Barcelona might be well-known for its blissful city beaches and colourful architecture, but not so many visitors realise that the city is also home to a leafy mountain range. In fact, the Serra de Collserola and Parc de Collserola covers a space 22 times larger than New York’s Central Park, making it the world’s largest metropolitan park. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to move to Barcelona in the first place — I couldn’t decide if I wanted to live in a city, on a mountain or by the sea.
In Barcelona I literally have all of it right on my doorstep. And though I thoroughly recommend exploring the leafy trails and cycle paths on foot or by bike, the star attraction as far as I’m concerned is the romantic vintage theme park that crowns the highest peak.
When I first moved to Barcelona I would always notice it twinkling in the distance at night, so one day I got on my bike and headed straight for it. It was much steeper than I had imagined and I remember my legs trembling as I made my ascent, but once at the top I was completely blown away by the epic views and the charming old rides.
Built in 1899, it is Spain’s oldest amusement park and one of the oldest of its kind in the world.
Many of the (fairly tame) rides are original and, with the candy floss stalls and twinkling carousel, a visit to Barcelona’s theme park feels a little bit like traveling back in time to the good ol’ days.
The most famous ride is the whirring “Red Aeroplane”, which dates back to 1928 and wings its way out into the sky offering unobstructed views of the city below. Then there’s the technicolour Ferris wheel which is as much fun to photograph as it is to ride. But if I’m honest, my favourite thing to do is simply find a bench in the sun and soak up the atmosphere whilst snapping a few panoramic photos — I really can’t emphasise how awesome the views are from here.
There are plenty of facilities — toilets, cafe, restaurant and shop — which makes it the perfect attraction for families in Barcelona, but there’s also plenty for adults to enjoy too. Located just next to the theme park is the jaw-droppingly beautiful Temple de Sagrat Cor.
Construction started 1902 and finished 60 years later, resulting in one of the world most impressive Neo-Gothic churches, a masterpiece of spiralling towers and intricate stonework. It’s brought to life with the dramatic Sacred Heart of Jesus statue that balances at the top. It reminds me a lot of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue that towers over Rio de Janeiro. You’ll know what I mean when you see it.
How to Get There: Tibidabo Amusement Park is located a little way out of the city centre and you’ll want to drive unless you feel like going on a serious day of hiking. You can also ride the historic Tramvia Blau (blue tram) from Avenida Tibidabo to Plaza Kennedy (€5.50 per person each way) and then jump on the Funicular del Tibidabo to ride the rest of the way. Or you can take the T2A “Tibibus” direct from Placa de Catalunya in the city centre.
Prices: Day tickets cost €28.50 for adults and tickets for children below 120cm cost €10.30 (children below 90cm go free). You can also pay individually for some rides.