Diagonal Mar is Barcelona's second largest park. Apart from being immense, it is also a sunny, open and totally accessible space, whose star attractions are a large lake, hills covered in grass and luscious vegetation.
Diagonal Mar Park is spread out according to a design that helps it to blend in with the city through a large, open space that finally links to the sea.
It is built round a series of paths which, like a tree, branch out in every direction. All around there are very long concrete benches, separating and organising spaces, which are intended to conjure up the feeling of sea waves as they progressively adopt the shape of these paths and the contours of several squares.
The industrial past of the land now making up Diagonal Mar – the old Macosa smelting plant – had left a no-man’s land. By the end of the last century, Barcelona needed to extend its coastline to enable the city to link up with all the new beaches created during that period. So, with that goal in mind, the then mayor, Joan Clos, laid the first stone for the future on 25 May, 1999, along with a box containing the day’s newspapers, a calendar sheet, deposits and a statement of sustainability signed by the City Council and the building companies that took part in the area’s big urban development project.
It occupies an area of over 340,000 m2, bounded by C/ Llull, C/ Josep Pla and C/ Selva de Mar, Parc Lineal Garcia Fària and the final section of Av Diagonal. It has various uses, offering residential buildings, offices, a shopping centre, hotels and a park.
The plants in its parterres are exuberant. Species that stand out for their summer blossoms include the orange-flowered Hemerocallis sp.; the yellow-flowered Hypericum sp.; pink-flowered dwarf oleanders (Nerium oleander ‘Nana’) and red-flowered Callistemon speciosus which, among other places, can also be found crowning the magic mountain as well. The parterres also abound in creeping rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostatus’), small white-flowered abelia (Abelia floribunda), cotton lavender (Santolina chamaecyparissus), sweet bay (Laurus nobilis) and prickly spider-flower Grevillea juniperina, among other species.
The park has a large number of tipu trees (Tipuana tipu) and, on the right of the main entrance from C/ Llull, boasts truly lovely specimens of palo verdes Parkinsonia aculeata.
There are white poplars (Populus alba) and black poplars (Populus italica nigra) around the lakes and numerous oaks (Quercus ilex and Quercus suber) in several places. The park also contains eucalyptus trees (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), Aleppo pine trees (Pinus halepensis), stone pine trees (Pinus pinea), olive trees (Olea europaea) and French tamarisks
Other species found there include honey locusts
(Gleditsia triacanthos), Chinese parasol trees
(Firmiana simplex), trees of heaven
(Ailanthus altissima), cockspur coral trees (Erythrina crista-galli), pagoda trees
(Sophora japonica) and southern nettle trees
(Celtis australis). One species that stands out here, owing to its rarity in Barcelona, is the Canary Island pine
There are several varieties of palm tree too, including Canary Island date palms (Phoenix canariensis), date palms (Phoenix dactylifera), Chusan palms (Trachycarpus fortunei) and, above all, Mexican fan palms (Washingtonia robusta), which increase in number as you approach the sea, as well as groups of Mediterranean dwarf palms (Chamaerops humilis).
You will find numerous specimens of bald cypresses (Taxodium distichum) and, skirting the sheets of water, riverbank trees such as white poplars (Populus alba) and black poplars (Populus italica nigra). There are also some notable soft rushes (Juncus effusus) and groups of yellow flag (Iris pseudacorus).
The Canary Island dragon tree (Dracaena draco) found on one side of the main part of the park is roughly 150 years old. It was replanted in December 2001, while work was being carried out on the park, and came from an old Valle de la Guerra farm in La Laguna, on the island of Tenerife.
Landscaping and Design
Those who worked with the architect Enric Miralles, who designed the project, say that when he made his first visit to the site of the future park, he immediately thought he would like to create an area of marshes there. It had rained that very day so it was covered in pools of water, with seagulls from the neighbouring beach flying over them from time to time.
That image was one of the starting points for this big project, constituting one of the axes on which the park’s landscape criteria are based, where the green of the vegetation and blue of the water make themselves felt, as in marshes.
The big park entrances, with the largest one on C/ Llull, form units in themselves within the park complex, while hills covered in grass and large parterres full of plants arranged around a large lake over a hectare in area are the main attractions.
If you go beyond a large parterre shaded by trees, you will find an area with steps on one side and the start of a path on the other which take you to the edge of the water.
To the left of the lake, there are some broad paths, trees of several species and some very large, long, sloping parterres overflowing with shrubs.
In the middle there is an area of land that enters the water, where the aquatic birds living there usually nest or sunbathe.
And to the right of the water area, there are some small hills covered in grass. The highest is the magic mountain, crowned by a hedge, and you can get to the top via a small tiled path that starts behind the hill.
The other end of this large area has a very wide wooden bridge you can cycle across and which connects the two sides of the river. There is a windy waterfall below it that feeds the lake from end to end. It is close to C/ Taulat. When you cross it, you reach two more parts of the park.
The one on the right could be described as the wildest part. On one side of a spacious path, which is full of palm trees and connects C/ Taulat with Parc Lineal Garcia Fària, there is a very natural pool surrounded by aquatic and riverbank species, with a small hill covered in grass behind it. On the other side there is a large, sloping parterre, with a long concrete bench from end to end, that gradually widens out until it forms a small hill.
The area on the left opens with a large “patio” and a lake similar in structure to but much smaller than the one in the main part of the park. If you continue walking down, you will reach Garcia Fària Linear Park.
Art and Architecture
These large metallic structures run down sloping stairs with small jets that spurt out the water which feeds the lake.
Other notable features include the large flowerpots found on the “patios”.
They are inspired by the old neighbourhood patios. These immense flowerpots either hang from high metal pergolas or stand on paving reminiscent of the old tiled floors in these parts.
Another notable feature are the very windy, concrete benches that have been christened “lungomare”, which is what Italians call walking by the sea.
- Carrer de Llull, 356 - 360
- Sant Martí
- Diagonal Mar i el Front Marítim del Poblenou
- Public center
de l'1 de novembre
al 31 de març
Tots els dies
de 10:00 h a 19:00 h
de l'1 d'abril
al 31 d'octubre
de 10:00 h a 21:00 h
- Carrer de Llull, 356 - 360