Here at Checkin-Out we are suckers for a sexy view, so naturally it was down to business in Barcelona.
Whilst sniffing out the best perspective of the city’s skyline. we found a few good vantage points. However, one stood out head and shoulders above (pun intended) the rest. Without question, the best view of Barcelona was to be found from the Bunkers Del Carmel on the Turo de la Rovira (Rovira’s Hill).
When should you go to the Bunkers?
We hauled ass up to the Bunkers for sunrise, in classic Checkin-Out fashion. If you can’t face the world at this time, it’s also a very popular sunset spot. Of course, the later you head up in the day, the more people you’ll be fighting with for a view. This being said, if Jarrad Seng’s photos are anything to go by, Barcelona lit up at night is absolutely spectacular, so it’s a win-win situation.
Options for getting there
You can use public transport, including metro and buses to get here, or if the sangria, paella and pintxo are getting the best of you (they’re definitely getting the best of us) then kill two birds with one stone and get in some proper exercise by walking from the nearest metro station for a sunrise viewing (don’t do this in the middle of the day – you’ll be pouring sweat).
If you head up for sunrise, it’s a steep 30 – 40 minute hike in the semi-dark but you absolutely won’t regret it. In fact, it will most probably be the most memorable thing you do during your time in Barcelona.
First things first: if you wish to walk freely around Barcelona (and of course any other cities and towns you might travel through whilst overseas) we recommend downloading an app which will provide you with directions whilst you’re away from internet. You can do this with Google Maps; however, we have had great success with HereWeGo or Maps.Me. Using these apps, you download a map of an entire country at a time which you can then use at any point throughout the day, without ever connecting to wi-fi. Amazing! Now all they need is a messaging service like this for all those times when you’re desperately trying to locate your mates in a crowd…
Without further ado – how to get to the Bunkers Del Carmel
- Use HereWeGo as specified above to find the quickest way to get here on public transport from your location. The search term you’re looking for is “Gran Vista – Turo de la Rovira”. If you prefer Google Maps, the Bunkers are easily located here. The Metro starts at 5.00 am each morning and the sunrise was scheduled for 6.50 am, so we had plenty of time. Just check when the sun will rise here the night before so have you an idea of the required timing. FYI no matter what day you head up, Monday through to Sunday, don’t be shocked to see a carriage full of limp hungover bodies and exhausted faces peering confusedly at you through half-shut eyes. Goddamn does Barca loves to party! You can also find assistance with finding your way here via the bus, bike or vehicle.
- The closest Metro station is Alfons X on the L4 line. From there, it’s approximately a 30 minute walk uphill to the Bunkers, via the Turo de la Rovira circuit. The circuit is a little like a Californian canyon but with a series of steps and concrete pathways leading you to the top, at which stand the Bunkers.
- Head up the hill as per the directions of HereWeGo. It will take you to a glorious spot on the Turo de la Rovira, but not quite to the top. Keep following the road around and you’ll see a bus stop (if using the bus to reach the top of Turo de la Rovira this is where you will eventually be dropped – directions here) and a steep dirt ramp heading upwards.
- Follow this ramp to the top and you’ll find what you’ve come for – a collection of dilapidated medieval buttresses which were used to watch over the city during the Spanish Civil War and beyond them, a 360 degree view of Barcelona, its beaches, the cityscape and the surrounding mountains. The view here really is magnificent and we watched the sun rise over the ocean with three other people. This was such a welcome change. Barcelona’s population of 1.5 million welcomes 10 million visitors in August and you continually find yourself enjoying the sights with a crowd of hundreds, if not thousands.
Bunkers del Carmel was the single location in Barcelona we visited that wasn’t overflowing with people.
If you’re walking in the dark for sunrise, keep your eyes down and bring a torch or ensure you have enough charge on your phone to use this function. Those with poor fitness or eyesight or any injuries should consider jumping on the bus. There are efforts being made to improve the upkeep of this place due to increased foot traffic, but the path is quite rundown and if you lose your concentration it would be all too easy to twist an ankle. Game over.
Good runners and exercise gear is recommended. We were sweating like pigs on the way up and were really glad we wore active wear, despite the “loser” connotations. This being said, just as we were leaving the bunkers a couple of European gents arrived, looking completely dapper in fedoras, linen shorts, stylish shirts and leather loafers… So, over to you!
If at any time you become confused whilst climbing the Turo de la Rovira circuit to reach the Bunkers, don’t be afraid to ask a jogger. The circuit resembles a Californian canyon and there were a number of people taking advantage of the hills in the area, just as they do in the USA. At one point, we were concerned we were heading in the wrong direction. We desperately waved at a couple of locals and simply said “Bunkers?”. They were more than happy to help. Nothing like a little reassurance you’re on the right track.
When it’s all over…
After your hard work, it is absolutely essential you reward yourself with a pastry on the way home. By the time you’re walking down, bakeries everywhere will be opening. It doesn’t get any fresher or more delicious than a fresh spinach (espinaca) danish. We bought one and it was so good we had to get another! The only way to wrap up a perfect morning excursion in Barcelona.