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Green Corners in Barcelona: History, Diversity & Eco Awareness

Updated: Oct 29, 2023

The Historic Gardens of the University of Barcelona is a delightful surprise located in the heart of the city. Available to visitors, they are famous for their exotic plants and even a charming pond.
The gardens of the University of Barcelona

Barcelona is a fortunate city with a natural landscape that allows for a large area of green space within the city, linked by a chain of gardens and parks. This blog post will take you on a delightful journey through the city's history, diversity, modernity, and environmental awareness. Let's dive in and explore the three main green areas: Collserola, Montjuïc and the central parks. I will also explain the four types of gardens and parks that you can find in Barcelona: historical, thematic, forestal and urban. Get ready to discover what makes Barcelona special: historical, thematic, forestal, and urban parks. Finally, we'll take a quick look at the fascinating evolution of public green areas in Barcelona over time. Join us on this friendly and entertaining adventure!

The three main green corners of Barcelona

Mount Montjuic rises above the skyline of Barcelona for breathtaking views of the city
View of Barcelona from Montjuic

Collserola: Barcelona's Largest Natural Park

the largest green area in Barcelona, spanning over 8,000 hectares of natural park, offers breathtaking views of the sea and the city skyline. Home to a diverse range of flora, fauna, and cultural heritage, Collserola invites you to explore its signposted paths and trails, whether you prefer hiking, biking, horse riding, or a leisurely stroll. Don't miss the Tibidabo amusement park, Collserola Tower, Carretera de les Aigües, and the Sant Medir hermitage - these highlights are not to be missed!

Montjuïc: Exploring the Iconic Mountain of Barcelona

another enchanting mountain in Barcelona, boasts iconic spaces like the Olympic Ring, Magic Fountain, Botanical Garden, Castle, and the National Art Museum of Catalonia. It's a nature lover's paradise, offering gardens, parks, viewpoints, and forests. Accessible by cable car, funicular, bus, or a scenic walk, Montjuïc invites you to immerse yourself in its greenery while enjoying stunning views of the city and the sea.

Central Parks: Green Oases in the Urban Core

summer boat station
Ciutadella Park

Within the heart of Barcelona, the central parks provide a breath of fresh air and a touch of green amidst the urban landscape. Let's explore two famous examples:

- Park Güell: One of Gaudí's masterpieces and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a whimsical park full of colorful mosaics, organic shapes and artistic structures. You can see the iconic dragon fountain, the serpentine bench, the gingerbread houses and the Sala Hipóstila.

- Parc de la Ciutadella: The largest park in the city center, covering over 17 hectares. It was built on the site of a former citadel and hosts the Barcelona Zoo, a lake where you can rent a boat, a giant fountain designed by a young Gaudí and many sculptures and monuments.

History and Diversity of Gardens and Parks in Barcelona

Beautiful Water Lilies Adorning Barcelona's University Garden Pond
Pond in the garden of the University of Barcelona

As we journey through Barcelona's gardens and parks, we encounter four distinct types.

Historical Gardens: Reliving Barcelona's Past

Historical gardens, often attached to palaces or mansions, carry a rich heritage. Take, for instance,

The Historic Botanical garden, located next to the National Art Museum, is a testament to its origins from the 1888 Barcelona World's Fair. This cherished garden, which has retained a small picturesque area, has a unique charm. Located slightly below the main level, there is always a few degrees below the temperature.

*Tip: consider this garden the perfect place to unwind between tours of the museum,

The Palau National on the hill of Montjuïc
View from the Historic Botanical Garden to the National Art Museum of Barcelona

The Barcelona University Gardens on Plaça Universitat offer a delightful retreat characterized by lush greenery, carefully manicured flower beds and shady paths. This is truly a serene oasis where harmony and tranquility reign.

To access the University's gardens, simply enter through the main entrance.
Historic building of the University of Barcelona

In addition to being a natural attraction, these gardens are of historical importance as they were designed in the early 19th century by the architect Alice Rogent. Careful attention to detail and architectural elements integrated into the landscape add extra charm to the already charming atmosphere of the university building.

The gardens boast an impressive collection of plant species, showcasing both native flora and exotic specimens. Some of the lilies in the local pond are breathtaking.

*The garden is located on Plaça de Universitat and belongs to the University of Barcelona. But the entrance to the garden is open to everyone. Although I would recommend that you go there after lunch, when the students have mostly already left the building.

Thematic Gardens: A Journey Through Diverse Ecosystems

These are gardens that have a specific theme or purpose that guides their design and content. They usually showcase plants from different regions or cultures or have educational or artistic value. Some examples are:

The Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer Gardens

the magic of nature at any time of the year
Romantic gardens Mossen Sinto Verdaguer, Barcelona

The enchanting gardens of Mossin Cinto Verdaguer are a picturesque botanical oasis located on Montjuic.

Here you will discover a rich palette of aquatic plants, which makes it one of the most favorite places among the locals.

And the sunsets against the backdrop of the sprawling panorama of stunning Barcelona are simply breathtaking! : )

In my opinion, this is the perfect place for a romantic picnic.

