There are a number of reasons why students choose to study at ESEI Barcelona: the programmes on offer, the excellent teaching staff, the opportunities for networking. Yet, there is another factor that’s often overlooked: the school’s unique location and its spectacular green surroundings.
Barcelona prides itself on its proximity to nature. From the Collserola nature reserve to the Montjuic Park, the inner city is surrounded by natural oases that provide a perfect escape from urban life. What’s more, Barcelona aims to promote the sustainability and development of its green spaces to provide a greener environment for locals and visitors alike.
So if you’re looking for a beautiful, green location to study in once the pandemic passes, look no further. Read on to find out about the top 5 green factors that draw students to ESEI and Barcelona.
1.ESEI’s buildings and grounds
ESEI sits in a green area of the city called Pedralbes. Located in the northeast of Barcelona, Pedralbes is known for its elegant villas and leafy streets. It’s an affluent and spacious neighbourhood, with wide boulevards and large parks. It’s also home to the 12th century Pedralbes Monastery.
The school’s grounds offer a green oasis where students can sit and have a coffee or soak up the afternoon sun. The gardens within the grounds are complete with plants, flowers and palm trees. During the summer, this outdoor space is a great setting for students to enjoy our events and talks.
The school itself is housed in an old modernista building. A classic and elegant structure, it offers students a relaxing environment in which to take classes, study and meet classmates. The building was previously owned by a Catalan family who used the top two floors as their house, and the bottown two floors as their printing workshop. Now, the main entrance is situated on the bottom floor and is lined with oil paintings.
2.The nature reserves and natural parks
Barcelona’s nature reserves are one of the main reasons why the city attracts nature-lovers. Barcelona is located in Catalonia, a region of Spain boasting a significant natural heritage. In fact, Catalonia is home to a number of protected zones with a network of 165 areas of special ecological value. This encompasses roughly 30% of Catalonia, making it the third largest region with the most nature reserves in Spain.
If you like hiking, then a very special site to visit is Montserrat mountain. It’s unusual rocky peaks make this site one of Catalonia’s jewels. Located just a 45-minute drive from the school, the site was designated as a National Park in 1987. It is an area of particular geological interest and offers several hiking trails which provide breathtaking views across the region to the sea.
Visiting Montserrat can be a wonderful day trip. But if you’re short on time, head to the Collserola Natural Park, just a short drive from ESEI. Encompassing the line of mountains that surrounds the city, this park is the largest green space in the metropolitan area of Barcelona. The park is a recreational area with hiking trails, children’s playgrounds and the famous Tibidabo attraction park.
3.The local beaches
Let’s face it, one of the most attractive factors of Barcelona is the sun, sea and sand. As a coastal city, Barcelona is home to numerous white beaches which open up to the crystal blue Mediterranean sea. Whereas the city’s beaches are usually quite busy and lined with chiringuitos (beach bars) and heladerías (ice cream shops), you’ll find some stunning natural beaches that are much more quiet a little further afield.
One of the closest beaches to the city is in Prat de Llobregat, a 30-minute drive from ESEI. The beach is home to a wetland nature reserve. It offers a peaceful and natural environment in which to soak up the rays, go swimming or look out for the local wildlife.
If you continue just a few kilometers along the coast you will reach Platja de Gavà. This beach is a secluded spot along the coast and boasts a range of vegetation and naturally forming sand dunes. A wooden promenade leads you across the dunes to the beach, making it a great spot for photos. After a long day of studying, cooling off with a dip in the Mediterranean sea surrounded by nature is the perfect way to wind down.
4.The city’s parks
Barcelona is one of Europe’s cities with the largest number of parks. In 2013, the city council created the Green Infrastructure and Biodiversity Plan which set out plans to implement a range of actions to protect and preserve nature in the city, as well as improve the city’s natural heritage. This included the preservation and development of the city’s parks.
Luckily for students at ESEI, there are plenty of parks near the school. For example, step out of the grounds and you’re a 10-minute walk from the luscious Parc de Pedralbes. The park offers a tranquil urban green space and is home to the historic Pedralbes Palace, beautiful gardens and fountains. Or, turn the corner from ESEI and a 5-minute walk will take you to Parc del Castell de l’Oreneta. A quiet haven at the north of the city, this park has a mini steam train and panoramic views of the city.
Other popular parks in the city include Parc de la Ciutadella and Parc Güell. The city’s largest park, Ciutadella has an impressive 19th century fountain and a small boating lake. It’s home to several attractions including the zoo, the Catalan Parliament and The Museu d’Art Modern.
Parc Güell, on the other hand, was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 for its historical connections to Gaudí. Home to a number of buildings designed by the famous architect, the park is also a popular place to go walking and relax.
5.The nearby river deltas
Barcelona is geographically enclosed by the sea to the east, the Collserola hills to the west, and two rivers to the north and south: the Besòs and Llobregat. The rivers are remarkable and restoration and preservation efforts have been made by the local council to ensure these green spaces are protected.
Both rivers have deltas with significant wetland nature reserves and an impressive array of birdlife and plant species. A 20-minute drive from ESEI, the Llobregat boasts 100 square kilometres of pine forests, meadows and coastal lagoons. With over 360 different species of birdlife, it’s the perfect location to pick up your binoculars and go birdwatching.
While the Besòs, also a 20-minute drive from the school, is particularly popular for its long riverside walks. Many people can be spotted here running, as it provides the best opportunities for a long, traffic-free run within the city.
These rivers offer the opportunity for students to relax, study or exercise in some of Barcelona’s best green spaces.