Cool spots in a hot city

The Barcelona Yoga Conference is now a five-year old event, and its most faithful followers will have their memories of yoga in the Catalan city strongly connected to blue skies and warm temperatures. The striking cerise bougainvillea which lines the wall at the entrance to the Sagrat Cor school (conference venue) is always spectacular at this time of year, and as the heat picks up sweating yogis and yoguinis will begin queuing at the stands for multi-fruit and veggie juices, whilst water bottles are emptied and refilled faster than ever.

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This year looks to be as warm, if not more so, than ever, so to combat the hot city temperatures I thought I’d share a few of my favourite, cooler spots to enjoy being outdoors before, during and after conference classes.

(1) Monastir de Pedralbes

The luxurious residential area of Barcelona, Pedralbes is just a ten-minute walk from the Reina Elisenda station. The former convent of Pedralbes was founded in 1392, and is one of the most beautiful buildings of the Catalan gothic period in the city. It is both a museum and home to the Thyssen-Bornemisza art collection where religious art from the 14th to the 20th century is displayed. Highlights are the three-storey cloister and the park inside the monastery.480-monestir-pedralbes-kreuzgang

To visit the museum access through the Placa del Monestir which is a deliciously tranquil and cool place to walk.

(2) Palau Real de Pedralbes

A little further from the Monastery is the Royal Palace of Pedralbes, located to the north of the Avenida Diagonal, opposite Barcelona University’s main campus. The Royal Palace was built at the beginning of the XX century and belonged to the family of Eusebi Guell who contracted Gaudi for the namesake park. Its guests have included King Alfonso XII and General Franco. The palace is home to several museums, but its most striking features are the beautiful gardens providing lots of wonderfully cool, green places to rest.

(3) Jardins del Turo de Putxet

The Putxet park is a hidden gem for many Barcelona dwellers, and I’m lucky enough to live right alongside it. It is a little further away for conference goers, but well worth a visit. Open until 22h in summer, the park is a little green mountain, providing a great selection of shady park benches, ancient trees and diverse plants and flowers, to feel renewed and in touch with nature even in the midst of the city, and is just a five minute walk from Lesseps metro station.

(4) Carreterra de les Aigues

Those with a little more time might want to make the most of the incredible views offered from Collserola. Take a trip up on the hill-side train (funicular) with the FGC train line to Peu del  Funicular or Valvidrera. A walk along the Carretera das Aigues is a long 20 kilometre path, frequented by joggers and cyclists which offers an impressive, unique panoramic skyline view of Barcelona from the cool temperatures high above the city.

(5) Teatre del Grec, Montjuic

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Once again Montjuic is a little further afield, but an absolute must-see for park lovers. The Montjuic mountain is located on the south-west side of the city and is home to some of the most interesting open-air entertainment and park spaces in Barcelona, as well as the location of the Olympic stadium and facilities, made famous by the 1992 Olympic Games.  A bus ride from Gran Via or Parrallel or a ten-minute walk from Plaza España, Montjuic is full of surprises and diverse garden areas. A particular favourite spot is the open-air theatre, the Teatre Grec, an ampitheatre,which was designed and built in 1929 for the Exposición Internacional de Barcelona  used for many outdoor concerts and festivals, in particular the Grec Festival which begins now in July.

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