The space-aged Montjuïc Communications Tower, AKA Torre Calatrava or Torre Telefónica, was built to transmit television coverage of Barcelona’s 1992 Olympic Games.
To me, its needlelike silhouette looks like a rocket waiting to be catapulted into space from a slingshot, but designer Santiago Calatrava’s original idea was to represent an athlete holding the Olympic Flame. I can see it.
The base is covered in broken tiles, inspired by Gaudi’s more colourful mosaics.
It’s important to remember how dramatically the Olympic Games impacted Barcelona. It put the city on the map and kick started its rapid ascent to becoming one of the world’s hottest travel destination.
And that’s why I think it’s so important. It’s a symbol of change, a line in the sand that marks the shift from relatively unknown Barcelona to megastar A-lister Barcelona.
When you get up close to it you realise just how huge it is – I spent the evening lying on the ground with my camera to get it in frame for this shot.
It’s surprisingly peaceful here at dusk and, apart from a few skateboarders and canoodling couples, you’ll often have the place to yourself. Unless, that is, there’s a concert going on in the Palau Sant Jordi.
I cycled past recently and could hear a band running through a soundcheck. I got home a googled who was playing. Turned out it was the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, one of my all-time favourite bands. I’ve always said they’re not the same with John Frusciante.
Definitely one of my favourite spots in the city.
Make it Happen
Take the metro to Plaza Espanya and walk up the stairs to the imposing Palau Nacional (National Palace).
Follow the path behind the palace (to the right) until you see the the tower in the distance.
Keep walking and you’ll be there in 5 minutes or so.
If you’re feeling energetic then head to the secret cliffside Caseta del Migdia bar for sea views, pine-scented trees, live music and irresistible BBQ food.