Strolling the Collserola
Touring Barcelona’s most exceptional park from home
Amongst the rare places on this Earth are those that offer historical sites, rich biodiversity, popular sacred traditions, preserved heritage and multiple designated activities all at one go. Luckily, the Collserola park offers all that while also situating in one of the world’s most beautiful cities: Barcelona.
Barcelona, a crucial stop for all public and private tours in Spain, is surely a must-see for every traveler seeking an excellent blend of delicious cuisine, rich culture, gorgeous sandy beaches and vibrantly striking architecture (predominantly courtesy of the city’s unofficial architect: Antoni Gaudi). Upon staying in the lively city or taking part in the short-lived Barcelona in a day experience, one would be stunned by the prominent golden impression the city gives off. Apart from the golden cascade cast by the Barcelonan sun, the city colors themselves generally range from warm tones of glossy yellows to mute browns and pale beiges. Although that color scheme is astoundingly mesmerizing, especially alongside the spurts of multicolor from Trencadís mosaic art, stained glass and even street murals – an escape to a natural paradise dominated with greenery for a change is always appreciated by both the locals and visiting tourists on Barcelona day trips. Serra de Collserola Natural Park is an open space for the public since 1987, spreading over land with a million-year-old human presence and redefining the word richness in historic, natural and cultural terms. Prepare to take a deep dive into the ultimate Barcelona trip that is Collserola Park.
Starting with the expansive historical findings stretching over the past 100,000 years – Collserola still displays various archaeological remains: from prehistoric caves to ancient tools from the Paleolithic age, pit grave burials from the Neolithic period, a kiln from the Iberian period, Medieval structures as well as several other historical remains from subsequent colonizers. This place is a walk in any history buff’s dream through and through.
Nature makes up a great deal of the park’s appeal, as Collserola is known to be the largest green space in the metropolitan area of Barcelona. Spreading over three geographical districts and exhibiting a wide array of mountain range peaks to sloping crop valleys, in the addition to a breathtaking sea view. Collserola is a fantastic escape from the inner city’s rush of sound as it acts as a massive natural sound screen and air purifier to various types of city pollutants. Inhale the freshest air the city has to offer and take in the serene sounds of nature amongst the estimated ten thousand million trees and more than a thousand species of plants that flourish all over the park. Flora life prospers in vibrant shades of green and stretches widely over the eight thousand hectares of mountain range. This biodiverse place has many habitats to offer the hundreds of wildlife species that inhabit them – from Aquatic environments to grassland, brushwood, riparian woodlands, pine forests and holm oak woods. This habitat diversity ensures visitors different feels, views and experiences along their journey across the park. A wide range of fauna life inhabits those different habitats and includes all typical species of a Mediterranean forest; from hard to spot land mammals to more than a hundred species of attractive birds. This inspired the bird-watching tourism on La Magarola hill, conducted annually since 1988 during the months of September and October. With specialized instructors to help watchers identify the species, this experience is surely one that shouldn’t be missed.
Heritage is no strange word to Spain as a whole, and Barcelona is certainly no exception. Traditions, pilgrimages and social gatherings are commonly carried out as deep rooted pillars of every region’s culture. Collserola, specifically, is known for being a place for popular religious tradition and pilgrim gatherings. Try visiting the park in time for the Saint Medir popular gathering on March third held in Sant Cugat del Vallès, the Saint Acisclus popular gathering on the third Sunday of November at the old Romanesque Church of Sant Iscle and Santa Victòria de les Feixes in Cerdanyola del Vallès, the La Salut popular gathering which happens every Whit Monday in Sant Feliu de Llobregat, and the La Salut popular gathering in the second Sunday of September at the El Papiol. These events are great opportunities for tourists to meet locals and get to experience authentic cultural traditions that carry beautiful messages of peace, togetherness and spirituality. Expect to take part in pilgrimage walks to select shrines, spectate traditional dances (Sardana & Ball de la Soca) and indulge in communal meals.
Visiting Collserola at the times of year that’re void of traditional activity and religious gathering would still ensure the sight of preserved structures constructed across different periods in history. Shrines, churches, castles, vineyard shacks, dams and farmhouses dating as far back as the tenth century are sure to take visitors on a voyage back in time, one that takes us steps closer into knowing more about natives and past settlers of this land.
Additional to the aforementioned bird-watching tourism, Collserola park offers many touristic activities that visitors can enjoy. Such activities include designated walks and hikes across six different scaled paths. These unique Barcelona day trips range from 1.5 km (20 minutes) up to 6 km (140 minutes) and involve extraordinary views of abundant springs, reservoirs, valleys, woodlands, forests, mountains and the sea. A four-hour hike could also result with a spectacular view from the 512-meter-high Tibidabo hill peak, the highest point of the entire park’s mountain range. Biking, interacting with Catalan horses and visiting the farming markets of local vegetation are all recommended for an unforgettable time spent at this wondrous park.
There’s more to Serra de Collserola Natural Park than there is to the commonplace park. A rare mix of nature, culture and preservation awaits visitors of all ages and all types of interests, which makes the place a perfect destination for Barcelona family tours or private family tours.
This blog is one of many dedicated to those of you desiring to presently visit Barcelona from home. As for the next time you find yourself wandering the bustling neighborhoods on a Barcelona trip, remember that an all-encompassing peaceful getaway awaits you just outside city skirts. Do not hesitate to contact a Barcelona guided tour and do not be afraid to wear your nature boots, climb up to the top of the Collserola mountain range and take in a deep breath of fresh air while enjoying a full picturesque view to one of the world’s most beautiful cities: Barcelona.
By: Jad Abou Akar - Copywriter @ The Barcelonian