Parks / Plazas, Barcelona
Plaça de Tetuan is among major squares. I passed it by when was coming back from Sagrada Familia.
It's located on the intersection of Gran Via de les Corts Catalanesand Passeig de Sant Joan.
Its central area features the Doctor Robert monument, built between 1904 and 1910, projected by the major of Barcelona of the time Lluís Domènech i Montaner and the sculptor Josep Llimona, which was dismantled during the Francoist dictatorship. It was relocated at Tetuan.
You can watch my photo of Barcelona on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 41° 23' 41.07" N 2° 10' 33.06" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Memorial for Bartomeu Robert.
This park is located behind the Barcelona Sants train station. It is an industrial park that is quite different from other parks, but nevertheless it is very popular amongst the city children, youth and elderly alike.
Although many tourists visit Tibidabo, few bother to explore the enormous woodland area on the Collserola massif. This is a pity, because there are cycleways, riding trails, and paths that provide a welcome change from pounding hot city streets. There is a visitor centre revealing the unusual mixture of Mediterranean and North European fauna and flora found in the park (including wild boars and genets). The trails are generally well-laid out and signposted. Rather than going into detail, I have placed a link to the park authority below. Note that Tibidabo is fairly close to the visitor centre [Address: Carretera de l'Esglesia, 92, Tel: 932 803 552] and a good jumping-off point for many of these walks.
However, one path you would do well to avoid is the Cami de Sant Iscle. That is because Uralita, a company making asbestos cement, dumped industrial quantities of fibre waste along this track back in the 1970s. It seemed like a good idea to the local council at the time - a durable substrate and free! Many of the locals cycle and walk along this track, blissfully unaware of the deadly legacy and the asbestos fibres released as they churn the sandy surface. As a well-informed tourist, this is one health hazard you can save yourself. After all, you want the city to have a place in your heart, not leave a shadow on your lungs.
Those staying in the old quarter of the city and anywhere near demolition work should also watch out - asbestos cement roof water tanks and piping are commonly ripped out with no concern at all for public safety. Unfortunately, environmental concern and standards in Spain still lag far behind most of Northern Europe.
If you visit the park in the autumn/winter months, check the hunting season. The locals are gun crazy and are allowed to shoot boar in the park. More than one hiker has been blasted by trigger-happy yokels.
Take these basic precautions and you should have a pleasant day out. Put enough water and food in your rucksack and a map of the paths.
Barcelona is a very green city with parks all around it. if you decide to walk a lot, you have many places to take rest ocassionally. Apart from the more known Park Guell and Parc de la Ciutadella, I also spent a lot of time at the industrial park, a completely different type of a park but still very green. The current park presented in these pictures are those from the park opposite to the Temple de la Sagrada Familia which is also very green. There is no grass to sit and relax but there are many trees and benches on their shades and that makes the park very beautiful and popular with tourists.
We made a wrong turn coming out of the hotel, and ended up in this square instead of Plaça de Catalunya which was our goal. Jet lagged as we were, we sat here for a little bit and watched the city going about its business or going about their play (skateboarding) while we were keeping an eye out for a two decker bus.
Walking up Las Ramblas from the sea front, Plaça Reial can be found through an alleyway on your right hand side, about one third of the way up Barcelona's most famous street. This is a quite place to take a pause from the chaos of Las Rambla, I enjoyed the small fountain, the nice Gaudi's streetlamps and the exotic athmosphere that palms gave.
The plaza is named after the patron saint of Barcelona. La Madonna de la Mercè, the Madonna of Largesse, appeared in a dream to local saint Pere Nolasc, bidding him to establish a religious order to succour Christians captured by Barbary pirates. In 1637 the Madonna saved Barcelona from a plague of locusts, and her status as patron saint of the city was assured for ever more.
If you are curious about Barcelona weddings, then this is the best place to discover how the celebrations unfold. On one side of the square is the courthouse where civil marriages are performed. On the other side is the Mercé Basilica, where couples who prefer a traditional, Catholic wedding are joined in marriage.
Barcelona during the summer can be overwhelmingly busy and it seems like there is nowhere to go to escape the crowds without leaving the city. A hidden gem is the garden of the Universitat de Barcelona. During the weekend you must enter them from the back of the Universitat, but during the week entry from the main building is possible. The gardens have a greenhouse and beautifully maintained flower beds, ponds and fountains. A perfect, quiet spot to read a book on a Sunday afternoon.
