Barcelona is a city of distinct neighborhoods, running out into gently rolling hills. These heights, and the many tall landmarks, mean you are spoilt for choice when looking for the best views in Barcelona.
Man-made structures include Gaudí’s La Pedrera, and the towers of the famed Sagrada Familia. More natural high points include the hill of Montjuïc and Collserola.
Every viewpoint has its charms, and most are easy to reach. If time is short, there are plenty of guided tours, but taxis, public transport, and cable cars are also easy to use.
However you decide to see them, these are the 14 best views in Barcelona.
Park Güell must be the most beautiful failed housing project in history. Originally intended to have 60 houses, only two were ever built: architect Antoni Gaudí’s own, and one for his friend Domenech.
Fortunately, Gaudí had planned the area as an English-style park, to take advantage of the sloping hillside space.
So, when potential buyers decided the site was too far out, Barcelona was able to acquire it as a city park where one can experience Spain’s nature without venturing too far.
At its heart is the much-photographed plaza, a veranda overlooking the Mediterranean city, intended as a community gathering space. Families would have used the mosaic-covered undulating benches when gathering for meetings, concerts, and other events.
Follow the paths up “Cavalry” hill to take in the even better view from on high. Spread between you and the Mediterranean, the whole city seems to be at your feet.
Sagrada Familia Towers
The Sagrada Familia, Gaudí’s most famous work and one of the most beautiful places in Spain, needs no introduction.
When the work is finally finished—potentially in 2026—it will have 18 towers, but only two sets can currently be visited.
The four Nativity towers, or the four Passion towers offer you dramatic views over Barcelona. You take an elevator up, but have to walk down hundreds of steps.
The towers were originally designed for a solitary bell-ringer, not crowds of visitors. So the passages are narrow and dark, but try not to let that put you off.
The thrill of seeing Barcelona from atop its iconic building is enjoyed by hundreds of sightseers every day, and is in fact one of the most romantic places in Spain.
However, while the city’s other landmarks stand out far below, it’s the view of the amazing basilica itself that is most entrancing.
Casa Milà, on Passeig de Gracia, was finished in 1912 and was immediately nicknamed “La Pedrera” (The Quarry) for its organic shape. Looking like it is carved from one gigantic rock, it is another Gaudí masterpiece.
While the Sagrada Familia’s vastness makes it daunting to take in, this building is a gentler introduction to the architect’s work. After a tour of an apartment, the “Jonah swallowed by a whale” attic, and its museum, you emerge onto the rooftop for yet another thrill.
If you can tear yourself away from the detailing of the “warrior” chimneys, this is one of the best views in Barcelona. You can visit at night, too, when the building is atmospherically lit. Don’t miss the gift shop for some unusual Spanish souvenirs on your way out.
Another major work by Antoni Gaudí, dating to 1906, Casa Batlló was built for a prosperous textile magnate. The luxurious house stands on the prestigious boulevard of Passeig de Gràcia.
Its much-photographed facade has been compared to Monet’s impressionist paintings. The colorful ceramic tiles, ornate stonework, and organic curves make for an extraordinary effect.
Up on the roof, you can enjoy a drink at the bar while, well, drinking in the view. Besides the city center, you can spy on some of the neighboring mansions that were built in the same era of architectural excess.
The roof tiling, which shows the story of St. George and the dragon, also has much to admire. This was a popular image representing Catalonian Independence.
Montjuïc is a scenic, wooded hill that rises to almost 600 feet over Barcelona. Its name means “Jewish Mountain”, and the remnants of a large medieval Jewish cemetery have been found.
A strategic setting near the port made the hill’s fortification inevitable, and Barcelona actually grew up around it. The present Montjuïc Castle dates to the 17th century.
If the steep walk up to the Spanish castle is too much, or the day is too hot, the cable car is an easy option. On the return route, the Montjuïc Cable Car stops at Mirador de l’Alcalde for a slightly different view.
It’s worth getting off to explore the different gardens, including the garden nursery. The Montjuïc Amusement Park is now the modern Jardins de Joan Brossa, offering plenty of shade and the great views that Spain is known for.
If you have mobility issues, Barcelona Cathedral’s rooftop is a better option than the towers of the Sagrada Familia. You can take the elevator both ways, and the view may even be better.
Of course, many people think the Sagrada Familia is Barcelona’s cathedral, rather than a basilica. The Cathedral of the Holy Cross is the seat of Barcelona’s Archbishop—hence its local nickname of “La Seu” (Catalan for The Seat).
Consecrated in 1339, the cathedral is mostly 14th-century Gothic, with a 19th-century neo-Gothic facade. That Gothic style can be seen on the roof in the form of grotesque gargoyles.
You look down on the old Gothic Quarter (Barrio Gótico), with its maze of streets. The Ramblas, City Hall, and the whole city from port to the hills behind is on view.
Basilica of Santa Maria del Pi
Santa Maria del Pino, as it is known by locals, stands in the Gothic Quarter. Its bell tower is easy to see from much of the city, and offers great views in return.
Although there has been a Spanish church here since the fifth century, the current basilica dates to around 1320. The tower was first added in 1379, and stands 150 feet high.
You reach the roof by a spiral staircase, to find the whole of Barcelona before you. The mountain ranges around the city, and the Mediterranean are also part of the panorama.
