Exploring Gaudi’s Barcelona
Exploring Gaudi’s Barcelona is different from exploring Barcelona. These are two different experiences that I feel anyone visiting this beautiful city has to experience.
When I went to Barcelona, I knew nothing about Antoni Gaudi, his work, or who he was. I am excusing my younger self for my ignorance, but when I saw his work, I was truly mesmerised. It was like all my childhood fairytale sets had come to life, and I was someone from those stories that my mother used to read to me.
So, if you have no idea about who Gaudi is or the magic he has created in Barcelona, that’s alright, but have a read of this article, and I hope it piques your interest, and creates an itch, the kind that you can scratch and calm, only once you visit, Gaudi’s Barcelona.
1. Basilica de la Sagrada Familia
The most famous creation of Gaudi’s has to be the Sagrada Familia, an unfinished Roman Catholic Basilica in Barcelona. The construction of the basilica began in 1882 under Francisco de Paula del Villar. When Villar resigned in 1883, Gaudi took over from him, and thus began the creation of the masterpiece. He devoted the rest of his life to the Sagrada Familia. At the time of his death in 1926, only a quarter of it was completed. Gaudi is buried in the crypt at the Sagrada familia. Post his death, his successors following his design are trying to complete it keeping the integrity of the original plans. It is speculated that the construction will be complete in 2026 for the centenary of Gaudi’s death.
It is possible to enter the Sagrada Familia, but expect it to be crowded, and to wait for a long time.
The entrance fee is €20.
2. Park Guell
This is a park designed by Gaudi atop a hill that truly took me back to my childhood fairytales. The buildings in the park resemble gingerbread houses topped with sugary icing (in my eyes), and it was just missing Hansel & Gretel, and a witch to complete my story time with my mother! I never thought I’d be able to see a place that would take me back to my favourite childhood memories!
For those who have no idea of what I’m talking about, Park Guell still is beautiful & whimsical & will introduce you to Gaudi’s work in the most magical way!
I walked to Park Guell, which was quite the unnecessary work out-the climb was extremely steep, and I did question whether visiting it was worth all this effort.
But, the view from the highest point at the park is really nice-of most of the city! So even if you aren’t a fan of Gaudi’s work (how cold you not be), you should come here for the view.
Entrance is FREE for the most part, but there is a part of the park, called the monumental zone which has a lot of Gaudi;s architecture. This part of the park is €10 to enter, but it is possible to get discounted rates for it if you have the Barcelona city pass.
3. Casa Mila
Yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Casa Mila was the last residential building Gaudi designed. Now it is home to the Fundacio Catalunya La Pedrera. The building’s architecture was inspired by nature, and a visit will enthral you!
Entrance fee is €22.
4. Casa Batllo
The building that resembles a dinosaur in my memory is this! It looks scaly in its facade, and the roof is fashioned like a dinosaur/dragon’s back!
Entrance fee - €25 at the ticket window, & €25 online.
5. Guell Palace
The Palau Guell was designed for the industrials Eusebi Guell, and was built between 1886-1888.
If you are in Barcelona on the first Sunday of the month, then head here, because Entrance is FREE!
On other days, entrance fee is €12
6. Casa Vicens Gaudi
This was Gaudi’s first house in Barcelona. Get a guided tour to understand the architecture better, and to hear about the history of the building. Get there early to go on the guided tour, as they are not on all through the day.
Entrance fee is €19.50
7. Gaudi’s Crypt
This church in Colonia Guell a little outside Barcelona city was commissioned to Gaudi by the Guell family in 1898. He had an unlimited budget & complete freedom to work on it and it clearly shows! The construction started in 1908 and went on till 1914, when the Guell family cut the funding as it was getting extremely expensive. When the funding washout, the construction was abandoned. He was able to finish only the crypt, the roof of which had to be completed by another architect.
Entrance fee- €9.90
This manor was built between 1900-1909, and it is located on the grounds of the count of Barcelona.
Gaudi’s fascination with dragons is seen here as well, as there is a dragon on the terrace, hidden in the architecture as seen from the inside of the building.
Entrance fee is €13
9. Illa de la Discordia (Block of discord)
This is something you can do for free! This is a street that has the works of 4 prominent architects of Barcelona-Lluis Domenech I Montaner, Josep Puig I Cadafalch, Enric Sagnier, & Antoni Gaudi. It is called the block of discord because the buildings clash with each other and the other buildings on the street.
The Casa Battlo is on this street, so when you are here to see it, keep your eyes open for the works of the other architects, and to admire the street! I didn’t know about the other architects’ work when I visited, so I did see the buildings around, but didn’t understand the significance of it until much later! The picture below shows a little of Casa Amatller by Puig I Cadafalch. He refurbished the already existing building in a Neo Gothic style. It is possible to visit Casa Amatller as well.
10. Guell Pavillions
This complex of buildings were built between 1884-1887. It was commissioned by Eusebi Guell to Gaudi. The commissioned area was that of the gardens of the summer residence, the entrance gates, & two entrance pavilions which were the gatekeepers lodge and the horse stables. Here too, he has created a guardian dragon. Ladon, the guardian dragon of the garden of Hesperides was overcome by Hercules in a poem told by Jacint Verdaguer. The shape of the dragon is made so as to coincide with the stars of the constellation of Serpens, into which Ladon was transformed as punishment for stealing oranges. As an allusion to this, there is an orange tree made of antimony just above the dragon.
Entrance fee- €5
11. Gaudi Experiencia
This is an experience centre that focuses on Gaudi’s work, and to help the public understand more about the genius behind Barcelona’s most celebrated architecture!
Entrance fee is €9
How to see Gaudi's work on a budget!
If you are short on money, like I was, you could satiate your cravings from looking at the buildings from the outside-though the insides are absolutely worth visiting. But, I was cash strapped and could not afford the over €20 entrance fee for every attraction. So it makes more sense to know what you want to see and all the entrance fees before hand so you can figure out how to manage your finances.
If you are planning on doing a lot of sightseeing in Barcelona, you could take the Barcelona City Pass, or even a bundle pack for Gaudi attractions like the Barcelona Card. Choose wisely, because all the attractions are expensive, and will add up to make a big hole in your wallet sooner than you expect. Choose a bundle pack depending on your interests and what you would like to visit.
The Barcelona City pass gives you free public transport and discounted entry into some attractions, the hop on hop off bus, and free entry and property entry into Sagrada Familia and other attractions. Check out all your options and the time you have in hand before you spend money getting any of these bundle cards.