Barcelona is the kind of a city that never sleeps, which is usually a positive thing. However, at times, the urban rhythm may feel like a burden – especially if you live in an area where you never see empty streets. Luckily, Barcelona has places you can go for a quick escape from the traffic and the noise, for those when you feel like it is simply too much.
The obvious way to escape urban life is, of course, looking for nature. You do not need to leave the city to find nature in Barcelona, as many neighborhoods have at least a few good spots of green tranquility.
Urban parks, such as the big and popular Ciutadella in El Born or the smaller Turó Parc in Sant Gervasi, offer a well-maintained space of green harmony. The area around the Sagrada Familia church is a similar well-kept park. If you need a natural break while in the very center, go to the small but delightful garden and exhibition space Jardinets de Gràcia right next to the crossing of Diagonal and Passeig de Gràcia.
Sit down on a bench and take your time in the sun. If you have a 2-hour lunch break – like many working in the city do – use some of your extra time to chill out in your favorite park.
The Montjuïc hill offers an even more efficient way of disconnecting from the everyday weight of the city. You can get lost in the streets tucked away in the gardens and forests while you look at Barcelona and its demanding rhythm getting smaller below you. If you want to go a bit further, Labyrinth Park of Horta is far enough from the center to give you the feeling of a small trip. Tibidabo and the surrounding mountains are also a world away from city life.
If nature is not your answer to urban anxiety, you might like the modernista (or Art Nouveau) peace of hospital Sant Pau near Sagrada Familia. This amazing and huge complex of buildings is visually stunning, and the gardens are a wonderful, tranquil space in the middle of the concrete of Eixample.
Then there is the sea, which is naturally the ultimate tranquilizer for many. Since Barcelona is synonymous with Mediterranean life, it would be a waste not to take a seaside break every now and them. Poble Nou beaches are excellent for calm moments away from the crowds. Enjoy the feeling of drifting away to a holiday atmosphere and look at the blue horizon somewhere very far in the distance.