Take the funicular halfway up the mountain, then cross the street to the cable car station. Hop on and enjoy a spectacular ride up to the top.
Montjuic is home to the Military Museum, the Fundacio Joan Miro, the Poble Espanyol, the Olympic Ring, and am amazing cemetery, clutching the south side.
It is worth a day to walk and explore, all the while looking out to the sea, and the maze of streets below. The cable car ride was a hold-your-breath thrill. When we arrived at the top and saw the view, we had an "OH My God" moment. You can see for miles, and it was fun to pick out the landmarks around the city, and see the looming spires of the Sagrada Familia in the distance.
Please click on the photo, it is a panoramic shot.
I knew before I arrived in Barcelona that my arrival date, 23rd April, was the festival Sant Jordi. St George is the Catalan patron saint and this festival seems to be their version of St Valentines Day. The tradition is that the man buys the woman a rose and the woman buys the man a book.
I arrived at my hotel in the evening so didn't have a lot of time for sightseeing on my first day but I was interested to see what was going on with this festival. The streets, particularly around Las Ramblas, were totally swarming with people - most of the women seemingly carrying flowers, so the guys must have been keeping up THEIR end of the bargain at least!
The streets were lined with lots of these stalls selling flowers or else books. It was nice to see and a nice warm and fuzzy atmosphere even if it did suck for us single people with noone to buy them flowers!!
Barcelona in winter
Comfortable shoes are an absolute must. Don't get new ones for the trip. In the middle of the winter - my experience is the end of December and early January - it can get cold when you're outside all day. Also, the sun rises very late - like around 8:30 a.m. So you get a blast of cold air when you leave your hotel in the morning. A turtleneck sweater under a medium-weight coat will keep the chill out. Keep a scarf (not a bulky one) and a pair of gloves in your bag. Sometimes you need it and sometimes you don't. The temperature goes up and down. There were times when my hands were freezing, so I was glad I had my gloves. Of the 5 days we were in Barcelona, it only rained once. I had one of these mini foldable umbrellas that was helpful.
Parc Güell is where...
Parc Güell is where Gaudí turned his hand to landscaping, with spectacular results. The park is laid out on a hill with fantastic views of the city. Huge ceramic benches, giant decorative lizards, ceramic mosaics and pavilions of contorted stone all combine into a brilliant swirl of the imagination. In the park grounds, the Sala Hipóstila is a forest of 84 stone columns, originally intended as a market. Above it is a broad open space whose centrepiece is the Banc de Trenadis, a tiled bench curving sinuously around its perimeter. The spired house to its right is the Casa Museu Gaudí, where Gaudí lived for most of his last 20 years.
A fully fledged suburb since late last century, Gràcia is one of Barcelona's most satisfying outlying areas. It's traditionally been home to strong artistic and political communities, students and intelligentsia, but also to a population of average joes, who lend it a no-frills, down to earth atmosphere. Plaça del Sol is a pleasant place to sit during the day, surrounded by cafes and well-grounded 19th-century architecture. At night, the square becomes a popular meeting place.
Montserrat, 50km (31mi) northwest of Barcelona, has weird rocky crags, ruined hermitage caves, a monastery and hordes of tourists from the Costa Brava. The Monestir de Montserrat was founded in 1025 to commemorate numerous visions of the Virgin Mary. Today it houses a community of about 80 monks, and pilgrims come to venerate La Moreneta (the Black Virgin), a 12th-century Romanesque wooden sculpture of Mary with the baby Jesus; La Moreneta has been Catalunya's official patron since 1881. The most dramatic approach to Montserrat is by cable car, which arrives just below the monastery after a thrilling whoop up the sheer mountainside.
Covered market just off the Ramblas
This market is about halfway up the Ramblas. It's open Monday to saturday 8am till 8.30pm, quietest in the morning. Just walk around and take in the sights and sounds of all types of food. Pinotxo bar, just on the right as you enter, has the freshest local food cooked simply.