Montjuic Castle, Barcelona - All you need to know

Montjuic Castle RoofMontjuic Castle, or Castell de Montjuïc as the locals call it, sits atop the hill from which it gets its name. It has a fascinating history that by its very nature as a fort is full of battles, architectural renovations, and politics.

Up until March 2014 this pleasant piece of Barcelona was free to visit to anyone who wanted, unfortunately that soon changed and visitors can now be expected to pay to set foot within the fort. So, is it actually worth it now that the price of Montjuic Castle is €5 per person for a standard ticket and €3 per person for a discounted ticket? Here is all you need to know about this somber landmark that overlooks the city.

Is it worth paying for?

View from Montjuic CastleSadly, the castle isn't worth shelling out the asking price to visit. Once you enter the castle practically nothing about the history of this wonderful building is explained. The website says there is "general guidance" provided, however it isn't apparent exactly where that is or in what form it comes in. Perhaps it means the helpers in red jackets lurking around the site, but they're just there to give you a hand, not a fully guided tour.

The entrance ticket does also include the temporary exhibition, however the one available on opening day was "Barcelona en Post-Guerra". An absolutely intriguing display, but completely in Catalan, so undecipherable to the average tourist.

A lost opportunity and a lost history

Without the history, the only attraction for tourists is the views... But there are other more impressive and free to access locations in the city to snap landscape photos or share a romantic moment with someone. You could even just walk around the castle without entering for some equally good views and shots of the castle. Perhaps in a month or two this will change and some of that beautiful history will be much more accessible to the average visitor...

It's a shame, as the history is captivating. For example if you have read the 'Barcelona - Secrets of Occult, Ghost Stories, and Urban Legends in Gràcia' article here on Spain-Holiday, you would know that Prince George of Hessen-Darmstadt is buried in Barcelona; a Catalan hero who died leading an army in an attempt to retake this very fort from France and Pro-Bourbon Spain.

How you can still visit Montjuic Castle for free

Montjuic Castle EntranceDon't let the price of Montjuic Castle put you off, instead visit on a Sunday after 3PM and you can take the opportunity to enter the attraction completely free of charge. It's likely to have more of a crowd during this time, but is certainly worth doing if you fancy experiencing this 17th century gem and the vistas that it offers.

Useful information

Montjuic Cable CarHow to get to Montjuic Castle

There are a number of ways to get to Montjuic Castle, some expensive and others cheap. Here are the three main methods for getting there:

  1. Teleferico de Barcelona: From Port Vell (found close to the end of Las Ramblas) you can hop on a cable car for a scenic cruise across the Mediterranean sea that will land you around halfway up the mountain... All for a hefty €11.00 one way or €16.50 return.
  2. Metro: At Parallel Metro station take the Funicular. You can use a public transport ticket, so it's a cheaper option and works out at €1.03 one way or €2.06 return with a T10 ticket. That said, it only takes you halfway up, but handy if you're travelling from the other side of the city.
  3. Bus: The cheapest choice is getting the 150 bus from Plaza Espanya, which will drop you off right outside the castle. Again, €1.03 one way or €2.06 return with a T10 ticket.

If you didn't catch the bus, then once you're on Montjuic you can take a pleasant 10 minute walk up to the castle by following the road or slightly detouring through some beautiful parks along the way, like the 'Jardins de Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer'. Otherwise, you will find that next to the Funicular station there is another cable car available to jump on that will take you straight up to the castle - if you're willing to pay €7.50.

As a tip, if you're thinking you'll get some lovely photos by taking the cable car, then think again. The glass panels of the cars will likely hinder your shots and there are plenty of glass-free photo opportunities on the walk up instead. If you've got the energy then avoid the extra costs by all means and take in the peaceful atmosphere of this gorgeous section of Barcelona at a relaxed pace instead.

Opening hours

  • 1st October - 31st March, From Monday - Sunday from 10AM to 6PM
  • 1st April - 30th September, Monday - Sunday from 10AM to 8PM

The exhibits close around 30 minutes before the the listed closing times.

Wide view of Barcelona from Montjuic CastleAnd there you have it. Unlike Park Guell, which was also once free and eventually imposed an entry fee, it's probably for the best to save on the Montjuic Castle price of €5 per person. Visit on a Sunday when it's free. It's not to say that the attraction is bad, because that's far from the truth, it's merely that the value offered by the city council just isn't there for a tourist who is visiting to learn more about the building.

It's likely that the city council will be investing some of the money from tickets back into the attraction. Hopefully the result will be a demonstration to uninformed tourists about the struggle Catalonia has had over the centuries and how one modest citadel played centre stage to it all... For now however - and for the average tourist at least - it remains a place to simply take some pretty pictures...