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Sala Montjuic is an experience that should be high on your list if you are visiting Barcelona during summer.
Have you ever experienced an open-air cinema?
My first time to Sala Montjuic was 3 years ago here in Barcelona and back then, I was not very sure about what to expect. I had doubts regarding how comfortable it would be, about how crowded and tight it would feel, or even how well we could actually see the screen considering we are out in the open.
Truth be told I had never considered going to one before my friends invited me last minute because one of the girls could not attend the event, and boy, how happy I was to have gone in her place!
Being as I have been living in Barcelona for 3 years now, open-air cinema immediately became one of my favorite events to go here and I wait the entire year for the day that they announce the movies to come out.
A popular and fun Barcelona summer activity that lasts an entire month, the open-air cinema is high on my list of recommendations and definitely a must-see if you are ever visiting Barcelona during the busy month of July.
The movies are all played in its original language, with subtitles in Spanish, and it screens three times a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for five weeks during the summer of Barcelona.
So, are you thinking about visiting Barcelona this summer in July? Find below 10 reasons not to miss going to Sala Montjuic, Barcelona’s open-air cinema experience.
1. It is inside a Castle fortress
I love living in Europe for so many reasons, but one of my favorites is how event organizers manage to combine the old with the new in creative ways and Sala Montjuic is no exception.
Located on top of Montjuic Mountain, and literally inside a 17th-century castle fortress, Sala Montjuic is impressive to see the moment that you arrive. Having a sea of people sitting down in a lawn within the castle walls is for sure something you will want to take a picture of.
As soon as the sun goes away and the ambiance gets dark enough, a white screen will roll down and the movie will then start playing.
2. They Offer a Warm-up Concert
This is a very cool thing that they offer to people who chose to arrive early. A live concert will play up to the moment that the movie starts. Depending on the day you go, the music and style will be different, meaning you can enjoy anything from jazz and blues to swing and classical music.
My favorite concert was when there were three women playing violins. As I love this instrument, it was so special to be able to enjoy a picnic with my friends to the sound of live violins in the background. Be sure to arrive early to be able to enjoy a live concert.
3. Free Ben & Jerry’s
Do you like ice cream? Do you also have a little obsession for Ben and Jerry’s just as I do?
Then you’ll be happy to know that while you are at Sala Montjuic, you can treat yourself to free Ben and Jerry’s to indulge before the cinema starts.
Look for the Ben and Jerry’s truck located at the back and just ask for your ice cream. The good news is that you can take as many as you’d like. The bad news is that the best flavors tend to run out if you leave for the last minute to ask for one.
So be smart and, as soon as you arrive, make your way to the Ben and Jerry’s truck and ask for your free treat.
4. It’s Cheap
Thought that by having all this included would cost you a fortune? Think again, my friend!
For only 6,5€ you pay for the normal cinema entrance. Children under the age of 6 are treated to a free entrance, while children aged 6 to 12 pay 4€ for the entrance. Furthermore, for an extra 3€, you can also rent a deck chair to sit on (or save that money by bringing a towel to sit on).
5. There is a Free Shuttle (to and from)
Additionally, you also benefit from having a free shuttle that can bring you to and from the event.
Parked right in front of Plaza España, there are various bus options that can safely take you to the top of Montjuic. Just be mindful because as it is free, many people also choose this option and there is always a queue to board the bus. This can be especially daunting on the way back when the means of transportation options vastly decrease.
Pro Tip: If you don’t want to make your way down by walking, be sure to be fast when the cinema ends so that you can be one of the first to board the buses that will bring you down.
6. Picnic Fun
Another cool thing about Sala Montjuic is that you are allowed to bring food and alcohol if you want. Every time I go to a cinema session up there, I am sure to stop at a mini market before going so that I can stock up in picnic food and some drinks.
Some food suggestions: Cheese, cold cuts, baguettes, fresh fruits, hummus, some chips, etc.,
7. Food Trucks
However, in case, you don’t have time to go to the supermarket in advance (or if you forget), don’t worry. There are various food trucks with some food options, from burgers to pizza.
