From defensive fortress to municipal facility
The summit of Montjuïc Mountain, which is some 173 metres above sea level, is home to a construction called Montjuïc Castle. It is an ideal defensive site as it offers 360º views of the territory. The first fortress was built during the Reapers’ War, in 1640, and has survived to the present day.
Why visit Montjuïc Castle?
In the mid-18th century the military engineer Juan Martín Cermeño was responsible for the remodelling of the enclosure as it had been significantly damaged during the War of the Spanish Succession, which took place from 1701 to 1714. Montjuïc Castle has been used to both defend Barcelona and to bombard it at various times of its history. In the late 19th century the building started to be used as a prison. In 1940 Lluís Companys, the President of the Government of Catalonia, was executed by firing squad there and in 1963 Franco opened a Military Museum within its confines that was not definitively closed until 2009. Now Montjuïc Castle is owned by Barcelona City Council.
A visit to the castle will allow you to discover:
- The entrance bridge and the facade: Cermeño designed them in 1751 as part of the defensive improvements.The style of the access bridge is neoclassical.Its two columns welcome visitors to the castle.
- The bastions: Montjuïc Castle has four bulwarks, two on the main wall and two others inside. These structures jutting out from the wall served to protect the fortification.
- The parade ground: in the highest part of the castle is the parade ground. Around it are the essential rooms for the life and management of the fortress.
- The terrace and the watchtower: from the parade ground you will arrive to the terrace. This is the highest part of the compound.From here you have a panoramic view of the city of Barcelona.
- The sea-facing wall: this is a 155-metre-long wall that faces the sea.From here you have an impressive view of the Port of Barcelona.
- The moat: also built by Cermeño. Today, it's a beautiful landscaped area where many activities take place.
- The hornwork and the ravelin: located between the first and second level is the hornwork, a series of defensive structures.The ravelin is the main element of the hornwork. It is located in the middle of the moat.
- The seaward and landward lunettes: they were extensions of the bulwark and served to increase the security of the castle.
- The covered way: this is the pathway that surrounds the fortification.In the past, it was the front line of defence as it kept the enemy infantry at bay.
Moreover, from the terrace of the parade ground you can look out over Barcelona, the port, the coastline, the Mediterranean Sea and the area known as El Baix Llobregat.
Prices for Montjuïc Castle of Barcelona
Montjuïc Castle of Barcelona is open all year round, except for Christmas and New Year's Day. Montjuïc Castle hours, however, vary depending on the season (high season in summer and low season in winter).
To visit Montjuïc Castle, you'll need to buy a ticket: general or reduced admission. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket office on site (up to a half an hour before closing) or through the Montjuïc Castle official web page. We recommend buying tickets online to avoid the lines.
Entry to the castle includes access to temporary and permanent exhibitions. It's also possible to take a guided tour of Montjuïc Castle to discover and visit places closed to the public such as the jail cells, watchtower and reservoir.
All the information about opening hours, tickets and rates and guided visits is available on the Montjuïc Castle of Barcelona website.
For the most curious of you
- Did you know? In the castle’s moat there is a sculpture that pays homage to the metre. This is because in 1792, Montjuïc Castle was where the French geographer and astronomer Pierre-André Méchain defined this new unit of measurement.
- Local’s tip: Exhibitions, concerts and cinema screenings are held at Montjuïc Castle, especially in summer. You can consult its programme on its website.
- A must: To learn more about the history of the city. The enclosure is home to the Montjuïc Castle Interpretation Centre, a permanent exhibition that covers the past of this monument in great detail.