Explore Gaudi’s Barcelona

Gaudi has left his fingerprints all over Barcelona and chances are, if you visit, you’ll end up at one of these UNESCO heritage sites constructed by him.  Barcelona is a city I really love and one of its greatest architects, Gaudi, needs his own little space on the blog. Here’s six Gaudi creations you can’t miss on your trip to Barcelona.

La Sagrada Familia

This church is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.  It’s probably Gaudi’s most famous masterpiece in Barcelona and it’s still not yet finished, 90 years after Gaudi’s death.  The architectural style is a mix between Gothic and Art Nouveau with splashes of color on the mosaic covered domes.  The symbolism in the architecture is immense.  There’s the eighteen spires representing religious figures such as the twelve apostles and Jesus, and when completed, they will make the Sagrada Familia the tallest church building in the world.  The east, south and west sides of the church represents the different faҫades of The Nativity, The Passion of Christ and The Glory of Christ.  There are many other symbols to be discovered and Gaudi added a variety of animals and plants into his creation.  The inside of the church is magical with stained glass windows creating magnificent hues under the spectacular roof of the nave that was designed to mirror tree branches.  This is an absolutely must see when you are in Barcelona.

Because of it’s popularity it’s best to buy a ticket online before you go. The queues can be miles long and sometimes even stretch right around the cathedral. If you want to skip the queue completely, get a fast track ticket. Check out Get Your Guide for more ticket and small tour options.

Barcelona Gaudi Casa Mila rooftop

Casa Milà

Gaudi designed Casa Milà for the wealthy businessman Pere Milà and was originally known as La Pedrera.  The Milàs were not really happy with Gaudi’s stone design and refused to pay him. After a lawsuit Gaudi received his money and gave it all to the poor.  Visitors can view the main and top floors and can see the spectacular stone sculptures on the roof.  The design left an impression on me, as does all of Gaudi’s work. Buy a ticket to skip the lines.

Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló sits on La Manzana de la Discordia (the Block of Discord) in competition with buildings of other famous Barcelonan architects (Domènech I Montaner, Puig I Cadafalch).  I found that Casa Batlló is by far the most fantastical on the block with its curves and blue and green shades.  To me the colourful mosaic and stained glass reminded of an ice-cream with sprinkles, but really how you see it is entirely up to your own imagination.  The blue ceramic tile work on the inside makes you feel like you’re swimming in a calm ocean and the mosaics on the roof is just marvelous.

Park Güell

Located in Barcelona’s Zona Alto’s Gràcia area lies Park Güell, Gaudi’s marvellous public park.  It sits neatly on top of a hill (just follow all the tourists up the steep slope) with beautiful views of the city.  It’s filled with colourful tilework (my favourite), strange Hansel and Gretel buildings, and the famous mosaic salamander and fountain near the original entrance.  When you take a walk up the stairs it leads you to the Hall of One Hundred Columns with white tiled domes.  On top of the Hall is an open space encircled with beautiful serpent-like tiled benches for the public.  The rest of the park is a vast green space and Gaudi’s residence (now a museum) is also on the premises.  My tips:  buy tickets online as the number of people they let in every half an hour or so is now controlled.  Take a bottle of water (the hike is steep in Barcelona’s humid hot summers) and beware of pick-pockets! Go the early if you can to avoid the crowds. Get Your Guide offers a good guided tour with a fast track ticket if you want to skip the lines.

Palau Güell

Gaudi built this place for his patron, Eusebi Güell.  The building has a modern feel to it but slightly darker than Gaudi’s other colourful works.  The residence has twenty rooftop chimneys and the ceilings are just dreamy.  This is a great example of Gaudi’s earliest works and is just of the busy La Rambla pedestrian street.

Casa Vicens

Casa Vicens is located in the Gracià neighbourhood and the first house Gaudi designed. I feel that it’s overshadowed by the above mentioned sites but it is actually one of my favorites. The reddish colors of the building is offset by the colorful tile work and shows many Moorish influences. The house is now a UNESCO site and museum that can be visited. Buy tickets here or take a tour with a private guide.

What is your favorite Gaudi landmark?  Feel free to share in the comments!

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