Parc de la Ciutadella

Park of architectural wonders

Named after the despised Bourbon citadel (which was torn down to make way for it), the Parc de la Ciutadella is the largest green space in Barcelona’s centre and one of the city’s most popular attractions. Locals love to hold picnics here, play table tennis, or practice yoga and slack-lining, whilst tourists come to soak up the atmosphere, and – if they’re feeling romantic – take a turn out on the boating lake.

The park was the stage of the 1888 Universal Exhibition which thrust Barcelona into the limelight in the 19th century. Ironically it is the buildings and not the flower and fauna which grab the headlines. There’s the grand Arc de Triomf, which marks the approach, Domenech i Montaner’s Modernist marvel the Castell de Tres Dragons, and Josep Fontsere’s famous Cascada fountain (which was designed with the assistance of one Antoni Gaudi, a student at the time). There’s also a crowd-pleasing, life-size statue of a wooly mammoth. The overall effect is to create a park that is much more than lawn and flower beds.

Because of it’s central location the Parc de la Ciutadella often plays a key role in Barcelona’s social and cultural events, staging concerts and installations during the likes of La Merce festival.

It is also the site of Barcelona’s zoological gardens.

As with everywhere in BCN, do take care of your bags and belongings, as thieves operate in the area. If you’re going to take a snooze, use your bag as a pillow, otherwise it might not be there when you wake up. More of the city’s best parks here.

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