Located on the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula, Barcelona is a cultural and economic center offering travelers the opportunity to see well-known Catalan modernista architecture, and most famously, Antoni Gaudí’s unique artistic style. The work of Antoni Gaudí, highlighted in Park Guell, can be easily identified by his use of ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork, and carpentry inspired by nature and religion with a hint of the baroque style. The well known Park Guell is actually only one of Barcelona’s 68 municipal parks. Just as beautifully crafted and important to the city, parks cover 10% of Barcelona and offer travelers the opportunity to escape the hustle of busy city life.
Park Güell is located on Carmel Hill in Barcelona and belongs to the mountain range of Collserola. When visiting Park Güell, be sure to purchase tickets at the entrance of the park to be able to see the area where the majority of Gaudí’s work is located, as it is separated from the rest of the park. It is also best to visit Park Güell at early hours of the day in order to avoid waiting in long lines to enter.
HOW TO GET TO PARK GUELL
To get to Park Güell by metro, use the green line (L3) and get off at the stops Lesseps or Vallcarca. There are three entrances, one on Carrer de Larrard, which is the main entrance, the second is the entrance at the coach park for tourist coaches, and the third is on Passatge de Sant Josep de la Muntanya, which you can get to by using an escalator. You can also take the bus lines H6, 32, 24, and 92 to reach the park. Be aware, however, that no matter which form of public transportation you use, there will usually be at least a 10-15 minute walk to the park.
JARDINS JOAN MARAGALL
Jardins Joan Maragall is located in the middle of the Montjuïc Mountain between the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium and Jardins de Laribal. The expansive park houses the Albéniz Palace built in 1929 to celebrate the International Exhibition, which was held in Barcelona the same year. The palace served as the Royal Pavilion and is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family in Barcelona. The park is beautifully landscaped and has a total of 32 sculptures located throughout. Some of the sculptures include works by Theophile Eugène, Frederic Marès, and Louis Sauregeau.
HOW TO GET TO JARDINS JOAN MARAGALL
The park is open from Saturdays and Sundays between 10:00 and 3:00 PM, however it is best to visit earlier in the morning to experience the park at its most tranquil. To get there, take metro lines 1 or 3 and get off at Plaça Espanya. From there, walk about 3 minutes to the red, 150 bus stop at Plaça Espanya-Av Reina Maria Cristina in the direction of Castell de Montjuïc. Get off at the Av. de l’Estadi-Estadi Olímpic and walk west on Carrer l’Estadi for about a minute and you’ll find yourself at the entrance of the park.
JARDINS DE LARIBAL
Located near the Jardins Joan Margall, the Jardins de Laribal was also created to decorate the mountain before the International Exhibition in 1929. The garden, designed by Nicolas Forestier and Nicolau M. Rubió Tudurí, is sculpted by terraces, pathways, ponds, statues and houses exotic plant life. Following the pathways and terraces allows you to see beautiful view of Barcelona, while enjoying the Mediterranean foliage of the garden.
HOW TO GET TO JARDINS DE LARIBAL
Jardins de Laribal is open from 10:00 AM until sunset and is close in proximity to the Jardins Joan Maragall. In order to get there, take the same public transportation that you would to get to Jardins Joan Margall, but from the Av. de l’Estadi-Estadi Olímpic bus stop, walk southwest toward Carrer l’Estadi. Turn left onto Carrer l’Estadi and walk a few minutes until you reach Carrer Sol. Turn left on Carrer Sol and you’ll find the entrance of Jardins de Laribal on your left.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR BARCELONA
The weather in Barcelona averages highs of 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit during winter and fall months and 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit in spring and summer months. For sightseeing, wear comfortable clothes and shoes that you can walk long distances in. Although Barcelona does offer public transportation, you’ll still usually need to walk about 15 minutes to get to your destination. Given the cosmopolitan nature of the city, be sure to bring fashionable clothes and shoes to go out in. Remember that things quiet down during the afternoon siesta, and dinners usually start no earlier than 10 pm. If you want to enjoy Barcelona’s beaches, visit towards the end of the summer (August) when the sea water has had a chance to warm up.
HOW TO GET TO BARCELONA
Non stop flights to Barcelona leave from New York, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Houston and Dallas. Direct flights to Barcelona can also be found from Madrid, London, Paris, Dublin, Lisbon, Toronto, Munich, Zurich, and Brussels (to name a few). If already in Europe, cheap flights to Barcelona can be booked on Easy Jet and Ryan Air. Several trains also run per day from other European countries that stop at the central train stations of Barcelona-Sants, Barcelona-Passeig de Gràcia, and Barcelona-Estació de França. Madrid to Barcelona is a 3 hour train journey, Paris to Barcelona is 6 hour train journey on the TGV high speed rail (reservations required), and Valencia to Barcelona is a 3.5 hour train ride.
TOP TOURIST SITES IN BARCELONA
There are so many things to do and see in Barcelona. Aside from taking in the culture, catching a soccer game, and enjoying the nightlife, make sure to also visit Sagrada Família and Casa Batlló, two other very famous Gaudí constructions. Travelers should also spend time walking around the Gothic Quarter during the day, and exploring the nightlife in Las Ramblas at night. Head to the W hotel Barcelona, situated right on the water, to enjoy the view and explore the wide array of beach bars right next to it. A great day trip from Barcelona is visiting the Montserrat Benedictine Monastery, which is a one hour train journey from the city.