Barcelona is a stunning city from whatever viewpoint you’re looking at it. But witnessing Barcelona from above is nothing short of magical.
Not only does it give you a totally different perspective, but you also gain a better understanding of the city.
You can clearly appreciate Barcelona’s layout. Symmetrical grids are dissected by long, tree lined avenues that stretch like green veins towards the turquoise coastline.
It’s easy to pick out many of the popular attractions and pinpoint where they are in relation to one another.
And looking at Barcelona from above, you’ll realise that for a city of such stature, it’s actually pretty small.
Barcelona From Above
Barcelona isn’t a city short on aerial views. This is thanks largely to the numerous mountains and hills that dominate its skyline.
There are plenty of towering buildings with bars and restaurants on high up floors boasting a nice Barcelona view. However, you won’t find any of those on this list.
For us, the best panoramas are experienced with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. Here are our favoured places to get the best views in Barcelona from above.
The Bunkers Barcelona
Our favourite lookout for the most magical views of Barcelona from above is the Bunkers Barcelona. It was formerly used as a stronghold against invading planes during the civil war, hence the name.
These days this hilltop hideaway is better known as Barcelona’s ultimate chill out spot.
Everyday sees new pilgrims undertake the walk up the steep, winding slopes of Turó de la Rovira. And though you’re guaranteed to get a sweat on scaling this hill’s peak, it’s well worth the toil.
Unlike other vantage points in Barcelona, the views here are 360 degrees, stretching out in all directions around the hill.
The famous theme park of Tibidabo lies on one side, seemingly towering over the El Carmel district below.
The Sagrada Familia on the other looks even more attractive from above, and feels almost close enough to touch.
The coast extends endlessly to your left and right as you look at the sea, industrial structures dominating the land.
A few hours slip by in the blink of an eye while you’re captivated by this mesmerising view.
In the shadow of Montjuic, the surrounding area of Poble Sec is home to some of Barcelona’s top attractions.
The Font Magica or Magic Fountains is a colorful light and sound show at the foot of the imposing Palace of Montjuic. It splashes and sings, delighting the huge crowds that gather to watch each performance.
Packing a travel tripod is a great idea for taking photos of the magic fountain in low light.
Then there’s La Monumental, the former bullring that faces the palace now converted into a shopping centre. From its large rooftop terrace which in itself provides nice 360° views of the surrounding area.
But for the real views of Barcelona from above, you need to get yourself to the top of Montjuic Mountain. In and around the historic castle that sits proudly on its crest has numerous fantastic lookouts.
To the north there’s Barceloneta and the 5km of Barcelona beaches, while directly beneath it is the vast port.
Boats of all sizes and colours, from cruise ships to freight liners crawl slowly in and out of the harbour. Watching them go about their business, loading and depositing their people and cargo is strangely mesmerising.
The Port Cable Car
The most exciting route down from the top of Montjuic is the cable car to Barceloneta beach. Otherwise known as the Transbordador Aeri del Port, this cable car is an ancient looking, rickety, square bucket.
Its retro appearance is down to the fact that it was conceived in the 1920s with building completed in 1931. But while it might appear as though it’s seen better days, consider that part of the thrill.
This ten minute thrill ride covers 1,300 metres in length and reaches a top speed of just under 5mph.
It runs from Montjuic to a central tower which it passes through without stopping before descending down to the end of Barceloneta Beach.
While similar to the views from the top of Montjuic, the ones from port cable car they are continuously developing. You get a bird’s eye view of this slice of Barcelona from above as your cable car passes directly over.
Don’t get the Transbordador Aeri del Port confused with the Montjuic Cable Car which also runs in the same area.
Montjuic Cable Car is much newer and does not take you to or from the port. Whilst it still provides nice views of Barcelona from above, it’s not a patch on the Transbordador Aeri del Port.
You can spot Tibidabo from virtually anywhere in the city thanks to the distinctive structures that sit on its crest.
The outline of the church crowned with a giant statue of Jesus with outstretched arms is instantly recognisable.
Surrounding the church is a 120 year old amusement park. Its two most famous rides are a ferris wheel and flight simulator that can also be seen from far away.
While these all make up an iconic part of the skyline, it’s the view of Barcelona from above which the mountain provides that’s most impressive.
