or: A ROUGH GUIDE TO SOME OF MY FAVORITE PARKS IN THE CITY
In my opinion, the best thing about Barcelona is its FULL ON energy. It’s fast, wild & busy, but sometimes you want to escape the hustle and bustle and eat a relaxed meal al fresco without just going to the beach and getting sand in your sandwiches again.
PARK GUELL ET AL
If you head in direction of the famous Gaudi park you’ll be treated to amazing 360 views of the city, but if you’d enough of everyone’s favorite Catalan modernist architect and his fans that crowd so many sites in Barcelona and are after a more peaceful camino then try Graunido – same great views but a quieter place to stop and eat your snacks.
Con: it’s a bit far away from..it all, but then again, that’s kind of the point.
THE MANY PARKS OF MONTJUIC
Montjuic is a hill in Barcelona with a castle on top. It’s a pretty big area but crucially has lost of little pockets of gardens tucked away from the heat of the sun and the chaos of the city. If you head up from Placa Espanya you’ll likely first come across the Olympic Park – it was constructed as an add on to the Lluis Companys stadium when Barcelona hosted the Olympics in ‘92. It is worth a visit, but the cool benches of this nineties vision of the future don’t make for a comfy picnic spot.
Better head to some of the more grassy areas, closer to the funicular station that runs between Montjuic and Paralel metro like Jardins de Mossèn Jacinto Verdager.
If you’re after a sea view, saunter over to the Hotel Mirimar and follow the path that snakes around the side until you reach a gorgeous little garden – Plaça de l’Armada, ornamental with fountains and gorgeous flowers. Take a moment here to enjoy the tranquility, and, if you listen carefully you can follow the sound of crooning jazz music to a fancy restaurant on the right hand side of the hotel (facing the sea), if memory serves me correctly and this magical place wasn’t a mirage induced by climbing the slightly inclined path from paralel, then here you will find a menu of pricey sea food. It’s possible to grab a table just to drink if it’s not too full and I’d recommend paying to enjoy a caña or their house vermut. The views are great and you feel like you’re at the edge a of sexy 1920s cocktail party.
Con: the layout of the top of the hill is big and pretty complex which means that it’s easy to get lost and walk a lot. Don t forget to amble.
The main entrance is captivatingly placed in line with the famous Arc de Triomf and a stones throw from the trendy El Born neighborhood. The park is pretty, you can also visit a beautiful Catalan parliament buildings from the 1700s and the atmosphere is fun – usually you will end up watching someone practicing acro yoga or tightrope walking and there’s a lake that you can row boats on.
con: Not so peaceful especially on the weekends. Although who doesn’t love making new friends?
BONUS: Bunkers del Carmel
On top of Turó de la Rovera, ruins of bunkers from the Spanish civil war boasting 360 degree views and cool vibes.
Best Served: at sunset accompanied by wine and friends.