Barcelona’s Best Parks, Spain

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.

The view from Park Güell
The view from Park Güell

Park Güell

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.

The famous corridor of Park Guell
The famous corridor of Park Güell
A detailed view of Gaudi's work at Park Guell
A detailed view of Gaudí’s work at Park Güell


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.

park guell gaudi


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.


Jardins Joan Maragall
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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.

Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló
Thanks to our travel expert, Isabella, for sharing her travel tips on Barcelona!
Thanks to our travel expert, Isabella, for sharing her travel tips on Barcelona!

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua tree is famous for its whimsical tree like yuccas that have spiky leaves and are indigenous to the southwestern United States. There is no one central attraction in Joshua Tree National Park- it is a vast, wild, and unspoiled desert scene with spiky Joshua trees and big granite boulders for miles. It is also an amazing destination for stargazers.  Given the clear desert skies, the sunrises and sunsets are vibrant, and the starry sky looks magical at night.
Joshua tree 3
Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park


Temperatures for hiking at best in the spring and fall, with an average high/low of 85°F and 50°F (29 and 10°C) respectively. Summer, between May and September, is very hot – 90°F to 100°F degree highs during the day. Travelers can visit in the winter, but bring plenty of layers as the days are cooler -around 60°F (15°C) and temperatures dip below freezing at night. No matter which season, be prepared with lots of water on your hikes.


From Los Angeles (Airport code: LAX), Joshua Tree is a 2.5 hour drive. You can camp in the park, but during the winter, stay in a hotel in one of the nearby towns or use Airbnb to rent a refurbished homestead cabin. Although the cabin we rented felt remote, it was only a 10 minute drive from the village of Joshua Tree.  There is a small community made up of some great restaurants and mom n pop shops in the village of Joshua Tree.
Joshua Tree National Park


There are no hotels in the actual Joshua Tree National Park but there are places in the nearby village- both home rentals as well as hotels. To enter Joshua Tree National Park, there is a $20 entry fee per car, which is a 7 day permit for non commercial vehicles. To learn more specifics about camping and other park fees, visit the national parks website by clicking here. Bring plenty of water for your hikes, and layered clothing depending on the time of year you are visiting. Keys View is the most popular place to watch the sunset so try to beat the parking rush and get there early!


The 49 Palms Canyon Oasis hike is on the periphery of the national park, it has its own entrance, and is without a fee. It is a 4 mile hike with beautiful elevated views of the desert, and it ends at a desert oasis.
There are a multiple of short, flat, easy hikes to choose from that take you to dams and rock formations.  Some choose to hike different routes to see all the beautiful sites that the park has to offer. Others choose to post up at a campsite and rock climb in a certain area of the park all day. For intermediate hikers, Ryan Mountain is a 1.5 mi hike with a 1070 foot elevation gain.  At the very top, you stand 5,456′ above the desert and the views are incredible.  Looking down, it almost felt like I was surveying the ground of another planet. For sunset, visit Keys View because it is the highest point in Joshua Tree that you can drive to.
The sunset from Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park
The sunset from Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park
Everyone says that they have a moment in Joshua Tree where they experience a profound sense of self-awareness and appreciation for life.  I distinctly remember mine being when I was walking amongst the Joshua trees and the sky burned a pink I had never seen before. For travelers looking to escape it all, there is plenty of time for meditation and reflection while exploring this fantastic desert destination.
Joshua tree National Park
For nightlife near Joshua Tree – drive up to Pioneertown, a town that started as a live-in Old West motion-picture set in the 1940’s. The crowd is a fun mix of locals, LA visitors, and Joshua Tree campers. Travelers with more time can take a detour to Mecca Valley to walk the Painted Canyon trail (vibrant colors make up these canyons) and also visit Salvation Mountain, which has a massive folk art sculpture near the unique desert town of Slab City.
Thanks to Dr. Simi Singh for sharing her travel tips on Joshua Tree National Park!
Thanks to Dr. Simi Singh, a physician in New York City, for sharing her travel tips on Joshua Tree National Park!

