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The Viewpoint at the Bunkers del Carmel

Locally known as the Turó de la Rovira Bunker or the Mirador del Carmel ... whatever the name, this is a really special place.  

We are talking about one of the highest points in Barcelona, somewhere with an incredible history to share: this begins with the Spanish Civil War and has carried on with its story thanks to the young people who congregate here every night to enjoy a spectacular view of the city from on high.  

Mirador del Carmel
On top of the Mirador del Carmel

The Mirador del Carmel yesterday and today 

In reality, these are actual bunkers which were built during the Spanish Civil War and were used as an anti-aircraft battery.  This space was restored in 2010 and during the restoration work, planks were discovered which had been used to construct the soldiers' sentry posts, (just think how cold they must have been in winter)!  After the war, this area became a very poor neighborhood which was known as "the cannons" which, at one point, was upgraded due to the Spanish version of the film "I want you" which was partly shot at the Turó de la Rovira and which was enormously successful in Spain.  Nowadays there are plenty of people who know of the Mirador del Carmel, especially those who have moved to live in Barcelona: it is a spot that is popular with young people, couples and also some tourists, especially on Sunday afternoons as they come to admire the view at sunset.  At night time, it is enlivened by young people who have finished their studies, are on holiday and want to enjoy a "fiesta" and are going on later to one of the discotheques in Barcelona: they can usually be spotted at the Bunkers around dinner time having a beer with friends or sharing a classic open-air party and a drink before going on to somewhere where the drinks are more expensive.

Location of the Bunkers del Carmel and how to get there 

The Turó de la Rovira is located in the Horta-Guinardó district (the neighborhood of El Carmel). If you're quite energetic and you like long walks with a nice prize at the end, (by a prize we mean spectacular views of Barcelona), you can head off to the Bunkers del Carmel on foot by leaving from the neighborhood of Vila de Gràcia, for example.  It is quite a long hike and will certainly be tiring, but is really gratifying once you arrive at the top.  The average journey time to reach the top is around an hour.  An alternative would be to catch the convenient V17 bus which has a stop in the Plaza de la Trilla (near the Plaza de la Vila in Gràcia), or you can also take the 114 bus which stops at the Travesera de Gràcia and continues towards the northeast. 

The Mirador del Carmel by night
The Mirador del Carmel by night

Useful tips if you're going to the Mirador del Carmel 

Don't expect to find a refreshment area when you reach the top of the Mirador del Carmel as this is quite an isolated part of the city, (even though it is well known and can be quite crowded).  Fortunately, it has not been overtaken by the same commercialization as some other more popular tourist spots. You won't find anything other than the long walls and steps on which you can sit down and admire spectacular panoramic views of the city below.  One recommendation is to do a "mini-shop" in one of the supermarkets that you will find en route or, if you are going by public transport, one of the shops near the bus stop.  For example, you can pop into one of the convenience stores that are open until late  where you are sure to find chilled beers, crisps and other snacks.  A final and very useful suggestion is: to wear trousers (or shorts) and above all, comfortable shoes, as the last part of the climb is obviously done on foot and is quite steep.  In addition to this, if you are going during the hotter months of the year, take a scarf of a shawl to protect yourself from the wind - and in winter, make sure you have a jacket or a coat because the wind is really strong at the top!  And lastly, it is worth bearing in mind that sunset at the Turo de la Rovira is really stunning but at nightfall, when the Torre Agbar is illuminated, the view is even better....but do remember that the lights are switched off at midnight! 

The Viewpoint is part of MUHBA

MUHBA, which stands for Barcelona's Museum of History has various properties across the city, including the Mirador del Carmel. This is an attraction within an attraction: this is because it isn't just a place that provides a panoramic 360 degree view across the city but also because it is an outdoor museum which relates an important part of Barcelona's history.  For precisely this reason, in 2012, it won the "European Prize for an Urban Public Space" thanks to the architects who breathed new life into a space that was previously of marginal interest but which had enormous evocative potential.  Almost ten hectares of land around the Viewpoint were rebuilt and, at the same time, new sites were constructed to make the area safer and accessible for free to everyone, both local residents and tourists.  Today, Turó de la Rovira is an area that is full of holiday homes, villas with nice gardens and at the same time, construction sites for the installation of new services for the city such as the "Aguas de Barcelona" warehouse or telecommunications antennae.  Are you wondering when this free open air museum is open?  You can access the Mirador del Carmel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  However, there are also some historic areas which have restricted access which you can only enter by paying for an entry ticket.  Have a look at the following web page:   Museum of the History of Barcelona for further information.

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