Tourists visiting Spain definitely try to come to Barcelona. The capital of Catalonia is an amazingly beautiful city, which became a true monument to the architectural genius of Gaudi. When deciding what to see in Barcelona, its masterpieces are at the top of the list.
Discovering Gaudi’s work in Barcelona
The great architect created 17 projects, 10 of them located in the main city of the region:
- Sagrada Familia;
- The houses of Mila, Baglio, Figueres, Calvet and Vicens;
- The palace and pavilion of the Güell estate;
- Park Guell;
- The College of the Order of St. Teresa.
Six of these sites are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are included in all tourist directories. The rest also do not go unnoticed by holidaymakers because of their original architecture.
Of great interest is Mount Montjuïc with its park, singing fountains and the National Palace. It is a must to visit the Boquería Market, stroll down the Ramblas, and check out the Gothic Quarter. It is recommended to include Picasso, chocolate, and bullfighting museums in the orientation program.
Journey to one of the most interesting corners of Spain can be made in different ways: buy a tour in the agency or on their own. The second option requires a responsible approach to the organization, but provides more leeway in the choice of objects. You can decide for yourself what to see in Barcelona and in what order to see the sights. It is better to make a list before the trip, so that you do not waste time on this activity, already on the tour.
Temple of the Holy Family
The most famous creation of the great architect, the hallmark of the Catalan capital is the Sagrada Familia. The creator gave 43 years of his life to work on it, but did not see his masterpiece completed. Construction of the Sagrada Familia began 135 years ago and continues to this day.
The Sagrada Familia is one of the tallest buildings in the city. It delights with its bizarre shapes and 18 towers. Every year it is visited by millions of tourists. The city has created conditions for guests to get to the popular place on their own. There is a nearby subway station with the same name, which allows you to quickly get to the temple from any corner of Barcelona.
You can appreciate the beauty of the Sagrada Familia not only from the outside, but also from the inside.
To visit the temple you have to pay about 13 euros. It is better to order tickets in advance, so as not to stand in line. Learn more about the architectural monument with an audioguide or a guide.
The House of Mila, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, deserves special attention. This is the great architect’s last project, completed during his lifetime. He was commissioned as the most unusual house. The handyman did a great job. The building is extravagant, affecting the smooth curves, creating the illusion of movement. Until now, nothing like this has been created by architects.
The structure was built as a residential building, but today it houses a bank. Only a few apartments are rented. One of them became a museum and is open to the public. You can get acquainted with the exhibits of the early twentieth century every day.
The ticket costs 20.5 euros. There are discounts for students and children. You can get there by subway (Diagonal station), bus or FGC train.
TheCasa Batlló (Casa Batlló) is another landmark of the Catalan capital, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Built in the late 19th century, it was completely altered by Antoni Gaudi. The remodeling work was already underway at the beginning of the twentieth century.
The architect invented for it unusual facades in the form of a skeleton with balconies-turtles and a roof resembling the back of a dragon. The finish combines whimsical forms of plant and animal life.
You are sure to love the unique interior design of the building. In addition to the smooth lines and asymmetrical contours of the window openings, forged decorative elements, stained glass, tiles, and original configurations of fireplaces attract.
Visiting the museum is allowed daily from 9-00 to 21-00. It is more convenient to get to the place by subway or bus. The ticket costs 20.35 euros. Children get in the building for free.
The building is not very popular with tourists, but you are recommended to include it in the program of exploring Barcelona. Vicenç is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It attracts with its original architectural solution and design. The facades are lined with ceramic tiles, which form a pattern in the form of velvets, the most popular colors among Catalans. This is Gaudi’s first project to reflect the great master’s extraordinary talent.
Vicens is private property and is closed to the public. If you want to explore the interior, plan a trip to Barcelona for May 22. On this day its doors are open to all comers.
You don’t have to search for a building for a long time. It is located in the center of the Catalan capital. You can get to the place by subway.
