Antoni Gaudí is the most famous Catalan architect in history. Born in 1826, Gaudí became the leader of Modernism in Catalonia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In total, seven of his buildings have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
He is the most creative architect we have ever seen. Each building has its own beauty while using similar materials and mosaics. Each building its own magic and story to tell. Gaudí helped give Barcelona an image that it holds to this day, throughout Spain and the world.
One of the most important things to add to your travel guide to Barcelona is trips to see Gaudí’s work.
Fun Fact: As a religious catholic, all of Gaudí’s buildings were dedicated to G-d, and in his later years focused primarily on churches, schools and hospitals.
7 must see Gaudí buildings
1. Park Guell
Park Guell features original Gaudí sculptures, mosaics and various artistic structures across a wide complex. You can venture around the park and some designed green areas.
This park used to be a public park but now you need to pay to get into the monument zone. Ticket lines on site are long and wait times are delayed, so please buy your tickets online.
The park has different hours during different months, but is generally open from 8:30AM to 6:15PM over the winter and 8AM to 8PM over the summer. But make sure to check the opening hours for your exact visit date.
Tickets online are €7/adults and €4.90/children. Tickets at the park are €8/adults and €5.60/children.
2. Palau Guell
This palace residence of the Güell family has a more sober façade that doesn’t quickly identify it as Gaudí. However, the interior and the roof provide the more modern architecture one expects from Gaudí.
The central living room has an unusual parabolic dome, and the lounge ceiling is perforated by circles that, under the daylight, give the ceiling a planetarium appearance. The roof has many chimneys with conical vents to resemble fir trees.
The Palau Guell costs €12 for general entry tickets, with reduced tickets for students, children, and elderly. The palace is open from Tuesday to Sunday and the hours are as follows:
- April to October: 10AM to 8PM
- November to March: 10AM to 5:30PM
3. Casa Vicens
Casa Vicens is the first important work of Gaudí, finished in 1889. It has served as a private residence since it was built, until it was sold in 2014.
Right now the building is under construction and scheduled to open as a museum in 2016.
Casa Mila was finished in 1912. Gaudí’s inspiration for the design was the ocean, giving it the wavy look from the outside. The building itself is an architectural feat, being built free of load bearing walls.
It has since become known as La Pedrera, the stone quarry, as many residents of Barcelona thought that is what the building looked like. It faced much controversy after it was built, described as an eyesore and as damaging local property values. History on the other hand has proved this wrong.
Tickets cost €20.50/adults, €16.50/students, €10.25/children(seven to twelve). La Pedrera is open daily with the following hours:
- November to February: 9AM to 6:30PM
- March to October: 9AM to 8:30PM.
5. Caso Batlló
Casa Batlló is also referred as the house of bones, due to the architectural design shaped as the inside of a dragon. The house was finished in 1906 along the Mansana de la Discordia.
Casa Batlló represents the sword of Saint George, which has been plunged into the back of the dragon. The details of this building show Gaudí at his best.
The colorful and intricate façade is only bested by the architectural genius on the inside, including a mushroom shaped fireplace, which you must see for yourself.
The museum is open daily from 9AM to 9PM. Tickets are €21.50/adults, €18.50/youth and students, and Free/children <7.
Sagrada Família is not only Gaudí’s most famous work, but it is also the icon of Barcelona. It has been under construction since 1882, while no complete designs were ever made by Gaudí.
Hopefully, it will be done in 2016 for Gaudí’s 100 year anniversary of his death, but with a design originally slated for several hundred years of construction, locals see no site in end.
The church presents an excellent depiction of the relationship between man, nature, and religion through its architecture and façade sculptures. Even the natural aging of older portions of the façade add to its endless beauty.
Climbing one of its towers will give you a unique view of Barcelona.
The church is open from 9AM to 8PM over the summer and 9AM to 6PM over the winter. Tickets cost €19.50/with a guide and €15/without a guide. You also can visit the top of one of the towers for an additional €4.50. Buy tickets online if at all possible to avoid long lines and wait times, as well as sold out tower tickets!
The Torre Bellesguard is of Gaudí’s less known works of architecture, as it remained largely hidden from the public for nearly a hundred years. However, Bellesgaurd opened its doors to the public in 2013.
Bellesguard is located at the foot of the mount Tibidabo. The name Bellesguard means “fantastic view” in Catalan referring to the view from the house. It was constructed on the ruins of the 15th-century residence of Martín I el Humano, and exemplifies Gaudí’s patriotism towards Catalonia’s age of glory.
Gaudí though that it is his most symbolic, vocal and personal works of architecture. In the architecture you will find not only classic Gaudí style, but the history of Catalonia itself.
Bellesgaurd is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10AM to 3PM. Tickets are €9/adults and €7.20/children for the self-guided tour and €16/adults and €12.80/children for the guided tour.
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