Gaudi and Barcelona. Barcelona and Gaudi. These two terms have become somewhat synonyms in the past decade. On my most recent visit to Barcelona, I couldn’t help but wonder what if Gaudi had not chosen Barcelona (but that’s a post for another day), the fact is that he did choose Barcelona. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonian and it’s easy to see why. Impressive buildings stand tall on street corners, attractions this way and that with fruit sellers lining the streets and quaint eateries in every direction, Barcelona has what every tourist wants. And, Gaudi is one of the reasons why.
Gaudi was a Spanish architect known for his Catalan modernism and how factors such as, nature, religion and architecture influenced each and every aspect of his work. He had an impeccable eye for detail and this included ornate furnishings such as: ceramics, stained Glass, wrought ironwork forging and carpentry. It is these few factors that make Gaudi’s architecture a must see for travellers, myself included.
There are four main points of interest in Barcelona –
- Sagrada Familia
- Caso Balto
- La Pederera
- Park Guell
The Sagrada Familia is Spain’s biggest tourist attraction. It’s due for completion in 2026 and still pulls in millions of tourists each year. The Sagrada is simply a giant church and was designed so Spaniards could atone for their modern sins. Now tourists revel in its splendour. TOP TIP: By tickets online in advanced, save money and queue jump! Guided tours are available for a small fee of roughly 5 euros. Before you head inside, enjoy the wrought iron doors of the outside. The outside of the Sagrada will have three facades once it’s complete: the nativity, the passion and glory facades. If you want maximum Gaudi influence then head for the nativity façade this is the one that Gaudi had the most influence over before his death. Look up and inhale Gaudi’s most splendid wonder, before bowing your head and venturing in. Once inside, take a minute every direction will attract attention. The stained glass bounces a rainbow of light off the walls. Be sure to wander the perimeter of the Sagrada to ensure you see all of its aspects. The floor plan is that of a cross, with a view of the crypt below visible (Gaudi is buried there). But, take your time and wander around, there are two entrances and even a small museum which outlines the history of this famous church.
Caso Batllo and La Pedrera are both situated in the heart of Barcelona. Caso Batllo is a remodel of a previously built house. The entry into the house includes an audio guide, which is definitely worth a listen. An aquatic theme runs throughout the house and is still in fact laid out like that of a family home. Take your time to pour over the fixtures and fittings that Gaudi himself choose. Top tip: Book online and get queue jump, save money and time!
La Pederea is the next stop on this Gaudi tour, situated just across from Caso Batllo and still used today by renters, so at times being quiet is compulsory. La Pedrera is also known as Casa Milia and was the final piece of work commissioned by Gaudi. The building was originally commissioned by the Mila family, enjoy a step into their world, including the attic and rooftop, which boast splendid views of Barcelona and is made even more enjoyable on a sunny day.
Park Guell is the last of Gaudi’s work which took on my fancy. Top tip: If you get there before 8 on Sundays the inner park area is free to enter also. The park is a reflection of how Gaudi’s artwork was influenced by nature. On a hot day, take a picnic and amble the perimeter enjoy the views, getting lost is a must – trust me.
So there you have it, a quick run down of Gaudi’s most famous works and UNESCO heritage sites in Barcelona. There are others in Barcelona, so if you’re a real Gaudi fan then be sure to check out: Casa Vicens, Güell Pavilions, Teresian College, Casa Calvet, Bellesguard and Sagrada Família Schools. Examples of Gaudi’s works are also in other destinations worldwide, including Leon and New York.
Next Barcelona post – top 5 freebie attractions!
Ciao for now,