This is a magnificent fountain that we only found about by a traveler's post on another website. It's free, gorgeous and if you're near a tram line the #4 takes you there. Get there before dark - we barely had time to get some pictures taken - duh!
Passeig de Lluís Companys, 2, 08018 Barcelona, Spain
Google map: bit.ly/R3xto0
A way to escape from the mountains of tourists in Barcelona, with amazing views of the city, Parc del Guinardó has a more local feel and is a lovely place for a picnic or somewhere to escape to.
This is a treat of a park out of the way in the quiet Horta district of Barcelona. One of the city's oldest, most romantic and unusual parks. The construction began in 1791, and this is certainly somewhere you can "get lost" (in the labyrinth) and escape into your own world.
Pg Castanyers, 1-17, Germans Desvalls, 08035 Barcelona, Spain
+34934 132 400
Google map: bit.ly/r1ViDM
A huge area of forested parkland riddled with pathways, the Parc de Collserola is a great place to escape the crowds in Barcelona.
(To the northwest of the city)
Tourist information centre:
Carretera Església 92
08017 Barcelona, Spain
932 803 552
This cable car - the Transbordador Aeri - takes you from Montjuic Park to the beach at Barceloneta. It travels over the harbour, suspended across two 400m-high towers. Not advisable if you are in any way scared of heights, but the views across the city are amazing, particularly around sunset.
Leaves from Montjuic, Barcelona's World Trade Centre and the Torre de San Sebastián. Usually open 10.30am-5.30pm and later in summer. Single journey €7.50 or €9 return.
While living in Barcelona I went here nearly every weekend because of its stunning views and unlimited picnic possibilities. There are several beautiful gardens for wandering, including a cactus garden, the gardens of Jacint Verdegeur (my favourite), and a children's garden.
There are also a couple great museums, the Miro Museum and the Museum of Art of Catalonia (the impressive building you see as you approach from Plaza Espana).
The funicular is a great way to climb the mountain if you don't want to walk. Best of all, it never gets the crowds of tourists that Parc Guell does...if urban Barcelona is wearing you out, Montjuic will provide the antidote!
Of all the things that beguiled me in Barcelona, this did it the most. This botanical garden on the sea-side of Montjuic (the headland at the southern end of Barcelona's coast) would be better suited the pages of a Dr Seuss book than to this world. The species themselves, some of which stand at well over two metres in height, come from all over - Central and South America, as well as Africa.
Take the cross-harbour cable car to Monjuic Park. Once you alight and are facing Mirabella, turn left and you'll find the garden
Massive park with great views of the city tucked away behind Barcelona. The green lung of the city is an unknown treasure. A great place to escape the summer humidity and avoid Ramblas hordes. Bring a mountain bike.
FGC from plaza Catalunya to Peu Funicular and then the cable car to Carretera de les Aigues. Get a map at the tourist info booth in Plaza Catalunya
Guell park has lots of Antonio Gaudi's amazing stone structures, stunning tiling and fascinating buildings. Don't miss the colourful dragon fountain at the entrance to Guell park. There is something rather hypnotic and magical about the fantastical atmosphere, which is great for adults and children (lots of hiding places for the kids). See all of the city's sights stretched out before you. Allow at least half a day to enjoy the park fully.
Metro line 3 towards Canyelles. Get off at Lesseps and follow the signs from the metro station to Parc Guell. The park is a 20 minute walk away from the metro station. Warning: the final 200m up to the park is up a steep hill
There are no words to describe this Modernist fantasy – Gaudi’s creative DNA deconstructed in front of your eyes and overlooking the Catalan capital. From the largest balcony-bench in the world to the adorned ceramic animals via the mosaic, don’t bother going to the Universal Studios down the Catalan coast, this is the theme park of the future.
Carrer Olot, Metro: Lesseps
This park, formerly a military base, is more interesting for its social life than its botanic and architectural value. There’s a romantic lake where you can hire boats, a cute winter garden and abundant vegetation.
There’s an eclectic bunch of visitors to the park – couples searching for a spot to share some intimacy, old folks feeding the birds and the unmissable improvised percussion jams on Sundays.
Ciutadella Park, Passeig Pujades; nearest metro: Ciutadella-Vila Olimpica
It's a leftover of the International Exhibition of 1929 on Montjuic, an artificial village of more than 100 buildings showing the typical architecture of different parts of Spain, showcasing various crafts and arts and selling artisan products. It sounds a bit cheesy, but it's actually very attractively done.
It's a good place for kids as they can run around in a traffic-free environment with plenty to look at and some family activities. There are some good cafes and restaurants. We followed it with a trip on the teleferic (cable car) across the port. It costs 7.50 euros for adults, 4 euros for 7-12 year olds, under 7s free. A family ticket for 2 adults and 2 paying kids is 15 euros.
www.poble-espanyol.com/ - English version coming, they say.
Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc Av. Marquès de Comillas, 13. 08038 - Barcelona T. 935 086 330 F. 935 086 333 email@example.com
Buses 15 or 30 from the Placa d'Espanya or walk from there.
Home to the Natural History museum, the city's zoo, a bewildering array of statues and a boating lake, the Ciutadella park is best on a Sunday morning. Take a walk with the locals, and, if you've got kids with you, send them off to play on the giant stone mammoth.
Avinguda del Marques de l'Argentera
Alongside la Sagrada Familia, this park is probably Gaudí's most famous creation. Apparently his intention was to recreate English-style public gardens, but if so, he failed spectacularly. Spectacularly, in that the Park Güell is a fantastical mix of green spaces, mosaic benches, multi-coloured walkways and colonnades. Topping it all off, it affords one of best views of the city sprawling below.
C/Olot; Tel (Casa Museu Gaudi): 93 219 38 11; Nearest metro: Lesseps
If you are going to go, why not make it as difficult as possible. Get off the Metro at Lesseps, walk up the escalators that never work on Baixada de Gloria and once inside follow the paths to discover. Oh and take a picnic. Use the parc as a parc and not a jumble of gob smacking buildings and unique landscaping to gawp at. Relax, enjoy the view and watch the rest of visitors pass in and out.
A cactus park on the cliffs looking over the port. It feels a bit forgotten about, and is guaranteed to be peaceful. There are cacti and succulent plants of all shapes and sizes, from tiny to towering (over 800 species apparently) all with a dramatic backdrop of the activity of the port, ships, containers, lorries, cranes and the blue, blue sea. A lovely and surreal place.
On the south side of Montjuic, the best way there is by the cable car from Barceloneta
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