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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Valenti

Antoni Gaudí's Barcelona - a splendid trip through modernist architecture


Parc Guell, Barcelona, Spain

When you mention of Barcelona, you immediately think of Antoni Gaudí: trying to explain the link between the architect and the city is not easy. It was and still is the heart of the city, celebrated by the inhabitants of Barcelona and by tourists from all over the world coming to admire its works. A trip to Barcelona must include his main works, even those who are not passionate about architecture will love Casa Battló and the Sagrada Familia, now symbols of the city, as well as Parc Güell and Palau Güell.


If you are also interested in a complete itinerary of Barcelona, ​​go and check check my post with a 3-days guide to visit it, including the works of Gaudì - Barcelona: 3-day itinerary to discover this vibrant Spanish city.

To find out what you absolutely must taste in Barcelona, ​​what are the typical dishes and where to find them click here - What to eat in Barcelona: typical dishes and where to find them!

If, on the other hand, you are still planning your trip and you need practical information such as where to stay or how to move around Barcelona, ​​here is the post for you - Planning your weekend in Barcelona: useful tips and tricks for a low-cost trip.


Now, let's see who was Gaudì and let's discover together which works you must visit among those built by the hand of one of the most celebrated architects in the world.

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (1852 - 1926) was an architect know for the Catalan modernism (also called Art Nouveau or Jugendstil). Born in Reus, he was the son of a coppersmith and he moved to Barcelona to study architecture. Gaudi died on 7 June 1926 at the age of 73 after being hit by a tram and was buried in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia.

Over the years, UNESCO has included 7 monuments designed by Antoni Gaudí on its world heritage list: a recognition never achieved by anyone else.

  • Casa Battló

  • La Pedrera - Casa Milà

  • Palau Güell

  • Sagrada Familia

  • Casa Vicens

  • Parc Güell

  • Güell Crypt

Let's see in detail each of these beauties, with useful information and tricks to make the most of your visit to Barcelona following Gaudí's art. The only one we have not seen is the Güell Crypt in Santa Coloma de Cervelló, as it's located outside Barcelona. It was always considered by his creator as a dress rehearsal for the construction of the Sagrada Familia.


Casa Battló

Casa Battlo, Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain

Casa Battlò, located on Passeig de Gràcia, is one of the wonders of Barcelona by the very famous architect Antoni Gaudí, who renovated this house between 1904 and 1906 as an exclusive residence for Josep Batlló, a wealthy aristocrat. There is nothing edgy about Casa Batlló, everything is wavy and rounded just like the waves of the sea, which Gaudi was inspired by when designing the Casa, a special example of architecture in the style of Catalan modernism. The central theme of "Casa Batlló" is that of St. George, the slayer of dragons, who plays an important role in Barcelona's history: the facade is covered with mosaics, also called Trencadís (characteristic of Gaudi's style) which recall the fish scales, while the small tower on the roof with a cross could represent the sword of St George being threaded into the dragon.

Casa Battlo, Barcelona, Spain

The columns on the ground floor look like dinosaurs's legs and the wavy mosaic roof, the scaly backbone of a huge dragon. The balconies of Huize Batlló are like jaws of sea creatures that come out of the sea. On the balconies you can see the skulls; these bones and the skulls on the facade represent the victims of the dragon. Admission to Casa Battlò is quite expensive but well deserved, and by following some advice you can save a little on the ticket: book in advance online on the website. This will allow you to take advantage of a discount compared to purchasing it there and will guarantee you access, avoiding long queues and the possibility of tickets running out. If you are planning a low-budget trip to Barcelona and you have to choose what to visit between Casa Battlò, La Pedrera and Casa Vicens, choose the former one! It's splendid, an unforgettable experience even for those who are not passionate about architecture: we loved it, even the audio guide included in the price was comprehensive and interesting. At the end of the visit, on the lower floor, we witnessed a very special multimedia exhibition, do not miss it (it's included in the ticket price). Opening hours: 9:00 - 18:30 I recommend that you go there in the early morning, to avoid the hordes of tourists who visit the house every day: we had booked for 9:15 and we were super satisfied, there were few people and we enjoyed it well. Time spent for the visit: 1h

Online prices:

