The Bunkers del Carmel
The Bunkers del Carmel have for a long time been one of Barcelona’s best kept secrets, visited only by locals in the know and more adventurous travellers. Located to the west of the city, these former wartime bunkers were used during the Spanish Civil War but are today abandoned. However, they offer the perfect viewing point from which to admire one of the best panoramic views of the Catalan capital there is. You can walk from the centre of town or get the metro to be closer if you prefer, either the Guinardó i Hospital de Sant pau (line 4) or El Coll / La Teixonera (line 5) stops will leave you within good walking distance. Access the bunkers via the Carrer de La Gran Vista and follow it round until it becomes Carrer del Panorama.
Time: 1.5 hours
Dominating Barcelona’s skyline as you look to the west, Tibidabo is the most famous of Barcelona’s nine surrounding hills, easily recognised by the church which sits atop it and lights up at night. The hill is also the home of one of Europe’s oldest amusement parks, the Parc del Tibidabo, which has been open since 1905. The walk to the top of Tibidabo takes you through wooded areas and offers spectacular views of Barcelona. One of the nicest routes to the top starts in the up-market neighbourhood of Sarrià, up through the Avenida de Vallvidrera and the Carrer de Santpedor at which point the route will be indicated.
Time: 4 hours
The Carretera de les Aigues
This is one of the most famous routes for walkers and cyclists in Barcelona, as it offers both great panoramas of the city as well as a nearly 10km trail on mostly flat tracks. Located on the aforementioned mount Tibidabo, the Carretera de les Aigues (or ‘Road of the Waters’) is named after the pipes which once ran along the route delivering water to nearby homes. The route can be accessed to the south just behind the Hospital de Sant Joan de Déu in Esplugues de Llobregat. To the north, walk up the Av. Tibidabo cutting through the Parc de la Font del Racó and follow the road up until you reach the Passeig de les Aigues. You can also access the route mid-way via the funicular which can be taken from the Peu del Funicular stop.
Time: 6 hours
The smallest of Barcelona’s surrounding hills, Montjuïc is home to the historic Montjuïc Castle, the Olympic Stadium and the Joan Miró foundation as well as numerous public gardens. There are many ways to enjoy a walk through Montjuïc and plenty of stops to be made along the way. One of the nicest trails starts in Poble-Sec through the Grec Gardens, following the Laribel Stairs up to the level of Miró Foundation. From there walk round the Av. Miramar until you reach the Gardens of Joan Brossa. Carry on along the Carrer Doctor i Font Quer and wind your way up to the castle. Walk behind the castle and you will stumble upon a casual outdoor restaurant open at weekends and the perfect place to have a rest before winding you way back down to Plaça Espanya.
Time: 3 hours
The Besòs River and Seafront
If you want to go for a walk without having to worry about walking up hill, this trail along the Besòs river will be just what you need. The Besòs runs from the Colserolla Mountain range to the Mediterranean sea, cutting across the north of the city on the border with nearby Badalona. Along the riverside, tracks have been created for walkers and cyclists and it forms part of the circuit known as the Ronda Verda which surrounds Barcelona. As a warm up for your route, walk along the seafront from Poblenou until you reach the Parc del Forum, then cross the bridge over the Besòs and continue your trail in the direction of the hills.
Time: 2 hours