Slightly outside of the touristy center of the city that orbits Las Ramblas and Placa Catalunya is a neighborhood called Gracia. Take the Green Line north to Fontana and get off to experience some real Catalan culture and avoid the toursits you are bound to see and English you are bound to speak in some of the better known parts of the city. Gracia has a small-town feel, and you will struggle to find one street performer or tourist gift shop. Stroll down c/ Verdi and grab some food and a movie, or head over to Placa del Sol for some real Barcelona nightlife. Dotted with cafes and bars, the Placa is devoid of tourism, and maybe even a little intimidating for an obvious American like myself, but well worth the effort once you're there. Once night, some friends and I met a flamenco singer in the back of a bar, exchanged some broken Castellano, and ended up outside after the bar closed, our new friend singing along and flamenco dancing on an old wooden box while my italian friend played the guitar on a nearby rooftop. It was surreal, and far from our typical nights at L'Ovella Negra and Port Olympico. So to get what you've always imagined bohemian, European travel to be, get off the beaten path and trek into Gracia. You never know what you might find.
I'm sure that anyone who's visited Barcelona has been there, and those that are planning to go have thought of it already; the Sagrada Familia, the church of the Sacred Family, generally considered one of Barcelona's greatest artworks and still in progress after more than a century of work. However, for those looking for the perfect camera angle to capture the magical facade and soaring pinnacles of the towers, forget simply standing in front of it; all you'll get is a hideous detail staring upwards that won't appeal to anyone, even your memories! Instead, walk back into the small park in front of the main facade, with a pond in the centre, surrounded by trees. I won't pretend that this is a serene and particularly quiet park, because it certainly isn't being surrounded by tourist buses and tour groups. But it is only visited itself really by Catalans themselves, or perhaps a few families looking for a restful place to relax after the crowds. Walk to the back of the pond, and there, looking through the vegetation in front of you, there is a perfect view of the cathedral framed by trees, grasses and a little pond alive with hungry ducks (bring something to feed them- they'll eat anything!).
Watch nature show off on a quiet Sunday morning - visit one of Barcelona's many little parks, this one was Turo Park just off Avenue Diagonal. It was unusual for us Northern Europeans to experience parks in February with leafy trees - some flowers & butterflies. The park is quite large and unlike most parks in the U.K. there was even a seperate area reserved for dogs and their owners, where the dogs can run free. The park was surrounded by local housing and seemed very popular with families, the Kids all seemed to be happy walking around with their parents clutching a brightly coloured balloon. Turo Park also has a little cafe selling drinks and snacks, but more importantly, plenty of benches are provided for your relaxation.
I passed by this park on the Bus Turistic. It was built back in the 80's and was quite controversial. Its supposed to be a modern version of Roman baths. The towers are like lighthouses and the park houses various sculptuers including a large one of the dragon of St George fame.
This palace was formed out of the Finca Guell summer estate and was intended as a summer residence for the Spanish Royal family. They hardly stayed here but its a nice place to wander round the grounds, have a picnic etc. There are two museums in the palace now - one for ceramics and the other for decorative arts.
On the edge of the estate you can also see the Pavellons de la Finca Guell. Gaudi designed these gatehouses to the Guell estate. well worth a look
If you want to relax, listen to some great music, have a few beers (and maybe a few other goodies...), you should really check out the Parc de Ciutadella on Sunday afternoons. It's a very laid-back place where younger people (not too young - mostly 20 - 30 year olds) hang around just being mellow and enjoying the afternoon. It's a good bit hippyish/artsy, and oftentimes vendors are selling homemade crafts and homemade foods, in addition to the Moroccan immigrants selling you cerveza for $1 euro (not a bad buy). If you want to enjoy the city but not really do anything, or need to nurse that nasty hangover, this is the place for you.
If you like parks this is one I think you'd like to visit. It's the ideal place to take a rest and even a picnic. If you have visited Palau Pedralbes or Pabellons Güell you can go to this place which isn't far from them.
Go along Av Diagona until you are in Francesc Macià square. From there there is Av Pau Casals. Take this street, keep walking and in a cuople of minutes you get t this park, named by the way Turó Parc)
Monet would had enjoyed this place and sure he'd had painted the water lilies in the ponds there.