The Parc de la Ciutadella owes its name to the ancient citadelle built on this land and destroyed in 1868. Located just a stone’s throw from the city centre, it is the biggest park in Barcelona, and its 17 hectares have been delighting the city since 1888 when it was set up in time for the World Expo.
What to do in Parc de la Ciutadella?
Why not relax?
Parc de la Ciutadella is perfect for lounging in. You can stroll along the paths, picnic in the shade of the old trees or nap in the sun. Just chill!
Or enjoy a mini open air circus
The Parc de la Ciutadella is also a meeting place for young people happily practicing various activities, so you can also see informal performances of juggling, diabolo, capoeira, balancing acts or little guitar or percussion concerts.
Often bubbles dance in the air and delight children who run after them to try to catch them. A great photo opportunity!
Unless you’re tempted by a little boat ride
In the middle of the Parc de la Ciutadella, the lake is very refreshing. Surrounded by palm trees it’s the perfect place to disconnect and relax. You can also take a little boat ride of 2 or 6 people for 5 to 10 euros.
What can you see at the Parc de la Ciutadella?
Art and architecture
The Parc de la Ciutadella’s buildings date from different eras. There are vestiges of the ancient citadelle, such as the chapel, the governor’s palace and the arsenal. This last one is now the Catalan parliament and can be visited on the 11th of September.
Some buildings built for the 1888 World Expo have also been preserved: the Lluís Domenech i Montaner three-dragons castle (which now houses the zoo), a greenhouse, a glass roof and the Martorell geology museum.
Gaudí also collaborated in the construction of a large waterfall, the park’s symbol. It is decorated with various cast iron figures inspired by Greek mythology. Other artistic work are dotted around the park. See if you can spot them!
There are a great number of green spaces in the Parc de la Ciutadella, with everything from exotic plants to Mediterranean flowers, and including superb waterlilies.
There are also a lot of birds: more than 100 species are hidden among the trees and the park is also home to the largest colony of herons in Catalonia so you will doubtless spot a few.
Taking up a large part of the park, the zoo houses 400 different species and over 4000 animals.
- Find more information in our article on the Barcelona zoo.
The European Museum of Modern Art
The European Museum of Modern Art is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 8pm and exhibits abstract contemporary art. The collections include paintings, sculptures, installations and videos.
Book your ticket at the tourist office, to get a discount.
The Geology Museum
The Martorell museum is devoted to geology but it is currently closed to the public.
The “Fira per la Terra” a free event in the Parc de la Ciutadella
For many years in mid-April, the Parc de la Ciutadella has hosted the “Fira per la Terra” where the Earth is at the heart of events! the aim of this Fira is to promote renewable energy, respect for the environment and also wellbeing, solidarity and cooperation.
- You will therefore find a lot of NGO stands as well as organic products, workshops and concerts.