Castell de Torre Baró, Barcelona’s Fake Castle

Torre Baró as seen from afar

photography by: oh-barcelona/ Wikimedia Commons

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You won't be blamed for mistaking the hilltop structure in the northern tip of Barcelona with an ancient fort. But as it turns out, looks can be deceiving since this building, known locally as Castell de Torre Baró, was built in the early 20th century. While its origins are still steeped in mystery, the quaint edifice is endowed with some of the city’s most breathtaking vistas.

Frequent are the cases where we are quick to judge a book by its cover, or more relevantly, a building by its façade. Perching atop a verdant hill in the district of Nou Barris, Castell de Torre Baró might seem at first like a typical medieval castle, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Featuring a dash of Mudéjar architecture, the structure was constructed in 1905, yet was never fully completed and left abandoned ever since.


There is no consensus about the original purpose of the building, but most sources claim that it was meant to be a stately hotel for the well-heeled. This four-story Potemkin castle shares its name with the manor of Baron Pinós which in 1714, was razed to the ground amid the Spanish Succession War, fought between major European powers.


Since its abandonment, the derelict mansion served as a military installation during the Spanish Civil War and later, during the 1970’s, as a gathering place for groups of civilian activists. It wasn’t until 1989, when the city council declared the edifice as a historical heritage site and soon thereafter, renovated its weather-beaten walls.


As of today, Torre Baró Castle is home to Parc de Collserola’s educational center, which is situated at the building’s ground floor. Aside from tidbits of insightful information, the center also offers guided tours throughout the formerly derelict tower. Visitors who aren’t lucky enough to join a tour can still enjoy the plenty of sweeping views this place offers, including a glimpse of River Besòs, the forested slopes of Sierra de Collserola and the surrounding neighborhoods.