Gaudi in Barcelona – Discovering Art Nouveau

November 2, 2015

Amy Trumpeter

For the last few days, I have strolled around the amazing city of Barcelona in search of Gaudi’s architecture and art. Discovering Gaudi has been the highlight of my trip. Barcelona is known as the city of modernism or art nouveau.

Discover Gaudi in Barcelona – 5 Must See Architectural Delights

This blog offers you a ‘Guide to Gaudi’ which can be completed within 2/3 days in Barcelona, although I recommend that you stay for much longer to enjoy the rest of the city.

Entrance to La Sagrada Familia by Gaudi
The Entrance to La Sagrada Familia by Gaudi

1. La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia is the gothic style Roman Catholic Basilica of Barcelona, designed by Gaudi. Construction is still underway on La Sagrada Familia and is set to be completed by the 100 year anniversary of Gaudi’s death (2026).

La Sagrada Familia by Gaudi
La Sagrada Familia by Gaudi (2015)

Gaudi planned for 18 towers of La Sagrada Familia. The 12 lowest towers represent the Apostles. 6 further towers represent the Evangelists, Mary and ultimately the tallest tower of Jesus Christ himself at 172.5 metres high. When finished, this will make it one of the tallest religious buildings in the world.

You simply have to go inside La Sagrada Familia – it is the most impressive thing that I paid for in Barcelona. I was in awe of the design, particularly due to the way that the stained glass windows project the colour inside the Basilica. It is not to be missed.

Inside La Sagrada Familia

The cost to enter La Sagrada Familia is €15 without a guide, or €19.50 with. It is not really necessary to have a guide – you can learn a great deal from the signs and videos inside the Basilica. There is the option of an audio guide also at €19.50, if you prefer to go at your own pace.

It is important that you book your advance tickets online, in order to avoid wait times of up to two hours. Book early tickets if possible, because then you will be able to appreciate powerful sunlight beaming through the multi-coloured stained glass windows.

Inside La Sagrada Familia

Definitely don’t go later than 5pm if possible, especially in winter months. If it is dark outside, you certainly won’t be able to appreciate the full effect of what Gaudi was aiming to achieve.

2. Park Guell

Park Guell, to the North of the city, was designed by Gaudi as a residency or estate for the  wealthy Catalonians and expats of Barcelona. Unfortunately, only 2 out of the 60 planned residences were constructed. However, it remains one of the most beautiful spots of Barcelona. Book online in advance and go early.

Saudi free part

It is an absolute pleasure to stroll around this beautiful park and enjoy Gaudi’s design. In the free part of the park, you can see Gaudi’s raised footbridge and Casa Museu Gaudi, where Gaudi spent the last 20 years of his life.

Gaudi Salamander

Observe the Hansel and Gretel style houses at the gates (below) and enter the monumental part of Park Guell to see Gaudi’s trademark mosaic salamander (above).

Gaudi Park Guell
Main entrance to Park Guell

The stairs either side of the temple will take you to a raised platform that doubles up as a water filtration system, and is also beautifully decorated with mosaic tiling.

Mosaic Edge Park Guell

I loved this place so much, that I have dedicated a whole separate blog to it. Read my Park Guell blog here.

3. Casa Mila

Casa Mila and Casa Batllo are two beautiful Gaudi inspired houses. They are fine examples of Gaudi’s architecture and cost nothing to view from the outside. Both of these were commissioned to be residencies by wealthy Barcelona entrepreneurs.

Casa Mila Gaudi Barcelona

Casa Mila (above) known as ‘La Pedrera’ and was Gaudi’s last piece of architectural design from 1906-1910. It may surprise you to know that during the time of Casa Mila’s construction, the other residents of the street were not happy, because the curved art nouveau style was completely out of the norm.

The closest Metro station is Diagonal.  You can go inside for €20.50. Student, disabled and local resident discounts are available.

Casa Mila, Gaudi's final architectural work
Casa Mila, Gaudi’s final architectural work

4. Casa Batllo

Further down Passeig de Gracia, you will come to Casa Batllo, a colourful architectural masterpiece. it is sometimes known as the house of bones (casa dels ossos), due to its skeletal qualities. Above the ground floor of irregular windows you can see the curved balconies that demonstrate Gaudi’s avoidance of straight lines. At the top, it has a ‘dragon-back’ style mosaic roof.

Casa Batllo Gaudi

We were lucky enough to see Casa Batllo at night, when it was all lit up.

You can go inside Casa Batllo. It costs €21.50 per ticket to go inside, and discounts are available (students, disabled, seniors, local residents). It is advisable to book online in advance, and you can book here.

5. Cascada Fountain (Park de la Cuitadella)

I had an amazing bike tour of the city of Barcelona (courtesy of Baja Bikes) and we cycled through the beautiful Park de la Cuitadella. The Cascada Fountain was designed by Joseph Fontsere, with Gaudi as his assistant.

Cascada Fountain Park de la Cuitadella

What did you love most about Gaudi’s Barcelona?

If you want to hear more about Barcelona, you can read my blog on Barcelona Top Travel Tips. If you are looking for a place to stay, I highly recommend Sweet Home Abroad.

For those of you eager for more Gaudi, head over to Globotreks for their 10 Must see Gaudi Buildings in Barcelona.