When you need a break from sightseeing or the Mediterranean heat, Barcelona offers plentiful green spaces where you can relax under shady trees, spread out a picnic, and recharge. True to the city’s artistic reputation, many of its parks and gardens boast architectural elements, not to mention stellar views. Here's where to go to get your green fix in the Catalan capital.
One of Barcelona’s crowning modernist gems sits atop Carmel Hill: Park Güell, the legacy of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whimsically curved stairways, terraces, footpaths, and benches are embellished with colorful mosaics and symbolic elements typical of Gaudí’s designs. While you're there, visit the Gaudí House Museum to see where he lived and worked for nearly two decades.
Citadel Park (Parc de la Ciutadella)
It’s hard to miss this 70-acre (28-hectare) green space in the heart of the city, beloved by locals and visitors alike for its ornate fountains and plentiful shady spots. Stop here when you need a break from the urban bustle, or make a day of it with a rowboat rental on a lake or visit to the Barcelona Zoo, Museum of Natural Sciences, or Catalan Parliament building—all housed within the expansive park.
Horta Labyrinth Park (Parque del Laberint d’Horta)
Worth the trip to the city’s Horta-Guinardó district at the foot of Collserola Ridge, Barcelona’s oldest garden dates back to 1791. The inviting neoclassical design offers a glimpse into overlapping eras of the past, from mythological sculptures and replicas of ancient Roman temples to a 19th-century hedge maze sculpted from cypress trees that gives the park its name.
Mossen Costa i Llobera Gardens
Catch a cable car to this unusual haven nestled at the foot of Montjuïc Hill. The small but impressive gardens feature mainly cacti and succulents from arid desert climates, plus some Mediterranean species. Catch your breath here among the desertlike landscape and admire the contrast against views of Barcelona's beaches and harbor below.
Joan Maragall Gardens (Jardines de Joan Maragall)
Feel like royalty on a stroll through these elegant and well-maintained gardens on the grounds of Palace Albéniz, the official Catalonian residence of the Spanish royal family. Tree-lined pathways and flower beds converge with sculptures and cascading fountains in a tranquil retreat where you’re unlikely to encounter many tourists. Note that the gardens are only open on the weekends.