Barcelona, Spain, is known for quite a lot of selling points. The city’s architecture is some of the most famous and unique in the world, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that it has a nearly perfect year-round Mediterranean climate — which lends itself to fantastic food and wine. And Barcelona’s famous streets and plazas are some of the liveliest in Europe.
So when you’re in the city, why not take advantage of that fantastic weather by visiting some of the best parks in Barcelona and the surrounding area? There are fantastic parks in Barcelona accessible by the city’s Metro system and plenty of lovely natural areas just a quick train ride away from the city. These are the seven best parks, outdoor spaces, and natural reserves you need to visit in Barcelona, Spain.
The best parks in Barcelona
Most of the parks in Barcelona fit the mold of what most Americans would consider a park: large green spaces with plenty of areas for picnicking, walking, or just enjoying the nice weather.
However, Montserrat Natural Park is more like what in the US would be considered a national park, and some of the largest parks below (like Parc Montjuïc) have attractions within them that require paid tickets. Use the recommendations below as a jumping-off point for planning your Barcelona trip, but remember to check the park websites in advance for details on tickets, opening hours, and more.
If you see an article talking about the best parks in Barcelona that doesn’t mention Parc Güell, know that the list cannot be trusted. Parc Güell is one of the most beautiful parks in all of Europe thanks not just to a prime location overlooking the Mediterranean, but because so many of the park’s buildings, structures, walkways, and bridges were designed by the most famous architect in all of Spain: Antoni Gaudí.
The park is on the city’s Carmel Hill with breathtaking views of Barcelona, and while it’s a steep walk to reach the park, there are a few escalators in the toughest sections.
There’s so much to do in the park that you’ll want to plan at least a half day there. Aside from walking through the fabulous grounds — don’t miss the famous Gaudí dragons or the blue-and-white towers near the entrance gate — you’ll probably want to visit a few other attractions, too. Aside from the 10 Euro fee to enter the park or 22 Euro fee for a guided tour (which you should buy in advance online), you’ll have to pay extra to enter the Gaudí House Museum; it’s extremely worth it.
Parc de la Ciutadella
The Parc de la Ciutadella is one of Barcelona’s most beloved parks. Geographically in the heart of the city, its 19th-century gardens and sculptures provide a serene setting for locals and tourists alike to enjoy its diverse flora and fauna. This lovely park makes it easy to take a peaceful break from the hustle and bustle of city life, with its wide range of attractions that appeal to all ages. The 70-acre outdoor space has several gardens, including a tropical greenhouse, and don’t miss out on the occasional concerts in the “Hivernacle” (the winter garden).
The park is dominated by the Art Nouveau-style Castell dels Tres Dragons, built for the 1888 World’s Fair. There’s also a modern art museum inside the Parliament building. The park is huge and lush, and it’s unusual to walk by on a summer afternoon and not see locals and tourists alike relaxing in the sun or having picnics on the large lawns. The park is totally free to visit, but attractions like boat rides on the lake and the art museum have a separate charge.
Parc del Laberint d’Horta
Parc del Laberint d’Horta is one of the city’s most celebrated attractions in the Horta-Guinardó district of Barcelona. Originally built in 1791 as an Italian-style garden, it’s now an impressive outdoor space filled with lush greenery, exotic plants and trees, and two towering ancient sculptures.
The highlight of the 42-acre park is the giant Labyrinth of Loners, a large hedge maze where a large statue of Eros greets visitors who find their way to the center. Other interesting features that make this one of the best parks in Barcelona include a romantic fountain surrounded by four columns, an artificial lake with swans and ducks, and several gorgeous gardens ranging from French landscaping to Japanese stone gardens.
Parc del Laberint d’Horta isn’t free, but it’s hardly expensive. It’s only about 2.5 Euro (about $3 US) for adults, and you don’t need to make reservations in advance. It also hosts free admission days fairly often, which you can find listed on the park website. The closest Barcelona Metro stop is Mundet, on the L3 line.
Parc de Montjuïc
Parc de Montjuïc is a wonderful urban park located on the Montjuïc hill in the city of Barcelona. It offers stunning views of the city and surrounding landscapes and is known for its huge array of attractions and things to see — the botanical garden alone has 5,000 species of plants from around the world, plus orchid gardens and a butterfly house.
Also in Parc de Montjuïc is an open-air theater that hosts performances throughout the year, including musicals, operas, and dance. The theater features a terrace with incredible views of the city and seats up to 1,000 visitors per performance. There are a variety of shows throughout the season, and every evening features an impressive lighting display on the castle’s walls.
And speaking of castles: this park in Barcelona is named for Montjuïc castle, a military fort dating to 1640. Also nearby is the famous modern art pavilion by celebrity architect Mies van der Rohe, designed for the 1888 World’s Fair. Also make time to check out the Catalan Museum of Archaeology, with exhibits dating to prehistoric times, and the Magic Fountain and Olympic Stadium.
