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Paris, Rome, Venice, and Barcelona are among the top-visited destinations in Europe. Beyond the Old World, New York City, Toronto and Whistler await shopping, dining and skiing enthusiasts, as well as businessmen and students. Quality accommodation is always in demand, and nowadays travellers have the freedom to choose not only hotels, but also apartment rentals.
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Parks in Barcelona

Parc Güell

Like mаny places of interest and famous buildings in Barcelona, Parc Güell is part and parcel of the name of Gaudí: here the Catalan genius applied himself as a decorative gardener. This quaint enchanted place is so much a reflection of Gaudí's love towards natural forms and his contempt towards the straight line, that here the artificial seems more natural than the natural itself.

The project of Pаrc Güell began in 1900, when Count Eusebi Güell purchased a wooded hill outside of the city boundaries and hired Gaudí to create a miniature community for the wealthy that would be surrounded by man-made gardens. The project was a financial disaster and was abandoned in 1914, but not before Gaudí had managed to build 3 kilometres worth of roads and paths, a few staircases, one square and two warden houses, all in his inimitable style. In 1922 the city administration bought out Güell's land and turned it into the city park that nowadays is the most visited park in Barcelona.

The mаin entrance on Carrer d'Olot is very easily recognizable by two warden houses taken straight from the fairytale of Hansel and Gretel. One of them is a rounded structure with playful curves, where the exhibition on the history of the park and on Gaudí's methods is open (admission is 2€). From the upper floor you can marvel at the beautiful view of Barcelona. The other warden house serves as a souvenir shop, so the access is free and you still may climb the stairs to the upper floor and look around.

The stаirs up from the main entrance lead to Sala Hipóstila (the Doric Temple). The staircase is guarded by the mosaic dragon-lizard, whose miniature copies sell well at souvenir shops all across Barcelona. The Doric Temple is a forest of 88 pillars, some of which are like century-old trees bowing under the weight of time. At the top of the Temple is a vast open space entwined by a tiled bench that was designed by Gaudí's close colleague, Josep Maria Jujol. To the left and right of the giant platform, as well as all around the park, are artificial semi-tunnels formed by slanting pillars of stone and sand. These were designed by Gaudí as a drainage system for rain water flowing down the hill: water is filtered trough layers of stone and sand and subsequently drips down the pillars to an underground reservoir.

Аnother house painted in coral pink and crowned with a small spire hides to the right of the Jujol's bench somewhere in the park. This house was Gaudí's haven where he lived for the most of last twenty years of his life. There are some furnishings and other relics inside. The house was built in 1904 by Francesc Berenguer i Mestres as a prototype of the 60 planned houses to be purchased by rich citizens, but it remained the only one to be actually built as the Güell project, as already mentioned, was unsuccessful.

The vаst majority of Parc Güell is still wooded, but is also covered by a web of paths and wide and narrow stone stairs. The park is very popular: it is visited by 4 million people annually! Even though its secluded corners rarely can be classified as such anymore, the general rule of thumb is that the worst of the crowds are always concentrated around the warden houses. The higher you climb, the less visitors you will encounter on the way.

Starting in October 2013, the entry to Parc Güell is no longer free. Admission is 8€ (7€ if the tickets are purchased online).

Article address:
http://www.sweethomeabroad.com/article.php?obj_id=19

Main entrance to Parc Güell Warden houses of Parc Güell
Turret of the second warden Crown of another pinnacle of the second warden
Famous dragon-lizard of Parc Güell Long tiled bench by Josep Maria Jujol
Stone and sand pillars of Parc Güell One of the pillars in a man-made semi-tunnel of Parc Güell
Casa-museu Gaudí Casa-museu Gaudí in Parc Güell
View of the Parc Güell staircase and Sala Hipóstila (the Doric Temple) Warden
Parc Ciutadella

Pаrc de la Ciutadella is the biggest green space in the centre of Barcelona, a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. You should come here to have a picnic or for a long stroll, to visit the zoo that is admired both by children and adults, or follow the example of locals who come for a breath of fresh air after a night of heavy partying.

After the War for Spanish Succession, Felipe V demolished a good portion of La Ribera for the sole purpose of building a giant fortress, La Ciutadella there to keep an eye on the freedom-loving Barcelona. It comes as no surprise that nobody in the city liked it, and the fortress came to represent everything the Catalans hated about Madrid and the Bourbons. The fact that soon it had become a political prison did not help much either. It was only in the 1869 that the city got permission to get rid of the grim symbol and lay out a park on its place, in which Barcelona hosted the Universal Exhibition in 1888. The remnants of the wall were found in 2008 while a new sports center was being constructed, and now the architects are working to incorporate the ruins of La Ciutadella into the project.

А splendid fountain "Waterfall" (Cascada) decorates the park entrance from Passeig de Pujades. This creation by Josep Fontsère was put into its rightful place between 1875 and 1881 with some help from a young unknown architect Antoni Gaudí. The fountain is a provocatively dramatic mixture of sculpture, falling water, rugged rocks and greenery – all of it absolutely fake and totally compelling. To the southeast from the Cascada fountain, the former arsenal of La Ciutadella houses the Parliament of Catalonia. Considered a bad joke by some, this symbol of Catalan identity is open to the public two days a year, and it is worth a visit to see the magnificent "Stairway of Honour" (L’Escala d’Honor) and take a look at a semicircular hall in which the actual parliament sits.

