In Barcelona, cobblestones and narrow winding streets are always within arm’s reach. Green space, on the other hand, is a little more difficult to find. Parc de la Ciutadella is a large and centrally located park within the city that boasts grassy lawns and plenty of picnic areas. It is Barcelona’s equivalent of Central Park and well worth a visit.
The park, a stone’s throw from the water, is full of Mediterranean charm. Most days, the faded orange and red walls of the various buildings that dot the park are basked in warm sunlight. Keep an eye out for the parakeets that make their home here amidst palm trees and orange trees. In addition, the park has running and biking paths, a small lake complete with rentable rowboats, Barcelona’s Zoo and a couple of museums.
Its most prominent feature, however, is La Font de la Cascada, or the Waterfall Fountain. It was designed in 1882 by Josep Fontsére and loosely resembles the Trevi Fountain in Rome. When visiting be sure to climb one of the grand staircases on either side of the fountain to take in the view from the top. During the summer, events pop up here and there throughout the park. There’s also a small outdoor café where you can order a beer and relax at one of the many tables that overlooks the fountain.
If arriving in Barcelona for the first time, visiting the park is a great (and inexpensive) way to get to know the city. Stop by a nearby market, pick up some bread, cheese, jamón and perhaps some wine and grab a spot near some of the other picnic-goers or local music groups that are playing in the park. If you’re not a Barcelona native, it’s also a good opportunity to eavesdrop on the Spanish or Catalan conversations around you, another good way to pick up some around-the-town Spanish vocabulary.
To make an event of it enter the park via Passeig de Lluís Companys and check out Barcelona’s Arc de Triumph. Even if you’re in your second year and you know the city a little bit better, the park is a great alternative to the crowded beach and a much needed respite from the never ending MBA case load.
Lauren is a second year MBA student at IESE. To read more from her on Barcelona visit her blog: www.elleandpear.com.