A sharp right turn out of Estacio de Franca will put you on the path towards Parc de la Ciutadella, one of Barcelona’s public parks and although not as big as some, it packs in a lot of adventure.
The park was orignially designed in 1872 by Josep Fontsere although in 1888 the plans were altered to accommodate the zoo.
A wide path runs through the middle dividing the two main areas. On the southern side (towards Estacio de Franca) is a collection of large and impressive buildings including an arboretum, a museum and the “castle of dragons”; an eye-catching number with plaques depicting Spanish heroes around its roof which is capped off with tall spires and a blue/green glass ornament which catches and disperses the sun.
You will find street entertainers practising their arts on the grass beside the path as well as picnickers, dog walkers, scholars, photographers, painters and just about any walk of life you care to conjure, making the Parc de la Ciutadella a very colourful and vibrant place.
The zoo lies at the Villa Olympic end of the park although I didn’t visit because I disagree with the whole concept. Also hidden within the grounds is the Catalan Parliament building.
Some of the more interesting features of the Parc de la Ciutadella lie in the northwest corner and these include a boating lake, the stone mammoth sculpture; a supposedly life size homage to the great Woolly Mammoth which attracts throngs of visitors who sit on the end of its trunk for a Kodak moment, and the incredibly impressive fountain with water spitting dragons in the lower reaches that are fed by water from higher levels and a golden chariot sits atop the whole thing where it glints in the sun.
Contrary to popular belief this fountain was not designed by Anonti Gaudi.
Parc de la Ciutadella is a great place to relax for an afternoon and soak up a little Barcelona street culture. Refreshments are available at the kiosk near the fountain and the bandstand so if you’ve got some spare cash you can extend your time there even more.
The Spanish Renfe (rail network) is a great way to travel so please take a look at our gallery of Estacio de Franca or read about the train journey along the Costa Dorada.
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