The Parc de la Ciutadella, in English Ciutadella Park, is one of the biggest and well-known parks in the city, as well as being one of the favourite parks of tourists and locals alike. This is mainly because there aren’t very many large open spaces in the heart of the city centre, but the Parc de la Ciutadella is very close by and easily accessible. Its name comes from the great military citadel that King Felipe V ordered to be built in 1715. Many of the buildings of this fortress (which was hated by Barcelona’s citizens) were destroyed in the first half of the 18th century, and in the mid 19th century General Prim donated the land on which it stood to the city, on the condition that a large park was built in its place.
The locals in Barcelona often take time out to relax in this park, and it should be towards the top of the list for tourists visiting the city too. It has everything you could hope for in a park, and much more too – large open areas of lawns, a beautiful monumental fountain, a lake, the city’s zoo and even Catalunya’s parliament.
Because of its wide open spaces and special charm, it’s not surprising that it’s one of the places where people choose to celebrate ‘La Mercè’, the annual festival of the city of Barcelona on 24th September, and many other festivals and events too.
What is there to see?
There are many places that we would recommend you see during your visit to the Parc de la Ciutadella. We have made a list for you, so that you can look out for them – don’t forget your camera!
CASTLE OF THE THREE DRAGONS
In spite of the fact that he was just one of many architecture students at the time, the skill of a young Antoni Gaudí attracted the attention of of Josep Fontserè i Mestre, the architect who was commissioned to re-design the park for the 1888 International Exhibition.
The young man who was already becoming an iconic architect therefore collaborated on this major project, taking on the responsibility of the hydraulic pipework of the park’s monumental waterfall and also designing two decorative medallions, situated towards the top of the fountain.
There’s never a bad time to visit the Parc de la Ciutadella, but if you’d like to see it in all its glory, the best time to visit is on a Sunday, when the park is full of locals and tourists alike, spending their free time there in many different ways. People hoping for some peace and quiet can head to any one of its wide open areas to lie down with a book or newspaper and sunbathe in the warmer months. Those who’d like to spend time having fun with friends can be seen playing volleyball, football, a game of cards or whatever, and many families can also be found in the park, simply taking time out for a stroll.
We recommend buying food to take away from any of the bars or restaurants within El Born area, and eating it sitting in the peace and quiet of the park, in the sunshine. Then you could round off the visit with a boat trip around the lake.
It’s likely that you’ll find street artists in the park, whether they are professional artists, or simply practising their art, and you’re bound to come across street vendors, who will offer you anything from food and drink to crafts, albeit not legally!
Passeig Picasso 1 i Passeig Pujades / Passeig Lluís Companys.
Every day of the year, from 10:00 until it starts to get dark.
Cost of entry
Entry to the park is free of charge, but you will need to pay if you’d like to visit the zoo, the zoological museum or the geology museum.
How to get there
Metro: Ciutadella / Villa Olímpica (line 4).
Buses: lines 39, 40, 41, 42, 51, 120, 141 and tourist bus.
Tram: ‘Wellington’ stop (T4).
On foot: The park is easily accessible on foot if you’re taking a walk through ‘El Born’ district, or any other nearby area of the city.