot of Montjuic you’re bound to stumble upon the Las Arenas Bullring (it’s great size is difficult to miss). At one point this was the pivotal point for bullfights and people from all around would come and watch matadors stick spears into raging bulls. In 2010 bullfighting was banned in Barcelona, which meant the bullring became obsolete. But it didn’t stay abandoned for long – it’s now a huge shopping mall where you can buy everything from clothes and home ware to souvenirs and food.

No matter how many other great places you want to explore in Barcelona, make sure you tack Montjuic onto the end of your to-do list (or the beginning, if you’re feeling rebellious). Though it might just seem like a hill, it has some great hidden wonders within its clutches – the views are pretty good, too.