The city of Barcelona is one of the most visited in Spain and certainly its extensive and varied tourism explains why it is in this situation. Monuments, unique buildings, the food, big events, beach ... The range of possibilities is very wide but can still surprise more than a traveller. This is what happens with the most active tourism sector, which is related to air sports that both visitors and residents in the city practice.
Barcelona has an extensive list of places where you can practice different sports, which we will review the most important ones.
Kicking off with the best places to practice the increasingly popular 'running' course is one of the disciplines that has more space available. Virtually any great avenue or pedestrian area is available for running solo or in groups. However, the area par excellence for the 'runners' is Paseo Marítimo, which since its renovation and expansion in 2004 has not stopped gaining prominence in this regard.
The track has about 5 kilometres which are used by many athletes, both amateur and professional, to perform this activity.
The Paseo Marítimo area is also frequented by cyclists and skaters at lesser proportion. Since this is an area eminently for walking, using bicycles, roller skates and other sporting equipment is limited to more recreational sporting purpose. Logically, they can not be achieved at high speeds or performed for training itself. This does not prevent you from enjoying moderate outdoor sports, while Paseo Marítimo is very broad and even allows the bicycle routes to pass within longer itineraries. It is also quite common for entire families to take part in cycling in this area.
Focusing again in the 'running' tracks, it should be noted that there are two areas particularly suitable for this activity. Diagonal Norte Avenue, for example, offers 3 kilometres of tracks from Plaza de Francesc Macià (the great starting point for runners) and close to the university campus. Diagonal Sur Avenue has very similar conditions although it may be more busy than the previous one, while connecting the Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes with the Parque del Forum. Of course, both places can be combined with areas such as the Paseo Marítimo itself to create more demanding circuits.
A step up in the physical demands, the roads leading to the Montjuic Castle pose a real challenge for athletes. In addition to the boldest and bravest riders, this long succession of hills and slopes test the resistance of cyclists without any limitations to other areas. The interesting thing about this space is that athletes can alternate between some hilly parks and flat areas. This allows you to plan your exercise intensity depending on the level of your fitness or rest before continuing the climb to the summit.
As in other large cities, 'skate' fans may not be able to practice this colourful sport just anywhere for security reasons. Fortunately, the Barcelona City Council has authorised specific public spaces in areas such as the Barceloneta beach. Here, skaters become practically an attraction for swimmers and walkers, who see these athletes perform their improbable urban pirouettes. Other interesting places for 'skaters' are the beach of Mar Bella (less frequented than the Barceloneta beach) and Gracia (specifically, in Jardines de Menendez Pelayo).
In recent years, outdoor sports in Barcelona have added a discipline that has aroused great interest among visitors and locals. We specifically refer to ping-pong or table tennis, which has gone from being a sport restricted to the domestic sphere and the private rooms to be very present in the city parks. According to data from the Catalan Federation of Table Tennis in Barcelona (Federación Catalana de Tenis de Mesa) there are about 100 public tables scattered areas like Jardines de Paula Montal (in Eixample) Barceloneta or Jardines de Clotilde Cerdà (also in Eixample).
And to conclude this brief guide, there is nothing better than to refer to the multi-purpose area par excellence, the Ciudadela park. It is the most popular park in Barcelona and in it the main outdoor sports are practiced on a regular basis. 'Running', yoga, bike rides and boating and even cricket are some of the sports that are usually seen in this place. You can also participate in any of these sports whenever your heart desires as the area is always very encouraged by its good communication services and the presence of attractions such as the large sculpture of a mammoth can be seen.
Photos © Engel & Völkers Barcelona