Sants Montjuic

Sants Montjuic is one of the southern districts of Barcelona, bordering Eixample and Ciutat Vella. It contains some interesting neighborhoods, but it is primarily known for the large shallow hill of Montjuic Barcelona. Several points of interest can be seen here, including the attractions built for the 1929 World Exposition and the 1992 Olympics. Several-centuries-old fortifications can also be seen at Sants Montjuic. Sants Montjuic also has some good options for accommodation, from five-star hotels to longer-term apartments in the residential area of La Bordeta.

The National Palace, or Palau Nacional, is one of the premiere sights at Montjuic Barcelona and was built for the 1929 Exposition. Set on the side of the hill, this imposing structure is an elaborate Baroque-style building with numerous terraces and gardens. It contains the National Museum of Art of Catalonia, which is the largest museum in Catalonia and features art from the twelfth century through the twentieth. The view of the terrace of the National Palace is a worthwhile one—from there visitors can see the city and the surrounding countryside.

Another attraction built for the 1929 Expo is the Magic Fountain, situated a little lower than the National Palace on the side of Montjuic. The Magic Fountain is the culmination of several fountains and cascades, and it was designed to showcase the interaction of colored electric lights and cascading water. During the summer, visitors to Sants Montjuic can view a fifteen-minute light show at the Magic Fountain, with the impressive background of the National Palace lit up just up the hill. At the foot of the mountain you can stroll around at the Placa Espanya, the main plaza of the city and the end point for several major thoroughfares.

One of the biggest tourist attractions at Montjuic Barcelona is the Spanish Village, or Poble Espanyol. This car-free village, also built for the 1929 Expo, is the perfect place to see a sampling of Spanish architecture. Although all of the buildings are reproductions, they are extremely well-made and many are exact replicas of historic structures elsewhere in Spain. This peaceful little village now features the wares of many artisans, and it is a good place to pick up some local arts and crafts for a souvenir.

The oldest sight on the hills of Montjuic is the Castell de Montjuic. This fortress was built in the eighteenth century, and while it was intended for the defense of Barcelona, it was actually used against the city at times in its history by troops from Madrid. Today it houses the Military Museum, where you can get a glimpse of Barcelona's military history. The fortress can be reached by cable car as well as on foot, and features panoramic views of the city.

If you want to stay in one of the Sants Montjuic hotels, a good option is renting an apartment in La Bordeta. This residential neighborhood has some nice plazas and is a good place to glimpse daily life in Barcelona. La Bordeta is part of the Sants municipality, and though it is not a major tourist destination, it is a good choice for subletting if you are looking to stay for a longer period in Barcelona. Sants Montjuic housed the Olympic village in 1992, so there is no shortage of hotels. One of the most luxurious establishments here is the five-star Miramar. You might also consider the reasonably priced four-star Expo Hotel, which is very conveniently located close to a Metro station.

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