Explore all the natural spots in the city of Barcelona and enjoy a more relaxed way of visiting the metropolis. Here we’ll show you our favourite parks, hills, gardens and beaches. By the way, did you know that Gaudí’s work was always inspired by nature? So why not going to nature itself?
Nature in the city
La Barceloneta, Sant Miquel and Sant Sebastià beaches
With the same name as the fishing neighbourhood to which is linked to, La Barceloneta is one of the oldest but most loved Barcelona’s beaches.
La Barceloneta is a great place to visit and have a drink or eat in any of the restaurants and bars in front of the beach. The beach is equipped with a gymnastics area and some beach volleyball nets.The only downside is that it’s usually the most crowded beach of Barcelona and it’s full of tourists (which is great for making friends but not for enjoying the beach).
Sant Miquel beach is connected to La Barceloneta beach and it’s very similar to it, but with less bars around and less people. During summer there’s normally one film per week projected in the beach (the access is free and the films are in its original language -usually English) so it’s a great place to spend a great and different evening.
Further away but connected to Sant Miquel, there’s the Sant Sebastià beach, which is, in our opinion, the best one if you want to just have a swim and lay on the sand to sunbathe. In this beach there’s also a couple of places where you can rent the material for practising some aquatic activities such as paddle surf and kayak. The Sant Sebastià beach ends at the feet of the luxurious Hotel W and in front of a couple of really cool bars where you can have some food and cocktails while listening to nice music and enjoying the vibes of the summer in Barcelona.
Montjuïc is one of Barcelona’s natural elevations and some time ago it played an important role in the defense of the city during wars and battles. It’s an incredible spot as it overlooks Barcelona’s harbour, allowing you to enjoy a breathtaking view of it and the Mediterranean sea.
There are a lot of things to do and visit in Montjuïc, so we recommend you to choose what you want to see beforehand or, if you’re short of time, take a walk to the top and down. The main attractions are the impressive Castell de Montjuïc (Montjuïc’s castle), the National Museum of Art of Catalonia (MNAC) and the Olympic Ring.
Most of the events during the summer Olympic Games of 1992 took place in Montjuïc, and nowadays we can still admire the olympic stadium (Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys), the sports complex Palau Sant Jordi, the Bernat Picornell swimming pools and the telecommunications tower designed by Santiago Calatrava.
In addition to that, we can find more sport-related constructions around the area like the National Institute of Physical Education (INEFC), the Olympic and Sports Museum and other sports complex like La Foixarda, which has a horse riding school, a rugby field and climbing facilities (both indoor and an outdoor tunnel which is free to access).
Montjuïc is also home to some beautiful gardens such as the Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer Gardens, the Greek Theatre Gardens and the Botanical Gardens. Our favourite is the Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens, which have a crazy amount of different cactus and combined with its views to the sea, it makes the place so special and beautiful.
Finally, another point of interest is the Montjuïc Cemetery, which contains a lot of great funerary art and the only collection of Hearses in Europe. In this cemetery are buried important personalities like the former president Francesc Macià or the artists Joan Miró and Santiago Russiñol.
Parc de la Ciutadella
The Parc de la Ciutadella (the Citadel’s Park) or just La Ciutadella was created in the mid-19th century and it’s still the greenest oasis in Barcelona. Although it’s not a really big park, it’s usually full of life and people practising all kind of activities such as playing music, doing slackline, juggling, having a picnic, doing some exercise or just lying under the sun. So no matter what you want to do, it’s an ideal place to relax and enjoy some nature.
This park is home to the Barcelona zoo and also the Catalan Parliament. Moreover, it has an impressive and very beautiful fountain as well as an small lake where you can rent a boat and spend a romantic (or playful) time paddling through the lake.