All the city parks are officially open from around 10am until dusk.

  1. Parc de la Ciutadella

    Barcelona’s largest landscaped park offers a serene antidote to city life. Once the location of the 18th-century military citadel, this lovely 19th-century park is now home to the zoo, the Catalan parliament, two museums and a boating lake. There is an attractive outdoor café next to the Castell dels Tres Dragons (in the south-western corner). 

    Cascade Fountain, Parc de la Ciutadella

  2. Parc Güell

    Originally conceived as a suburban estate to the north of the city, Parc Güell is like a surreal, Asian terraced farm. Twisting pathways and avenues of columned arches blend in with the hillside, playfully fusing nature and fantasy. The esplanade, with its stunning, curved, mosaic bench, is the park’s centrepiece. From here there are spectacular views  of the entire city and of the fairy-tale gatehouses below. Gaudí’s former home is now the Casa-Museu Gaudí.

  3. Jardins del Laberint d’Horta

    These enchanting Neo-Classical gardens date back to 1791, making this elegant park one of the oldest in the city. Situated up above the city, where the air is cooler and cleaner, the park includes themed gardens, waterfalls and a small canal. The highlight is the enormous maze, which has a statue of Eros at its centre. 

  4. Parc de Cervantes

    Built in 1964 to celebrate 25 years of Franco rule, this beautiful park on the outskirts of town would have been more appropriately named Park of the Roses. There are over 11,000 rose bushes of 245 varieties; when in bloom, their aroma pervades the park. People pour in at weekends, but the park is blissfully deserted during the week.

    • Av Diagonal

  5. Jardins de Pedralbes

    These picturesque gardens lie just in front of the former Palau Reial (royal palace) of Pedralbes – now home to the Museu de Ceràmica and Museu de les Arts Decoratives. Under the shade of an enormous eucalyptus tree and near a small bamboo forest is a fountain by Gaudí, which was only discovered in 1983.

    • Av Diagonal 686

  6. Parc de Joan Miró

    Also know as Parc de l’Escorxador, this park was built on the site of a 19th-century slaughterhouse (excorxador). Dominating the paved upper level of the park is Miró’s striking 22-m (72-ft) sculpture, Dona i Ocell (Woman and Bird; 1983). Elsewhere there are three children’s play areas set around a café.

    • C/Tarragona

    Parc de Joan Miró
  7. Parc de l’Espanya Industrial

    Built on the site of a former textiles factory, this modern park, by Basque architect Luis Peña Ganchegui, has deteriorated somewhat since its inauguration in 1985. It still has a certain appeal, including ten strange lighthouse-style towers that line the boating lake and an enormous cast-iron dragon, which doubles as a slide. There’s a good terrace bar with a playground for the kids.

    • Pl de Joan Peiró

    Parc de l’Espanya Industrial
  8. City Beaches

    The beaches of Barcelona were once insalubrious areas to be avoided. With the 1992 Olympics they underwent a radical face-lift and today the stretches of Barceloneta and the Port Olímpic are a major people magnet. Just a short hop on the metro from the city centre, they provide the perfect opportunity for a refreshing Mediterranean dip. The beaches are regularly cleaned and the many facilities include showers, toilets, children’s’ play areas, volleyball nets and an open-air gym. There are boats and surfboards for rent. Be warned: bag snatching is endemic. 

    Barceloneta beach
  9. Castelldefels

    Just 20 km (12 miles) south of Barcelona are 5 km (3 miles) of wide, sandy beaches with shallow waters. Beach bars entice weekend sun worshippers out of the afternoon sun for long, lazy seafood lunches and jugs of sangria aplenty. Windsurfers and pedalos are for hire.

    • Train to Platja de Castelldefels from Estació de Sants or Passeig de Gràcia

  10. Premià/El Masnou

    By far the best beaches within easy reach of Barcelona, just 20 km (12 miles) to the north, these two adjoining beaches lure locals with gorgeous golden sand and clear, blue waters.

    • Train to Premià or El Masnou from Plaça de Catalunya or Estació de Sants

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