“I was just outside Barcelona hiking in the foothills of Mount Tibidabo. I was at the end of this path and I came to a clearing and there was a lake, very secluded. And there were tall trees all around. It was dead silent: gorgeous. And across the lake, I saw a beautiful woman – bathing herself”
Joey Tribbiani, Friends (the episode with the videotape)
OK, so maybe this well-known quote from TV’s Friends paints Tibidabo in a fanciful light. But along with offering breath-taking views, the peak is a great spot for many other things, like dinner under the stars, tapas in glamorous bars, and family adventures in the Science Museum or El Parque de Atracciones.
- From high on the peak of Mount Tibidabo, with out-stretched arms, the statue of Jesus Christ stands on Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazón looking down at Barcelona. Originally the creation of Enric Sagnier i Villavecchia, and taking nearly 60 years to complete (from 1902 until 1961), the temple dominates the city skyline and is one of many amazing vantage-points, found all over the mountain, from which to behold the city.
- In stark contrast to the typically ornate Catalan Modernist Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazón, just a little down the slope stands the space-aged La Torre de Collserola. Designed by Sir Norman Foster, as part of the build-up to the 1992 Olympics, La Torre Collserola is a fully operatieonal telecommunications antenna that can be visited every day of the week except Mondays. Entrance costs €5.60 for adults (€3.30 for children and OAPs).
Family fun on Tibidabo
- The Museo de la Ciencia (the Science Museum) also known as Cosmo Caixa, boasts a fantastic array of fun exhibits and activities that will give you and your family a chance to rest sun-burnt skin, inside a wonderful building. Of particular note, inside the Science Museum is the Planetarium, which runs various sessions throughout each day, taking you on a journey through galaxies near and far.The museum is open 10am until 8pm, daily and entrance costs €4 (Under 16’s free). To enter the Planetarium costs €4. For a schedule of when it is possible to visit the Planetarium please visit CosmoCaixa Barcelona.For more information read our detailed article about the CosmoCaixa.
- El Parque de Atracciones (or Amusement Park) occupies most of the mountain, and is undoubtedly a must-see for thrill-seeking visitors to the city. The park has a multitude of rides to choose from including star attractions such as a rollercoaster and a 4-D cinema. It is open Wed – Fri from 12noon–9pm, Sat 12noon–11pm, and Sun 12noon–10pm. Tickets cost €28.50.
In recent years the park has attracted much of the wrong kind of attention (see El Pais, for more information), as the safety of rides has been frequently called into question. This culminated in the tragic death of a 15 year old girl on 16th July 2010 whilst on the Pendulum.
Evening entertainment in and around Tibidabo
A night out on Tibidabo is not for the faint hearted: pricey drinks and poor public transport see to that, but a little extra effort can go a long way if you are looking to escape the well-worn touristic haunts and enjoy a romantic dinner or drinks with spectacular views of the city.
- The Fabra Observatory offers a romantic evening including: dinner on a secluded terrace (incredible city-wide vistas); a tour of the golden domed building, which dates from 1904; and a chance to star-gaze through one of Europe’s oldest telescopes. It is necessary to pre-book the meal, either online, or by calling 902109230.
- A variety of luxurious bars can be found in Plaça del Doctor Andreu. Perhaps the most renowned are: Mirablau (tel. no. 934185879), offering lunch meals for €20-25, and a variety of tapas for around €5 at night; and Mirabé (tel. no. 934340035), drinks cost between €5 and €10. Both of these provide elegant settings and stunning panoramic views, and are frequently enjoyed by local celebrities.
Getting to El Parque de Atracciones or the temple
The easiest way to is to catch the T2A Tibibus from Plaça Cataluña: a single costs €2.95, which is reimbursed when you buy a ticket to enter the park.
Or if you decide to take public transport then these guidelines will help:
Catch L7 on the Ferrocarrils (FGC) from Plaza Cataluña to Avenida Tibidabo and then take the famous Tramvia Blau (the Blue Tram) as far as Plaça del Doctor Andreu (the last stop). Tickets cost €4.20 (Single) and can be purchased on the tram. You made it half up the mountain. To go to the amusement park and temple you have to take the Funicular which costs €4.10 with park admission (€7.70 without).
Getting to Cosmo Caixa
Getting to Cosmo Caixa is also fairly straight-forward: take L7 on the Ferrocarrils (FGC) from Plaza Cataluña to Avenida Tibidabo, and then catch bus 196. Alternatively, walk across the road upon exiting the railway station and follow the road round to the left, taking the first right (Carrer de Teodor Roviralta) up the hill (be warned: it is quite steep). It takes 10-15 minutes to arrive.
Getting to Observatorio Fabre
To get to Observatorio Fabra, take Ferrocarrils (FGC) from Plaça Cataluña (lines S1 or S2) to Peu de la Funicular; then by the funicular railway from Vallvidrera Inferior to Vallvidrera Superior; from there you can catch Barrio Bus 111 (the stop is within sight of the railway station) as far as Mentora Alsina. The observatory is then a short hike down the hill, either via a roughly cut mountain path, or by road.
Generally, taxis are the best option if travelling at night to Tibidabo, and cost €15–€18, from the city centre. Make sure you keep the taxi telephone number so that getting home does not become an unwanted odyssey.
Have you been to Tibidabo? Fancy a trip but want to know more information? Leave us a question or comment below – we’d love to hear from you!