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