Gaudi in Barcelona: Architectural Marvels You Must See For Yourself

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Even if you’re not into architecture there’s something compelling about Gaudi’s works. Fortunately, many of them can be seen in Barcelona.

When visiting Barcelona check out the Sagrada Famila, Gaudi's masterpiece
Sagrada Familia

Who is Antoni Gaudi and why is he so revered? 

Gaudi was a Spanish architect (he died in 1926). He was known as the greatest contributor to the movement of Catalan Modernism. His works are incredibly unique and definitely very Gaudi.

You’ll know it’s a Gaudi building even before you can confirm that it is. Gaudi’s works reflect his passions:  architecture, nature and religion. 

As a child, he suffered from rheumatism. While other children were playing, he would often be confined to a chair and spent hours outside drawing. His time in and love for nature is reflected in all of his works. 

Gaudi’s UNESCO Sites in Barcelona

Barcelona as seen from Park Güell, designed by Gaudi
Barcelona as seen from Gaudi’s Park Güell.

Furthermore, an incredible seven buildings (or parts of) are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. All of them are found in the province of Barcelona. They are: 1) Parque Güell, 2) Palacio Güell, 3)Casa Mila, 4) Casa Vicens, 5)Nativity Façade and Crypt of the Sagrada Familia, other parts of the Sagrada Familia, 6) Casa Batlló and the 7) Crypt at the Colònia Güell.

Why a Gaudi Tour is a Must When You Visit Barcelona

You can tell a Gaudi building just from looking at the roof.
Gaudi’s unique style is instantly recognizable as you explore Barcelona.

Even if you’re short on time, I highly recommend visiting at least a couple of Gaudi’s buildings while in Barcelona. His works are fascinating and will also give you a glimpse of Catalan culture as seen through his eyes. 

As someone who loves nature, his works deeply resonate with me. 

You may just decide to visit one Gaudi building, but I’ll warn you, his works are addictive. They’ll leave you wanting more. You could easily spend several days exploring Gaudi’s works in Barcelona. 

Guided Gaudi Tours in Barcelona

My top picks if you’re hesitant about a guided Gaudi Tour would be  Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlló , Sagrada Familia & Park Güell. The Sagrada Familia is his masterpiece and his most famous piece of work. Not to mention the most visited monument in Spain. 

I love Casa Batlló because the Batlló family commissioned Gaudi to redesign their house. It’s incredible design on a much smaller scale than the Sagrada Familia and I love seeing what he did in both large and smaller spaces. 

If you want to spend a full day discovering Gaudi, which I’d highly recommend, then check out the Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, Sagrada Familia, and Park Güell Tour. It’s 10.5 hours and you’ll discover a lot about Gaudi in a single day.

Self-Guided Gaudi Tours in Barcelona

Of course, it’s also possible to do a self-guided Gaudi Tour. In which case, these are my top picks.

Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia

When visiting Barcelona you must visit Gaudi's Sagrada Famila, the most visited monument in Spain
The famous tower of the Sagrada Familia.

Sagrada Familia is a large Catholic church.  Despite being started in 1882 it has still yet to be completed. It’s considered to be the most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages.  

It is hoped that it will be completed by 2026. That marks the Centennial of Gaudi’s death, but on my last visit there,  the brochure indicates a completion date of 2028.

The completion date is a topic of much speculation among locals. What’s your guess?

Travel Tips for Visiting Sagrada Familia:

I enjoyed visiting inside Sagrada Familia. The extra couple of € is worth it to climb the towers for the views over Barcelona.  If possible, plan to visit Sagrada Familia during La Mercè, an annual festival held on September 24th, but the festivities start a few days earlier.  

During this time visitors can see the Sagrada Light Show.  I missed this by one day on one of my earlier visits to Barcelona, but it looks very impressive!  There are also Christmas concerts held there in December.  

I highly recommend booking the fast track entrance which includes access to the Nativity Tower for incredible views and an audio guide. On one of my visits to the Sagrada Familia, I was there 15 minutes before opening time and waiting 90 minutes. By the time I had completed my visit, the line was even longer.

