On the eastern edge of the El Born district of Barcelona and to the north of Barceloneta is La Ciutadella, Barcelona's prettiest park. Ciutadella Park is located at the end of a broad promenade leading from the Arc de Triomf, an ideal spot to ease off from the pace of the tourist trail.
But not for long. Before you've even had to time find a spot to relax you're immediately being seduced into discovering the many treats of the park itself, which include modernist architecture, a wealth of interesting sculptures, a lake, museums, and even a zoo.
History of Ciutadella Park
When pro-Hapsburg Barcelona fell to the forces of Philip V, the Bourbon King erected a huge fortress here to keep watch over the rebellious city. It's why the site is called La Ciutadella - the Citadel.
Locals despised it as a symbol of the oppression of their city by Castile and the centralized government in Madrid. Eventually the fortress was destroyed and by the time of the Universal Exposition in 1888 it had become a park.
Bearing some resemblance to Rome's Trevi Fountain, La Cascada was the work of Josep Fontsére and a young student called Andoni Gaudi between 1882 and 1888.
As well as enigmatic griffins and a golden chariot, one of the highlights is a sculpture of Venus standing in an clam. It's by Venana Vallmitjana
Tres Dragons Castle
The Castle of the Three Dragons is an impressive modernist tower by the architect Domènech i Montaner. It was built for the 1888 World Expo. Within its grounds are the Geology and Zoology Museums.
Barcelona's Zoo is located in the western part of the park. Highlights include tropical birds, giraffes, ant-eaters, hippos and big cats, all for just under 15€, or just under 9€ for kids.
Boating on The Lake
Boats are for hire, should you fancy a ride around the lake. A two man boat is €6 for half an hour. For three it's €9.
As well as boasting sculptures and monuments by some of Catalonia's greatest artists and a wealth of interesting flora and buildings it also has grass. Yes, that's right, actual grass - something of a rarity in Barcelona's city centre. So, remember to put aside half an hour to enjoy this luxury of luxuries.
How to Get to Cuitadella Park: Cuitadella Park is serviced by Cuitadella Villa Olimpica metro station on the yellow line and Arc de Triomf station on the red line.
Getting to Barcelona: Barcelona is served by Barcelona El Prat Airport, and Renfe trains connect from all other major Spanish cities to Sants Estacio.