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Jardins del Palau de Pedralbes
ShutterstockJardins del Palau de Pedralbes

The 10 best parks and gardens in Barcelona

Discover the city’s prettiest (and most tranquil) green spaces with our guide to the best parks and gardens in Barcelona

Written by
Jan Fleischer
Marc Angrill
Marga Ortiz Isern

Looking for an inner-city retreat? You’re in the right place. Sure, Barcelona is a buzzing place, and you’re going to spend most of your time exploring its very many sights and attractions, eating at incredible restaurants, drinking in its bars, and maybe even squeezing in some much-needed downtime at one of its many beaches.

But when you’re pining for the sight of some greenery, a bit of a picnic, some rowing or even a whizz round a maze, you might fancy a trip around one of the best parks and gardens in Barcelona. There’s a surprising wealth of opportunity to embrace the great outdoors here, whether you want to dig into a good book or snap some content for the ’Gram. Here are the best parks in Barcelona. 

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Marc Angrill is a writer at Time Out Barcelona. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines

Best parks and gardens in Barcelona

Parque del Laberinto de Horta
Photograph: Shutterstock

1. Parque del Laberinto de Horta

What is it? In the quiet and secluded neighbourhood of Horta, this architectural gem from the 18th century is the oldest gardens preserved in Barcelona. Parque del Laberinto de Horta hides a wealth of sculptures, fountains, buildings, and decorative vegetation, combining themes and styles. The perfect park, through and through. 

Why go? Joan Antoni Desvalls Marquès de Llupià i d’Alfarràs began its construction in 1794 with a neoclassical garden arranged on three terraces for his palace, featuring neo-Arabic and neo-Gothic elements. By the mid-19th century, his descendants added a romantic garden with flower beds, squares, large trees and a waterfall, as well as a water channel between the terraces of the neoclassical garden. In 1880, it was expanded with a domestic garden next to the palace. In 1967, the Desvalls family handed over the park to the City Council, and it’s been open to the public since 1971.

  • Attractions
  • Pedralbes

What is it? Up in the less-travelled district of Les Corts, conveniently metro-adjacent, stands this magnificent sprawling green space with slopes that add to its beauty. If you’re in the mood for some strolling, Cervantes is ideal for walkers and athletes for its wide paths and its sunny and shady spots.

Why go? You will definitely not want to miss the rose garden. That means you’re in luck if you’re in town from early spring through to the start of autumn, when some 10,000 roses are in bloom. If that’s what you’re into, make sure you’re in town in early May for Barcelona’s annual International New Rose Competition.

Jardins Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer
  • Things to do
  • Sants - Montjuïc

The port side of Montjuïc is protected from the cold north wind, creating a microclimate that is two degrees centigrade warmer than the rest of the city – allowing some 800 species of the world’s cacti to flourish here. This extraordinary collection was closed to the public for some time while funding for essential maintenance was sought, but now it's back in all its glory.

  • Attractions

In Park Ciutadella you'll find an attraction that's not as crowded as the rest of the park can sometimes be. The Umbracle, a modernist building designed by Josep Fontserè and built by Josep Amargós between 1883 and 1887, features five arches built with steel beams and brick pillars covering it. The roof is made of wood and lets some light in, re-creating the lighting of a rainforest. These conditions allow for a type of greenhouse, where plant species originating from 20 different countries have been be planted and grow in rows under the arches. Take a moment to stroll round the lush nature.

  • Attractions
  • Sants - Montjuïc

What is it? A little further south, the Botanical Garden is divided into five landscapes from around the world, each with its own flora, but all with a Mediterranean climate.

Why go? You can observe the similarities and differences between the represented areas: California, South Africa, Australia, and the Mediterranean basin. Each season changes the mosaic of landscapes, from the summer aridity to the awakening of spring colors.

Don't miss: Nestled in former quarries behind the MNAC, there's also the Historical Botanical Garden, which presents a third and unique landscape. Thanks to the shade and humidity of this Montjuïc location, you’ll find some seriously nice Eurosiberian flora. 

Jardines de la Fundació Julio Muñoz
Foto: Sebastià Rambla

6. Jardines de la Fundació Julio Muñoz

What is it? Accessible to the public amidst the city, the Gardens of the Julio Muñoz Foundation are hidden away on Muntaner Street 282. If you head up a little above the Diagonal, you'll stumble upon this small corner secluded from the bustling city life.

Why go? For a little slice of history. The Julio Muñoz Ramonet Foundation was established in 1994 to fulfill the last wishes of the businessman who passed away in 1991. In his will, he bequeathed his estate on Muntaner Street along with all its contents to the city, with the aim of enabling its visitation and useful utilization by the citizens, for the promotion, dissemination and defense of culture.

Tamarita Gardens
© Parcs i Jardins

7. Tamarita Gardens

What is it? These beautiful gardens surround an impressive architectural construction from the early 1900s. Full of decorative elements, Jardins de la Tamarita will tempt you to walk around and enjoy the fountains, small ponds and the many ideal spots for reading, writing in your travel journal or simply taking a break for a little while.

Why go? Not only will you be able to relax, you’ll also travel back in time to when the Catalan middle classes built homes out of mansions in this part of the city, and surrounded them with gardens created to impress.

  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours

What is it? Beautiful gardens created in the 1970s, which pay homage to Mallorcan poet Miquel Costa i Llobera.

Why go? These gardens are nothing like the rest of the city’s urban gardens. There's no kids’ play area, but it does boast other charms. The part of Montjuïc that gives way to the Port is protected from the northern wind, creating a microclimate with a temperature that’s two degrees cooler than the rest of the city, which allows for some 800 species of cactus and other succulent plants to thrive. 

Jardins del Palau de Pedralbes

9. Jardins del Palau de Pedralbes

What is it? The most stately of them all, a residence fit for kings. Each garden in the ensemble has its unique attractions, but the most notable ones include the Fountain of Hercules, from which water flows from a wrought iron dragon's head, and a small pergola, both designed by Gaudí. 

Why go? Upon crossing the grand main entrance that faces the Diagonal, there is a pond that marks a fork in the path. The two paths meander around the gardens, each describing a loop until they converge again in front of the palace. They are connected by a symmetrical matrix of small shady paths. 

  • Things to do
  • El Poble-sec

What is it? The official residence of the king and queen of Spain when they visit Barcelona (ever since Juan Carlos I didn't take much to the Pedralbes Palace) and it was constructed for the 1929 Expo.

Why go? Located in the Joan Maragall gardens, the big green space between the Olympic Stadium and the National Palace, this building is one of Montjuïc’s secrets. It houses works by artists like Dalí and a great selection of sculptures in the gardens that you can visit in the mornings on weekends and publich holidays.

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