That’s why I highly recommend fast track tickets for the popular Gaudi attractions. You want to spend your time exploring Gaudi buildings in Barcelona, not spending hours waiting to get inside them. 

Sagrada Familia Location, Opening Hours and Admission: 

 Carrer de Mallorca, 401, opens daily at 9:00 am. Closes between 2:0o to 8:00 pm depending on the time of the year. The last entrance is 30 minutes before closing time. Tickets cost between €17 – €32. 

Related Reading: 15 Best Viewpoints in Barcelona.

 

Gaudi’s Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló was a private house that Gaudi was commissioned to redesign.
Casa Batlló is one of the iconic landmarks in Barcelona.

Casa Batlló is my favourite Gaudi house. It was a restoration of a late 1800s house which Gaudi was commissioned to do. Visitors will be hard pressed to find a straight line in the house, but it’s fun to try. I also love the view from the rooftop. 

It was very controversial, breaking many by-laws when it was built between 1904 – 1906. Eventually, the city was won over with its Art Noveau design in the extreme. 

In 1906 the Barcelona City Council named Casa Batlló as one of the three best buildings of the year.  Today it holds UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

Check out this virtual tour here. 

gaudi house casa batllo roof
Roof top of Casa Batlló 

Travel Tip for Visiting Gaudi’s Casa Batlló:

There was only a short line to get in when I visited this time on a Saturday in November. However, I’ve also waited over an hour to get in on other occasions. If you’re in Barcelona at a peak time, it can be very busy.

Therefore, I recommend buying a Skip-the-Line Ticket in advance which also includes a visit to the Private Hall, getting a vintage photo taken, and an immersive experience with the augmented reality of a smart guide.

Casa Batlló Location, Opening Hours and Admission: 

Passeig de Gràcia, 43, open 365 days of the year from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm (last entry: 8.00 pm). Tickets cost between €25 to €39. 

 

Related Reading: Coastal Hike from Catalonia, Spain to France.

Gaudi’s Park Güell

Park Güell, a famous Gaudi park in Barcelona, Spain
Park Güell is the most creative park I’ve ever visited.

Park Güell is a whimsy of oversized mosaic. You’ll be greeted by a mosaic dragon fountain (pictured above) as you enter Park Güell. Other highlights include the most famous is the serpent bench or famous dragon. Not surprisingly the park is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Travel  Tip for Visiting Gaudi’s Park Güell:

Entrance to Park Güell used to be free but the entrance is now €10.  Go on a clear day and you will have incredible views of Barcelona stretching all the way to the sea.  If you’re going in the summer, go early as it gets busy.

Alternatively, consider a Skip-the-Line Guided Walking Tour of the park to discover much more than you would if you explored the park on your own. 

Park Güell Location, Opening Hours and Admission: 

08024 Barcelona, opens from 8:00 to 8:30 am depending on the time of the year. A single adult ticket costs €10.

Related Reading: The Best of What to Do in Barcelona.

Gaudi’s Casa Mila

You can visit Casa Milia both during the day or at night.
Casa Milia, an apartment building with an elevator that only stops on every second florr.

Casa Mila, also called La Pedrera, is considered to be the epitome of Modernist design. Interestingly though the self-supported stone facade and iron-wrought balconies were considered controversial at the time it was built.  

Casa Mila is an apartment building with elevators stopping only on every second floor.  Gaudi believed that neighbours should know each other and converse with one another. This was his way of imposing this.  Sadly, I haven’t been inside yet – another reason to return to Barcelona!

Travel Tip for Visiting Gaudi’s Casa Mila:

Both day and night tours are offered. The Skip-the-Line Night Tour sounds especially intriguing, promising amazing audiovisual display on the roof terrace,  light and projections in the stairwells and panoramic views of Barcelona’s L’Eixample. 

You can also purchase a Skip-the-Line Day Tour which includes an audio guide.

