“Los Bunkers Del Carmel”, officially called and found on most maps as MUHBA Turó de la Rovira (Mirador de les bateries), is a viewpoint at the top of Turó de la Rovira in the Carmel neighbourhood with an altitude of 262m, offering stunning360º views of the whole city.
It is still considered a sort of hidden gem, as most tourists do not get that far during their visit.
It has been continually occupied, in one form or another, from the Iberian era (4th century B.C) to the present. During the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) the Republican anti-air defence authority (DECA) found that the hill was the most suitable place to build its anti-aircraft battery, which was instrumental in republican efforts to defend Barcelona.
Post Spanish Civil War, the then abandoned military structures were used as shelters and the shanty town of Els Canons, which survived into the ‘90s, sprung up around them. Also during this time, water tanks and communication towers were installed, some of which can still be seen to this day.
Its renovation in 2011 has transformed the Turó de la Rovira into a new space (MUHBA Heritage Site) that combines its archaeological heritage with an outdoor museum and enclosed exhibit. With a unique perspective, it is part of the so-called balcony of Barcelona, which includes the Tres Turons (Three Hills), from Vallcarca bridge to Hill of the Rovira, it is a strategic point from which to explain the urban development of the city.
We walked all the way uphill from our hotel to the top of the hill. It took us an hour, and it was interesting hiking. The first part, as you approach the hill, is an urban walk across some non-touristic areas of Barcelona.
The most beautiful part, which includes some stairs and steep footpaths, starts just below Parc de Les Aigües, close to Alfons X metro station. You can then follow the path and walk by Plaça de les Pedreres, Mirador de la Rovira and Mirador del Nen de la Rutlla to finally arrive at the area of El Carmel.
There are a few alternatives if you don’t want to walk all the way uphill from the part of the city where you are staying. You can take the L4 (yellow) metro to Alfons X, and only walk the last -and arguably- the most interesting part. You can also take L1 followed by the bus that gets the closest, 24 (which also departs from Passeig de Gracia). Or you could also drive, as there is a big parking lot just below the viewpoint, Pàrquing-Josep Serrano.
This time we stayed at Capri by Fraser Barcelona, a well-located and recommended hotel offering spacious suites and apartments. So we decided to walk all the way up to the top of the hill.
The following map shows our route.