My Eyewitness Barcelona and Catalonia travel guide has as much as a paragraph on Tibidabo, the highest mountain in the Serra de Collserola range. Even Woody Allen gave the place more exposure in his film Vicky Christina Barcelona. And yet, Tibidabo no doubt deserves much more than just a couple of sentences. It is a magical place with exquisite views of Barcelona. And it’s a superb viewpoint if you want to gain a greater physical perspective of the city.
In fact, Tibidabo, Barcelona is not that easy to get to but it is definitely worth it. And when you arrive at the very top of the mountain you’ll discover an amazing Roman Catholic Church that merges Romanesque and Neo-Gothic styles as well as a theme park for children in the same vicinity. This odd union makes for a magical, vibrant and somewhat idyllic atmosphere, very different from the busyness of inner city Barcelona.
There is something particularly innocent about being so high up away from the pickpockets and tackiness that is the city centre, in the midst of an awe-inspiring Catholic Church called the Temple de Sagrat Cor and next to a theme park with plenty of enthusiastic local children. I simply love this place. It has come to be my heaven away from the hell of La Rambla.
One of the best parts of visiting Tibidabo, Barcelona is the journey to the top. Firstly, one needs to take the L7 Renfe train from Plaça Catalunya train station to Avenida Tibidabo.
From there you can take the Tramvia Blau (just outside opposite the metro exit). Tramvia Blau takes you to Plaça Dr Andreu and then from there you can take the funicular to the church and theme park.
In many ways I loved Temple de Sagrat Cor more than Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. Temple de Sagrat Cor or the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was designed by Catalan architect, Enric Sagnier, and was completed by his son Josep Maria Sagnier I Vidal in 1961.
I found the crypt to be the most breathtaking part of the church. Built in the early 1900s, it is perhaps the most colourful, detailed and alluring of crypts I have ever seen. You can even pay 2 Euros once inside the church and go up in an elevator to the very top where the statue of Jesus appears with outstretched arms, reminiscent of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado mountain.
Tibidabo, Barcelona is an enthralling experience, one that is somewhat off the radar of many tourists and thus definitely worth the visit.