Casa Mila Location, Opening Hours and Admission: 

Passeig de Gràcia, 92, Opening hours: 9:00 am to 8:30 pm, last entry 30 minutes before. Night opening access: 9:00 to 11:00 pm. Tickets cost between €22 to €41. 

Related Reading: Eat Like a Local in Barcelona.

Gaudi’s Casa Vincens

Casa Vicens, a famous Gaudi house in Barcelona, Spain
Casa Vicens as seen from the outside.

Casa Vincens was Gaudi’s first important work and is now a UNESCO site. It has an obvious Moorish influence.  Unfortunately, when I was there the house was a private residence and not open to the public.  I snapped quite a few photos of it, intrigued with all the detail. I especially liked the white and green tile below the patios.  Gaudi had thought of every aesthetic from every possible angle.

But the good news for you, it’s now a museum and open to the public. Yeah! 

Travel Tip for Visiting Gaudi’s Casa Vincens:

You can purchase a Skip-the-Line Ticket to see Casa Vincens for a very reasonable €12. It’s cheaper than the regular ticket from the official site so I highly recommend it. Casa Vincens Location, Opening Hours and Admission: 

Casa Vincens Location, Opening Hours and Admission: 

Carreró de les Carolines, 20. Open daily from 10 am to 8pm. Last admission is at 6.40pm. Tickets: €16.

Related Reading: Day Trip to Girona from Barcelona.

The Gaudí Experiència a 4D Movie

4D movie theatre for Gaudi Experiencia in Barcelona, Spain
Seats at the movie theatre with seat belts at the Gaudi Experiencia.

The 10-minute movie is overpriced at €9 but it was entertaining. It was also  the first time I’ve ever had to wear a seat belt in a movie theatre:

Travel Tip for Visiting Gaudí Experiència:

If you decide you want to do this, plan it in combination with Park Güell since it’s located nearby. I recommend buying your tickets in advance

It’s a cool experience, but if you’re short on cash, save your money. Instead, visit one of the interiors of Gaudi’s other buildings. These provide more value for money in my opinion. 

Location, Opening Hours and Admission: 

Carrer de Larrard, 41. October 1 – March 31: 11.30am to 4:00 pm and from April 1 – Sept 30: 10.30 am to 7:00 pm (last show is 30 minutes before closing time). Tickets: 9. 

Related Reading: Barcelona – Secrets of the Gothic Quarter.

 

Where to Stay: Gaudi Hotel

guests of Hotel Gaudi get unique views of Palau Güell
View of the chimneys of Palau Güell as seen from Hotel Gaudi. Photo courtesy of Booking.com.

If you’re a Gaudi fan, stay at the Gaudi Hotel. It’s conveniently located in the heart of Barcelona. And most impressively, it has views of Palau Güell (Güell Palace) including views of the chimneys which can’t be seen from the street. 

Some of the rooms are decorated in an Art Noveau style to emulate Palau Güell so be sure to ask for one of these rooms when you make your reservation

 

By now I hope that I’ve convinced you to visit at least one of Gaudi’s famous works when you’re in Barcelona. He was truly one of a kind and has left his unique footprint on Barcelona.

can't miss Gaudi sights in Barcelona

Thank you to Vueling and NH Calderón for hosting me in Barcelona.  

 

 

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About Author

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Laurel
Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains Adventure Travel. She's passionate about getting outdoors as often as possible and helping travellers do the same on their vacation in a sustainable way. She's Canadian and grew up in the Canadian Rockies but now lives in Munich, Germany. You can find her skiing or hiking in the mountains most weekends, hanging out with her cat or with her nose in a good book.

