Tibidabo looms over Barcelona, visible from all over the city. It looks close enough, but in reality it just isn’t.
Tibidabo is the name of the mountain itself. Not, as some people assume, the name of the large church at the summit. That’s called Temple de Sagrat Cor.
I had always admired Sagrat Cor from afar. It looks like the more modern parts of the Sagrada Familia and while it is not a Gaudi masterpiece it certainly is in that typical Catalan style. With our target being the Temple me and Kristina set off to visit the mountain.
So first things first, there is a shambling old funfair at the summit with some seriously antique-looking rides. This funfair is not open every day and when we chose to climb Tibidabo we knew that this would be the case. We planned this partly so that the summit wouldn’t be crowded. The unfortunate side affect of this becomes apparent shortly.
We caught the Metro to Penitents station and walked west along the B-20 main road until we spotted the Avenida del Tibidabo. This curves around to the funicular station which would carry you all the way to the top. As you might have guessed from the title of this post we ended up having to walk all the way to the top because the funicular was closed. Oops.
Still it didn’t look far and we had plenty of the lovely warm afternoon to do it in. So off we went. The road follows the funicular track for a while before plunging you into woodland. It’s well signed and even under foot so it’s not difficult. At first.
Soon you find yourself curving into more uneven mountain trails. As the trees thinned the day grew hotter all the time. The track kicked dust all over us. Sweat plastered it to our lower legs. As we passed under the mahoosive telecommunications mast on the mountain we began to realise that this walk was much longer than expected because of the circuitous route it takes to reach the summit.
The signs began to become more vague at around the same time as the views over Barcelona became even more spectacular. The day hummed with insects just off the path, lurking in the scant shade of the low scrub.
The climb was starting to become more like a chore. I resented the probable sun burn I was inflicting upon myself, and I mentally teleported us to an amazing, albeit imaginary, ice cream stand at the top.
With our water long-gone we eventually emerged at the top from some bushes. There before us was the Sagrat Cor and a completely deserted viewing area.
I found a cafe selling lemonade and downed the whole bottle in seconds, discovered that the sun had no chance penetrating the dusty coating I had acquired all over my legs, and then we went to have a look at the view. It’s pretty brilliant. The Mediterranean sparkled behind the few towers of Barcelona. The hill holding Parc Güell looked stumpy at best whilst Montjuïc and the Olympic Park looked like under-conditioned and famished pretenders to Tibidabo’s height.
The fun fair looked its age, possibly more-so because it was stationary. Like some kind of archaeological relic.
And then, speaking of relics, we turned to explore the Temple itself. Unfortunately it was closed. Obviously. But we could climb the steps around it and enjoy even more open views of my favourite city.
Sleepy doesn’t come close to describing Tibidabo so we soon found ourselves with nowhere to shelter from the sun and after the cafe closed for a siesta that was the end of any refreshments.
Luckily the bus stop was still receiving services every hour so we were able to descend back to the centre without too much trouble. Tibidabo isn’t the best ‘mountain’ day trip in or around the city, that honour must go to Montserrat, but it is worth a bit of your time. However, plan it before you go as it’s a bit of a monster otherwise.