The biggest and for quite a long time, only park in Barcelona, is located on the District of La Ribera, in the Old City quarter (Ciutat Vella). It is not to be mistaken with the very similar name of the park which is Ciutadella, Catalan word for fortress. Entrance is free for everyone.
The reason for this name is because the Parc now stands in the former grounds of the 18th century Fortress of Barcelona, a star-shaped military building that was widely loathed by the population. It was demolished some 150 years later, with full support and acclaim of the Catalan population, who saw it as a repressive symbol for the Spanish central government. Thanks to the 1888 Universal Exhibition it was then turned into Barcelona’s main park.
Which locations should you be looking for? The main attraction is without a doubt the Barcelona Zoo, located entirely inside the park’s grounds , it’s easy to spot the entrance at the junction of the two main circulation paths.
The Cascada (waterfall) fountain and sculpture was first put on display for the 1888 Universal Exhibition and it’s the symbol of the park. Aimed to resemble the Fontana di Trevi in Rome, it was designed by Josep Fontsére, featuring Venus standing on an open clam.
Experience the Ciutadella Park
The best way to explore Barcelona’s main park is by bike. Take this historical bike tour and discover all its hidden spots as well as other Barcelona monuments.
Another popular spot on the park is the Lake, located around the center, is a quiet perfect place to stroll and have a picnic. It’s possible to rent boats if you want to give rowing a try. There is a small ecosystem of turtles and fish living there and the most noticeable thing is a big tree that grows inside the water.
Overall, the park was designed to be focused primarily for the practice of sports, healthy lifestyle and leisure activities. The park is mostly crowded all day long with people walking, jogging or biking, and it’s used as venue for pre-training classes for several Marathons. There are even tables for ping-pong players.
Parc de la Ciutadella acts as a hinge for four different neighborhoods: El Born, the Olympic Village, Barceloneta and Arc de Triomf, and it’s right beside one of Barcelona’s train stations: Estació de Francia (France Train Station). It’s hard to tell but once inside the park, the beach is’t just a few blocks away, so it’s possible to combine both activities on the same day.
On top of that, you can end your visit by taking a look at the Museum of Zoology and Geology, both making up the Museum of Natural Science. Even if you’re not a science fan, the red brick, 19th century structure is quite interesting. Built by one of the most famed Catalan architects, Lluís Domenech i Montaner was used for the Universal Exhibition as well. It has on display a full skeleton of a whale and features permanent exhibitions on paleontology, mineralogy and the animal kingdom.
How to get to Ciutadella Park:
Metro: L4, Ciutadella Villa Olímpica or Barceloneta Station. L2 and Short Distance Trains: Arc de Triomf Station
Tram: T4, Ciutadella Villa Olímpica (Final stop)
Bus: #14, #39, #40, #41, #42, #51, #141
Map of the Area
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