Spend a little time in the city, and you’ll soon realise there is no better way to take in all of its chaotic beauty than from some of the best views points in Barcelona. Because, unlike Florence, Paris, Prague or Vienna, this Catalan city lacks a clear architectural style or direction. So, to see Gothic architecture and Gaudi-inspired modernism, ancient Rome or Torre Agbar modern, Visigoths and postmodern pearls, you’ll want to make your way to some of the best views in Barcelona, laid out for you here with our comprehensive guide!
Roughly translated into English from Catalan as ‘Mountain of the Jews’, Montjuïc is a hill overlooking central Barcelona and the harbour. There are a number of different vantage points here, offering slightly different but equally breathtaking views of the city. The easiest and fastest way to get to the top of Montjuïc is to take the funicular railway from the metro. But if you’re looking for stunning views, we recommend taking the cable car from the Barcaloneta beach area. A 10 minute trip, 70 metres above ground, you’ll have superb views of the city’s seaport and out across the Mediterranean.
Once you reach Montjuïc, make your way to Montjuïc Castle (right at the top) and work your way down. You can get to the castle on foot, by taking bus no. 150 or via the Montjuïc cable car. A little further down the hill, the Mossen Cinto Verdaguer Gardens, Grec Theather Gardens, Miramar Gardens and Mirador de l’Alcalda (Mayor’s viewpoint) all offer great spots from which to admire the view.
From the Turo de la Rovira (Rovira’s Hill), the Carmel Bunkers offer a very different but equally memorable and worthwhile view of Barcelona. The bunkers were used as anti-aircraft batteries during the Spanish Civil War and the area forms part of the Barcelona History Museum, though there are no restrictions to access or entrance fees. The views from the top take in the whole city and beyond and at sunset (or sunrise) it’s the perfect spot for a peaceful picnic away from the tourists. Avoid making the trip during the hotter parts of the day in summer months, as there is little shade.
It’s easy to reach Turo de la Rovira by public transport and the 24, 92, 114, 119 and V17 buses will get you very close. You can also take the metro to Guinardo i Hospital de Sant Paul on line 4 or El Coll/La Teixonera on line 5, but from there you’ll need to walk or take one of the buses just mentioned. By bike is probably the fastest way to get to this view point and, if you have hired a car, you can park nearby.
The Torre de Collserola is a telecommunications tower and mast but in true Barcelona spirit, also a renowned example of Sir Norman Foster architecture. Designed for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, it’s the highest point that can be visited in Barcelona, with a glass-floored observation deck on the 10th floor, open to the public. The tower itself is 288 metres high and stands on a 560 metre high hill. On a clear day, visitors can see all the way to Mallorca, Montserrat and the Pyrenees.
Climbing one of the accessible towers of Gaudi’s legendary temple, the Sagrada Familia, offers some great views of the surrounding city. Of the 18 towers that will eventually grace the still-incomplete basilica, eight are currently complete, equally split between the Nativity and Passion facades. Tickets to climb the towers must be purchased separately from the main entry fee but the views east over the city from the Passion façade and towards the city centre from the Nativity façade are well worth it. Visitors must take an elevator up the towers and descend via the stairs. If you are visiting with children, under-6s are not permitted to climb the towers for safety reasons and under-16s must be accompanied by an adult.
The city’s former bullring, now a modern shopping mall, Las Arenas Barcelonas has a panoramic terrace on the highest level offering great views out towards Montjuïc. It is also home to numerous bars, cafes and restaurants that also offer great views if you choose the right table!
There are of course many other spots around Barcelona that offer lovely views of different parts of the city. As well as the ones detailed here, which are undoubtedly among the best views in Barcelona, you’ll also hopefully find your own personal favourites from which to admire this beautiful urban mosaic. Happy viewing!