From up here, you can appreciate the importance of the tower when built as part of the city’s defenses. It was vital to spot approaching enemies, and played a key role during several sieges.
Read: Three Days in Barcelona
National Museum of Art of Catalonia
The National Museum of Art of Catalonia (MNAC) has a vast collection of art. With works from the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and modern eras, major artists include El Greco, Velazquez, and Joan Miró.
MNAC is housed in the Italian-style Palau Nacional, dating to 1929. However, if you turn your eyes away from the building, and galleries inside, the view out to Barcelona is also remarkable.
Standing on Montjuïc, the museum’s terrace looks out on popular Spanish landmarks such as the Sagrada Familia, the Gothic Quarter, and Montjuïc Castle. It also looks out on Plaça d’Espanya, with its Venetian towers, and Arenas de Barcelona.
On a clear day, the Mediterranean makes a shimming backdrop to the city. Later in the day, the lights of Barcelona twinkling into life make this a popular sunset viewing spot.
Las Arenas de Barcelona
Las Arenas de Barcelona is a handsome former bullring, dating to 1900. After bullfighting fell out of favor in the 1970s, British architect Richard Rogers redesigned it as a shopping center.
The most striking feature is a rooftop terrace with lovely 360-degree panoramic views of the city’s rooftops. It is reached by an external glass lift, and is lined with bars, cafés, and restaurants serving some of the best food in Barcelona.
As you look out, hemmed in by other buildings, you get an intimate feel for Barcelona’s famed neighborhoods. The Sagrada Familia, Montjuïc, and the Mediterranean let you orientate yourself.
While you don’t have the on-high views from other landmarks, this is a different way to enjoy the skyline. It’s a great addition to the other best views in Barcelona—with the chance to enjoy some great shopping as well.
Santa Maria del Mar
The basilica of Santa Maria del Mar was built in the 13th century, as a rival to Barcelona’s cathedral. The latter was seen as for the elite, so the citizens of the Ribera neighborhood funded their own “The Cathedral of the Sea”.
The people carried the bricks for the church themselves, a history that adds great romance to its story. Its severe beauty makes it the most striking Gothic building in Barcelona.
The soaring interior is flooded with light from stained glass windows, and a remarkable rose window. You can see this close up on a guided tour, which will also take you to the roof.
The Gothic architecture of the roof is well worth seeing up close. From here, you can also see the medieval layout of the neighborhood at rooftop level, as well as the rest of Barcelona.
The Tibidabo Amusement Park has delighted generations of Spanish children since its opening in 1905. Its quaint rides, and 40 priceless antique automatons remain major draws.
Standing at the highest point of the Serra de Collserola, Tibidabo advertises “the best views of Barcelona”. With a whole amusement park to see as well, what have you got to lose by finding out?
The panorama includes the Sagrada Familia, the shimmering and futuristic Torre Agbar, and the Olympic Port. On clear days, the view goes as far as Montserrat, 30 miles away.
The Collserola mountains run parallel to the Mediterranean coast. Their natural beauty makes them a deservedly popular destination for hiking in Spain, and other outdoor activities.
Torre de Collserola was built for Barcelona’s Olympic Games in 1992. Designed by architect Sir Norman Foster, it stands almost 1,000 feet high above the 1,680-foot-high Tibidabo hill.
The tower is used for TV and radio transmissions, and its aerial is the highest point in Barcelona. The tenth-floor observation deck is at 1,837 feet above sea level.
That height obviously guarantees this is one of the very best views in Barcelona. As well as the beautiful Spanish city, you can see as far as the Pyrenees mountains, the Montserrat range, and the Mediterranean.
Less than a mile from the much lower Tibidabo viewpoint, Collserola gives a very different view. It’s a more distant, higher view, but a good complement to its neighbor.
Bunkers of Carmel
Turó de la Rovira, known as the Bunkers of Carmel, were built during the Spanish Civil War as an anti-aircraft battery. Their hillside site in the Carmel neighborhood was perfect then for defending the city, and now for sightseeing.
At sunset, it can seem as if every young couple in Barcelona has come to see the view. However, the large viewing platform still leaves plenty of room for all.
That link to the local community is a key part of the attraction of this viewpoint. It’s close enough to the city to see the details, and far enough away to see the broad picture.
The bunkers, covered in graffiti, might not seem too attractive. However, a museum opened in 2011 and gives a great history of the site, and should be part of any visit.
Telefèric del Port
This cable car connects Port Vell, Barcelona’s old harbor, to the hilltop of Montjuïc. Three-quarters of a mile long, the ride takes about ten minutes each way.
The views of the port are obviously particularly good, but the double cableway passes over several parks and other landmarks. It shouldn’t be confused with the Montjuic cable car, which connects Parc de Montjuïc with Castell de Montjuïc.
In Barceloneta, the starting point is the tower of San Sebastian. Two lifts take you to the top, where you’ll also find a restaurant with a view of one of the best beaches in Barcelona.
The Miramar station at the other end, on Montjuic, has its own restaurant. Terraza Miramar Restaurant, noted for seafood, is popular for its own panoramic sea views.
Has this list of the 14 best views in Barcelona given you the urge to see the Catalan capital for yourself? Then browse our luxury cruises to Barcelona to find the perfect itinerary.