Escape the crowds and enjoy a moveable Spanish feast at one of Barcelona’s very best local picnic spots.
Because there’s only one thing better than eating at Barcelona’s famous tapas bars and beachfront seafood restaurants, and that’s eating out in the open air with the sun on your back and breeze in your hair.
*Words and photos by your Barcelona shmoozer, Ben Holbrook
Putxet Parc ~ My Secret Retreat in the Hills of Barcelona
I used to live right by this verdant hillside park and would spend countless hours walking through its winding paths, soaking up the views and enjoying the aromas of the plants.
Completely off the beaten tourist trail, Jardins del Turó del Putxet is a quiet park where locals go to walk their dogs, practise yoga or just sit on a bench and shoot the breeze. It’s a local affair. And at pretty much the same elevation as Gaudi’s famous Park Güell, the sweeping city views are breathtaking.
Climb upwards until you find yourself at the highest point – you’ll know when you’re there – and enjoy your picnic with 360 degree views of Barcelona’s terracotta skyline and the Collserola Mountains that box in the city from the back.
Address: There are many entrances, but I suggest entering via my old flat. See it on Goole Maps here.
Nearest Metro: Vallcarca (Green Line)
Gardens of Montjuic ~ Tropical Paradise
I remember when I first moved to Barcelona, my dear grandfather warned me that I’d miss the greenery of the UK. “It’s dry and dusty out there in Spain!” he said. And one of my biggest regrets in life is that I never got to show him the vibrant green spaces of my new home.
The various gardens of Montjuïc are incredibly fragrant, filled with all sorts of tropical palms and grassy knolls and the views over the city really are something else. I often head up here with a bottle of vino and a picnic to relax in the shady Jardins de Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer. I sometimes think, if only I could have shown old Jack the fountains of the Jardins de Laribal or the rose-scented Jardins del Teatre Grec, maybe he’d have been happier about my big move abroad.
Montjuic is also where you’ll find the secret picnic spot of La Caseta del Migdia (complete with picnic benches and epic views of the Mediterranean).
Nearest Metro: Espanya (Red or Green Line)
Parc de Joan Miró ~ Surrealist Park with Wild Parakeets
Named after the surrealist Catalan artist, Parc de Joan Miró is a huge green space filled with verdant pines, palms and eucalyptus trees.
There are around 30 sculptures created by the artist hidden throughout the park, although the main attraction is the 22-metre-tall “Dona i Ocell” (Woman and Bird) statue.
Find a comfy bench in the shade and feast on your picnic whilst listening to the chirpy parakeets that scuffle and tweet their way through the trees.
Address: Carrer d’Aragó, 2, 08015 Barcelona
Nearest Metro: Espanya (Red or Green Line)
Jean Nouvel’s Parc del Centre del Poblenou ~ Modern Communal Space
One of the first things I noticed when I moved to Barcelona was how fervently people make use of their neighbourhood’s social spaces.
It creates such a strong sense of community and emphasises the different characteristics of each barrio. When people ask me why I love this city so much, I always struggle to put it into words, but it’s this ‘inclusive’ approach to city living that gets me.
Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, this peaceful, five hectare oasis of avant-garde sculptures, native plants and spiralling flower tunnels is thing work of art. But it’s the ergonomic detailing that I think best captures the essence of the local way of life, with its elegant seating, bicycle parking, ping-pong tables, petanque pits, dog walking areas and games for children.
Pack a picnic, take a stroll and breathe in deep.
Address: Avenida Diagonal, 130, 08018
Nearest Metro: Poble Nou (Yellow Line)
Other Perfect Picnic Parks in Barcelona: Another popular picnic park is Parc Ciutadella in the Born Barrio. It gets busy in the summer, but there’s always lots to see, including live music, street performers, the zoo, a rowing boat lake and the famous water fountains.
The City Beaches ~ Sun-kissed Moments by the Mediterranean
Barcelona has almost 5km of beaches running along the city so it’s really not too difficult to find the perfect picnic spot.
The crowds at Barceloneta, however, can get a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re trying to enjoy a romantic picnic, so I suggest renting a bike and cruising the boardwalk down to the more chilled beaches of Bogatell and Mar Bella — the guys at El Ciclo will fit your bike with a classic picnic basket so you can transport your moveable feast to the beach in style. They also run some of the very best private cycling tours of Barcelona, so be sure to get in touch with them if you want to get off the beaten track and discover some of the city’s most charming local spots.
Nearest Metro: Barceloneta (Yellow Line) for the beaches – Drassanes (Green Line) for El Ciclo
At Sea ~ Open Water Pleasure Cruise Picnics
If you’re feeling a bit Bond (of the James variety) then consider a luxury picnic whilst bobbing up and down on the Med.
Local boat tour companies like the BCN Boat Experience will whisk you away from the crowds for a luxurious pleasure cruise up Barcelona’s glistening coastline – check out the post I wrote about my experience here!
If you’re feeling more Christopher Columbus than James Bond, Classic Sail Barcelona’s vintage wooden sailboat might be more up your street.
Top up your tan, cool off with a quick dip in the sea and watch the sun set with a glass of bubbly on deck.
The Carmel Bunkers ~ Panoramic Picnics
Built during the Spanish Civil War, the bunkers were built as part of the government’s anti-aircraft battery unit and the giant guns inspired the area’s nickname, “Barrio de Canons”.
The canons are gone now, but the terraces and foundations where they once stood still offer breathtaking 360 degree views across the city.
Find a spot to stretch out and enjoy your picnic spread with views of Barcelona’s iconic landmarks including the Torre Agbar, Sagrada Familia and Tibidabo.
Address: Carrer del Turó de la Rovira, 08032
Nearest Metro: Alfons X (Yellow Line)
Cava Country ~ Vineyard Picnics
OK, so there aren’t any vineyards actually yin the city of Barcelona, but the world-renowned Penedes wine region, which produces almost all of the world’s Cava, is just a quick drive away.
Treat yourself to a luxury Ferrari “picnic in Penedes” experience with Drive Me Barcelona and you can feel the thrill of driving a 460 bhp supercar before sipping on local wines and nibbling Spanish cheese and chorizo at one of the local vineyards.
Don’t worry if you drink too much bubbly, you’re guide/instructor can always drive you back to the city.
Where to Stock up for the Ultimate Barcelona Picnic
FOOD: Have a quick wander around the beautiful Santa Catarina Market and pick up some proper Spanish jamón ibérico and traditional Catalan ‘fuet’ (a sort of cured sausage).
For a special treat, stock up on a selection of farm cheeses from the Formatgeria La Seu cheese shop, which is a one of the many life-changing secret foodie spots I discovered on the Barcelona Food Lovers Company Tour (read about my food tour experience here).
DRINK: To picnic in serious style, grab a ‘crowler’ (something between a giant beer can and a growler) of the finest local craft beer from the mighty NaparBCN brewery (read more about Napar BCN here) or a few bottles of cava from the beautiful Jovani & Vins, which is an independent wine shop specialising in wines from the local Penedès region.