Wondering how to visit the Barcelona Bunkers del Carmel? Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to get there, what to do, and when is the best time to catch the magnificent views!
Bunkers del Carmel is one of the best places to visit in Barcelona off the beaten path. High above the city of Barcelona, within the district of El Carmel, it offers spectacular and overlooking views of the city and some would even argue that this has the best view of the city.
For that reason, tourists and locals alike flock here for a picnic, and some others come to enjoy a few beers with their friends while relishing the iconic view of the sunset from the bunkers.
However you want to enjoy these views, you wouldn’t want to leave Barcelona without visiting Bunkers del Carmel. Even if you just have a day in Barcelona, this is a great way to enjoy sunset before heading for some tapas!
How to Get to the Bunkers del Carmel
You’ll find multiple options available to reach the top of the Bunkers del Carmel in Barcelona which are on top of a 260-meter tall mound. You can choose a variety of transportation options that are most convenient for you but you’ll inevitably have to climb up a set of stairs to get there.
This steep climb can take up to half an hour, depending on your pace. It will also depend on how often you pause to enjoy the view on your way to the top, of course.
▶️ The metro is one of the most reliable transportation options in Barcelona, and it can take you to Bunkers del Carmel. You can choose to take either the yellow line (L4) or the blue line (L5).
When you get on these metro train lines, you can choose which stop you get off that will take you the closest to the bunkers (which also means a shorter walk).
- If you take the L4 metro, you can get off at the Alfons X stop and it will be a 20- or 25-minute walk to get to the bunkers.
- If you take the L5 metro, you have quite a few options. You can get off at Parc del Guinardo, El Carmel, or El Coll La Teixonera metro stations.
All of these metro stations are rather close to the bunkers but do take note no train will take you directly there!
▶️ Another option to get to the Bunkers in Barcelona is via bus, which in fact can take you closer to the top of Bunkers del Carmel than any metro station. This is a great option if you want to reduce the amount of time you need to walk to get there.
The V17 bus route is a great option, and it typically runs from Port Vell and it travels through the Gothic Quarter, Barcelona, Passeig de Gracia, and Gracia. If you are staying in any of these areas, it should be easy to catch this bus.
All you have to do is get on the bus and get off at the very last stop – Gran Vista – Pl de la Mitja Luna. Once you get off, it should be easy to find your way to the bunkers and it will only take about 10 minutes.
▶️ While the most expensive alternative, you could also take a cab and ask the driver to take you to the closest possible area to the bunkers, so you limit your climbing to the minimum.
▶️ Another option is to walk from Parc Guell. Both of these are located at the outer edge of the city, so the bunkers are only 15 minutes away from Parc Guell or about 1.3 km in distance.
▶️ Finally, you can join the Barcelona Private Tour to Tibidabo Mountain which takes you to two spectacular viewpoints: Tibidabo Mountain, home to one of the oldest Spanish theme parks, and Bunkers del Carmel. You’ll enjoy hotel pick-up and drop-off and a private guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Best Time to Visit the Barcelona Bunkers
The views from the Bunkers of Barcelona are spectacular regardless of the time of day you get up there but the best time would be sunset because the scene from the sky is so spectacular that it will leave you awestruck.
You’ll get to witness the entire city of Barcelona drenched in a soft, golden light creating a majestic scene. Unfortunately, as you can probably imagine, sunset is also the busiest time of the day at the Bunkers.
If you don’t like crowds, you can visit earlier in the day. For example, you can hike up to the Bunkers during sunrise, and if you’re lucky, you might even have it all to yourself. The views are just as pleasing and you can enjoy the view of the terracotta roofs from above.
It’s also best to keep from visiting on weekends if you don’t want to deal with crowds.
A History of the Bunkers del Carmel
Bunkers del Carmel is a series of old and underground military bunkers built in 1937 during the time of the Spanish Civil War. The bunkers served as an anti-craft battery in order to defend against the attacks of the fascists. It was also used to store artillery and guns.
When the war was over and Franco took power, the guns were disposed of but the bunkers remained intact. As Barcelona was hit with extreme poverty, many people decided to use the bunkers as their form of shelter. In fact, as many as 3,000 people lived in the area during the 1960s.
It was also known as Cannons neighborhood where some people continued to live there up to the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. The Barcelona City Council decided to move the people living there to flats in the city which led to the abandonment of the bunkers.
Today, the bunkers are emptied of their residents but not of numerous tourists. Its popularity continues to grow as many visitors are in search of the best lookout points. In Barcelona, the Bunkers viewpoint stands out as a favorite.
Most tourists and locals come here during sunset to play music, have a picnic, enjoy beer, or just take in the view.
What To See at Bunkers del Carmel
Bunkers del Carmel is the ultimate spot to chill out and relax when in Barcelona. If you come here expecting spectacular tourist facilities or activities, you’ll be disappointed because there’s none of that.
All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the iconic attractions of Barcelona from a different perspective. You can even enjoy the scenery up to the sea and mountains!
There is also an on-site exhibition from the museum MUHBA, located in the Gothic Quarter, about the history of the Bunkers, both during wartime and the shantytowns that were formed afterward. You’ll find pictures from those times and plenty of information. The museum only opens during the weekend, though.
If you are looking for a free attraction or you want to keep your travel costs down, Bunkers del Carmel is a must in your itinerary. When you come here, my advice is to be sure to carry only the essentials as the climb to the top of the bunkers can be pretty steep. Make sure you wear something comfortable, too!
Facilities near the Barcelona Bunkers del Carmel
There are no facilities whatsoever at Bunkers del Carmel, so you should use the toilet and get your munchies beforehand.
▶️ Right outside Alfons X station (to which you’ll arrive if you take the L4 metro) there are two supermarkets where you can stock up, and you’ll also find a bar in front of it to use the toilet.
▶️ There are also several restaurants and a couple more bars in the area where you can have dinner or some drinks after your trip to the Bunkers.
In the summertime, you may find a person or two in the Bunkers selling beer and cold drinks, but I recommend you buy beforehand if you plan on having a picnic, because you may not find them. If you do, they certainly charge the effort of climbing up with all the drinks, so you’ll end up paying way more!
Visit Park Guell As Well!
Parc Guell, the impressive park designed by the famous Antonio Gaudi, is a less than 20-minute walk from Carmel Bunkers, so unless you’re coming down after dusk from enjoying the views you could head there for a visit.
Parc Guell is a truly memorable attraction, where you’ll be surrounded by plenty of structures, covered galleries, arches, fountains, and seating areas covered in colorful ceramic tiles, all of them instantly recognizable if you’re familiar with Gaudi’s work.
He played with colors, shapes, and styles, and the result is a masterpiece equally attractive to art and architecture savvy and to the rest of us mortals.
➤ This is one of the most visited attractions in Barcelona, so it’s highly recommended that you book your ticket in advance, or else they could sell out for the date you plan to visit. ➥ BOOK IT HERE