One o’clock on a Saturday afternoon and a friend suggests popping over to the Ciutadella Park, what he considers the coolest in Barcelona: “Un sitio cool para gente cool!” – “a cool place for cool people” . So I drop off my Bicing (the public bikes in Barcelona) and head towards the park, situated in front of the Arc de Triomf on Line 1 of the Metro.
A Little History
Ciutadella Park, literally translated in English, means ‘Park of the Citadel’. Indeed this park replaced the Citadel which had previously dominated the city of Barcelona.
A symbol of military repression and violence, the citadel was demolished during the revolution of 1868, and upon the occasion of the World Fair in 1888 the people appealed to the best architects in the city to build the park which we have come to know today.
An Afternoon in the Park:
As soon as I arrived, I could see just how lovely Ciutadella Park is. On the grass you will find groups of every age and every type having a picnic, sunbathing or practicing many and varied activities such as juggling with clubs, balancing, doing some capoeira and even the hula-hoop! Guitarists and drummers give rhythm to the sunny afternoons and it wasn’t long before I came to the same realization as my friend- it really is a cool place where you can meet new and very original people: from families with their children to hippies, sportsmen and musicians. Everybody has a place here.
All around you can see people trying to perfect different activities and shows. This is how I learnt how to juggle with three balls and to walk on a tightrope. It can be a really inspiring environment to be in!
The park features a lake where you can rent a boat and take a ride on the water for approximately 5€ per half hour. There are numerous other things to be seen too, such as the fountain with its waterfall, the buildings that still remain from the citadel parish, the Institute of Secondary Education and the Parliament of Catalonia. You can also visit the Geology museum, the Museum of Zoology, as well as the Modern Art Museum of Catalonia. Also, to amuse kids or any friends you may have visiting, there is the Barcelona Zoo. All this is available without even leaving the park!
But if you just fancy a walk, there is no place better than this Parc de la Ciutedella, with its trees, exotic plants, impressive statues (seek out the enormous mammoth behind the lake) and the endless possibilities for people-watching. At the weekend there are always lots of events taking place, such as concerts, festivals and dancing in the gazebo. This park really is “un sitio cool para gente cool” , so make sure you pay a visit.
Parc de la Ciutadella
Address: Avinguda del Marquès de l’Argentera
How to get there: Metro Arc de Triomf or Jaume I
Opening Hours: 10.00 until dusk
View Parc de la Ciutadella in a larger map
Museum of zoology: Tuesday-Wednesday and Friday-Sunday from 10a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday as of 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Museum of Geology: Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Thursday from 10 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. Closed Mondays.
MAM: Museum of Modern Art: from Tuesday until Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Sundays and festive days there are tours from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Closed on Mondays.
Parliament of Catalonia: opened on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Sundays and holidays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Barcelona Zoo: January-February- from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m; March- 10 a.m.- 6 p.m; April from 10 to 7; May-August- 9:30-19:30; September- 10-19; October-10 18; November-December 10-17 hours. Webpage: http: // www.zoobarcelona.com/