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Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona: Run Wild and Relax in the City Park

Last updated on March 1, 2016

Lazy palm trees and sprightly water fountains, Parc de la Cuitadella is one of Barcelona’s most revitalising green spaces.

Water fountains in Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona
Gold and spearmint in late summer.

Paris’ iconic Eiffel Tower was originally intended to be built in Barcelona.

But, typically, the cautious Catalans deemed it too ghastly and costly an endeavour and rejected it. Instead, they built the Arc de Triomf, which stands proudly at the top of the palm-lined Passeig de Lluís Companys and ushers you graciously into Barcelona’s 18 hectare green lung, Parc de la Cuitadella.

It was here, as I cycled along the sandy tracks under tropical canopies and discovered the trickling water fountains, rowing-boat lakes and orchards, that I realised Barcelona was where I belonged. I still go here in the summer, to escape the crowds of tourists that swarm to the beach. I cruise up and down Passeig de Lluís Companys on my longboard and lay out on the grass with a can from one of the beer hawkers that patrol the park. It’s the simple things.

It’s also put to work as a venue for regular cultural events and celebrations, and if you listen really carefully you’ll hear the roar of the tigers and lions that reside in the neighbouring zoo. Coincidently, the lions here were at the centre of a bizarre story that involved an off-duty police officer who climbed in with the lions to perform a protest of some sort. But we’ll never know what he was going to protest against because one of the lions pounced on him, severely mauling him, not to the point of death, but until he lay still and silent.

Arc de Triomf Barcelona Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona
Arc de Triomf, Barcelona. It could have been the Eiffel Tower if the Catalans hadn’t been so tight with their money.
Mammoth at Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona
The lonely life-sized wooly mammoth that was placed in the park by the Natural Science Board. They wanted to fill the park with models of extinct animals, but this was as far as they got.
JugglersPerformers in Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona
Park Cuitadella is often used as a practice/performance space for circus artists, slack-liners, musicians, yoga enthusiasts and…
Blowing bubbles in Parc de la Ciutadella Park in Barcelona
… professional bubble blowers.
Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona
There’s always a quiet spot to sit and reflect, to read and relax.
Rowing on the lake in Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona
And there’s rowing and romance.
Foodie events in Rowing on the lake in Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona
VAN VAN street food market lights up the park on a balmy summer’s evening.

Make it Happen

Take the metro to Arc de Triomf (red line) and head toward the arc. Walk down Passeig de Lluís Companys until you come to a road. Cross the road and enter the park. Walk, cycle, eat an ice cream, drink a beer, row a boat.

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  1. Hélène Galiana de la Fuente Hélène Galiana de la Fuente

    Hello :)

    My name is Hélène, I am a french-spanish student in management of arts. I am writing to you because I really like your pictures. I would like to ask you something. I am in Barcelone for my final internship in the Sitges Festival and I am doing my academic report on festivals.
    The second part of it is about territorial management, so I dedicated a few pages to the history of Barcelona and Catalunya, and I would like to illustrate it with one of your pictures of Parc de la Ciutadella. They are really perfect to me.

    Do you mind if I do so, adding your copyright, course! The report won’t be published, it’ll be just for me, for the Sitges Festival and for my tutor-teacher. I would be glad if you accept! :)

    Hope I am not bothering you too much!

    Looking forward to hearing from you :)


    • Bonjour Hélène, thank you for your message!

      Yes, please feel free to use my photos. It would be great if you could credit me with a link to my blog on any online versions of your work. Best of luck and I hope you have a wonderful time here in Barcelona.


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