Could a birds-eye view be the best way to see Barcelona? Of all the viewpoints from which to get a new perspective on the city, there’s none more exciting than the Barcelona cable cars. But wait - not all visitors realise that there are in fact two cable cars - some red and some silver, taking different routes. So which Barcelona cable car is which? Don’t be confused - read on for the full low-down on the city’s very own high-flyers.
What’s the difference between the Barcelona cable cars?
First things first. The Transbordador Aeri del Port (let’s just call it the Port Cable Car shall we?) is not to be confused with the Telefèric de Montjuïc (the Montjuïc Cable Car). The Port Cable Car glides just under a mile across the old harbour of Port Vell to the slopes of Montjuïc mountain. The Montjuïc Cable Car (which requires different tickets) is a shorter ride, in smaller cars, to the top of the mountain.
Barcelona Port Cable Car
You only need look up from the port area to see the distinctive red and white cars of the Transbordador Aeri del Port, cutting across the city skyline. Originally designed for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition these large, traditional-style cable cars are one of Barcelona’s most recognisable icons, though perhaps not for the faint-hearted.
How to get to the Barcelona Port Cable Car?
To try them for yourself, you’ll need the Line 4 Metro to Barceloneta Beach, then it’s a short walk to the boarding station. You may want to book in advance in the summer months when queues can be long. In winter, however, rides can be cancelled because of bad weather, so you might consider waiting until you arrive. Open until 8pm in the summer months, you can choose a single or return journey. Be aware that the Port Cable Car is not wheelchair accessible.
What can you see from the Barcelona Port Cable Car?
Stand in line to ride the elevator a dizzying 75 meters up a metal tower, Torre Sant Sebastià. If you’re really feeling fancy and plan well ahead you could even book a table at Torre de Alta Mar, the gourmet Mediterranean restaurant right at the top!
During the Spanish Civil War the cable car was closed and the cables removed so the towers could be used to defend the city. Happily for us it was re-instated in 1963 and renovated in the 1990s, so you’re all ready to fly.
After that initial frisson of fear as your car sets off, your bravery is rewarded with a breath-taking view of both the port and the city. Hang over the old harbour, admire the superyachts and cruise liners at the marina and keep an eye out for key sights including the Sagrada Familia and Las Ramblas.
Where does the Barcelona Port Cable Car go?
The trip, of just less than a mile, lasts around 10 minutes. Hold your breath midway as the car rumbles through the central tower, Torre del Jaume I. Because there are no seats, you and your fellow passengers can stand and move around, giving you the chance to check out the different views in each direction.
You’ll land at Estacíon de Miramar, the Miramar Gardens viewpoint on Montjuïc Mountain, where you can enjoy the views afresh, from solid ground. Roam the beautiful Botanical Gardens or perhaps relax with a drink on the terrace of the Hotel Miramar.
Explore the streets of Poble Espanyol, a recreated Spanish village that combines history and culture with workshops, shops and places to eat.
And when you're ready for even greater heights it’s just a five minute walk to the base station of the Montjuïc Cable Car.
Montjuïc Cable Car
The Telèferic de Montjuïc was introduced in the 70s to give visitors another way to reach the mountain top. Today new, shiny cars, carrying eight people and accessible to wheelchairs, can whisk you up the 100 meter vertical ascent in comfort.
How to get to the Montjuïc Cable Car?
If you’re having a two cable car kinda day maybe you’ll transfer from the Port Cable Car station - just a few minutes’ walk away.
If you’re heading there direct, the easiest way to reach the Montjuïc Cable Car base station is to take the Metro to Parallel station, then transfer to the Funicular de Montjuïc. You can also reach it aboard The Hop-On Hop-Off bus turistico, or line 50 and 55 buses.
The Montjuic Cable car is open until 9pm in peak season and it’s easy to book online for either a single or return trip.
What to see at Montjuîc
From the base station at Parc de Montjuïc it’s an easy walk to the Olympic stadium, which hosted the 1992 Barcelona Olympic. As well as exploring Poble Espanol and the beautiful Miramar Gardens, don’t miss the Joan Miró Foundation, showcasing the works of the famous Catalan artist.
Where does the Montjuïc Cable Car go?
When you’ve seen those sights, climb aboard for the five minute trip and cruise above the tree tops, straight to the top of the hill. Discover Montjüic Castle, a former fortress and prison, now a Military Museum and drink in the panorama from the terrace of the Terraz Martinez where you can also enjoy a real drink, along with seafood platters and paella said to be among the best in town.
On the way down you’ve the option to stop off at Mirador d’Alcalde, a ‘belvedere’, or series of terraces, for a chance to see more beautiful landscaped gardens and perhaps the most impressive view of the city, the port and the sparkling Mediterranean.
Palau Nacional and the Magic Fountains of Barcelona
Having exhausted every vista, soar - or stroll - back down again to the Palau Nacional (home of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Cataluna (MNAC). Time it right and you can end up back at the bottom of Montjuïc in time for one of Barcelona’s most famous attractions, the Magic Fountain show. Stick around until darkness falls so as not to miss the sound-and-light spectacular that wows audiences every half hour.
Have we inspired you to new heights? For tickets to the Montjuïc Cable Car, along with around 40 other Barcelona attractions, grab yourself an All Inclusive Pass. And travel your own way - with Go City.