As autumn arrives, cities around Europe become the setting for a transformation from one season to another. In Barcelona, the transition is all-the-more noticeable in its parks and gardens, which offer the perfect excuse to rediscover the city’s nature.
With the arrival of the first rains, the colours seen around the city start to vary, and new smells start to come into play. As summer ends, autumn brings us the smells of wood and a carpet of leaves on streets and plazas.
Autumn is a time of change and also of movement. Barcelona gets back into its regular rhythm after months celebrating the abundant sun. Looking up at the sky and hoping for the cooperation of Barcelona’s mild climate makes saying goodbye to the summer a little more agreeable.
No two autumns are the same in Barcelona, all the less so in its parks. Every year, the best green spaces in the city offer up a few surprises. The Parc de la Ciutadella or the Parc del Poblenou undergo a transformation near the sea. The Laberint d’Horta, the Rosaleda de Cervantes and the Parc de Montjuic overlook everything from upon high. And Parc Guell and the Turó Parc are true urban paradises.
Parks near the sea
The Parc de la Ciutadella (Pg Picasso, 1) is found between El Born and La Ribera. It is arguably one of the biggest “lungs” of Barcelona, containing a wide variety of vegetation which, in some cases, dates back hundreds of years. It borders the Barcelona Zoo, the Castle of the Three Dragons and the Parliament of Catalonia, among other institutions. It is also home to the famous lake and Gran Cascada (Great Waterfall).
That’s not to mention the historic sculptures such as El Desconsol by Josep Llimona or The Lady with the Umbrella. This is a real urban oasis.
The Parc del Centre del Poblenou (Avda Diagonal, 130) is between Diagonal Mar and the Maritime Front of Poblenou. It is a park with futurist vibes, according to the plans of the French architect Jean Nouvel. In the distance, you can see the magnificent Agbar Tower by the same creator.
It’s 5.5 hectaires are full of 21st century vegetation, typical of the Mediterranean. Iti s also worth remembering the sustainability criteria put in place in 2008.
The Parc del Laberint (Pg Castanyers, 1) is in Horta-Guinardó. This beautiful park by the Collserola mountain is known for the cyprus tree labyrinth found there which comes out in front of a statue to the God Eros. The creator was Domenico Bagutti in 1792. Later, a romantic garden with small plazas, large trees and even a waterfall was built around it.
The oldest of Barcelona’s parks contains the Soberana Tower within it, an old farmhouse from the 14th century.
The Rosaleda de Cervantes (Avda Diagonal, 708-716) can be seen in Pedralbes. This park specialises in roses and has a carefully-planned appearance – the fruit of intense work and an excellent open space, free of obstacles. More than 10,000 rosebushes of two-thousand varieties transport visitors to a true Garden of Eden in Barcelona.
The Parc de Montjuic (on the Montjuic Mountain) is found in the area of Sants-Montjuic. This huge park occupies an enormous hill which looks over the city and the port. The gems which top it all off are plentiful but particularly worthy of mention are the Museu d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), the Castle of Montjuic and the Botanical Gardens, which contain plants and trees from around the world.
Facilities from the Barcelona Olympic Games, galleries and museums are also found nearby and are worth visiting at any time of year.
The famous Parc Güell (C/ Olot, 5) is located in the Gracia district. No doubt one of the most frequented tourist attractions in the city, this park stands out for its naturalist architecture. The genius Antoni Gaudí built it at the start of the 20th century, creating a magical enclave with splendid views of Barcelona. This is one of the jewels of modernism and has rightly been awarded the title of World Heritage Site since 1984 by UNESCO.
Turó Park (Avda Pau Casals, 19) is in Sant Gervasi. It stands out for its splendid prairie and a magnificent pond surrounded by poplars and plane trees. More than a century of history has made it a much-appreciated location, set away from noise and traffic and in among sculptures such as the one dedicated to Pau Casals (Apel·les Fenosa).
It holds its own secrets, such as having taken its name from the old park of attractions to which it played host in 1929, or the fact that its kiosk was, years ago, an open-air theatre.
A journey through the parks of Barcelona is an experience of rediscovery of the urban nature which surrounds us. A unique Mediterranean paradise.