Parc del Laberint – Barcelona’s Alhambra Gardens

A true maze that invites you to get lost on its alleys, climb its stairways, have a rest in its pavilions, pass under its Moorish arches, explore its grottos and admire its statues embodying a series of mythological figures, Parc del Laberint is the oldest park in Barcelona dating from 1791.

Park LaberintThis historic garden stretching on 18 acres of land is a still standing proof of the Spanish kings’ extravagance. Considered by some a version of Granada’s Gardens of Alhambra, Labyrinth Park was built on Barcelona’s Northern edge upon Antoni Desvalls’ orders. The marquis of Llupiaand Alfarrás supervised the landscaping project, and added later on decorative elements aimed to commemorate special moments of his life. For instance, on one of the alleys you will find a monument commissioned by the marquis in the honor of an afternoon he spent in the gardens with the king’s nephew and his bride.

Nowadays an eclectic mix of Arabic, Mediterranean, Neoclassical and Romantic styles, Parc del Laberint was at its origins a Neoclassical garden, but before the landscaping project was completed in 1853, the park had already started to follow the rules of the Romantic style. The symmetrical lines, the mythological sculptures and the pavilions belong to the Neoclassical style, why the waterfalls, ponds and irregular tree placement refer to Romanticism. This mixture is what makes it one of the most interesting parks in Barcelona.

Park Laberint1The maze of impressive two metre high cypress hedges constitutes Labyrinth Park’s central element. Inside the maze you will find imposing trees (holm oak, pine, and oak) that provide a feeling a seclusion and distance from the outside world. Upon entering the labyrinth, you can admire a classical frieze of king Minos welcoming Theseus to Crete. Follow the paths and you will reach the centre of the maze, where a statue of Eros is standing.

Close by the maze you will find a small temple dedicated to Ariadne – Minos’ daughter. Take your time to admire the Tuscan columns supporting the real size marble sculpture, then get out from the Labyrinth to find Echo – the nymph of the woods and to eternal symbol of unfulfilled love.

In the mid 1900s, Parc del Laberint was expanded with a Romantic garden, where you can currently find a quiet retreat among big trees, waterfalls, fountains, ponds and canals. The Romantic bridge over a body of water with swans and ducks and the neoclassical pavillion above it represent the heart of this isolated area, where many Barcelona couples love spending their time, and where many Bohemian souls find their calm, peace and inspiration.