The Horta-Guinardó district is a beautiful hilltop suburb just outside the main city of Barcelona, and offers a markedly different holiday experience to the bustling city centre. Horta-Guinardó was only annexed to Barcelona in 1904; it had endured for centuries as a relatively undeveloped rural municipality until the 1950s, when many people began to move there in search of work.
The village was founded sometime before the 10th century; the first mention of it we have comes from 965 AD. The steep, narrow streets of the Plaça d’Eivissa recall the town’s ancient roots, and visitors can still see the old laundries, fed by natural wells, on Carrer Aiguafreda.
Get lost in the labyrinth
The jewel of the neighbourhood is the Parc del Laberint. This neoclassical garden was designed in 1792 by Domenico Bagutti for the estate of the Marquiss of Llupià and Alfarràs, making it the oldest garden in Barcelona. Its 55 hectares are surrounded by woods, and feature a cypress hedge maze, neoclassical sculptures, beautiful flowerbeds, and a waterfall. It also holds a charming 14th century country house which was restored and redecorated in the 19th century. This is an idyllic place to spend an afternoon or a romantic evening, as the Parc is usually open until 8pm or 9pm.
Nearby, in the gardens of the Velodròm d’Horta, you will find sculptor Joan Brossa’s ‘corporeal poem,’ created in 1984. Visitor’s first come across a gigantic letter ‘A’ carved from stone, and follow the poem through a series of letters and punctuation marks to the end where you meet another ‘A’ that is broken in two, symbolising the journey of life from birth to death. Horta is a gorgeous and characterful neighbourhood, and a great spot for some peace and quiet during your stay in Barcelona.