The idea of gorgeous woods and scenery lurking just on the edge of a huge metropolis such as Barcelona might be a surprising one. But that's the case with Collserola Park, Barcelona's very own green oasis. A specially conserved eco-park acting as a lung and a getaway for city-dwellers - over 50% of Catalonia's population live within 10 kilometres of the park - Collserola is a great place to go rambling without venturing far from the city.
In fact, you can be in Collserola's wooded glades inside 20 minutes from Plaça Catalunya if you take one of the FGC trains. Good stations to jump off the train are Baixador de Vallvidrera, Les Planes and La Floresta. There is beautiful scenery easily at hand from each, with well-marked senderos (footpaths) criss-crossing the area in all directions
Predominantly consisting of evergreen oaks and pines, Collserola's numbers are startling, with over ten million trees, 1000 plant species and 190 different kinds of vertebrate within its 8000 hectares.
The park occupies two ecological zones,the Euro-Siberian and the Mediterranean, meaning maquis shrubland rubs shoulders with grassy meadows and garrigues full of lavender and rosemary. Among the creatures you might spot are wild boars, beech martens, badgers, squirrels, rabbits, foxes and genets. Bird-spotters might glimpse blue tits, warblers, treecreepers, bee-eaters, goshawks, sparrowhawks and buzzards.
The Information Centre at Baixador de Vallvidrera provides a great deal more knowledge about the park, and is a great place to start a walk, with several trails leading into the woods.
Collserola Information Centre
Address: Ctra Església, 92, Vallvidrera, 08017
How to Get There: Take the S1, S2, S5 or S55 train from Plaça Catalunya and get off at Baixador de Vallvidrera.
Getting to Barcelona: Barcelona is served by Barcelona El Prat Airport, and Renfe trains connect from all other major Spanish cities to Sants Estacio.