8. Timeless Movies To Choose From
If you are visiting Barcelona for a short period of time and are not sure if the movie playing the day you are there will be good, don’t worry! The organizers are sure to always include movies that will please to every taste and are timely classics.
Some of the movies I’ve been to were black and white and others about polemic subjects, but even to these movies that I wasn’t sure if I’d like, I still had a great time by going.
For example, some of the movies I’ve been to at Sala Montjuic during these 3 years living in Barcelona:
- The Apartment
- Bohemian Rhapsody – Going this year
- A Star is Born – Going this year
9. The View of Barcelona
Given that the castle is located at the top of Montjuic mountain, you can be sure to get the best views of Barcelona right then and there.
So if all the aforementioned was still not enough to excite you, this for sure is the cherry on the of the cake that was missing!
10. The experience
I give this tip to everyone who visits Barcelona (and also to those who live here). To me, Sala Montjuic is by far one of my favorite summer activities in Barcelona.
From enjoying a nice afternoon while sharing some food with friends in a spectacular location, to having a free live concert and an open-air cinema experience, Sala Montjuic should be high on your list if you are ever in Barcelona during the hot month of July.
As this will be my third year in a row attending this event, I have learned on the way some helpful tricks and tips that can make a huge difference towards how good your experience will be.
Read below some helpful tips for Sala Montjuic’s open-air cinema experience in Barcelona.
Given that there is a free live concert, free Ben and Jerry’s and a huge garden to enjoy a picnic before the movie, you will definitely want to be there a couple of hours before the movie time.
Furthermore, as there are no reserved seating options, arriving early equals having better choices over where to sit. Be there on time!
Take something to sit on
Not only will this help you ”reserve your spot”, but it is much more comfortable to have something to sit on, rather than directly on the grass (which can get itchy very fast).
However, if you do forget to bring a towel, worry not, as they provide chairs (for the price of 3€ to rent), or alternatively they let you borrow some stray mats for you to sit on during the movie.
Be smart regarding the shuttle service
Remember I said there are free shuttle services provided? Well, given that it is harder to find a way down (as there aren’t many taxis going by the top of Montjuic), then keep in mind that mostly everyone there will also want to take the shuttle.
This either means two things: Either you will queue for a while to get inside the bus, OR WORSE, you might end up not having a spot inside (remember the seating is limited).
Be smart and, as soon as the movie ends, make your way as quickly as possible through the crowd towards the bus.
Trust me, being agile helps A LOT in this case.
Bring some food
Don’t forget to stop at a mini market to buy some food to take with you. Event organisers allow people to bring anything they want to the cinema.
Bring a sweater
July is a VERY hot month in Barcelona and normally you won’t even think about bringing a jacket with you. But keep in mind that being that you are up a mountain, it can get a little chilli at night. Best be comfortable and bring a little jacket.
This is a huge mistake that I see many people make.
Take care of your trash
Be mindful of your garbage and collect everything once the movie is over. There are plenty of trashcan options to throw your waste once you get out the grass.
Bring picnic utensils
– Napkin, towel, knife, etc
This is a small detail that many people forget and only when they have to use their hands to handle food that people realize how important these things are.
Don’t overlook these details.
Bathroom (got before or sit close to it)
Bathrooms can be VERY tricky (remember everyone will be sitting all around the grass and it can be very hard to see and walk at night to make your way to the toilets).
All the chemical toilets are located to the left, when looking to the screen. This means that the further to the right you are, the harder it will be to make your way out if nature calls during the movie session.
Another helpful tip is to go to the toilet before the movie starts to avoid having any urgers during your session.
Buy tickets here.
I hope this post encourages you to try going to Sala Montjuic (or any other open-air cinema experience) and that the tips contribute to having a more enjoyable experience.
If you do go, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Be sure to tag my Instagram handle (@labellesociety) so that I can see your stories.
Leave me a comment below if you have any further tips to add, or if you simply just want to say hello! 🙂
FROM THE BARCELONA SERIES:
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- First Time in Spain? Here is a Useful Guide.
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