Park Guell is another corner associated with the name of Antoni Gaudi, in which gardens and residential areas are seamlessly intertwined. It was created over 100 years ago. The park is uptown and is ideal for a self-guided trip. A walk through its alleys will allow you to plunge into a real fairy-tale world.
An amazing world with bizarre fences, funny lizards, mosaic houses beckons and delights. His image you are sure to see on most postcards with popular views. The main attraction of Guell is the house-museum of the architect himself.
The park is open to the public daily. In summer from 8-00 to 21-30, in winter from 8-30 to 18-00. To get there on your own, you need to take the metro to the station Lesseps. From there you can walk up the street or take the escalator.
The ticket costs 8 euros (when ordering on the website – 7 euros). A visit to the museum costs 5.50 euros.
Palacio Guell is an Art Nouveau residential structure that the great architect created for an industrialist who became his patron and one of his main clients. This project still has clear geometric lines, which distinguishes it from other creations of the master.
The originality of the building is given by
- steel supporting structures invented by the master;
- Two arches with unique wrought iron lattices;
- coat of arms located between them;
- unusual layout of the interior rooms;
- roof chimneys, the design of which sets the palace apart from other buildings even at a distance.
The architectural masterpiece is not far from the Ramblas, also popular with visitors.
The Mansion Guell is Antoni Gaudi’s first masterpiece created for his patron. Unfortunately, the years and talentless restorers have not spared the unique ensemble. Today you will only be able to appreciate the pavilions of the manor, decorated with broken ceramic tiles, and the original gate with the dragon, invented by the architect himself. The remaining structures are fascinating in their strangeness and beauty. They (like the park and the palace of Guell) are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
To see the pavilions on your own, you will need to take the metro or bus to Palau Reial station. The ticket costs 6 euros, which makes the monument of architecture one of the most visited places.
Visiting popular corners of Barcelona
The sights of Barcelona are not only architectural masterpieces of the great master.
You should definitely visit other attractions:
- Mount Montjuïc;
- Boulevard Ramblas;
- Boquería Market;
- Gothic Quarter;
- Mount Tibidabo.
Are you still undecided about what to see in Barcelona? Pay attention to Mount Montjuïc. It is considered a place of real pilgrimage of tourists and locals.
- The wonderful parks Hoy Jardi Botanic and Jardins de Mossen Costra I Lljobera with a huge collection of flora and fauna;
- Magic Fountain Singing Fountains;
- National Palace;
- Spanish Village.
You can get to Montjuïc from the center of the Catalan capital and from the beach district of Barceloneta by cable car or by underground cable car. Buses go to it from the Plaza de España. You can take the metro to the Espana station.
There are several parks on Montjuïc. The largest of them are Hoy Jardi Botanic and Jardins de Mossen Costra I Lljobera.
The first is the Botanical Gardens of the Catalan capital, which has been welcoming visitors for about 20 years. It contains plants from 8 natural zones. They are arranged in the form of an amphitheater. Each step is divided into sections, between which there are paths for walking. The park has a lake, artificial streams and waterfalls.
The second is Jardins de Mossen Costra I Lljobera, better known as the Cactus Park. On six hectares are collected representatives of prickly flora from around the world. For almost 50 years, the park has gathered a unique collection of “green exhibits. You will not be bored in this unique corner of nature.
At the foot of Montjuïc, the singing fountains opened in 1929 and became one of the most beautiful shows in Spain. Initially, the water jets just harmonized spectacularly with the color illumination. In 1992, in time for the Olympics, they began to “dance” to classical and popular contemporary music. Today, thousands of tourists and locals come to see this amazing spectacle. Getting to know Barcelona on your own, you should see it.
The fully automated control system makes the water jets perform a mesmerizing dance, which in the color design really becomes magical.
You can see the show in the summer from Thursday to Sunday from 21-00 to 00-00, in winter – on Fridays and Saturdays from 19-00 to 21-00. Attendance is free.
On Mount Montjuïc is one of the most important attractions – the National Palace. The beautiful classical style building was built in 1929 for the World’s Fair in the city. Later it opened an exhibition of the National Museum of Catalan Art. Four halls are open to the public, representing different cultural eras.
