Best city picnic spots around the world

Eat & Drink

For the best places to enjoy an urban, moveable feast, head to one of these top city picnic locations around the world.

Sultanahmet Arkeolojik Park, Istanbul

This central Istanbul park is filled with locals on warm evenings

This central Istanbul park is filled with locals on warm evenings

On any sultry evening in Istanbul, the central and colourfully lit-up Sultanahmet Arkeolojik Park is filled with extended families and large groups of friends picnicking on stuffed vine leaves and baklava well into the night. Between the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia, it’s an ornamental garden in the heart of the city but with the freedom to sit and picnic on the grass. It’s bordered by a small, white wrought iron fence and big palm trees, and filled with neatly-pruned hedges, vivid flowerbeds and blossom trees. The Avicenna Hotel is a few minutes' walk from the park, with rooms that overlook the Marmara Sea and a leafy, sunny courtyard where you can have breakfast.

Brandon Hill Park, Bristol

A picnic with a view in Bristol

A picnic with a view in Bristol

Right in the centre of hilly Bristol, Brandon Hill Park boasts views of the entire cityscape. Stock up on picnic treats at the Primrose deli and pack a scotch egg from Bristol’s Handmade Scotch Egg Company Ltd, then head to Cabot Tower, a sandstone Gothic Revival monument decorated with buttresses and balconies, its spire peeking out above the greenery. You can climb to the top of the viewing platform for arguably the best view of Bristol, before laying out your picnic spread on the gently-sloping lawns and, if you’re the type who shares food, offering some to the local squirrels. In one of the area's recognisable, grand Victorian villas, Clifton House is a short walk from Brandon Hill Park.

Park Güell, Barcelona

Stuff your face with tapas while surrounding by Gaudí sculptures

Stuff your face with tapas while surrounding by Gaudí sculptures

Atop Barcelona’s Carmel Hill, Park Güell is the place in the city to have a picnic. Its height equates to incredible city views but it’s also home to the Monumental Zone, where mosaic sculptures and other creations by celebrated Spanish architect, Gaudí, are on display. Stuff your face with tapas washed down with sangria, underneath the park’s colourful parrot-filled trees. Watch the sunset from the main terrace, featuring a long bench shaped and decorated like a sea serpent with enclaves that encourage a social and jovial atmosphere. Stay in a minimalistic, modern apartment just a short walk from Park Güell.

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

The bison paddocks in the Golden Gate Park

The bison paddocks in the Golden Gate Park

With views of San Fran's Golden Gate Bridge and the teal-blue Bay, this park is visually spectacular. It’s enormous, so even when it’s at its most crowded, you’ll have abundant choices for an attractive picnic spot. Around the bison paddock area, there are lots of open fields where you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of rural California. Head to Spreckels Lake or Strawberry Hill in the middle of Stow Lake if you like to be near the water. Or the lawns of the Botanical Garden, after which you can follow the meandering paths to the nearby Japanese Tea Garden. Stay at Casa Luna near the park for apartment accommodation in a huge, characterful and typically San-Franciscan house.

Yoyogi Park, Tokyo

People-watch in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo

People-watch in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo

Yoyogi Park is probably the most popular park in Tokyo and far from spoiling the atmosphere, the people watching opportunities presented by the crowds of happy picnickers is part of the reason to visit. When the cherry blossoms bloom the park is at its prettiest and yet summer and autumn each hold their own appeal (snowy winter isn’t a wise choice). You don’t even need to carry your bento box picnic with you as there are plenty of food trucks where you’ll find snacks, green tea ice cream and drinks. Close to the park, TRUNK (HOTEL)'s décor mixes greenery with wood and dark hues for an appealing overall effect.

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