The University Central Garden is a fine emergency shelter when it gets hot in the downtown. This is a green island in the middle of an urban area where the Ciutat Vella and Eixample meet. The garden of the University was created with the dual purpose of being an educational garden, showing more rare botanical species, as well as a place of recreation and rest.
A walk through this interior courtyard garden provides tremendous relaxation. Out on the busy street it may be over 30 degrees, but the trees create the ambience of cool, calm and quiet.
If you are caught out in the heat up in Sant Gervasi, one of the best options is to enter Monterols Park, where you can cool off under the shade of pine trees, the tops of which form giant parasols.
This park is simple and very well maintained, and is situated on top of an old estate owned by the Gil family. Its circular path, and small corner squares hidden amidst lush greenery offer all shades of green, amongst which you can spot rosemary and lavender, and oaks and pines. This is a fantastic spot for reading, chatting, and being alone in the middle of the city.
A walk through the gardens of Laribal offers a new panorama over the city at every turn of its meandering path, which begins its descent near the Miro Museum on Montjuic. The gardens were designed by a man called Forestier for the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona. The gardens are heavily landscaped as they are built on a steep hill. Explore pergolas (beautifully restored), small ceramic benches, areas for rest and a monumental gazebo created from cypress tree turned into sculpture, a perfect shady spot. Within the park lies the famous Font del Gat restaurant serving delicious Catalan cuisine. The terrace affords magnificent views over the city.
The Old Botanic Garden
Since the Botanic Gardens were built on top of Montjuic in 1999, the much smaller old Botanic Garden has been rather overshadowed. Tucked away behind the Palace of Montjuïc, the old Botanical Garden lies within an old quarry, which naturally means it is very shady.
The garden was created in the 1930s by Pius Font Quer. It is accessed via a path that culminates at the bottom of the former quarry pit, lined with trees and shrubs first cultivated in the 1930s. The garden contains the tallest trees in the capital, as well as a small stream that trickles peacefully and creates a sense of calm and escape from the city.
The gardens of the Palau de Pedralbes are a wonderful place to visit on the heat of summer, or at any time of year. Nicolau Maria Rubio i Tudurí designed the gardens, transforming an existing garden belonging to the Güell family (of Park Guell fame) for the 1929 exhibition, in honour of the Spanish monarchy.
His landscaping combines formal open spaces with thickets of cedars and bamboos. The uneven ground was overcome by creating a fountain and transforming the old avenue of limes with a carpet of ivy, one of the most beautiful parts of the garden.