  • 29€ students, audio guide included

  • 35€ adults, audio guide included


La Pedrera - Casa Milà

La Pedrera - Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

Casa Milà, also located on Passeig de Gràcia, a few hundred meters from Casa Battlò, is also known as La Pedrera ("quarry" in Catalan). It's the last civil work by Antoni Gaudí, to which he dedicated himself from 1906 to 1912 and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984. Casa Milà now houses a museum with temporary exhibitions. On the fourth floor, there is a furnished apartment in the twentieth century style, the attic houses an exhibition on the work of the architect Gaudí, while the undulating roof terrace is filled with special ventilation towers and chimneys with particular shapes characterizing the building. From this roof terrace you can enjoy a splendid view over the city. N.B .: The roof can only be visited when the weather is nice. The ticket entrance to La Pedrera is expensive, which is why this time we chose to admire it only from the outside: among the various works by Gaudì it's perhaps the least exciting. In any case, if you want to visit it, book in advance online on the website here too to take advantage of a discount compared to purchasing on site and avoiding long queues and the possibility of tickets running out. Opening hours: 9:00 - 18:30

Online prices:

  • 19€ students, audio guide included

  • 25€ adults, audio guide included


Palau Güell

Palau Guell, Barcelona, Spain

Taking Carrer Nou de la Rambla, a street perpendicular to the Rambla that leads to the Raval district, after a few steps we find the austere facade of Palau Güell, an imposing building in dark gray tones. It was the first work commissioned by Eusebi Güell to Antoni Gaudí in 1885, which was completed in 1890. The building was declared a historic monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. As austere as the exterior may appear, inside we find a lot of opulence and luxury, but in a totally different way from the works of Gaudi.

Palau Guell, Barcelona, Spain

The roof terrace is the real jewel of the building: on the upper level there are 6 brick fireplaces, while on the lower level there are 14, all clad in trencadis, the famous technique invented by Gaudí to cover the structures with a mosaic that combines irregular pieces of ceramic, glass, earthenware or marble. At the center of the terrace stands a 15 meter high spire that covers the dome of the central hall, covered in sandstone. The flat roof of the Guell Palace resembles a fairytale garden: it's symbolically considered as the sky that Gaudí imagines 'otherworldly' and offers a splendid view over the center of Barcelona. I absolutely recommend you to visit it, even if less touristy than Casa Battlò and La Pedrera, it's really worth it, especially for the roof and the chimneys. N.B .: in case of rain the terrace is closed and it will not be possible to access it.

Opening hours:

  • 1st April - 30th September: 10:00-20:00 (ticket office closing at 19:00)

  • 1st October - 31st March: 10:00-17:30 (ticket office closing at 17:30)

  • Closed: Monday on weekdays, 25th and 26th December, 1st e 6th January, January's fourth week

Prices:

  • Adults - audio guide included 12€

  • Students 9€


Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

The expiatory temple of the Sagrada Familia is certainly one of the symbols of Barcelona, ​​one of its most famous attractions, visited by tourists from all over the world. The part built by Gaudí was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005 while in 2010 and Pope Benedict XVI visited the temple and made it a Basilica. Although it was begun in 1882 by Gaudì, the works is expected to only be completed in 2026, when the centenary of his death will occur: it was in fact still incomplete when Gaudì was hit by a tram and killed in 1926. Once finished, the Sagrada Familia will become the tallest church in the world with its 170 meters. I had been there exactly 10 years ago and it was great to visit it again and find it very different: I immediately noticed the difference and all the new parts that they have managed to create over the years. It will be wonderful to go back once it's finished and finally see it complete!

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

This is the most complex and particular project of Gaudì, to which he dedicated 43 years of his life: he wanted to create the perfect temple, presenting the life of Jesus and the history of faith. The 18 towers are dedicated to important figures from the Bible: 12 represent the apostles, 4 the evangelists, one the Virgin Mary (recently completed) and the highest of all Jesus Christ, which will be surmounted by a cross that will reach 172 meters in height. height. As with all expiatory temples, funds for the construction of the Sagrada Familia can only come from donations and personal contributions. Among the many wonders of the Sagrada Familia, my favorite is the spectacular play of colors and lights that can be admired inside, thanks to the rays of the sun that filter through the magnificent windows, creating a colours that changes according to the visiting hours.

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

The interior is breathtaking: you would never expect it from the entrance.. clean, simple and minimal, with lot of light. The thing that fascinates me most about the Sagrada Familia is that looking at it from the outside, its two main facades and the interior all seem to come from different churches: the styles are so different, that they create an incredible harmony! It's also possible to climb the towers and enjoy a unique view of the city. At the end of the visit of the Basilica do not miss the museum to learn more about the construction, Gaudì and his splendid projects! I strongly recommend that you book tickets in advance on the official website, both to pay less and to avoid long queues outside, but also to avoid the risk of finding tickets sold out by showing up at the cash desk. By purchasing the ticket, you can download the Sagrada Familia app for free and, by entering the code of your tickets, you can download the free audio guide: bring a pair of headphones to be able to listen directly from your smartphone! The guide is very well done, it lasts about 45 minutes and is also available in Italian: we found it very comprehensive and of the right duration! Total duration of the visit: about 2 hours

