Offering endless summer sunshine and inimitable culture, it’s little wonder why Barcelona is one of the Meditteranean’s most popular tourist spots. Last year, more than nine million of us set foot in the city, and that number is set to grow in the coming decades as more of us turn to city breaks to soak up the atmosphere that you can only find in the metropolitan.
When you think of a city break in Barcelona, the chances are that your thoughts turn to its patchwork of architectural wonders, the city’s many beaches or the gastronomic wonders that await around every corner, from Michelin-starred restaurants or tapas bars. And that’s without taking into account the city’s many festivals and impressive shopping plazas, where you can spend thousands on souvenirs and authentic Spanish merchandise to take home.
But have you considered adding Barcelona’s parks and gardens to your itinerary? Sure, you’ll want to spend most of your time exploring the hustle and bustle of Las Ramblas and witnessing the beauty that is La Sagrada Familia with your own eyes, but once that’s done, it’s nice to sit and relax in the green and vibrant surroundings of one of the city’s many parks.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the most beautiful to visit when you’re next in Barcelona…
Perhaps Barcelona’s greenest park, Parc de la Ciutadella is one of the most stunning spots to tick off your bucket list on your next visit to the city. Indeed, upon entering the park, it’s easy to forget that you’re in the middle of one of Spain’s most popular megacities. Great for long walks, Ciutadella is the perfect spot for a picnic or an afternoon unwinding after spending the week on your feet exploring the rest of Barcelona’s jewels – but if you’re feeling adventurous or want to experience something new, there’s plenty for you to try out, too!
It’s possible to book a rowing boat experience on the lake, for example, or you can explore one of the park’s many tourist attractions designed to help you connect to nature and see the city through a whole different light.
With a zoo and several museums, it’s easy to spend a whole day exploring the Parc de la Ciutadella, but remember to top up your sun cream!
Also on the grounds of the Parc de la Ciutadella is the Catalan Parliament, which can be visited on the first Friday of every month through a guided tour, delivered in Catalan. If you’re after a nosy of the building, book a trip for 11th-12th September, which is a Catalan National Holiday, and the two days of the year when the building is open to the public for walk-ins.
The park’s breathtaking architecture was envisioned by Josep Fontsère and supported by then-unknown Antoni Gaudí, who was immortalised in the fountain which stands by the lake.
The fountain was designed to resemble the Fontana di Trevi in Rome and features Venus standing on an open clam. If you’re in the mood for a history lesson and want to discover more about the park’s (and the city’s) history, the Museu d’Art Modern is recommended.
Before you leave the green refuge, do not miss the Castell dels Tres Dragons winter garden (which hosts jazz concerts) and the Geological Museum, which was the first ever museum to open in Barcelona. The Umbracle – a breathtaking tropical greenhouse – is another must-do, rounding out a brilliant day on this 17-hectare park.
Jean Nouvel’s Park in Poblenou
Originally designed to serve as a “green lung” in the once-industrial area of Poblenou, Parc del Centre del Poblenou was the brainchild of renowned French architect Jean Nouvel and opened just over a decade ago in 2008. This is the trendiest of our Parks and Gardens in Barcelona.
Poblenou once formed Barcelona’s textile industry, with its neighbourhoods filled with mills.
The area has undergone significant regeneration in recent years, and Nouvel’s futuristic landscape is a testament to the community’s progress.
The park is considered an “oasis of calm” in the new Poblenou, and its outside perimeter is covered with trees and flowering creepers which make you feel like you’re in the middle of the Spanish countryside.
Plaça de la Sardana, which is the “heart” of the park, resembles a lunar landscape and is the main meeting space with metal chairs and colourful plants and trees that frame your view and help you get closer to nature – whilst chatting with the locals.
With four children’s play areas (complete with climbing frames and table tennis tables) and lots of trees which provide plenty of shade, Parc del Centre del Poblenou makes for a great afternoon detour for the whole family.
It’s open from 10 am to 9 pm over the summer months.
Jardin De Mossen Costa I Llobera
If you’re looking for a peaceful park to relax in after a busy day on your feet, then there’s no better choice than Mossèn Costa i Llobera. This botanical garden is situated at the foot of the Montjuïc in the centre of Barcelona, and despite its prime location, it’s actually one of the least-popular Parks and Gardens in Barcelona. A great choice if you want to get away from the crowds!
Because of its position on the southeastern slope of the Montjuïc, the garden’s temperature is a few degrees higher than the rest of Barcelona, which means it can accommodate some of the most exotic cactus species on the planet. Granted, these plants are imported, but they have acclimatised to the environment, creating a semi-desert, semi-tropical microclimate.
In fact, there are more than 800 species of cacti in the gardens, as well as many subtropical trees (many of which are several hundred years old) that you couldn’t find elsewhere in the city. If you’re looking to soak up some local culture, then the Lau dels temporals, el pi de Formentor (The Bird of the Storms, The Pine of Formentor) Joaquim Ros i Bofarull La puntaire (The Lacemaker) and Josep Viladomat A Joan Pañella (To Joan Pañella) sculptures are stunning stop-off points, and you’ll also see views of the sea and harbour on your walks.
Parc de Cervantes
The Parc de Cervantes is unlike anything else in Barcelona, boasting magnificent green open spaces and gentle slopes. Perfect for a relaxing stroll or a jog after a day in the city, the park is famed for its roses, having hosted its first international rose competition back in 1929.
This nine-hectare site contains a beautiful collection of roses that come from virtually every continent of the world, with plaques dotted across the walks shedding light on the history of rose species from Asia, America, Europe, the Middle East.
In fact, the park’s four-hectare rose garden includes more than 245 varieties of rose and more than 15,000 rose bushes in pinks, yellows, reds, and blues, and because of Barcelona’s mild climate, the beautiful roses bloom from April to November, meaning you can enjoy colourful views almost year-round.
The annual Barcelona International New Roses Competition, which was revived in 2001, is a real treat for florists, botanists, and gardeners around the world. It takes place every May.
Horta Labyrinth Park
Finally, don’t forget about the Labyrinth Park of Horta – a stunning storybook-inspired hedge maze that doubles as the city’s oldest garden. Without doubt one of Barcelona’s true hidden gems, Parc del Laberint d’Horta originally opened in the mid-1800s but was only handed over to the city in the 1960s when the gardens became a public park. Today, its manicured hedged walls allow visitors to get lost and explore nature with loved ones. With twists, turns, statues of Greek gods and a picturesque pond, it’s stupendous fun for the whole family.
Accessible via the Metro, one of the park’s benefits is that it’s not very well known – and, quite often, it’s empty, which only makes it more beautiful. Once you’re inside, look around for the many hidden characters, such as Dionysus, who is God of Fertility, and once you’ve bested the maze, spend time in the shady forest area where you’ll find a quiet place to relax.
A quick word of warning, though: To protect its natural beauty, the park imposes a modest entry charge of €2.23 per person, and it only allows 750 visitors inside per day. If you visit on a Wednesday or Sunday, however, entry is free, though the daily capacity limit still applies.
At Barcelonina, we offer a range of Barcelona guided tours to help you get the most of your visit to the city – including the Park Güell and Sagrada Familia in a private tour. This 3-hour trip can be booked just for you and your party and involves walking through the greenest part of the Park Güell where photo opportunities await. Get in touch today to book your trip or to find out more about the fantastic offers we have available. We can’t wait to meet you soon!