Barcelona has relatively few major parks, with Parc de la Ciutadella and the sprawling Parc de Collserola coming first to mind. However, the city is also home to a collection of charming gardens, sometimes hidden away in places you would not expect.
Jardins de Joan Maragall
These beautiful gardens on Montjuïc originate from the 1929 International Exposition. They were built around the Royal Pavilion for Alfonso XIII, now called the Albéniz Palace. The gardens were extended in 1970 and named after the Catalan poet Joan Maragall. The gardens are open on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 10AM to 3PM.
The Ateneu Barcelonès is a cultural association founded in Barcelona in 1860 located in the Savassona Palace. Activities include lectures, debates, round tables, concerts, recitals, workshops, film screenings and courses. The Ateneu also houses the most important Private Civil Library in Catalonia, with one of the most valuable collections in the country. The garden is an oasis hidden amid the hustle and bustle of the Gothic Quarter.
Jardins de la Casa Ignacio Puig
This concealed garden in the Gothic Quarter lies behind the reception of a hotel and curiously it can also be accessed by elevator from a side street. It dates back to 1861 when it was created for a nineteenth century palace. Its façade is one of the first works by the architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch.
Jardines de Mossèn Costa i Llobera
The Jardines de Mossèn Costa i Llobera opened in 1970. It is one of the most important gardens of cactus and succulent plants in Europe. Situated on Montjuic, the gardens overlook the coastline, port and Mediterranean Sea.
Jardins del Palacio de Pedralbes
In the affluent Pedralbes neighborhood, behind a long wall draped with bougainvilleas lies a majestic garden. It is set on the former local residence of Spain’s royal family and was opened to the public in 1931. The gardens contain a fountain designed by Antoni Gaudí, Himalayan cedars and several beautiful sculptures.
Jardins de Ca n’Altimira
Josep Altimira was an eccentric Freemason stock market investor with businesses in Cuba, who returned to Barcelona in 1860. The mysterious gardens of his estate in Sarrià-Sant Gervasi are now a small park open to the public.
Jardí Mercè Rodoreda
Mercè Rodoreda is often cited as the most important Catalan novelist of the postwar period. La plaça del diamant (1962) is the most popular Catalan novel to date and has been translated into over 30 languages. Her books contain many references to plants and the city has honored her with two gardens bearing her name. The first is in her own neighborhood of Sant Gervasi. The second garden is well hidden, lying within the Institut d’Estudis Catalans in El Raval. The hanging gardens contain samples of the flowers and plants that appear in her books.
The Old Farm of Martí-Codolar dates back to the 15th century. Peasants, monks and merchants passed through the farm. Based on this heritage, the site retains qualities of a Catalan farmhouse, a monastery and a stately mansion. The gardens traces their origins to the early 19th century.
Jardins del Palau de les Heures
The 19th century Palau de les Heures sits just beneath the park of Colserolla. It has a beautiful garden leading up to the steps of its entrance. It is is currently part of the Mundet Campus of the University of Barcelona, in the Horta-Guinardó neighborhood.