In Barcelona, the shadow of modernism is long, to the point that monuments such as the Sagrada Familia, Casa Milà, Casa Batlló or Park Güell hide an infinite number of interesting buildings from other periods. For example, from the Middle Ages, or inspired by the architecture of this period. And here comes a recurring question among those who visit the capital for the first time: where to see castles in Barcelona?
If you feel like going on a trip to the Middle Ages without leaving this province, you are in luck, as in this article you will find unknown and really attractive fortresses, from which you will also enjoy some impressive views. It is also a perfect plan for those who are thinking about travelling with children to Barcelona or, simply, for art lovers.
Castles in Barcelona city
If you don’t want to leave the city limits of Barcelona, but you would also like to see a castle, there is no problem, as two of the most interesting examples are waiting for you here. Although in this case they are not medieval, it is worth paying a visit.
Built on the homonymous mountain and at 173 m above sea level, it is one of the most characteristic elements of Barcelona’s skyline. This building dates from 1694, the year in which the castle was built on the remains of a fort from 1640. Since then, it has served as a military fortress – from which Barcelona has been bombed on more than one occasion – and, after the Spanish Civil War, it became a military museum. It is currently a municipal facility that depends on Barcelona City Council.
The fortress has a star-shaped layout. Several bastions and exterior constructions protect the nucleus of the enclosure, surrounded by a deep moat. The main body is structured around a porticoed courtyard and its rooms are covered with a semicircular vault.
The entrance is paid and allows access to small exhibitions. However, the main attraction of Montjuïc Castle is its magnificent views. If you don’t know what to do in Montjuïc, visiting this monument will be a great success.
Torre Baró Castle
This is the most characteristic building in the Barcelona neighborhood, and the one that gives it its name. However, it is not really a castle, but a tower. The current structure, dating from 1905, was built to house a hotel, as part of a garden city project designed for the mountainous area of what is now the Roquetes district. However, poor communications with the center of Barcelona paralyzed the project.
However, this version of the origin of the Torre Baró castle coexists with two others. The first assures that it was built by the Baron of Pinós at the beginning of the 19th century for his son, who was suffering from tuberculosis. However, the young man died before the work was completed, which meant that it was left unfinished. The other version states that, in 1873, the castle was bought from Baron de Pinós by the Siwate family, who used it as a summer villa for a few years before abandoning it. What is certain is that the castle was restored in 1989 and declared a historical heritage site by Barcelona City Council.
Located on the Carretera Alta de les Roquetes, 309-311, it is open from Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. It is also one of the best viewpoints in Barcelona. Do you want to visit it?
Castles in the province of Barcelona
Barcelona’s castles are not limited to the Catalan capital, as its province also has other fortifications steeped in history. Here they are.
On a 420 m hill in the town of Balsareny, we come across this elegant fortress in the Catalan civil Gothic style, which is in an excellent state of conservation. The current building, which still displays elements from the 14th and 15th centuries, was rebuilt in the 19th century. Next to it, there is a Romanesque chapel from the 12th century, with later modifications. It has been an Asset of Cultural Interest since 1988.
This Romanesque building is located in the town of Santa Maria de Besora, in the region of Osona, and has been declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest. Located at an altitude of 1,023 m, only part of its walls and some structures of the Romanesque church are still standing, of which the apse and some Lombard arches of the side body can still be seen. In any case, its historical importance makes it a must for those travelling in the north of the province of Barcelona.
This is the most beautiful and important of Barcelona’s castles. Located in the village of Cardona, in the Bages region, it is considered one of the most iconic medieval fortresses in Catalonia. Located on a hill and documented in 886, the castle has such striking elements as the 11th century Minyona tower, 15 m high and over 10 m in diameter, and the Romanesque collegiate church of Sant Vicenç de Cardona. It was here that the film Chimes at Midnight (1965) was filmed, directed and starring Orson Welles. Today, the enclosure houses a Parador de Turisme. It has been an Asset of Cultural Interest since 1992.
At the top of a hill of 453 m and in the Guàrdia mountain range, the municipality of La Pobla de Claramunt has this ancient Romanesque castle. Although the original building is from the 10th century, it was rebuilt in the 15th century. The homage tower, the Romanesque church of Santa Maria and the Gothic church of Santa Margarida have survived to the present day. The remaining space is occupied by courtyards and bastions. It has been an Asset of Cultural Interest since 1988.
In the town of Gavà, just 21 km from Barcelona, the ruins of a spectacular castle, documented since 957, await. It was originally part of the defensive system on the border between Muslim-dominated Al-Andalus and the Carolingian Empire and was the epicenter of political, economic and military control in the area. The castle was owned by the counts of Barcelona until 1323. In 1988, it was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest.