Prices:

  • Students 24€ - audio guide included on the free app

Opening hours:

  • from November to February: 9:00 - 18:00

  • March and October: 9:00 - 19:00

  • from April to September: 9:00 - 20:00

  • 25th and 26th December, 1st and 6th January: 9:00 - 14:00


Casa Vicens

Casa Vicens, Barcelona, Spain

Casa Vicens is Antoni Gaudí's first workand and it's very different from his other creations: it's a bizarre, colorful and oriental-looking building that stands out on an anonymous street in the district of Gracia. It's the first and least known work of Gaudí, which he built between 1883 and 1885, an extravagant residence that opened its doors to the public only in 2017. It's a fairy-tale building, from which his typical vein already shines through. Since 2005 it has been declared a World Heritage Site. In it you can see a combination of traditional materials with decorative arts, as well as strong evocations of Arab or Oriental architecture: it's impossible not to notice it, imposing and breathtaking, perhaps one of the most beautiful for me. It's a bit out of the way, but it's really worth a visit: we stopped by after the Sagrada Familia and before going to Parc Güell. Opening hours:

  • from April to October: 10:00 - 20:00

  • from November to March: Monday 10:00 - 15:00; from Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 - 19:00.

  • Closed: 25th December, 6th January and 9 -18 January

Prices:

  • Adults online: 18€

  • Adults at ticket office: 20€

I therefore recommend that you book online on the official website so you can save money.

Casa Vicens, Barcelona, Spain

Parc Güell

Parc Guell, Barcelona, Spain

Parc Güell is one of the most beautiful and visited parks in Barcelona and one of the most appreciated works of Gaudi, built between 1900 and 1914 on behalf of Eusebi Güell. It's made up of a series of gardens and very special architectural structures and is located on the Carmel hill, just outside the city center. It has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1984 and although it was once accessible for free, now you have to pay for the ticket. Getting there on foot is quite tiring, we made the outward journey on foot as the last stop of our morning itinerary: Arc de Triomf, Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau, Sagrada Família and Casa Vicens, while on the way back we returned to the center by bus v19. Inside Parc Güell there are many things to see:

  • Casa-Museo Gaudí: it's located within the park and it was Gaudi's residence for twenty years. Today it's a museum that houses a collection of furniture and objects designed by the famous architect, as well as works by other of his collaborators.

  • Plaza de la Naturaleza: it's certainly the most visited and crowded place in the park. This is the main terrace, surrounded by a long bench in the shape of a sea snake, decorated by the famous Trencadis, recreating the scales. From the terrace you can admire a truly unique view of Barcelona, ​​with the Sagrada Familia and the Montjuic area.

Parc Guell, Barcelona, Spain
  • Dragon's staircase: from the entrance to the park there is a double staircase flanked by two walls that form a terrace under which two caves open up. In the middle of the staircase, located right in front of the entrance, you'll find the shield of Catalonia and higher up is the dragon / salamander, covered with mosaics, which over the years has become the most popular image of the park.

  • Hypostyle room: the great staircase of the dragon leads to the Hypostyle Room, originally intended to house the urbanization market that should have arisen. It's made up of 86 columns and the ceiling is made up of small domes decorated with mosaics.

Opening Hours: 9:30 - 19:30

Prices:

  • Adults 10€

I always recommend booking in advance on the website because you seriously risk arriving there and that the tickets are sold-out: we saw many people not being able to enter. For those who want, here is a little secret to enter for free: if you go there before 7:45 am, when the guards are not there to check the ticket and the barriers are not yet there, you will be able to enter freely. Same thing at night. In fact this information is also on the website, so it's not illegal, don't worry! We had planned to go in like this, but unfortunately we didn't hear the alarm, so I had to book online two of the few tickets left for the day!



We have finally come to the end of our Barcelona tour dedicated to Antoni Gaudí! I hope that you too will be passionate about his creations as I did: although I had already seen them all years ago, this time I did the complete tour again, they never get tired!

Now that I've told you everything you need to know about Gaudi's Barcelona, ​​you just have to plan your Barcelona itinerary so you don't miss a thing in this beautiful city. So, here is the link for my 3-day itinerary in Barcelona - Barcelona: 3-day itinerary to discover this vibrant Spanish city To find out what you absolutely must taste in Barcelona, ​​what are the typical dishes and where to find them - What to eat in Barcelona: typical dishes and where to find them! If, on the other hand, you are still organizing your trip and you need practical information such as where to stay or how to move around Barcelona, ​​here is the post for you - Planning your weekend in Barcelona: useful tips and tricks for a low-cost trip

Have a good trip!



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