The High Alpine Road, Austria

The stunning Grossglockner High Alpine Road is a 29.7 mile (47km) stretch of road offering breathtaking views of the Austrian Alps. The road bridges the two Austrian states of Salzburg and Carinthia.  This scenic route is named after Austria’s highest mountain, which stands at 12,461 ft (3,787m).  The road is the tallest paved mountain pass in the country, and has been meticulously constructed with a series of mountainside tunnels, switchbacks, and roads built up on stilts.  It is s a thrilling drive and / or bike ride, and, fortunately, the road is in excellent condition.  The optimal driving route begins at the road’s eastern entrance in Ferleiten, which is about a 1.5 hour drive south of the city of Salzburg.  There you will reach the toll house; it costs 35€ per car for a day pass.  From Ferleiten, the road heads westward toward the Pasterze glacier that lines the eastern slope of Grossglockner.  There are many parking places along the route, most of which you can hike or bike from, and all of which promise breathtaking views of the surrounding Hohe Tauern mountain range.

Grossglockner High Alpine Road

Grossglockner High Alpine Road

Grossglockner High Alpine Road

Don’t tire yourself from hiking before you reach the glacier, though.  When you reach the end of the road, there is a free parking garage at Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe, and from there you can choose how you want to take in the sites of the glacier and towering Grossglockner.  Hiking, or taking a lift, down to the valley where the glacier lies is a popular option, and the best place to view how dramatically the glacier has receded in recent years.  Another great alternative is to hike along the mountain slope to the east of the glacial valley.  Continue walking towards the glacier, and you’ll journey through a series of short tunnels, that afterwards open into a mountainside path surrounded by lush greens and tiny, colorful flowers, all while overlooking the Pasterze glacier.

Grossglockner High Alpine Road

Grossglockner High Alpine Road


Bring proper hiking or walking shoes; if you want to experience the utmost beauty the High Alpine Road has to offer, a good deal of walking is necessary!  No matter how warm it is in the valley as you begin, once you start driving up the mountain it gets very chilly and windy, very quickly, so wear a thick jacket. Keep snacks and water handy as well!


Due to its high altitude, the High Alpine Road is only open from May to October.  In those two months, there is still a chance of encountering snow, so June through August is the best time to visit if you are interested in hiking during your visit. Between June and August, the temperatures in the valleys will range between 75 and 90 Fahrenheit (21-32 C), but as cold as 50 F (10 C) on the highest peaks.

TRAVELING TO Grossglockner High Alpine Road

The closest major airports are Salzburg (SZG), Munich (MUC) and Vienna (VIE).  Non-stop flights to Austria from NYC fly into Vienna. Non stop direct flights are also available into Munich. You will have to either take a connecting flight to Salzburg or a train. Travelers can rent a car in Salzburg, or rent immediately from Munich. From Salzburg, the Grossglockner High Alpine Road is just under a 2 hour drive.  If you plan to explore elsewhere in Austria, flying into Vienna is another viable option, but the drive to the High Alpine Road itself is 4 hours, versus 2.5 hours from Munich and even less from Salzburg.  Renting a car is necessary to visit this road, and is best for navigating the Alpine region of Austria.  Depending on how much you hike, budget 3-6 hours on the High Alpine Road.


There are numerous “hütten” (cabins) and bed and breakfasts in the area to stay in, especially if you want to continue exploring the Hohe Tauern or Dachstein mountain ranges. This area is renowned for its extraordinary hiking, rock climbing, via ferrata, mountain biking, river rafting, camping, and swimming opportunities.  The biggest attractions in this area include the Dachstein Krippenstein cable car, sky walk, and ice palace.  The nearest cities, Salzburg and Innsbruck, also offer a range of additional outdoor activities and sightseeing.
Grossglockner High Alpine Road
Thanks to Devan for sharing her travels in Austria! Here is a pic of her enjoying some refreshing glacial water during her visit to the Grossglockner High Alpine Road.