So I may have failed in making the day-trip out of town I had planned for my Barcelona stay…
But the other main item I had on my (very small) list of things to do was ticked off nice and early!
Tibidabo is the mountain that overlooks Barcelona from the north of the city, providing spectacular views over the Catalan capital’s urban-sprawl and out to the lush waters of the Mediterranean ocean.
It’s kind of an omniscient presence that you’ll notice overlooking you at several spots during a Barcelona visit – particularly from up on Montjuïc – due to the striking sights of the temple of Sagrat Cor and Torre de Collserola perched on top of the vast hill. So I thought it was high time I made the trek up the hill to check out the vast view-scape for myself.
Hooking up with a couple of the hostel staff who just happened to be heading up there themselves, we ended up picking a pretty perfect Friday for taking in the surroundings. With lush blue skies and visibility for miles it couldn’t have been better suited, and an enjoyable afternoon was had by all.
But let’s rewind first and guide you up to the top…
How to get there
It’s an easy journey from the centre to Tibidabo, if a bit of a trek admittedly. From Plaça Catalunya metro station you’ll want to take Line 7, and Avinguda Tibidabo is the last stop on this. With lines 6 and 7 departing from the same area in the station it can be a bit confusing, so remember that the platform you’ll want is the one on the right.
Also if you’re a bit confused by the different signs remember that Line 7 is an FGC line rather than a standard Metro one. Your T-10/transport card will still work fine though.
After about a 15 minute journey you’ll hop off at Avinguda Tibidabo station on Plaça John F. Kennedy. Directly across the road on the right you’ll find the tram and bus stops that will take you the next bit of the way.
The historic Tramvia Blau wasn’t running when I visited, so we ended up squeezing onto a very busy bus for this part of this section of the journey. Again, make use of your transport card if you have one by inserting it into the machines on here. It’s bus 196 you’ll need.
Once the bus has ambled it’s way up the hill you’ll be dropped off at Plaça del Doctor Andreu where you take the final part of the journey – the historic funicular tram!
Whilst it’s not exactly the experience that Hong Kong’s peak tram is – mostly due to the fact that you won’t reclining back at a ridiculously steep angle on this one – it’s still a pretty cool piece of Barcelona history. Although I have to admit I was pretty disappointed by the €7.70 return ticket price, which rather like the hill, is pretty damn steep!
Nevertheless after a 1,152 metre journey up the line you’ll finally arrive at Tibidabo!
What to see/do
Upon climbing off the funicular you’ll be on a small plaza in front of the gift shop and a fairly average looking cafe, with the vast viewing platform to your right and the stunning Temple de Sagrat Cor up some steps in the background. I’d recommend heading over and checking out the lush views of the city from the platform before you do anything else.
If you feel the need you can also make use of several binoculars dotted along the platform, should you want a closer
perve look over the horizon.
You obviously won’t be able to help but notice the amusement park in and around you too. Most of this was closed during my visit – surprisingly during a warm September – but I can’t say that it would have been particularly up my street anyhow!
Once you’ve had your fill from the viewing platform you should head over to the imposing Temple de Sagrat Cor, as many more impressive views await. Enter by heading in through the main doors beneath the stunningly decorated facade and check-out the crypt. It’s a pretty dark example, what with it’s clash of gothic and classical design. Remember to look down and have a look at the mosaic flooring between the rows of stalls leading to the altar, or around at the striking stained-glass windows.
After you’ve had your religious fix from the crypt heading out the left side of the chamber will take you to the elevator that will bring you up to the basilica. It’s another €2 for this, which I was not-exactly delighted to find out, but as you’ll see the rewards make the journey worthwhile.
Also keep an eye out for the chirpy Catalan cardinal who operates the lift – he’s a real character!
At this level you’ll be able to walk all the way around the platform that surrounds the highest tower of the basilica, and you’ll notice what I imagine to be some very expensive houses perched up on the surrounding hills. You’ll also be able to get a proper view of the Torre de Collserola from up here too.
You’ll also notice that you’re up high with the statues of the various apostles at this level too. These make for some great shots, with the way they appear to be looking over the city and surrounding region creating a great dramatic spectacle.
One more for good luck? Why not!
Despite all the great views from here, the ascent still isn’t quite done yet, and taking the tight spiral staircase up through the final tower will take you up to the highest point of the basilica, where you’ll be right underneath the massive statue of Christ that adorns the highest point of the tower.
And after you’ve grabbed as many shots of the stunning landscape as you can handle from this final lofty perch, all that’s left is to start the long descent back down to ground level. Well, it keeps you fit at least!
Worth the trip?
I’d definitely recommend a trip up to Tibidabo if you’ve got the spare time and the skies are clear on your chosen day. I wouldn’t put it to the top of a Barcelona itinerary by any means, particularly with so many of the city’s main highlights being clustered in the centre. But that said the stunning views available from the top make it a more than worthwhile trip.
You’ll need to set aside €20 or so to cover your trip there and back, as the funicular journey will eat a fair chunk of that, and it can be even pricier if you really feel the need to check out the Tramvia Blau too. Just make sure you make use of a T-10/transport card if you have one to cover your other journeys!
Still, with some amazing vistas that you let you see for miles over not just Barcelona, but also the surrounding countryside of Catalonia and potentially out to sea as far as Mallorca, Tibidabo is definitely worth a trek. Check it out!
Have you been up to Tibidabo before? If so, what did you think of it?