Home to some to of the most revered structures and astonishing architecture in the world, Barcelona welcomes millions of visitors each year, many of whom come to admire the wonderful works of Antoni Gaudí! The Catalan-born architect is most famous for his vivid naturalist and modernist designs from his unfinished masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, to the unusual Casa Batlló, and many more. Gaudí’s magnificent works are everywhere in Barcelona, although plenty of his most renowned structures are situated in the Eixample area of the city. This is why many people coming to the Catalan capital choose to stay in one of the Barcelona apartments near Passeig de Gràcia, where there are houses and lamp posts created by Gaudí scattered down the street.
But for those looking for a really spectacular Gaudí landmark offering amazing views of the city, be sure to make time to visit the colorful Park Güell in Barcelona!
Just like many UNESCO World Heritage Sites found in Barcelona, Park Güell is one that has a fascinating story. What was originally intended to be a housing site for the Barcelona aristocracy is now one of the most visited sites in the Catalan capital. Count Eusebi Güell commissioned Gaudí to create a stylish residential area during the early 1900’s. His vision was to grant the wealthy a place that combined magnificent views of the city and the chance to enjoy the fresh air. Unfortunately (for Barça’s elite), the plan failed, and instead the 42 acre Park Güell now offers this luxury to locals, as well as tourists from all corners of the globe!
Offering a serene escape from the always bustling Las Ramblas, Park Güell also gives visitors an in-depth look at Gaudí’s signature styles, examples of which can be seen the moment you step into this delightful green space, as the most famous monument in Park Güell, the Dragon Fountain, greets you upon entry. This magnificent fountain is a brilliant display of Gaudí’s signature mosaic-style. This distinctive method is known as ‘trencadís’, which can be described best as joining bits of broken tiles, dishes and glass together to create astonishing art, and Park Güell is a true homage to these exceptional designs.
Well-known for his intricate use of natural shapes, Gaudí proved that his designs would remain groundbreaking for centuries to come, especially when creating the twisted rock pillars that line the walkway in Park Güell. These shapes are a brilliant display of his other signature style: naturalism. The story goes that Gaudí’s intention was for these pillars to symbolize large tree trunks.
The central point of Park Güell is the main terrace where breathtaking views of Barcelona bring pleasure to everyone who visits this famous lookout. The long bench that stretches all around this area is made from multi-colored mosaic tiles in the form of a sea serpent (following the animal theme seen throughout the park). This seating area in Park Güell allows visitors to the Catalan capital the chance to relax, soak up some Spanish sun and enjoy the colorful designs that surround them!
The Sala Hipòstila may very well be the most stylish part of the park and should not be missed on your visit! Originally intended to function as a marketplace, the Hypostyle Room is host to a mass of tree trunk-style Doric columns that serve to hold up the roof, as well as drain rainwater through their hollow cores to a reservoir below. Even more mosaic designs await you here…this time on the ceiling!
Before you leave the park, don’t forget to hike up to the top of the hill where the Calvary awaits – three stone crosses can be found at the peek where Gaudí had originally planned to build a chapel.
The Gaudí House Museum, where this famous architect resided for nearly 20 years, hosts a collection of furniture and objects designed by the Catalan genius. The house has four floors, with the ground and first floor open to the public, and the basement remaining closed.
Here you can marvel at paintings, drawings and wrought iron elements on display in the garden, considered to be the most valuable of the collection.
So, if you like the sound of Park Güell, we suggest you grab a picnic basket and leave the hustle and bustle of Barcelona behind as you head toward this lush area on the outskirts of the city! This is also a great place to visit if you are traveling to Barcelona with kids as the youngsters are sure to remember this playful paradise forever!
How to get there:
By Metro – Lesseps (L3) and follow the signs to the park.
By Bus – 24, 31, 32, H6, 92 from Plaça Catalunya
Admission Fee: Entrance to the park will cost 8€ as of the 25th of October 2013. For more information go to the Park Güell website.