Ash
Written by Ash

Barcelona Park Guide: the Best 8 to Visit in 2020

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Sometimes it’s not a beach day.

Especially in spring and autumn there’s no better urban escape for locals than heading to a Barceona park – and trust me when I say there’s so much more than just Park Guell.

Here’s a list of Barcelona parks and gardens, how to get there, and how to make the most of it.

Why Parks in Barcelona?

I’ve always thought that a coastal city like Barcelona didn’t need green spaces.

I mean, the beach is just a darn good substitute that offers all the opportunity in the world to go for a walk, do sport, socialize, and live. Plus, the famous parks in Barcelona just don’t get the kudos like London, Amsterdam, or even my dear hometown of Vancouver.

But Barcelona parks are great in their own right not for grandness, but for originality.

So take an hour or two between the city’s main attractions and delicious restaurants and find yourself some shade in one of the city’s best parks.

For kids or adults or both, here’s my list.

Barcelona Park Guide

1 – Parc de la Ciutadella
2 – Laberint d’Horta
3 – Park Guell
4 – Carretera de les Aigues/Parc de Collserola
5 – Montjuic
6 – Jardins del Palau Reial de Pedralbes
7 – Park Joan Miro
8 – Parc de Cervantes

PARC DE LA CIUTADELLA

This massive garden is Barcelona’s undisputed green lung. In fact since it’s the most important and vibrant public park in the city I’ve got an entire article dedicated to it.

Its name comes from the Catalan word for ‘citadel’ as it was a military fortification built by king Felipe V after the historic September 11th battle when Spain gained control of Catalonia.

It was only in 1869 that the space, part of which was occupied by the Catalonian Parliament, was ceded to the city and transformed into Barcelona’s first public park.

Today Ciutadella Park (“La Ciutadella” as locals call it) offers something for everyone.

There’s the zoo, the massive monumental waterfall, a goose-speckled lake with rowboat rental, and tons of little shady hills where locals go on picnics. There’s also the Zoology Museum and its famous three dragos.

Kids really like the massive mammoth statue that’s just a stone’s throw from the fountain.

If you’re not with kids I recommend coming here loaded with Mediterranean supermarket goodies to make an afternoon meal out of it. You’ll find a ton of improvised shows to see here on a summer day.

You’ll also find various concession stands selling food, drinks, and ice cream.

Hours and Directions

Cituadella Park is open from 10:00 am to 10:30 pm.

You can get to Ciutadella park with the Ciutadella metro (yellow line L4) or Arc de Triomf (red line L1). If you’re staying anywhere in the bohemian Born District it’s a brisk 10 minute walk.

It’s also only 15 minutes from Barceloneta and its famous beaches.

LABERINT D’HORTA

If you’re familiar with the film Labyrinth or have ever had the strange desire to get lost in a maze then this park is for you.

It’s the most original park in Barcelona as well as the oldest. The vegetation here is spectacular and you’ll find all sorts of hidden treasures along the way.

Aside from its lively cypress tree maze there are some majestic camellia trees, a neoclassical pavilion, and even a little canal that’s one of the great Barcelona romance spots.

Here you’ll also find a play area for children.

You cannot enter with pets.

Hours and Directions

The park is open from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm (Apr 1st – Oct 31st), and 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (Nov 1st – March 31st).

The address is Pg Castanyers 1 and you can get to Laberint d’Horta with the Mundet metro (green line L3)

Laberint D’Horta Prices

Twice a week you’re offered one of the great free things to do in Barcelona on Wednesday and Sunday.

All other days a small fee is charged at the following rates:

  • Adults: €2.23.
  • Reduced (kids, students, senior, disabled): €1.42.
  • Groups of 15+: 15% off.
  • Kids under 5: free.

The park is closed on Christmas Day.

For more information consult the Laberint d’Horta website.

PARK GÜELL

Does this name ring a bell?

Very likely, yes. We’re talking about one of the greatest symbols of the city and one of Europe’s largest tourist attractions. Here it’s pure Catalan Modernism and who’s behind all of it? Antoni Gaudi of course.

Park Guell is currently divided into two parts.

The first is the ‘Monumental Zone‘ and its massive mosaic benches, two huge pavilions, extravagant staircase, salamander sculpture, and the old porter’s lodge that looks like something out of Hanzel and Gretel. To visit these you’re going to need to pay €7.00 and I’ve got more info on that in my article on Park Guell.

This article though is about free green space, which Park Guell has in spades. The ‘Free Zone‘ is the top of natural attractions in Barcelona with its never-ending garden moving up the mountainside, with the odd mansion or peculiar sculpture to greet you on the way up.

