Barcelona is a lively city, full of iconic sights, attractions, fantastic restaurants and bars. There’s always something exciting to get up to in the city, but if you’re after some much-needed rest and recuperation, Barcelona also offers some outstanding parks and gardens. For a major city, there’s a surprising amount of green space to step into nature away from fast-paced city life. Whether it be for a stroll, a picnic, or even some rowing across a lake, these are the best parks and gardens in Barcelona to escape to the great outdoors for an afternoon.
1. Ciutadella Park
An idyllic green space, and one of the largest in Barcelona at over 280,000m2, is the iconic Parc de la Ciutadella. Barcelona’s answer to New York’s Central Park, it is home to the Catalan Parliament as well as the Barcelona Zoo. You can rent a boat to row on the lake, stroll along the park’s paths, or admire the magnificent fountain that was designed by a young Antoni Gaudí.
It’s a popular park with all kinds of people, those wanting a picnic, some wanting to dance in the bandstand, play their guitar, or simply walk their dog. It’s a park with a lot of life and a lot of beauty too!
2. Joan Miró
The Joan Miró Park is found in the Eixample Esquerra neighbourhood, near to the Plaça Espanya. The park has landscaped areas with pines and evergreen oaks, as well as an artificial water channel bringing a splash of calm to this city centre area.
The park is also known as being the site of Joan Miró’s 22-metre-high monumental sculpture Dona i Ocell (Woman and Bird). Joan Miró was a Spanish painter, sculptor and ceramicist that was born and raised in Barcelona, best known for his surrealist works with his own personal flare. A public library named in his honour can be found to the edge of the park too.
3. Park Güell
One of Antoni Gaudí’s most famed works, and one of the most visited attractions in Barcelona, is the spectacular Park Güell. One of the city’s largest parks, it is a green space that is rich in biodiversity and offers panoramic views of the city at its feet. You can either take a stroll around for free in the natural areas or pay a fee to enter the ‘monumental zone’ where the core attractions of the park are.
Park Güell was constructed between 1900-1914 and was officially opened as a public park in 1926. In 1984, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the ‘Works of Antoni Gaudí, so is well worth a visit when you’re after some beautiful architecture and a breath of fresh air.
4. Parc del Laberint d’Horta
The Parc del Laberint d’Horta (the Horta Labyrinth Park) is the oldest historical garden in Barcelona, found in the Horta-Guinardó district. Designed by Italian architect Domenico Bagutti for the Desvalls family estate in 1791, the park boasts scenic gardens with a maze of cypress trees (clue’s in the name labyrinth!).
Here you can also find serene ponds, streams and a waterfall, to take a calm afternoon out of the city. The park is also home to the Torre Soberana, the Desvalls family mansion that dates back to the 14th century.
5. Barcelona Olympic Park
Although not quite as green a space as some of the other parks and gardens featured on this list, the Barcelona Olympic Park is well worth a visit too! It was the home of the 1992 summer Olympic Games in Barcelona and is open for visitors to take a wander around to admire the infrastructure, and to have far-reaching views out over the city.
First constructed in 1929 for the International Exposition, the park was drastically renovated just before the Olympic Games in 1989. Structures such as the Telecommunications Tower were erected, adding yet another magnificent addition to Barcelona’s skyline. Head into the park for free and admire the scenery, or even go for sunset to experience some even more beautiful views.
6. Pedralbes Palace Gardens
The Pedralbes Palace houses a museum in the Les Corts neighbourhood, with a permanent collection of decorative ceramic pieces by artists such as Miró and Picasso. The palace is surrounded by its spectacular gardens, that combines traditional and simple green space with classical bust sculptures that give these gardens a truly grand feel.
The Gardens previously belonged to the Güell family, before being handed over as residence for the royal family. The beauty and luxury of its regal past persists to present day, with neat flower beds, a large oval pond, a waterfall, and even orange trees too. There’s even a fountain designed by Gaudí in Pedralbes to admire while exploring this delightful garden.
7. Jardins de Laribal
The Laribal Gardens are one of the gems of the Montjuïc Park, perfect for an afternoon, leisurely stroll in the sun. The gardens were the first public rose gardens to be created in Barcelona, with exceptionally beautiful foliage, cascading water features, and tiled benches to sit and admire the scenery.
The Gardens were named after, and belonged to the estate of, Josep Laribal, a prestigious lawyer and journalist. In 1908 the estate was handed over to the government and renovated for the Universal Exposition in 1929. The gardens remain open to the public today to enjoy this wonderful step into nature, with even more breathtaking views of the city below.
8. Parc del Guinardó
One of the lesser-known gardens on the list, meaning It’s an even quieter park to visit away from tourists, is the stunning Parc del Guinardó. Located not too far from the Parc Güell, so can be easily tied in as a double trip to the two, the park sits high above the city offering some of the best views of Barcelona.
Both rustic and elegant, there are three different parts that make up the park: an urban section, the historical green space, and in its highest part, a lush forest area. Its landscaped terraces and pine forests make the Parc del Guinardó one of the most peaceful and refreshing green spaces in Barcelona.
9. Jardins de Joan Maragall
The tranquil gardens of Joan Maragall feel like a world apart from the buzz of the centre of Barcelona, with the only sounds you can hear being the flow of water from the ornamental fountains, and the chirping of birds. The gardens have elegant, tree-lined paths, large open grassy spaces, flowerbeds, impressive fountains and sculptures.
The gardens are truly fit for a king, as they were constructed for the King of Spain at the start of the 20th century, Alfons XIII. The Joan Maragall Gardens also contain a small palace that still remains as a royal residence when the royal family come to Barcelona on official visits.
10. Parc de la Barceloneta
The Barceloneta Park is an open, fun space that runs between the Barceloneta neighbourhood and Vila Olímpica. The park is organised into three main areas, the first being where the remains of an old gas tank were which contains basketball hoops, the second consisting of large slopes with gravel paths, and the third being the home of a football pitch for people to use and enjoy.
This is a great park to come and get a workout done, whether it be for a run, to play football, or to practice some basketball shots. There is also a children’s play area, and a separate play area for dogs to enjoy too! Time a visit to the Barceloneta park with a trip to the beach, which is just on the park’s doorstep.
11. Jardins del Mirador de l’Alcade
Situated next to the Montjuïc Castle, the Jardins del Mirador de l’Alcade (Mayor’s Viewing Point) is known for its exceptional views over Barcelona. It’s a bright and tranquil space with an ornamental fountain in the centre of the park, which cascades into a pool below. There are different levels to these gardens, with sloping flower beds, paths, and seating areas to sit and take in the peaceful scenery.
The Jardins del Mirador de L’Alcade are a special place in Barcelona, as it does not appear on tourist routes of the city, so is somewhat of a hidden gem to experience away from the crowds. For a fun way to access the gardens, we recommend making your way up to Montjuïc on the funicular cable car.
12. Plaça de Gaudí
For the best views of the Sagrada Familia, there is no better place than the Plaça de Gaudí that sits beside it. It’s a magnet for photographers looking to get the best shot of the Sagrada, so impress your friends on Instagram by following suit with a visit to Plaça de Gaudí!
It is a relatively small outdoor space in comparison to the other gardens and parks mentioned on our list, but still well-worth a visit. The square is an oasis amidst the bustling city, with 8000 m2 of green space for those wanting a breath of fresh air. The Plaça de Gaudí was initially conceived as an area for those who wanting to admire the spectacular church, with the pond being designed to allow a reflection of the Sagrada Familia too.