Rising to almost 1,700 foot, Tibidabo is the highest point in Barcelona. Because of this it’s no surprise that you’ll get some of the best, uninterrupted views of the city from up here.
It’s pretty expensive to enter the main theme park section of Tibidabo. But the ferris wheel, flight simulator and a few other rides actually lie outside of this.
You can buy individual tickets to ride them, or alternatively just drink in the vistas from the designated viewing platform.
Don’t worry if you’re not up to the challenge of walking all the way to the top either. You can jump on the funicular that trundles up the side of Tibidabo.
The lookout from the car windows will also provide you with great views of Barcelona from above.
The most famous of all the city’s green spaces, Park Guell was designed by Barcelona’s best loved architect, Antoni Gaudi.
It’s deservedly one of the most popular tourist attractions here, and a must-see for all first time visitors to Barcelona.
The majority of Park Guell is free to access and packed with greenery and nature mimicking architecture. But the main attraction is the gated terrace of the park that with its surreal explosion of colours and shapes.
Flamboyant curves and surreal formations overlook two buildings that look like gingerbread houses. As if that’s not enough, beyond the twisted beauty of Gaudi’s imagination lies the whole of his spectacular city.
The breathtaking views are extravagantly framed by the colourful installations of the park. And thanks to its position on top of Carmel Hill, they stretch all the way to the ocean and beyond.
Though there is usually a fee to get in to this part of Park Guell, it’s actually possible to get in for free. Outside of its opening times, which change depending on the season, you can simply walk in without paying.
Catch the Best Views in Barcelona by Helicopter
If you’re looking for a thrilling and unique way to check out the best views in Barcelona from above, we’d highly recommend booking yourself a helicopter ride.
Whizzing along, high above Barcelona’s coastline you get to see the whole layout of this incredible city.
From the helicopter you can easily make out the medieval walls of the Old Town as well as the newer grid-like layout in areas like Exiample.
You’ll also enjoy spotting major Barcelona landmarks like the Agbar Tower, Port Forum and the Olympic Port.
This exhilarating and memorable helicopter ride is the perfect way to crown your trip to Barcelona.
Not only that, but it’s also surprisingly affordable. Check out the reviews and prices for the helicopter ride here and be sure not to miss out on this exciting highlight.
Looking for Somewhere to Stay in Barcelona?
Its long, narrow streets are lined with trees and there are lots of cool squares to chill out in.
It neighbours the El Carmel district where the bunkers are and is totally possible to walk to them from.
It’s also where you’ll find Park Guell, is close to La Sagrada Familia, and just a short metro ride or 20-30 minute walk from the centre of town.
In our opinion it’s by far the best area to stay in Barcelona.
Bear in mind that the best budget accommodation in Barcelona gets booked up well in advance. So to avoid disappointment get your reservations made ASAP.
Here are our top recommendations for where to stay in Gracia:
Affordable Luxury: Hotel Barcelona 1882 is just a stone’s throw from the Sagrada Familia. And from its roof terrace you’ll get stunning views of this beautiful building. There’s also an incredible rooftop pool and bar up there for relaxing in the evenings.
The spacious rooms are soundproof and come equipped with flat screen TVs, air con, and everything else you’d expect from a 4* hotel. Rooms come with large windows meaning they’re extremely bright and sunny, with some even boasting panoramic vies of the city.
Midrange: Hotel BestPrice Gracia‘s name sums it up nicely. You won’t find a better priced, more comfortable hotel in the area, particularly not when you consider how nice it is.
Simply and tastefully decorated, rooms here come with everything you need to relax after a day of sightseeing. Air con, flat screen TVs with satellite, private bathrooms with free toiletries and hairdryers come as standard.
Cheap & Cheerful: Sant Jordi Gracia is a modern, stylish hostel with a trendy vibe. Dorms are air conditioned and everywhere is impeccably clean.
There are also lots of cool areas to hang out and meet fellow travellers. These include a rooftop terrace, the shared kitchen and a big common room.
Which do you think looks like the best view of Barcelona from above? Drop us a note in the comments and let us know!
And if you’re looking for some more more incredible views near Barcelona, don’t miss our day trip guide to Montserrat mountain.
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Travel lover, professional writer and football (soccer) obsessive, James loves nothing more than getting outside and exploring little known corners of the globe. He’s also very partial to a drop of Guinness.