If you are looking for that view above the city, but you have no drone and you can’t fly..have no fear…the Bunkers del Carmel is a site high above Barcelona offering that magnificent view that no building will quite give you. The Bunkers of Barcelona are a free historical site well worth the trip.
Barcelona, the jewel of Catalunya, (the northeast four provinces of Spain), is a dynamic city facing the Balearic Sea. As you look to the west you will see the hills above the city. The Turó de la Rovira, is a hill that offers views of Barcelona all the way to the sea from 860 feet (262m) above. There are other more tourist oriented high points around the city but the old military Bunkers del Carmel (for the Carmel district) are a slice of history as well as a local hangout for many in the local environs.
Built during the Spanish Civil War in 1937, the bunkers were used as part of an anti-aircraft battery to defend against attacks from above. Of course after the war the partially underground installation fell into disrepair and a shanty town sprung up around it. Today there is a small outlet of the Museu d’Història de la Ciutat (Barcelona’s museum of history), the MUHB showing items and photos of the past. Although it seems to be just concrete squares and blocks built into the hill, to the local teens in the neighborhood, it’s their spot.
The crown jewel though is the view! It is absolutely magnificent!! There is also a mostly unobstructed view of sunset and of course, sunrise. Locals abound in groups and pairs and towards sunset the atmosphere is a little festive. Enterprising fellows sell cold libations from coolers of small snacks, and usually some sort of local constabulary makes a swing through to keep the peace, although, it is a really cool atmosphere.
Getting up there, if you decide not to hire a car, will take some humping! Hope you put on the right shoes!
Location of the Bunkers of Barcelona (Bunkers del Carmel)
What I didn’t realize until on top of the hill, was the almost forgotten side of Barcelona, in a valley on the other side of the mountain. Not the tourist Barcelona, just…Barcelona.
It was a good visit up the hill. It was no joke getting up there. From the Placa de la Font Castellana, a rotunda with a large round water fountain (about a 15 minutes walk uphill from the Alfons X metro station) it was a 10 minute walk up the street Carrer de Tenerife. Outside of the playground and futsol area there are steps going up the mountain.
Through the brush there are more forested areas of the Parc del Guinardo. The path goes right up. I wanted to see the city in lights another night but I didn’t make it back. Some folks enjoying some drinks on a rooftop waved me over but I was beat and had plans for fireworks! The Merce festival was happening and it was also a time of Catalunya and it’s fight for independence. Over half a million people were at the event! I had to run…er..walk..my big butt was tired.
All in all the Bunkers del Carmel is an awesome place to view an awesome place and I will return to get that dark night view!
Thanks for hanging out for a travel tale! Until next time! Leave a comment below! If you have been to the bunkers I would love to hear from you!
Here is some further inspiration for Barcelona from this link here!