Montjuïc Castle#12 in Best Things To Do in Barcelona
If you have even the slightest interest in history, make sure to add Montjuïc Castle to your Barcelona itinerary. While it may not be as fun as admiring Gaudi's whimsical works, the stone structure is teeming with history dating all the way back to the 11th century. The castle started out as a single watchtower that was occupied by a sailor looking out for enemy ships. During the Revolt of Catalonia during the mid 1600s, the government decided to add walls surrounding the watch tower when the threat of invasion from Spanish King Philip IV's fleet became imminent. Montjuïc Castle ended up defending the city from many attacks moving forward, including those carried out during the War of the Spanish Succession. It also served as a prison during the War of the Pyrenees and was occupied by Napolean's troops in the early 1800s.
Montjuïc continued to serve as a prison under multiple political leaderships over the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, including during the Spanish Civil War. Francisco Franco, Spain's dictator from 1939 to 1975, took over Montjuïc and became an internment camp for Republican soldiers (Franco was part of the Nationalist party that overthrew the democratic Republic of Spain at the time). It was here that the President of the Catalan Government, Lluís Companys was executed at Franco's orders.
Today, the structure is much more serene and managed by the Barcelona City Council. The site boasts verdant gardens, a moat, towering stone walls and remnants of its military past, including cannons. Despite being full of history, travelers couldn't stop talking about the incredible views from the castle. From the top, visitors have panoramic views of both the city and the Mediterranean. Travelers recommended taking the scenic Montjuïc cable car to the castle for even greater views of the city, which can be found a little more than a half mile north from the Poble Sec metro station. If you are coming here for the history, exhibitions can be found inside and there are tour guides on-site.
Montjuïc Castle is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from November to March and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from April to October. Admission is 5 euros (about $6), though if you come on Sundays after 3 p.m. or the first Sunday of the month, admission is free. To get here, you can hop off the Poble Sec metro station to catch the cable car. Another way is to catch the 150 bus from Plaça d'Espanya. The last stop on the line is the castle and the ride is about a 20 minute journey. For more information on Montjuïc Castle, visit their website.
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