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The mountain of Tibidabo has been a popular retreat for Barcelonese since 1868 when a road was built connecting it to the city. You arrive there on the creaky old funicular -- or, less dramatically, by bus -- to find an amusement park combining tradition with modernity. In summer, the place takes on a carnival-like atmosphere, and most of the credit for this can go to a wealthy pill manufacturer by the name of Dr. Andreu, who believed (quite sensibly) that fresh mountain air was good for your health. He created the Sociedad Anónima de Tibidabo, which promoted the slopes as a public garden and was instrumental in installing both the Tramvía Blau (Blue Tram) and the funicular up to Tibidabo.

Some of the attractions in the park date from Andreu's time. L'Avio, for example, is a replica of the first plane that served the Barcelona-Madrid route. In the Tibidabo version, you are treated to a whisk over the summit in a toy-like craft suspended from a central axis. Another dated attraction designed to scare you out of your wits is Aeromàgic, an exhilarating cable-car ride covering the whole park, with amazing views of the city and the coastline below. On a more relaxed level, you can also visit a charming museum of period automatons.

The church next door to the amusement park is Temple de Sagrat Cor, an ugly and highly kitsch building dating from 1902, meant to provide Barcelona with its own Sacré Coeur. Its distinctive mountaintop silhouette can be seen from all over the city.