O.K. So we did it. All 6 of us (Our family + my sister and brother in law), went on the cable car known as the Teleferico del Puerto here in Barcelona, and we lived to tell the tale!
Before I tell you all about our journey across Barcelona's sky while hanging from cables, I should clarify that there are two different cable cars here in Barcelona. One is called Teleferico del Puerto, which connects Barceloneta Beach with the hills of Montjuic, and that is what we went on. The other is Teleferico de Montjuic, which is a smaller cable car, and is somewhat a continuation of the Teleferico del Puerto, taking you up the rest of Montjuic to the Castle at the summit. We decided to skip riding this one in the interest of time, and since we already climbed Montjuic on foot, we knew the views are not overly spectacular.
The Wait...The Heat...The Cost
The Wait: Way longer than you would anticipate. We went around 4:30 PM (2.5 hours before closing) and we had to wait about an hour and half, from arriving at the line to stepping in the cable car
The Heat: Ah it was hot! Barely any shade or any breeze. They do provide umbrellas that you can borrow for free to protect yourself against the sun, but it is still hot. Plenty of people abandoned the line after standing in the sun for a while (I would like to thank them profusely, because otherwise it would have taken us even longer to get on!).
The Cost: It costs €11 one way and €16.50 for a round trip for adults. Our kids were able to get on for free, though I saw no sign that actually indicated at what age children need tickets. We opted for the one way ticket, as we planned to walk down to Placa Espanya afterwards.
Travel Tip: You can board the Teleferico either from the Barceloneta neighborhood, close to the beach, or from up in Montjuic, outside Hotel Miramar, depending on which direction you want to ride it in. If you just want to ride it for the sake of the views and not to go a specific direction, get on the cable car from Montjuic and ride it down to Barceloneta. We started from the Barceloneta side and later found out that the line on Montjuic side is much, much shorter with lots of trees and fresh air! Don't make our mistake!
You can get to the Barceloneta tower by taking the Yellow line (L4) Metro to the Barceloneta stop and walk about 10 minutes along the water. After waiting in the heat, you will take a glass elevator to the top of the tower, where you wait a little longer in line before getting in a cable car.
The elevator ride is not the least bit terrifying. The tower is really not that high, and you arrive at the top very quickly. Once you are out of the elevator, you step into an enclosed area where there are plenty of windows to enjoy views of Barcelona as you wait in yet another line to get on the cable car.
There are also bathrooms up here, just in case :)
The best thing about this part was that we were standing in the shade and felt a nice breeze from time to time.
Travel Tip: If you get on the Teleferico from the Montjuic side, you do not take an elevator to board. Once you arrive on the Barceloneta side, you will have to take the elevator down.
Gliding high above Barcelona...Is it scary?
If you are afraid of heights, yes this 7 minute ride will likely freak you out; however, if you don't mind flying and you don't have a fear of heights, you will be fine. The cable car is very sturdy, and you barely sense it moving. There are about 10-15 people riding per car and there is only 1 tiny little seat, so expect to stand. People inside are encouraged to move around a bit so that everyone can more or less get the 360 degree view.
The only part of the ride where you feel a slight bump/thud is when the cable car arrives at the middle tower before continuing its journey onwards. It slows down and goes through the tower very, very slowly, but it does gently bump against the side. This is not by any means frightening.
The views from the cable car are nice, but I don't know if I would call them the best views in Barcelona. My favorite part was seeing the Mediterranean Sea and the Port Vell bridge from above. The city view, in my opinion, is much better from Park Guell.
So, is it worth it?
Short answer, no.
If you don't have time to make it to Park Guell, I would say sure. Just make sure you go to the Montjuic (Hotel Miramar) side, so you don't have to wait for over an hour in the heat. If you can make it to Park Guell and you don't care much about seeing the port with cruise ships, etc then save your money and find something more fun to do than waiting in line for a 7 minute ride :)
Travel Tip: Hungry travelers beware, the small shop/restaurant on the Montjuic side of the cable car charges way too much for ice cream and chips! Location Location Location, right? Bring a snack along so you don't have to pay €6 for a tiny twix ice cream and chips!