Although the Jardins de Joan Maragall (the Joan Maragall Gardens) are some of the most beautiful gardens in Barcelona, they are rarely frequented by tourists, or even the city’s inhabitants. The gardens can be found in the middle of Montjuïc mountain, in between the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium and the Jardins de Laribal.
Given the purpose for which they were designed, it’s not surprising that the Joan Maragall gardens are typical of the Royal Gardens that can be seen in any film from the era, with large, tree-lined paths, beautiful fountains, ornamental sculptures and lush, deep green lawns. The park also has many benches, on which you can rest and take in the view, as well as plenty of shaded areas in which you can shelter from the sun – something that’s indispensable during the hottest part of the day in the summer months.
Although the gardens are usually open on special occasions such as the Festes of La Mercè, their daily opening hours are greatly reduced, being limited to Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 to 15:00. The regular maintenance of the gardens, together with the fact that they open so few hours each week, make them an idyllic place to relax with family and friends.
The Albéniz Palace
The small palace, neoclassical in style, which presides over the central part of the gardens was built in 1929, to mark the celebration of the International Exhibition of the same year. At the time it served as the Royal Pavilion, and is now the official residence in Barcelona of the Spanish Royal Family. It’s now only occasionally used as the venue for official receptions and functions. Unfortunately the Albéniz Palace now remains closed, and can only be visited on certain special occasions.
There’s a small amphitheatre, which, in spite of having served as an iconic backdrop in the past, now only serves a decorative purpose.
A total of 32 sculptures can be found at different spots within the grounds, and these are some of the more unique elements of the gardens. Amongst them, highlights include ‘Sussana al bany’ (Susanna in the Bath) by Theophile Eugène, ‘Cérvols’ (Deer, 1967) by Frederic Marès, ‘l’Aiguadora’ (The Water Carrier, 1862) by Louis Sauregeau, and ‘Serena’, by Pilar Francesc Ventalló.
One of the most beautiful areas of the gardens is the area by the steps that take you up to one of the entrances of the Albéniz Palace. From here you can enjoy one of the most impressive views in Barcelona.
Opposite the Olympic Stadium, Montjuïc.
The Joan Maragall gardens are only open on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, between 10:00 and 15:00.
How to get there
Metro: Plaça (square) Espanya (line 1 and 3).
Buses: lines 13, 23, 55, 125 and 150.
By foot: you can arrive on foot from the neighbouring area of Poble Sec.