Today, we explored the Montjuic hill area of Barcelona. It was a lot bigger than I had anticipated it to be. We walked hours and hours, and were rewarded with many beautiful sights.
To get to the Montjuic area, there are a few different options. We took the nearby metro to the Parallel station, and from there the Funicular de Montjuic, which is mainly underground and takes you along the side of Montjuic hill.
Travel Tip: You do not need a special ticket for the Funicular. You can use a regular metro card.
Once you are out of the funicular, if your destination is the Montjuic Castle at the top of the hill, you can either walk up the hill or take the Teleferico (the elevated cable cars) at an extra cost. We opted for walking, because we love walking, and we have plans to take the Teleferico next week when we have family visiting us!
The walk up the hill to the castle is actually really pleasant, as you can walk through multiple parks, the first of which is the Jardins de Mossen. The parks are all very green with beautiful flowers, and as you climb higher up the hill you can start seeing some nice views of Barcelona beneath.
As we reached the last bit of our climb, we found some of the coolest slides ever! Just built onto the side of a hill are two very long and steep looking slides with an interesting step ladder. Don't worry, not everyone has to go up/down the hill this way. You can just take the longer route and go up a few regular stairs :)
Our kids had a blast on these slides. Despite the heat, they had no issues climbing up multiple times just so they go slide down.
The views from the castle area are very nice, but honestly I still think I prefer the views from Parc Guell more.
We only enjoyed the views and took a few pictures outside the castle. We will visit the Montjuic Castle next week (again due to family visiting, more on that later).
Travel Tip: Heads up! Some travel website say that visiting the castle is free. It's not! General admission for adults is 5 Euros.
Don't panic if you forgot your snacks or water at home, there is a nice food market outside the castle, and they have all sorts of little things you can munch on. Prices seemed fair.
On our walk back down the hill, we spotted a small playground with a snack stand nearby and music filling the air. With no other kids around, this was practically a private playground. They even had a great selection of toys available to play with.
Remember I said the size of the Montjuic area was much larger than I had anticipated? We were definitely quite tired once we got back down the hill, but it was one of those situations where you say, "since we are here....". So we just kept on walking. Next up was the Olympic Stadium.
The Olympic Stadium
Barcelona was home to the 1992 Summer Olympics Games. We wanted to check out the inside of the stadium as well, but little did we know that the Basketball World Cup (FIBA) is going on in Barcelona right now! We encountered hundreds of fans from countries such as Slovenia, USA, and of course Spain. The Slovenians were very lively and had fun chants that are still stuck in our heads: Slo-ve-nia! Slo-ve-nia! Slo-ve-nia! :)
We were able to see the stadium building from the outside and also got a very good view of the iconic Montjuic communication tower.
On our way down to Placa Espanya (another of the ways into and out of Montjuic) we saw the gorgeous national museum of Catalan art, with rolling waterfalls down the hill.
And as the cherry on top we got to see the magnificent Magic Fountain. They are beautiful.
Travel Tip: Be aware that the fountains are not continuously on during the day. It seems they are turned off for a few hours in the afternoon. I can't find the operating hours during the day on the internet, but this is based on two separate observations on different days!
Placa Espanya should be on your list if you are planning to visit Barcelona. You wouldn't want to miss this view, would you?
It is also the best and easiest way to get to the Magic Fountain and the national museum of Catalan Art. There is also the Barcelona Arena in the square, though after spending a month in Nimes, France, I'm not sure it will be able to compete with their historic Arenes!
Dinner - Sabor Indian Restaurant
After all that walking, we were all tired and starved. We started walking home, yes sometimes we are ridiculously overambitious and like to ignore taking the metro when we can.
We came across an Indian restaurant that was actually open at 7:30 PM. Hurrah! We were happy with all the dishes we ordered, and since we were eating so early, based on Barcelona standards, we received great service.