Nearby is the church of Sant Miquel de Eramprunyà, a building that is part of the Inventory of the Architectural Heritage of Catalonia. Once there, you should not miss the wonderful views it offers over the Llobregat delta.
The village of Gelida is home to this medieval castle in ruins, documented since 945. Located on a cliff and north of the Ordal mountain range, it was the residence of King Peter of Portugal in 1465. Since 1968, this building has been the property of the Gelida Town Hall and is now managed by the Association of Friends of Gelida Castle. It has also been an Asset of Cultural Interest since 1988.
Although very little remains of this castle – barely a fragment of the 7.3 m wall and the base of a trapezoid tower, 1.95 m – we recommend you not to miss the town of Mura, in the Bages region, as it is one of the most beautiful medieval villages in Barcelona. Walking through its cobbled streets and next to traditional stone houses and farmhouses, you will feel like you are travelling back in time in a unique setting. Try it out!
This is the most notable architectural element of the municipality. From its origins, around 1285, this fortress was the residence of the lords of the district of Besora. Over time it has been modified and extended, giving it its current appearance. It has always been linked to the castle of Besora, a real center of power during the late Middle Ages. In the 19th century, already looking like a palace, it passed into the hands of non-nobiliary families, and in 1976, at the express wish of the last owner, Emili Juncadella, the castle and the estate were transferred to the Diputació de Barcelona, which later created a park around it.
This medieval military building is located on the hill of El Castell, in the municipality of Palafolls and near the coast. It was built overlooking the panorama of the lower course and the plain of the Tordera River, in a strategic location to control the royal road from Girona to Barcelona along the coast. At present, it is a building declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest since 1988, although it is in ruins.
First mentioned in 1063, this castle has Gothic and 17th century elements, although it has been rebuilt on several occasions. Today it is a fortified farmhouse with a square floor plan that preserves rooms from the different inhabited periods, a small underground chamber, a dungeon that was once used as a wine cellar, a weapons room, the bedrooms, the kitchen, the dining room and the stables. It is not one of the most surprising castles in Barcelona, but the authenticity of the village where it is located, Rajadell, justifies the visit.
Castle of Sant Marçal
Belonging to the municipality of Cerdanyola del Vallès and declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest in 1949, the castle of Sant Marçal is documented in 1042, when it was part of the parish of Sant Martí de Cerdanyola. After having passed through various hands since the Middle Ages until the 20th century, it is now owned by the Trénor family.
Castle of Sant Martí de Sarroca
Also known as the Santmartí Castle, it dates back to the 10th century and is located at the top of the hill of the Rock, in the village of Sant Martí Sarroca, in the Alt Penedès region. Together with the church of Santa Maria, it forms the so-called Conjunt Monumental de la Roca, which is protected for its artistic and historical value. Its interior holds several archaeological and ethnological collections.
Castle of Súria
Located on the highest part of a hill overlooking the Cardener River and in the beautiful town of Súria, this castle has been declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest. It is currently used as an Interpretation Centre for the Old Town and can be visited. Next to the castle, the Roser Church is located, which still preserves part of the apse and the Romanesque-style bell tower. The walls of the castle rest on it, forming a wall on the eastern side. Don’t miss it!
Belonging to the town of the same name and in the region of Bages, this old Romanesque castle is first reported in the year 967. Although it was dismantled in the eighteenth century to be transformed into a fortified mansion, it ended up being rebuilt. Since 1988, it has been an Asset of Cultural Interest of Spain’s Historical Heritage.
We close our list of castles in Barcelona with a modern construction – it is from the 20th century – but with an imposing appearance thanks to its towers. Located in the village of Tordera, about 45 minutes from the city of Barcelona, this venue has been organizing nightly shows recreating medieval tournaments, as well as equestrian demonstrations and flamenco shows since 1984. You can find it in Carrer Vallmanya, s/n. Without a doubt, it’s a perfect idea to get even more out of your stay in our holiday apartments in Barcelona.
Many other places could be added to this list: the Burriac Castle, in Cabrera de Mar; the castle of the Vallparadís Charterhouse, in Terrassa; the Castelldefels Castle, in the town of the same name; the Santa Florentina Castle, in Canet de Mar; the Jalpí Castle, in Arenys de Munt; the Tona Castle, the Subirats Castle, the Lluçà Castle, the Vacarisses Castle…
What did you think of these suggestions? If you know other castles in Barcelona, do not hesitate to share your ideas with us.