Jardins de Joan Maragall

Neo-classical sculpture and columns at the Jardins de Joan Maragall on Montjuïc, Barcelona

This lovely formal garden on Montjuïc contains the official residence of the Spanish royal family, which explains why it is seldom open – you can only visit between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm on weekends or public holidays.

The royal pavilion, or Palauet Albéniz, was built for the 1929 International Exposition, and the gardens surrounding it were designed at the same time by Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier.

The gardens were extended in 1970 and named after the Catalan poet Joan Maragall. They are now home to 32 sculptures dating from the 1950s to 1970, along with the original neoclassical details.

The fountains, sculptures, and tree-lined pathways are a big draw, but for me it is the serenity. You seldom have to share the park with more than a handful of other people.


Open: Saturdays, Sundays, Public Holidays 10am – 3pm


Parc de la Ciutadella

The city’s main central park absolutely fills up on a pleasant day, but there’s always somewhere to sit and enjoy the passing parade.

The park also features some leftover – and curiously, unused – buildings from the 1888 Universal Exhibition, and a spectacular fountain and lake designed by the park’s architect Josep Fontseré.

The park is also home to Barcelona Zoo, and attached to the promenade along Passeig de Lluís Companys that culminates at the Arc de Triomf, which was the gateway to the Exhibition.


Parc del Laberint d’Horta

the Parc del Laberint d’Horta hedge maze in the sunshine with fountain

On the outskirts of town (but conveniently-located a 10 minute walk from the Pg. Vall d’Hebron Metro stop) this maze is the city’s oldest preserved garden.

The maze is the headline attraction, but the formal gardens give way to a lovely forested area as well. Keep an eye open for the wild pigs that roam the grounds.

Fee: General Admission €2.23, free Wed & Sun (limited numbers)

Open: Daily Apr 1 – Oct 31, 10:00am – 8:00pm; Nov 1 – Mar 31, 10:00am – 6:00pm; Dec 25, 10:00am – 2:00pm