The Botanical garden of Barcelona

The garden displays plants from different regions similar to Mediterranean climate: Catalonia, California, Chile, South Africa and Australia.

By immersing yourself in the thematic sections of the garden, you will gain a deeper understanding of the wonders of nature and the importance of preserving the biodiversity of our planet.

But this is not just an exhibition of plants; it is an educational and enlightening experience. The garden has information signs and educational displays to let visitors learn about the unique characteristics of each plant species and the ecological importance of preserving these ecosystems.

Tip: great place to visit with kids!

Vibrant Cacti Thriving in the Heart of Barcelona's Botanical Garden
The Mediterranean area of Chili in Barcelona Botanical Garden

Forestal Gardens: Immersed in Natural Beauty

These are gardens that resemble natural forests, with native or exotic trees and shrubs that create shade and diversity. They usually have paths, benches and picnic areas for leisure and relaxation. Some examples are:

- Parc de la Oreneta: This is a park that covers 17 hectares of land on the slopes of Collserola. It has a pine forest, an oak grove, an orchard and a pond. It also has a miniature railway that runs through the park on weekends and holidays.

- Parc del Turó del Putxet: This is a park that occupies a hill in the district of Sarrià-Sant Gervasi. It has a Mediterranean forest with pines, holm oaks, cypresses and palms. It also has a viewpoint that offers panoramic views of the city and the sea.

- Parc de la Creueta del Coll: This is a park that was built on the site of an old quarry in the district of Gràcia. It has a large artificial lake that becomes a public swimming pool in summer. It also has a pine forest, a playground and a sculpture by Eduardo Chillida.

The Collserola mountain is the best place for hiking
The Collserola mountain range is one of the largest green areas in Barcelona

Urban Gardens: Green Spaces Amidst the City's Bustle
These are gardens that are integrated into the urban fabric, often occupying spaces that were previously used for other purposes. They provide freshness and seamlessly blend with the bustling cityscape, creating refreshing pockets of greenery and tranquility. Some examples are:

- Parc de l'Estació del Nord: This is a park that was created on the site of an old railway station in the district of Eixample. It has lawns, flower beds, fountains and playgrounds. It also has a sports center and a bus station.

- Parc Central de Nou Barris: This is a park that was created on the site of an old rubbish dump in the district of Nou Barris. It has hills, meadows, ponds and bridges. It also has an amphitheater, a skate park and an urban orchard.

- Parc de les Glòries Catalanes: This is a park that is being developed on the site of an old industrial area in the district of Sant Martí. It will have gardens, lakes, playgrounds and cultural facilities. It will also cover part of the ring road that crosses the city.

Barcelona: A Journey Through the History of Landscape Design

Barcelona has been greatly influenced by visionary urban planners and architects who have left their mark on the city's layout, structure and identity. Let's look at some of them:

- The Cerda plan: Back in 1860, Ildefons Cerdá, an intelligent civil engineer and former member of the Spanish Parliament, designed the plan of Cerdá. This plan aimed to reform and expand the city using an open and fair grid. Cerdá suggested using blocks of 113.3 meters, which was quite revolutionary for that time. It was then that the question of the ecological situation was first included in planning.

This architecturally simple building resembles a fairy-tale house.
The Porter's Lodge pavilion, Park Güell

- Antoni Gaudí and Park Güell. One of the most famous architects of Barcelona is Antoni Gaudí. You can see his incredible work in many places in the city. Gaudí had a unique approach to architecture. He believed in respecting and understanding nature, not just copying it. His designs were inspired by her logic and form, and he tried to integrate nature into his creations.

- Project Superilla: The Superilla project in Barcelona is an innovative urban planning initiative that aims to create a more livable, sustainable and people-friendly city. The word "superilla" means "superblock" in Catalan, and it refers to a group of nine city blocks that are closed to through traffic and transformed into a large pedestrian area with green spaces, playgrounds, bike lanes and social activities.

It now includes Carrer Girona, a fantastic addition that makes our favorite area of Hostal Girona at C/Girona, 24, 1º 1ª greener and offers more places to live with a lively and vibrant atmosphere.

Barcelona continues to grow and change, and remains a city where history, innovation and a deep connection to nature come together to create a friendly and inspiring atmosphere for everyone.

So, put on your walking shoes, embrace the green corners of Barcelona, and let the journey begin!

Hey, fabulouse readers! 🌟 Did you enjoy reading this amazing blog post? I really hope so!

Now you are walking along the busy streets of Barcelona and you will know exactly where you can relax, where you can take the most beautiful photos, where to go for horseback riding or morning jogging.

With our trusted guide, you will be the best Barcelona expert.

But hey, we're not done yet. We want to hear your thoughts too! So if you have any comments, suggestions, or even a hilarious joke to share, this is the place to do so. 😄 After all, what is life without fun?

So, start typing, dear reader, and remember, sharing is caring and we are all here to enjoy the beauty of Barcelona together.

Until next time, happy learning and keep spreading this positive energy! ✨



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