From the side facing Passeig de Picasso the park is lined by several buildings constructed for the Universal Exhibition. One of them, the medieval-looking beautiful house, known as The Castle of Three Dragons (Castell dels Tres Dragons), was designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner and now houses the museum of zoology, which is underwhelming considering that this building marked the beginning of Modernism in Barcelona. To the south, an arboretum "L’Hivernacle" with a pleasant café, a geology museum and another arboretum, "L’Umbracle", is found.

North from the Ciutadella park stands Arc de Triomf, an example of Modernist architecture completed by Josep Vilaseca. The Arc was commissioned for the Universal Exhibition, to which it served as a main entrance, but it is still unclear what kind of triumph it was meant to represent, as the Exhibition was a waste of money for Spain in general and for Barcelona in particular. The Arc is best regarded as a brick-concrete symbol of the 19th century and is best admired for its unusual Oriental-style brickwork. The main reliefs were done by Josep Llimona.

Article address:
http://www.sweethomeabroad.com/article.php?obj_id=68

Parc de la Ciutadella entrance View of Arc de Triomf
Parliament of Catalonia Castell des Tres Dragons
The Cascada fountain Sculptures of the Cascada
View of the Parc de la Ciutadella from the Cascada fountain Mammoth!
Parc del Laberint d'Horta

Parc del Laberint d'Horta is a beautiful green park in the northern Barcelona, named after a maze of trimmed cypress trees cultivated in its center. It is also the oldest garden in the city. The park is quite spacious and has many things to explore: Greek pavilions, ponds and fountains, the so-called Romantic Canal, and of course many hidden spots with benches to sit on. Its nooks and crannies provide shade for relaxation and calm game-playing, while the maze becomes the center of attention of children of all ages. Parc del Laberint is a special type of park, sometimes referred to as a museum-park, so admission to it is not free. However, it is only 2.23€ (waived for children under 5 and reduced to 1.42€ for children under 14).

Article address:
http://www.sweethomeabroad.com/article.php?obj_id=732

Parc Laberint d Parc Laberint d
Parc Laberint d Parc Laberint d
Parc Diagonal Mar

Parc Diagonal Mar is an impressively ambitious park in the eastern part of Sant Martí, namely in the area of Diagonal Mar known as the Forum. Diagonal Mar is representative of the so-called New Barcelona, where newly built apartment and office buildings dominate over the older structures, where the large Diagonal Mar mall is found, and where the green park follows suit of the contemporary vibe of the neighbourhood.

Parc Diagonal Mar was designed by the architects Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue in 2002. It occupies 14 hectares of land, consists of 7 areas, and has one dominating element - water. There are fountains, ponds small and big, a beautiful wooden sidewalk elevated above the shore of the biggest pond, contemporary sculptures, green hills for sunbathing and playground areas. The park is well worth a trip on a lazy Sunday afternoon, especially for visitors with children.

The Diagonal Mar park is open daily from 10:00 to 19:00 (extended hours apply in summer).

Article address:
http://www.sweethomeabroad.com/article.php?obj_id=744

Parc Diagonal Mar Parc Diagonal Mar
Parc del Centre del Poblenou

This beautiful green space, located in the district of Sant Martí close to the Rambla del Poblenou and Avinguda Diagonal, is one of the best places in Poblenou to relax in the shade, come for a jog or work out outdoors, take your kids to for a walk.

Parc del Centre de Poblenou was designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel and opened to the public in 2008. Its main entrance has a majestic wrought-iron gate inspired by works of Antoni Gaudí, and inside numerous rest areas, chairs and playgrounds are found.

The park is open from 10:00 to 21:00 in summer and from 10:00 to 19:00 in winter.

Article address:
http://www.sweethomeabroad.com/article.php?obj_id=743

Parc del Centre del Poblenou Parc del Centre del Poblenou
L'Aquàrium de Barcelona

The Barcelona oceanarium L'Aquàrium is located at the very end of Moll d'Espanya, the former wharf that is connected to the seafront by the pedestrian bridge Rambla del Mar. A giant shopping and dining centre Maremàgnum can also be found here. The closest metro station is Barceloneta.

The aquarium is open every day: from September to June – from 9:30 am to 9 pm on weekdays and from 9:30 am to 9:30 pm on weekends and public holidays. In July and August it is open from 9:30 am to 10 pm. Admission is €12 for adults and €8 for children. The phone number is 93 221 74 74.

It is said that L'Aquàrium oceanrium is the largest in Europe and it boasts the best collection of Mediterranean fauna. The 80-meters long shark tunnel is worthy of a separate mention.

Article address:
http://www.sweethomeabroad.com/article.php?obj_id=16

Barcelona Zoo

The Barcelona Zoo is located in the southern part of Parc de la Ciutadella, with Barceloneta being the closest metro stop. The zoo is open every day from May to September from 10 am to 7:30 pm, and from October to April from 10 am to 5 pm. The admission is €12 for adults and €8 for children. The zoo phone number is 3 225 67 80.

The zoo largely owes its popularity to the one of a kind white albino gorilla Snowflake who was caught in 1966 in Equatorial Guinea. Unfortunately, Snowflake died of skin cancer in 2003, but many Barcelona tourist guides fail to mention this sad fact.
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You can always rent an apartment in Barcelona near Barcelona zoo and other sights.
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Barcelona Zoo Entrance to Barcelona Zoo
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