Comments

November 27, 2012
Barcelona is one of my favorite cities in the world, and the works by Gaudi are part of the reason why. MJ took a pic of me surfing the "wave" at Parc Guell and it remains one of my favorite travel pics to date.
November 27, 2012
@D.J. - I understand why and it's one of my favorite cities as well. Glad to hear that Park Güell has such great memories for you. It's an incredible place.
November 27, 2012
Barcelona is a city that never loses its appeal and I agree about Parc Guell - certainly the most interesting & the liveliest park I have ever been to. I loved the impromptu music that filled the corners too. I flew Vueling last year to Grenada and for a budget airline I think they did a fantastic job - on time + decent snacks.
November 27, 2012
@Leigh - Agreed, I don't normally like big cities, but Barcelona doesn't feel as big as it is and I'm always discovering new places every time I visit. Great to hear that you've flown with Vueling. I find they have the best rates for flights from Munich to Barcelona, I've flown with them a few times and will continue to fly with them.
Alex @ ifs ands & Butts
November 27, 2012
I had never heard of this Airline, definitely going to have to keep it in mind! Bareclona is definitely a spectacular city!
November 27, 2012
@Alex - I hadn't heard of them until I moved to Germany either, but I find they often have the best deals on flights to Barcelona. Definitely worth looking into.
November 27, 2012
Barcelona is absolutely one of my favorites too and I so need to return. I lived about 10 minutes from the Sagrada Familia and loved walking by in the early mornings or late at nights when the crowds were gone. I love Gaudi's work. Have you seen the film by the Japanese director, Teshigahara? Actually, it's an homage than a film.
November 27, 2012
I've never been to Barcelona this time of year. Must be a lot more relaxed than in the summertime.
November 27, 2012
@Italian Notes - I think November is a great time to go to Barcelona. The weather was still 16-18 C, so perfect sight seeing weather and it wasn't nearly as many tourists. Even on a Saturday morning the line for the Sagrada Familia was probably less than 15 minutes!
November 27, 2012
There often are concerts in the summer on the rooftop of La Pedrera. With the view and some good music, it's really a magical venue! Thanks for the tip on Vueling
November 27, 2012
@Anne - Great tip, thanks so much for sharing, it sounds like it would be a magical venue.
November 27, 2012
I've never been to Barcelona but I am really looking forward to seeing all that Gaudi offers when I get there. His architecture is so unusual and wonderful!
November 27, 2012
@Debbie - I think you would love Barcelona. I always try and discover a new Gaudi piece every time I visit.
November 27, 2012
Love Gaudi's curious structures. The roof of La Pedrera is a chapter all on its own. Not only fab views but very quirky utilities-disguised-as-art up there as well.
November 27, 2012
@Sophie - Me too! Now I'm really kicking myself for not going inside or on the roof of La Pedrera. Definitely next time!
November 27, 2012
I really wanted to tour Casa Batlló, but we ran out of time. Gaudi was such a creative genius. I love how his influence is seen in so much of Barcelona. Great photo of you and the master architect!
November 28, 2012
I love the picture of Park Güell--funky! Great architecture add a lot to a city. (voted for you at the Expats Blog Awards--best of luck!)
November 28, 2012
We didn't make it to Barcelona the last time we were in Spain. I would love to visit all of Gaudi's works including spending some time at Sagrada. I'm sure my kids wouldn't want to leave Park Güell. This post will be bookmarked with all your helpful tourist tips. You're so lucky to be so close to all those fabulous European cities for weekend breaks.
November 29, 2012
@Mary - I think kids would love Park Güell. Glad you found it useful and hope you're able to visit soon. Agreed, I'm lucky to be so close.
November 29, 2012
Hello Laurel from a fellow Canadian. I really enjoyed this post as I become fascinated with Gaudi since returning from Spain. The first time I walked the Camino de Santiago, I didn't even know who he was. I still stopped at buildings he designed in Astorga and Leon and marveled at the architecture. I knew better when I went to Barcelona, but my stay there was far too short. Thanks for your wonderful photos and writing.
November 29, 2012
@Randall - Thanks so much for your message and kine words. Always nice to connect with another Canadian. I would love to do the Camino de Santiago and would love to visit Gaudi's buildings in Astorga and Leon. Guess it's a good reason to go back to Spain.

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