Just 15 minutes from Barcelona’s city centre, Parc de Collserola breathes like a green lung of life.
From within its leafy, bushy clutches it tends to hundreds of flora and fauna species and traditional Spanish countryside that’s protected from the threat of high-rise buildings and urban expansion.
Covering more than 8,000 hectares, it is the largest metropolitan park in the entire world (fun fact: it’s also 22 times higher than New York’s Central Park).
Mount Tibidabo’s silhouette marks the peak of this natural wonder, looking down on the collection of goods the park has to offer both locals and tourists.
Collserola was named a National Park back in 1987 after a pledge to protect its native wildlife.
Today, it’s a green guardian over the narrow streets and car-riddled roads of Barcelona, and serves to educate visitors on sustainable living through its solid environmental objectives and protection plans.
It’s also a hotbed of natural heritage, with a few remnants of old fashioned life tucked beneath the trees.
Things to See and Do in Collserola
Walk With the Wildlife
Barcelona’s lush Mediterranean climate and hodgepodge landscapes make Collserola the perfect place to view woodland wildlife.
Centuries-old white pines and evergreen oaks cast wise backdrops against riverside copses, arid farmland, and shimmering brush, whilst almost 200 critters roam free – we’re talking squirrels, foxes, and the odd wild boar or two, along with a colourful display of bird life.
There are plenty of walkways that crisscross through the park, proffering excellent views and the opportunity to get up close and personal with nature.
Enjoy the Early Life
Amongst the sun-burnt clearings and between the ancient rustling trees, there is a faint trail of early Spanish life.
Reminders of traditional settlements like Serra del Moro, old Gothic castles of Castellciuro, and rustic farmhouses pepper the landscape, providing real life history lessons in the midst of bubbling natural springs and fairytale forests.
Visit the Museu-Casa Verdaguer
The scenery of Collserola was made for the writer’s imagination, with sweeping vistas and a sense of solitude way above the bustle of city life below.
Local writer Jacint Verdaguer called it home and his house, in which he lived until his death in 1902, is now a museum open to visitors.
In it, you’ll find his original notebooks filled with inked scrawl, rooms left as they were 100 years ago, and you’ll learn about the bohemian lifestyle of a creative individual living at the turn of the 19th century.
If it’s historic lifestyles you’re looking to tap into in Collserola, don’t forget to visit Can Coll.
This grand old farmhouse now serves as an environmental education centre which showcases the techniques, schedules, and tools of farmers between the 17th and 19th centuries.
A few cute Romanesque chapels and ragged ruins are haphazardly propped around the farmhouse, too.
Take in the Views
If you’re feeling particularly brave and free, head up the Torre de Collserola, a 288m high telecommunications tower that peeks out over Barcelona and a large chunk of Catalonia. On a clear day, you can see up to 70km into the distance – definitely not for the faint hearted.
Parc de Collserola may not be a high priority on tourists’ itineraries, but its eclectic handful of old architecture, very high viewpoints, and dedication to environmental preservation makes it a fascinating and freeing day out.