Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona

monument in Parc de la Ciutadella

Parks in Barcelona

If you wish to relax, take a stroll, or enjoy a picnic at a park in Barcelona, you won’t go wrong with Parc de la Ciutadella. This lush green park is nestled right in the middle of downtown Barcelona.

Parc de la Ciutadella hosts a gorgeously ornate fountain, a small lake, and large grass areas where you can kick back and enjoy the city’s greener side. It’s also the home to Zoo de Barcelona (Barcelona zoo) and Parlament de Catalunya (Catalonia’s Parliament).

Continue reading this quick guide to Parc de la Ciutadella to learn more about the park’s location, opening hours, and fun things to do.

Best parks in Barcelona

History of Parc de la Ciutadella

Parc de la Ciutadella is Barcelona’s most beloved, central, accessible park. Be that as it may, the park has a bittersweet history that dates back to the 18th century.

It all started when Barcelona entered the reign of Philip V of Spain following the Spanish War of Succession. The new regime ordered a citadel to be erected in the city to keep Barcelona and Catalan citizens under the watchful eye of Bourbon kings.

Needless to say, the freedom-loving people of Barcelona saw the fortress as a symbol of oppression and repression over the next several decades. It was later repurposed into a prison facility.

It wasn’t until 1868, during the so-called Glorious Revolution, that the citadel lost its significance as a military structure. In 1869, nearly 150 years after its construction, the Spanish government ordered the fortress to be demolished. The resulting space created by the rebellious act by Barcelona locals, complete with the castle and its surroundings, was converted into the Parc de la Ciutadella (English: Park Ciutadella).

Parc de la Ciutadella was a basic park when it was inaugurated, but it was transformed and spruced up over time. In 1888, for instance, it was adapted by Josep Fontserè for Barcelona Universal Exposition in Barcelona, the world’s first exposition. The guests were wowed by the ornate structures designed by Josep Fontserè, including a vast ball, multiple monuments, and pavilions.

The marvellous waterfall (Cascada) close to the entrance of the Passeig de Pujades Park was also created by Josep Fontserè, in conjunction with the budding Antoni Gaudí, from 1875-1881. It features a dramatic combo of roaring waters, greenery, rugged rocks, and statues, all of which create a perfect sight. At the top of the cascade is the golden statue of Aurora.

There is a beautiful bandstand located opposite the waterfall. It was designed to honour transgender performer Sonia Rescalvo, who was killed by a Neo-Nazi gang. The arch on the façade of the main entrance served as the face of the 1888 exposition. Parc de la Ciutadella underwent another major revamp starting in 1892, with the addition of the Barcelona zoo and other monuments.

Today, Park Ciutadella is a massive cohesion of exciting architecture, greenery, water effects, and much more, covering a 30-hectare parcel. It’s a must-visit park in the heart of Barcelona, a true gem for recreation, picnics, strolls, and other fun, relaxing activities for locals and tourists alike.

golden statue in Parc de la Ciutadella

Green spaces in Barcelona

What’s Parc de la Ciutadella?

It’s a large park in La Ribera, by the flank of the famous Born neighbourhood, right in the heart of Barcelona. In addition to featuring beautiful waterfalls, fountains, monuments, and other architectural structures of interest, Parc de la Ciutadella houses the Parliament of Catalonia and Barcelona’s most prominent zoo.

It’s considered the best park-cum-garden in Barcelona. It’s in the same (or better) class as Park Guëll, Laribal Gardens, Parc del Laberint d’Horta, Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer, Garden of Ferran Soldevila, and Jardins de Mossèn Costa I Llobera.

Parc de la Ciutadella is an ideal spot to go when you want to escape the hustle & bustle of the city without having to head too far out.


people on boats in Parc de la Ciutadella

Free Day Out in Barcelona

Where is Park Ciutadella Located?

Again, Park Ciutadella is nestled smack dab in the heart of the city at Passeig de Picasso, 21. It’s found on the north-eastern end of Barcelona’s District 1, Ciutat Vella.

How do I Get to Parc de la Ciutadella?

You can get to Parc de la Ciutadella on foot, by bus, Barcelona Metro, or on sightseeing tours. Of course, you can use a ride-sharing service, take a taxi, or drive.

Driving – The Park is near Port Olimpic, an area with multiple parking options. The closest is BSM Wellington-zoo, located 200m away. Other options include SABA Lluís Companys, Laietana Princesa, and BSM Biomèdic, all of which are within 650m.

Metro – Take Barcelona Metro Yellow Line L4 to Jaume I or Ciutadella | Vila Olímpica station. You can also take Metro Red lines L1 to Marina or Arc de Triomf station.

Public Bus – Take Bus lines H14, H16, 40, or 42 to Passeig Pujades / Parc de la Ciutadella station. If you take bus lines H14, 39, or 51, you can alight at Parc de la Ciutadella / Princesa.

Hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus – The tour bus also stops at El Born – Ciutadella – Zoo, near Parc de la Ciutadella.

Operating hours – When is Park Ciutadella open?
The Park Ciutadella is open to the public daily from Monday through Sunday, from 10 AM to 10.30 PM.

wa;ling by the lake in Parc de la Ciutadella

Parc de la Ciutadella location

Exploring Parc de la Ciutadella

Parc de la Ciutadella has plenty of sights and attractions, which include:

Waterfall – The Cascada is found near the entrance of Passeig de Pujades Park. This Gaudí-designed waterfall is a beautiful combination of roaring waterfalls, greenery, rocky formations, and statuary. The statue of Aurora on top is quite a sight.

Parlament de Catalunya – A former arsenal, the Parliament of Catalonia has many sights, including a lily pond, the Stairway of Honour, a garden, and multiple solemn halls.

South wing of the Passeig de Picasso – This side has plenty to see and explore, including a palm house, a former geology museum, 1983 Homenatge, and a shallow pool.

Modernista Arc de Triomf – This Josep Vilaseca-designed arch has an imposing presence, making it a backdrop for your Instagram photos.

the mammoth Parc de la Ciutadella

I hope you have found this blog useful, we have surely loved writing it and all the other articles in our quick guide series. Please explore more articles in our blog and get in touch if you think there is anything we should write about! Thanks for reading and please enjoy your trip to Barcelona!

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