Getting lost to find yourself

When we travel to a city like Barcelona, we want to enjoy as many highlights as possible. That is why we usually go to the same places and follow the same route that someone did before us. We want to see the tourist attractions; we don’t have time to waste. Sometimes, though, the highlight is not finding that particular cathedral but finding yourself by getting lost.

One of my favourite parks in Barcelona is definitely off the beaten track and it’s called Parque del Laberinto de Horta (in Spanish) or Parc del Laberint d’Horta (in Catalan). It’s located in a neighbourhood called Horta. You can get there with the green line, Mundet station.

Horta labyrinth in Barcelona

I remember going there with my cousins when I was small. Our parents would go with me and my siblings and cousins to the entrance of the maze. Then, while we giggled and ran to find our way out, my parents and aunts and uncles would chat and patiently wait for us to get out.

In case you don’t remember your Greek class, here’s a summary of this Greek myth: King Minos of Crete had won a war against Athens and then, he commissioned Daedalus to build a maze to hold a Minotaur, a monster with the head of a man and the body of a bull. Every 9 years, seven Athenian boys and seven Athenian girls were devoured by the Minotaur in the maze. Theseus was the hero who ended the sacrifices. He had the invaluable help of Ariadne, who had given him a sword to kill the minotaur and a threat so he could find his way out of the maze.

At the entrance of the labyrinth, there is bas-relief of Ariadne and Theseus. In the centre of the maze, you will see a statue of Eros. Another of my favourite spots in the park is Echo (see photo below). Legend says Echo was a nymph who loved her own voice but she was damned to lose her voice and repeat someone else’s words forever. She fell in love with Narcissus, but he was only in love with himself.

Echo statue in Horta labyrinth

Have you seen the film ‘Perfume’? The story is set in 18th-century France, but in fact it was shot in many different places of Barcelona, including Laberint d’Horta, and Plaça Reial, Catedral de Barcelona, Barri Gòtic, Plaça Sant Felip Neri and Poble Espanyol.

If you are visiting Barcelona, I recommend visiting this maze. Just go there and wander, play, and enjoy the moment. You know that you will find your way out, either alone or with the help of your particular Ariadne. Plus, you don’t need to kill any Minotaur. At least, I have never killed one in Barcelona’s maze. If you went to Laberinto de Horta and got lost at first but then found yourself, you’re lucky, you are alive!

Today it’s our pleasure to introduce another new contributor, Marta García. Marta was born and grew up in Barcelona and is going to write about Spanish and Catalan culture. She also writes a blog, English in Barna.

Read more:
Celebrating Christmas in Catalunya
Losing out in new-look Europe: Spain’s ‘milleuristas’
Spanish blogs on Blogs of the World

About the author

Marta Garcia
Marta Garcia grew up in Barcelona, Spain, and has also studied in Belgium and the UK. She works as a professional translator, translating English, French and Italian into Spanish and Catalan.
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9 Comments

  • Wow! I lived in Barcelona for nearly 4 years and never found this park! It sounds lovely.

    And thanks for the Greek revision. In the UK most people never study the Greek myths so I found it very useful.

  • Thanks for your comment, Liz! You can visit it in your next trip then :)

    In Barcelona, we studied the Greek myths mainly in a course called COU, the year before going to college. You could choose a subject called History of art and study Greek myths and Catholic Saints, etc. to understand references in paintings and sculpture. That course doesn’t exist any more, so, no idea if the new generations study that.

  • Great post, Marta. The labyrinth is a great spot to visit, especially when it’s misty! I imagine on Monday it must have looked like ‘The Shining’ with the snow.

  • I wish I’d known about this place before! I’ll definitely go there when/if I go to Barcelona again (which has a special place in my heart, being as it is the home of my ancestors)

    Adéu

    Ana

  • @Jeremy, Thanks for your comment, yeah, on Monday it must have been beautiful and a bit scary too!

    @Ana There’s a special area for picnics at the entrance, so, nice for a couple of hours in a sunny day in your next trip, why not?

  • It´s fantastic you´re here!
    congratulations + kss a lot ;-)

  • marta

    Thanks, Pilar! You could write a post about Feria de abril :)

  • Great detail and a great write up, Marta. Still amazed at how many people don’t know about this place and this made my very first top 10 list when I started my blog and funnily enough, like Jeremy, swore to go straight there if it snowed!!

  • Tracy

    This is definitely on my to-do list for September, I have visited Barcelona every year for about the last 10 years, and I had no idea about this!