I suggest going all the way to the three crosses for an amazing view. If you’re not eating at any of Barcelona’s best restaurant here’s another tip: grab some fresh herbs here for the dinner you’re cooking at your holiday apartment!

In the park you’ll find a bar with snacks which are overpriced – bring your own to save money.

Park Guell
Book my tickets now!

Hours and Directions

Park Guell is open from 8:00 am to 6:30 pm (low season) or 9:30 pm (high season).

You can get to Park Guell with the Lesseps metro station (green line L3) or get off at the Park Guell Bus Turistic stop, part of the Barcelona hop on hop off network.

tourists lining up outside casa batllo in barcelona spain tourists lining up outside casa batllo in barcelona spain
Skip lines and save money buying tickets online!

CARRETERA DE LES AIGUES/PARC DE COLLSEROLA

If you’re one to rent a bike or go for a big run through nature then this is your choice.

The splendid Carretera de les Aigues is found one of the natural parks in Barcelona: Collserola. It’s a 10 km long trail in the upper portion of the city.

The route is more or less flat but at 450 meters above the city you’ll have an incredible view of the city. A great place for exercise with a picnic reward, an escape from the chaos of the city, or a hangover reprieve.

And it’s easily reachable from the city by bus.

Hours and Directions

As it is a ‘wild’ park there are no opening hours.

You can arrive at Collserola using many different means on the Barcelona transport network but I recommend taking the legendary Tramvia Blau – this antique wooden tram found at the Plaça Kennedy train stop (L7) will take you to Plaza del Doctor Andreu.

From here it’s a short walk.

Make sure you bring a lot of water and a snack because there are no services.

MONTJUIC

OK, so it’s not really a park as much as it is a massive urban hill.

Explore this magnificent mound of rock by bicycle or on foot. Together with Collserola this is another great urban escape that offers wild forest, tamed gardens, panoramic views, a castle, a stadium, and even a few of the city’s coolest bars.

One place to explore is the massive outdoor sculpture exhibition right beside the museum dedicated to the grand Catalan artist Joan Miró: the Miró Foundation (Avenida Miramar 1, 8:00 am to 7:00 pm daily).

Another great place to explore are the Jardines del Teatre Grec (‘Greek Gardens’) and its famous Greek amphitheater on Passeig de Santa Madrona. While it’s only a replica of a Greek theater nobody cares so much in the summer when it’s filled with concerts and all sorts of events.

The garden and surroundings also give an amazing panoramic view – another piece of advice for couples.

If you’re heading up Montjuic and you want a little break then I suggest the bar La Caseta del Migdia, a little bar in the forest looking over the Barcelona port. On Wednesday nights they organize a sardine BBQ with reggae music.

Hours and Directions

The easiest way to get to Montjuic is taking the funicular at Paral-lel metro station. You can also grab bus 150 from Plaza de España.

As there many attractions in the park hours may vary, for more in depth information make sure you read my article on Montjuic.

JARDINS DEL PALAU REIAL DE PEDRALBES

Speakers of any romance language may get this one just from the name. They’re the gardens of the Royal Palace and certainly the most ‘regal of my list of best parks in Barcelona.

This park was constructed around Alfonso XIII’s old residence and today it holds the Museu de les Arts Decoratives.

It’s a beautiful spot full of bouganville flower bushes and an ideal spot to daydream and transport yourself to another time. For those paying attention to detail keep your eyes peeled for two Gaudi works: a pergola and a fountain with the bust of Hercules.

Hours and Directions

The park is open at the following times:

  • April 1st to October 31st: 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
  • November 1st to March 31st: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

You can get to Jardins del Palau Reial de Pedralbes using the Palau Reial metro stop (green line L3).

PARC JOAN MIRO

The curious art of Joan Miró really comes alive when you see the centre-piece statue of this park.

“Dona i Ocell” (Woman and Bird) rises 33 meters above the two massive lawns and the maze-like paths with shadowy picnic benches filled with old people chatting the day away.

It’s right behind one of Barcelona’s best shopping options and the only one that’s situated in an ex-bullfighting ring: Las Arenas.

On of the best parks to visit in Barcelona for a quick sit down after sightseeing. There are nice bike paths here, a basketball court, and even a bocce spot (locals call their version ‘petanque’). On sunny days you’ll also find a small library with books for both kids and adults

You’ll also see locals using the park for dog walks and runs, so get involved or get out of the way!

Hours and Directions

The park is open from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm daily.

You can get to Parc Joan Miro using the Tarragona (red line L1) or Espanya (red line L1 or green line L3) metro stations.

PARC DE CERVANTES

Of all Barcelona parks and gardens this is the one that surprised me the most, and it’s not because it had a maze, was designed by a famous architect, or left me speechless with an amazing sunset view.

It’s because of the 245 varieties of roses.

