The Horta Labyrinth (Laberint d’Horta, in Catalan) is one of Barcelona’s most surprising gardens, which usually leaves its mark on the tourists who visit it. It is an exceptional natural space full of romanticism and architecture, perfect for a nice place to go as a couple.
The land where it is located is in the Collserola mountain range and belonged to the Desvalls family. The name comes from its labyrinth formed by perfectly cut cypress trees that you can walk through and visit at your leisure.
It is the oldest garden in Barcelona and you will be able to recreate the popular stories of Ancient Greece. This 18th century neoclassical paradise has a huge appeal and we want to show you part of its history and everything you need to know about the opening hours and how to get there, so that you can visit it when you stay in our holiday apartments in Barcelona. Let’s get started!
History of the Horta Labyrinth
The Laberint d’Horta was created in 1781 by order of the Marquis of Alfarrás, Antoni Desvalls. It was ceded to Barcelona City Council in the 1970s, but not before undergoing an incredible extension in the mid-19th century with the help of the architect Elies Rogent, a well-known figure in the city.
The garden is made up of several areas, which we are going to describe briefly so that you can visit them at your leisure:
- House and domestic garden. The construction of the house is based on a 12th century defence tower. Its essence is neo-Mudejar and it has lobed and horseshoe arches. The garden dates from the 19th century. It is eclectic in style and has several busts, staircases, a grille and two lions guarding it.
- Italian Garden. This is the oldest area you will find in Barcelona’s labyrinth. It has a central axial axis with several superimposed terraces, as well as several figures representing different mythological scenes that are interesting to see. One of them is about the Rape of Europa, the myth that tells how Europa is abducted by Zeus who has taken the form of a bull.
- The Grotto of Egeria has several levels with circular pools and stairs on both sides. The white marble statue of the nymph represents the end of the journey. It means to be reborn as a new person, only with more knowledge.
- First terrace. As you leave from the back of the house, you will enter the following areas: the Columns Square, the Garden of Mosses, the Small Labyrinth, the grotto of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth of Cypresses.
- The second terrace has a balustrade with reliefs of Deucalion and Pyrrha, who bring forth children from the stones, and the Triumph of Venus. There are also two temples in honour of the women Danae and Ariadne, who were loved by the gods. In the upper area there are two busts representing the figures of Bacchus and Ariadne.
- Third terrace. This has a neoclassical pavilion formed by porticoes and several reliefs dedicated to the arts and sciences. Behind this pavilion is a tank and, at the top, a grotto dedicated to the nymph Egeria, who seems to contemplate the entire garden before her feet.
- Romantic garden from the 19th century. It is located on a natural hill. Water is the protagonist in the form of a waterfall in the highest part, with other elements that recreate an unparalleled natural setting: canals, bridges, waterfalls, the hermit’s hut, the false cemetery, the island of love, a Chinese gate, the peasant’s shelter and archaeological ruins.
The mythology of the Laberint d’Horta
Having summarised the history of the Labyrinth of Horta and told you what you will find inside it, let’s talk about the mythology it houses. As soon as you arrive, at the entrance there is an inscription referring to the labyrinth of Crete, built to imprison the Minotaur. It is the most famous in Greek mythology and reads as follows:
Enter, you will come out without a detour,
the labyrinth is simple,
there is no need for the yarn
that Ariadne gave to Theseus.
This myth tells the story of the great Greek hero Theseus who wanted to avoid the continuous sacrifice of young men by the monster, the son of Minos, by going from Athens to Crete. Ariadne, who was also Minos’ daughter, fell in love with Theseus, offering him a yarn, which he used to avoid getting lost on the journey after slaying the Minotaur. Right in the centre of the labyrinth is the statue of Eros standing on a pedestal. You will reach the Greek God of love through eight different entrances which are marked by cypress trees in the shape of an arch.
- After leaving the labyrinth you will see the Grotto of Echo and Narcissus, which has the following inscription: “From a burning frenzy, Echo and Narcissus embraced, they die in love, she with him and he with himself”. It is a neoclassical terrace with a small circular pond. Echo’s Grotto is excavated in a wall, giving rise to another of the Greek myths that are part of the park. Inside is the image of the nymph carved in terracotta, who guards the pool, in whose waters Narcissus, the lover who fell in love with his own reflection, fell in love and drowned.
