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If you are new to Barcelona, you may be wondering what the illuminated panoramic wheel is on top of a hill to the north of the city which becomes visible as the sun goes down.
Although you don't realize it, what you are admiring from a distance is Tibidabo: the hillside where the city's oldest amusement park is located as well as a vast church with a huge statue of Christ. But, how do you get there? All the information you need can be found in the article below.
The best way to get to Tibidabo is to take the T2 TIBIBUS which departs from Plaça Catalunya (at the intersection with La Rambla Catalunya), costs about €6.00 for a return ticket and has a journey time of around 40 minutes. An alternative would be to take the Ferrocarril (the railway) which also departs from Plaça Catalunya on the Brown Line L7 until you reach the stop called Avenida Tibidabo. If you have got a car, or if you are going to hire one, you can get to Tibidabo from Barcelona in about 40 minutes (from the city center). And lastly, there is also the Tourist Bus which stops at this Barcelona attraction (on the orange route).
When you reach Tibidabo, you may feel a bit disappointed. It isn't the typical huge amusement park that people are used to visiting (like the enormous Parque de Port Aventura ;): the Tibidabo Amusement Park may seem rather small....and a bit outdated. However, if you think about it, you will realize that this is one of Barcelona's historic attractions, (built between 1902 and 1961) and then it will become a little more interesting in your eyes. Most importantly, one of the most spectacular features of your visit to this amusement park is thanks to its position: think what it would be like to find yourself on a panoramic wheel which is situated high up and thus offers stunning views of the city. The wheel isn't the only way to experience the thrill of a great height: you can also do this from the so-called Talaia (a kind of see-saw with a cabin at either end) which reaches towards the sky giving a complete 360 degree view of the surrounding area. And then there is the Avió, (which is like a flight simulator on a metallic arm that travels in circles). You also shouldn't miss out on the Muntanya Russa roller-coaster with its cars that move through the water at speed. There is also the Mina D'or flume ride and the house of mysteries which is known as Hotel Kruger and the Huracà (the hurricane) which will shake you up until your eyeballs roll. The amusement park is also ideal for small children who can have plenty of fun on the carousel with its horses and the entertaining animated dolls.
In order to check the opening times and prices, you can have a look online at their web site: Tibidabo.
However, Tibidabo is not just a place in which to have fun. Paradoxically, it is also somewhere for prayer and reflection. Dominating the park, the city and view of the sea is, in fact, a white colored church which is dedicated to the Sacred Heart and is crowned by an enormous statue of Jesus Christ with his arms extended. The church isn't as old as the Gothic churches in the center of Barcelona, (such as the Cathedral or the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar), as it was built between 1902 and 1961. The statue is, in fact, very "seventies." The contrast between this place of worship and the amusement park is quite impressive. From the square in front of the church you can hear the children's screams of delight and the music from the Ferris wheels. This presents a different way of looking at religion, from a cheerful, happy point of view.
Tibidabo isn't just the oldest amusement park in Barcelona, it is also the oldest in Spain and the second oldest in Europe (after the Prater in Vienna). Its name derives from the Latin "tibi dabo" which means "I will give you" and reflects the words spoken by the Devil when tempting Jesus in the desert.