Barcelona’s secret gardens


Barcelona is one of the most bustling and urban metropolises; the young and the old, the past and the present, and the local and the foreign coming together in perfect (if sometimes a little hectic) harmony. Staying in such a lively city like Barcelona with a population of over 1.5 million, it is only natural that visitors might feel a little overwhelmed during their time here.

Although Barcelona is primarily city, there exists a scattering of hidden green spots, or secret gardens, within the city’s urban framework. Places where you can loose yourself for a couple of hours, without leaving the city.

Parc del Laberint d’Horta

One of Barcelona’s oldest and most disputed gardens- many argue over whether the garden is of Romantic or Neoclassical style- Parc del Laberint d’Horta was opened as a public park in 1971. It is often hailed as a museum garden due to its meticulously meddling maze which forms a visitor’s route through the green space. There is beautiful garden landscaping, mythological sculptures, a free falling waterfall, a wild garden, and even a pavilion dedicated to muses. This exquisite space is perfect for taking a picnic and enjoying a quiet sunny afternoon.

Parc del Laberint d’Horta

The Mossèn Costa I Llobera Gardens

The Mossèn Costa I Llobera Gardens are one of the biggest gardens in Europe, and are the result of a collaboration between architect Joaquim Maria Casamo, and gardening-school teacher Joan Pañella. They were first opened in 1970 and include a variety of cacti and plants that are adapted to live in hot and dry climates. Further to a staggering 3.16 hectares of exotic greenery from a variety of regions, the gardens have also been voted one of the 10 best gardens in the world.

The Mossèn Costa I Llobera Gardens

Jardins del Palau Robert

Forming part of the Palau Robert building (the former residence of politician, businessman, and aristocrat, Roberto Robert y Surís) these gardens include an impressive variety of plants in three large parterres. As a city, Barcelona underwent a significant expansion at the end of the 19th century and these gardens offer visitors a unparalleled glimpse into the lives of the capital’s Bourgeoisie. Be sure to look out for La Lluna, a stainless steel and iron moon created by Kiku Mistu in 2001, and painted by students at the Joan Amades School for the Blind.

Jardins del Palau Robert

Palo Alto

Once a former leather factory, Palo Alto has since been turned into an artistic studio and creative hub. It is now also one of Barcelona’s most imaginative and greenest gardens. The space was discovered more than twenty-five years ago by artist and animator Javier Marsical, who became so enamoured with the abandoned ruins that he decided to move his studio there on the spot! Along with the help of his brother Santi Mariscal and garden designer José Farriol, Palo Alto is now home to a collection of art studios and is also used as offices for Barcelona’s creatives. Visitors are welcome during office hours when Palo Alto’s metal gate is open.

Palo Alto

El Bosc de les Fades

Although not a green garden as such, El Bosc de les Fades brings the magical woodland into the city’s urban zone. This café and restaurant has been inspired by fairy tales and will fool you into thinking that you really are sat in an enchanted fairy forest. This space is not only exclusively unique, but offers visitors something truly memorable to take back from their stay in Barcelona.

El Bosc de les Fades

Sandra Roig is Marketing Director at AB Apartment Barcelona. AB Apartment Barcelona is an apartment rental agency offering over one thousand short and long term apartments across Barcelona.

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Comments (19)

  1. Kev says:

    There’s no greater fan of Barcelona than me but there are times when you need to take a time-out. These peaceful gardens are just what you need.

    • Sandra Roig says:

      Hi Kev, we totally agree. We love getting some head space in these green spots. Sometimes the city can feel a little crowded, but these gardens always bring us back to earth.

  2. Claire Smith says:

    When you look at The Mossèn Costa I Llobera Gardens with all the cacti you get the idea that it should be in Mexico or a desert terrain something like that. What a tribute to the Barcelona climate – though at times it can be too hot even for me.

    • Sandra Roig says:

      Hi Claire, summer in Barcelona is a scorcher! But we love the Mossén Gardens as well. There is such a great variety of plants that we’ve never seen before.

  3. Brad says:

    Been to Barcelona a few times but never come across these parks. Have to look out for them on my next trip over there.

  4. Phil says:

    I guess that Palo Alto is a sort of artists hub where they all have somewhere to work and sell their wares. I visited something similar in Cordoba’s Jewish Quarter. There was some amazing silverwork and leather craftsmanship there.

    One of the things that happens in these hubs is that the artists help and inspire each other, not just artistically but they also help each other out with business skills. And if they’ve had a quiet day they can cheer each other up.

    • Sandra Roig says:

      Hi Phil, wow that sounds incredible. We would love to visit the market in Cordoba someday. Every month Palo Alto puts on their own market over the weekend with live music and bands, food trucks, and stalls that sell some of the hub’s artistic goods.

  5. Rachel Webb says:

    They sound like the perfect reason to return to Barcelona again and as you say some time out is often needed.

    Where should we stay?

  6. Jessica says:

    Wow, these all look stunning! I never knew Barcelona had so many beautiful green spaces, when I think of Barcelona I always think of its architecture, not gardens. I’d love to visit all of these but I especially love the sound of El Bosc de les Fades as it sounds quite different.

    • Sandra Roig says:

      Hi Jessica. Thanks for your comment. Many don’t know about Barcelona’s green spaces, hence why we wanted to share them with you! Bosc de les Fades is simply beautiful, and we guarantee you won’t have been to anything similar like it before, either!

  7. Rachael says:

    Beautiful pictures. I will have to check these out next time I’m there.

  8. Sawyer R. says:

    I have always admired destinations that are close to nature. Seeing places like these in an urbanized area is really nice. The combination of art and garden in the Palo Alto give tourists a chance to appreciate the architecture and beauty of Barcelona. On the other hand, El Bosc de les Fades will surely be the perfect place to have a meal in Barcelona. I cannot wait to visit the country soon and learn more about it.

    • Sandra Roig says:

      Hi Sawyer, we can’t wait to welcome you to Barcelona. We hope you enjoy Palo Alto and if you go on the first weekend of month you can also enjoy their sensational market with food, local designers, and live music!

  9. Emma Oliver says:

    I’ve only been on a brief day trip to Barcelona while holidaying in Spain and while I loved it, it was sad to only be able to spend a few hours in the centre. The architecture is incredible, but there’s obviously a lot more to Barcelona than that, so it’s nice to see other aspects get some coverage. I hadn’t heard of the Parc del Laberint d’Horta but it looks gorgeous. I think people, myself included, tend to think of the centre and the hustle and bustle of the city, rather than greenery and open spaces like this. I love the sound of the cafe, with the enchanted woodland kind of vibe. I’m a sucker for novel cafes and restaurants, I always find them to add a bit of memorable fun to a visit.

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