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Montjuïc Castle

At the highest point in Barcelona, historic Montjuïc Castle offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

TravelCurious Tip

Take a cable-car up to the mountaintop for the best views on your way to the castle.

Overlooking Barcelona

Perched atop Montjuïc, which translates as Jew Mountain in medieval Catalan, is the majestic Montjuïc Castle. A fortification was first built here in 1640 when a Catalonian revolt broke out against King Philip IV of Spain; an inauspicious beginning, as the Spanish troops lost the Battle of Montjuïc. This hastily built fortress was turned into a proper castle in 1694, with grounds covering the mountain summit and huge stone ramparts looking out over the sea, and improvements continued to be made on the structure throughout the years.

The castle remained a strategic foothold in the Catalan territories and changed hands multiple times throughout the centuries. It was famously captured by Napoleon Bonaparte’s army in 1808 without a weapon being fired, as the soldiers were under orders not to fight the French.

A castle of conflict

The large and handsome castle we see today was completed in 1799, with contemporary style in mind and with more efficient defensive capabilities, including 120 cannons. However, the castle has since become a grim symbol of Catalan submission: Barcelona was bombed from the castle heights on a number of occasions, most notably in 1842, in order to quell revolutionary stirrings. It has also been used to house political prisoners. During the Spanish Civil War, both sides used the castle as a place to torture and execute high profile captives; 173 people were executed by firing squad between 1936 and 1938. Notoriously, the President of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Lluís Comanys, was shot dead here in October 1940 by dictator Francisco Franco.

In 1960 the castle ceased to function as a prison, and it was made a military museum in 1963 - inaugurated by the same Franco who had used it as a house of execution. In April 2007 the castle was officially given over to the City Council of Barcelona to be used for civic and cultural purposes. To mark the occasion, 40,000 Barcelonese ‘invaded’ the castle and held a festival with concerts, theatrics and dancing to celebrate its municipal ownership by the people whom it once loomed over so darkly. Today, as well as a popular spot for is exceptional panoramic views of the city and the sea, it is an important centre for exploring the fascinating and tumultuous history of Catalonia.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Barcelona
Fundació Joan Miró
A treasure trove of art by Joan Miró, one of Spain’s most prominent artists.
Theater Grec
A replica of a Greek ampitheater which was made for the Barcelona 1929 International Exposition
Montjuic Cable Car
A great way to see the city...
Plaça d'Espanya
Square built for the 1929 International Exposition
Magic Fountain
Large fountain that can be illuminated with sound effects for special occasions
Plaça de les Cascades
Waterfall-lined path in Montjuic

Related Tours

Private Full Day Highlights Tour inc Tickets: The Best of Vibrant Barcelona
Barcelona has become a popular tourist destination for visitors around the world as it is home to some of the world’s best historical buildings and sites, food and culture, and amazing beaches. This tour is ideal for those who would like a taste of what Barcelona has to offer in a day. Whether you’re interested in history, taking a walk through the vibrant streets of the Gothic Quarter, indulging in various delicious cuisines, and soaking in the city’s uniquely designed buildings, you will experience a bit of everything through this tour.  

  • Explore Park Güell, a prime example of Barcelona’s modernisme, and one of the highest points of the city.
  • Visit the breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage site La Sagrada Família Cathedral, designed by Antonio Gaudí.
  • Take a walk through the vibrant areas of Barcelona, which will lead you to the heart of the city Plaza Catalonia, the bustling street of  Las Ramblas, the unforgettable Gothic Quarter, and to the magnificent Church of Santa Maria del Mar.
  • Take the cable car to Montjuïc Castle, an ancient military fortress perched high above the City.
Please note: Your clothing must be appropriate to enter the Sagrada Familia. Whilst they are less strict on knees not being covered - the length of your shorts or skirts must be appropriate. Your shoulders must be covered, you cannot wear see-through clothing, nor have an exposed back or belly (no swimwear). 
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