- As we have already mentioned, at the ends of the terrace of the Horta Park there are several temples dedicated to two characters from Greek mythology. One of them, formed by Tuscan columns, houses the beautiful statue of Ariadne. At the opposite end is the shrine of Danae. In between are several fountains and staircases, one of which leads to the neoclassical palace and another to the labyrinth.
Fun fact: The Labyrinth of Horta, Perfume and other films shot here
Barcelona’s most romantic park has also been the set of several well-known films. Barcelona has several interesting film locations that have become the setting for several feature films, the labyrinth being one of the most picturesque.The Labyrinth of Horta was used to recreate a dinner scene between aristocrats in the Parisian setting of the film Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. It was also chosen by the director Pere Portabella to shoot his film Nocturno 29, as well as to shoot several adaptations of novels by Eduardo Mendoza: La ciudad de los prodigios and La verdad sobre el caso Savolta.
How to get to the Horta Labyrinth
The Horta Labyrinth Park is located in the northern part of Barcelona. It belongs to the district of Horta and is located just above the Ronda de Dalt, an area with modern housing and newly built flats. Although it is not located in a central area, it is quite easy to get to.
The oldest park in Barcelona is very close to the Horta Velodrome. The truth is that this building is a good reference to find it as it is quite visible. Well, the park is behind it. If your idea is to go there by car, go towards the Ronda de Dalt and take the street that goes to the velodrome. The Labyrinth Park is very well signposted and you won’t have any problems. All you have to do is go up this street and at the height of the velodrome, just to the right, there are open-air car parks where you can park your car.
If, on the other hand, you want to get there by public transport. The easiest option is to use the metro. Simply take the green line 3 and get off at the Mundet stop. It is very close to the velodrome and the park. You can’t get lost. Just off the metro, you’ll find some football pitches and just behind them is your destination. Buses 27 and 76 also pass quite close to the Horta Labyrinth Park. You can also take the V21 bus, although it’s a bit further away. Either way, you have several alternatives and any bus that runs along the side of the Ronda de Dalt and stops near the velodrome will do.
Timetables of the Horta Labyrinth Park
The opening hours of the Horta Labyrinth are as follows:Los horarios del Laberinto de Horta son los siguientes:
- Monday to Sunday, winter opening hours: from 10:00 to 18:00 hours.
- Summer opening hours (from 1 April to 31 October): from 10:00 to 20:00 hours.
- 25th December: from 09:00 to 14:00 hours
As for the prices of the Labyrinth of Horta, general admission costs €2.23 and reduced admission costs €1.42, with the following exceptions:
- Every Wednesday and Sunday, open days.
- On 24 September, the feast of La Mercè, admission is also free.
- Pensioners, the unemployed, children under 5 years of age and residents of the park are also exempt from paying entrance fees.
Guided tours are available for groups, although the capacity is limited to 750 visitors. During the visit it is forbidden to eat and to tour the site with bicycles and roller skates. Animals are not allowed and vehicles are not allowed.
OUR APARTMENTS IN BARCELONA
Since 2010, Lugaris Apartaments has been offering you the best holiday rental flats in Barcelona, perfect for a family holiday, with friends or as a couple, or for medium-term stays.
You can choose between apartments near the beach in Barcelona, at Lugaris Beach, with sea views, 2 swimming pools (one for adults and one for children) and capacity for up to 6 people, and the Lugaris Rambla flats, located on the Rambla de Poblenou and just 300 m from Bogatell beach, with a balcony or terrace of up to 22 m2 and ideal for couples or families and groups of up to 5 people. All our luxury flats in Barcelona are air-conditioned and equipped with all the appliances, furniture and bed linen you will need during your stay. They also have satellite TV and free high-speed Wi-Fi connection, as well as a safe and a 24-hour private security service.
What’s more, when you make your booking, you can reserve many other additional services: international press in your flat, parking space, transfer service to and from Barcelona airport, bicycle hire, supermarket shopping, museum, sports and show tickets, babysitting service and much more.
For more information, contact Lugaris Apartments without obligation.