Here you’ll find endless bunches of roses of pretty much any shape or colour imaginable. It’s a real treat for the eyes and the nose. If you happen to visit the city in May you’ll see over 150,000 roses in bloom. You may also be able to attend the international competition which gives prizes for the best new ‘breed’ of rose.

So go for a walk or a bike ride, put down a blanket and cuddle up with a book… if you want pure relax you’re not going to want to leave.

Hours and Directions

Cervantes Park is open from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm (summer) and to 8:00 pm (winter).

You can get to Parc de Cervantes using the Zona Universitaria (green line L3) metro station.

Get at Me in the Comments

You’ve got the master list of parks to visit in Barcelona but maybe I’ve missed something? If you’ve got any comments or questions about anything regarding your Barcelona holiday don’t be shy.

Happy travels 🙂

10 comments
  • February 9, 2020 at 2:22 am
    Andrea
    About how much time should I expect it to take to visit the Parc Del Laberint d'Horta? Thanks!
    • February 9, 2020 at 3:50 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Andrea, I would leave about 45-60 min for the visit itself... it's not very big though if you get lost in the maze perhaps it'll take a bit longer ;) Cheers, Ash
  • August 7, 2019 at 9:57 pm
    Brenda MacDonald
    I'm in Barcelona 9/17-18, 2019, pre Mediterranean cruise. Staying at NH Sants Barcelona. Are any of your "best parks" near there? Any suggestions for a tour company that 3 of us can use?
    • August 8, 2019 at 8:52 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Brenda, Near your hotel there will be Park Joan Miro or Montjuic... both are within reasonable walking distance :) For the tour company... what type of your were you looking for? I always recommend Runner Bean but I'm not sure this is what you mean. Please let me know. Cheers, Ash
  • May 20, 2019 at 5:36 am
    Joyce
    Staying at the patio, b&b. Rossello 32 Any suggestions for a walk to restaurants ( medium price), parks or any cool. 8 days. August 21-27 2019. Also in Barcelona August 12-16 @ Carre de Trafalgar. Looking at the Ciutadella. Park. Looking for air conditioning bus to Mazarate for boys choir, is pu really by Hard Rock Cafe? Not in sun bathing, but need some pieaya maybe higher end. Not real happy with location of the B&B. Good for sleeping and motorcycle museum. Not finding restaurants other than Thai. Any cooking classes in a home for evening. Read an article that the transit station is hard to negotiate for a first timer. Is there fast rail and slower for neighbor hoods. How far from Yurban Trafalgar is medical area. Barcelona looks more overwhelming than we thought. We are TravelSmart people. Just not big cities of tourist. Budapest is about our speed or Seattle/ Vancover. I will spending more time on you web site. Any advice welcomed. Are you a Catalonian? Joyce
    • May 20, 2019 at 10:10 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Joyce, You'll be quite urban so there aren't a look of parks near you, but it's about a 30 minute walk to Montjuic so you should take a look at that. Near you I would recommend the restaurants Lolita Taperia, Brunch and Cake, and Bodega Joan. What is Mazarate? I am sorry that I don't understand what you mean. Please let me know. For a great paella cooking class in a home I recommend Marta Amb Tu Cuinem. For your Airbnb there is no issue! It's a standard metro station and well-connected... I wouldn't worry about this at all. There is only 'slow' rail in that it's the metro. What 'medical area' are you referring to? I don't get it, I'm sorry. The closest hospital would be about a 15 minute drive. I am not Catalonian! I am from Vancouver Canada... :) Ash
  • January 8, 2019 at 7:46 am
    Shelly
    Hi Ash, We are in Barcelona today for 4 days. We are staying at hotel ginebra. Would any of these parks have space for runs or outdoor exercising? Do you know if we can purchase daily passes to any of the health clubs? Thanks!!
    • January 8, 2019 at 11:53 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Shelley, The places I would say were best for running would be Ciutadella (even if a bit crowded, though it should be OK in winter) and the Carretera de las Aiguas. As far as day passes they are unfortunately quite rare though if you want a basic gym to go to I have had visiting friends go to BCN Fitness (set your browser to translate mode if you don't speak Spanish) because it has great value and you don't feel they're trying to take advantage. Hope this helps :) Ash
      • January 9, 2019 at 6:27 am
        Shelly
        You’re awesome Ash! Thank you so much for all the information. Barcelona is very big with so much here to see and do. We went to Ciutadella yesterday. Beautiful large park with space to run. Thank you!
        • January 9, 2019 at 9:08 am
          ashley
          Team Member
          Ash
          Boom! Very glad to hear about this Shelly... and very glad somebody here maintains an active lifestyle instead of letting themselves go on the tapas while in Spain ;)

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