As you may be able to guess, Parc de Montjuïc is huge — be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
Parc de la Barceloneta
If you want to hit the beach while in the city (which you should, if you visit outside of winter), head to Parc de la Barceloneta. It’s one of the best parks in Barcelona for easy access (you can walk there from the famous La Rambla. The park is 37 acres and is your standard warm-weather beach park. It has jogging and running baths, beach volleyball courts, and green space for picnics or enjoying a morning coffee.
However, as you may guess, the main draw is Barceloneta Beach. The roomy beach has a protected swimming area, changing rooms, showers, restrooms, lifeguards, and even Wi-Fi. You can also rent beach chairs and umbrellas. Just behind the beach, you’ll find all manner of food vendors, ranging from ice cream to coffee. And just across the street are great restaurants, like Restaurant Salamanca (delicious seafood), Ca La Nuri Restaurant (Mediterranean), and Taverna Ibèria Barceloneta (tapas).
Fortunately, you can also walk to other beaches from here like Playa Mar or Somorrostro Beach, in case the first one you get to feels too crowded.
Montserrat Natural Park
Montserrat Natural Park is a stunning area about an hour outside the city. It’s easy to reach via public transportation, or you can hire a car in the city. The park is most known for the famous Benedictine Monastery, but the entire protected area covers 13,950 acres, encompassing the entire Montserrat Mountain range. Most tours from the city include a visit to the Monastery (accessed via cable car) plus one or two area wine tastings. However, there’s no fee to visit the Monastery or the reserve in general (however, the cable car is 8 Euro).
However, Montserrat Nature Park is one of the best parks in Barcelona to visit when you feel like stretching your legs, as the park’s Sant Jeroni hike leads to the highest point in the entire mountain range. The hike is a 5.8-mile loop that gains just under 2,000 feet of elevation, so it’s fairly steep. If that feels too aggressive, consider instead the Cruz Sant Miquel hike (1.4 miles, 675 foot gain), and if it feels too easy, choose the steeper Aeri de Montserrat trail (4.2 miles, 2,200 foot gain).
If you have any interest at all in art, be sure to go inside the Montserrat Monastery Museum, which has works by the most famous artist in the world, such as El Greco, Salvador Dalí, and Claude Monet.
Parc del Clot
Parc del Clot is one of the more modern parks in Barcelona. The park is just under 10 acres in size and was built on the remains of an old workshop facility, giving it more 19th and 20th-century vibes. Within it is an old aqueduct and an old artillery tower (El Turó de la Rovira), which has great views over the city (and is totally free to enter).
This park is in the Sant Martí district, not too far from the very famous La Sagrada Familia. It’s a popular spot for events, especially in the summer, when it hosts farmer’s markets and public concerts. The park also has a few well-known sculptures, such as “Rites of Spring,” and a raised walkway with good city views. The closest Metro stop is Alfons X, though it’s still a 20-minute walk uphill to reach the park.
Where to stay in Barcelona
There are many good hotels in Barcelona, ranging from trendy to classic to budget. Because the city has such a good transportation system, it doesn’t really matter what part of the city you stay in. There are also plenty of great Airbnbs in Barcelona, too.
We hope you love the spaces and stays we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.
Hotel Arts Barcelona: near the beach
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The beachfront hotel is near the city’s Olympic Village and offers panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea and the city skyline. It has high-end, gourmet dining options at its two Michelin-star restaurants, plus an outdoor spa on the roof and two pools overlooking both the ocean and lush Spanish gardens. Rooms start around $270 in the off season.
The W Barcelona: close to the famous La Rambla
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Also near the beach, this stylish hotel has a rooftop pool with views of the city. It’s one of the most chic places to stay and is walkable to La Rambla, but is about 20 minutes on foot from the Metro. The W is one of the most recognizable buildings in Barcelona and arguably the most high-end hotel in the area.
The Barcelona EDITION: near the historical center of the city
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This hotel has one of the best locations in town, in the hip El Born neighborhood, which also happens to be very near the medieval part of town. This hotel combines modern design with historical architecture and is well-loved by trend travelers. Expect to pay at least 300 Euro a night.
The Cotton House Hotel: historical vibes in a walkable area
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This hotel mixes modern vibes with its given surrounds: it’s housed in a restored 19th-century palace. it’s a boutique hotel with a conservatory, large rooms, and a great location next to a Metro station. It’s similarly priced to the EDITION. Interestingly, the hotel pays homage to its history by offering a unique bespoke tailoring package: stay there, and you can have a custom shirt made by the hotel’s skillful tailors.
The Generator Hostel: budget-friendly social scene
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The Generator line of hostels are known for being some of the most popular in the world and are a great place to stay if you’re a solo traveler, remote worker, or anyone looking for a hotel with plenty of social space and a high chance of meeting like-minded travelers. This one has private rooms and bathrooms (if you want) and offers organized activities, like bike tours that go past some of the best parks in Barcelona. Rooms are pricey for a hostel, but they still start under $100 a night.