In front of the palace there is an observation deck that offers a beautiful view of the city, including the famous Plaza de España.
Tickets to the museum is inexpensive, in addition they can be used for two visits. Since the exhibit is large, you have a great opportunity to experience the culture and art of the country in its entirety.
The Ramblas is the most popular place of the Catalan capital. The pedestrian street stretches between Plaza Catalunya and Portal de la Pau. On the latter is a monument to Columbus.
The Ramblas somewhat resembles Moscow’s Arbat. Here you are waiting for street vendors of souvenirs, artists, musicians, artists, who for a small fee entertain holidaymakers. Of particular note are the Bird Market, located in the former university building, and the Viceroy’s Palace on Boulevard of Flowers.
It is in this area that you can fully experience the vitality of the Catalans. In addition to the theaters, restaurants and cafes on the boulevard is the Boquería Market. If you don’t visit it, you haven’t gotten to know Barcelona.
The Boquería Market is one of the most visited tourist sites. It was officially opened in 1840. However, its history is much older. This area, located in those days far from the city walls, the local peasants began to use for agricultural trade in the first half of the 13th century. Later the boundaries expanded and the village market became a central area.
Today, life is boiling here. On 2,500m2 in one huge pavilion there are more than 300 counters with the freshest products, the range of which is amazing. The merchants who work here are a special caste. They create an indescribable flavor, proud to represent the third or fourth generation of the true masters of the market, which has become the soul of the city. Time seems to have stopped behind these walls.
Another tourist center of the Catalan capital is the Gothic Quarter. It won’t be hard for you to find it. It is located in the center of the Old City, between Plaza Catalunya and Via Laetana.
It is pleasant to walk along these ancient streets on your own, taking your time to appreciate the beauty of unique architectural monuments, some of which date back to the era of Roman rule.
You will see
- the ruins of the palace of Octavian Augustus;
- the remains of the fortress wall, left by the ancient invaders;
- the 13th-century Gothic Cathedral of the Holy Cross and St. Eulalia;
- the 14th century church of Santa Maria del Pi;
- La Merce Basilica at the end of the 18th century.
The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and St. Eulalia
The jewel of the Gothic Quarter is St. Eulalia Cathedral. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona.
The temple was built in memory of one of the patronesses of Barcelona. Her purity is symbolized by the 13 (martyr’s age) white geese permanently living in one of the chapels.
The amazingly beautiful building was built in the Gothic style, but later neo-Gothic elements were added to its design. The sharp spires, openwork arched windows and entrance draw the eye. It makes you want to stop and think about eternal things.
Church of Santa Maria del Pi
Another example of Gothic architecture that attracts vacationers is the Church of Santa Maria del Pi. The temple was built in the 14th century to replace the old one, erected in the 5th century.
The exterior design of the monument is quite modest: a window-socket and openwork entrance in the form of a lancet arch with the image of the Virgin Mary and the apostles. Of particular interest is the interior decoration.
The vaulted ceiling in the form of a cross, one of the highest in Spain, adds to the grandeur of the church. It is adorned by huge stained glass windows by Josep Rovell and Antony Viladomata.
The highlight of the monument of architecture is a pine tree planted near the entrance. The plant is meant to remind visitors that there used to be a pine grove here, which is reflected in the name of the church.
There is a museum in the temple, which can be visited daily: in the morning from 9-30 to 13-00 and in the evening from 17-00 to 18-30.
La Merce Basilica
La Merce Basilica was erected in the 18th century to replace the old Gothic church of St. Michael and is dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy. Her ancient wooden sculpture is kept in the temple. In honor of the ancient image, every year on September 23, a large festival is held in the church as part of the festival, reflecting the amazing Catalan history and culture. The festival itself runs from September 21 to 25. If you manage to visit it, get ready for a delightful spectacle. In addition, you can participate in the event completely free of charge.
The highest point of the Catalan capital is Mount Tibidabo. It is difficult to get here from the center, but the expected spectacle is worth spending a day on the trip.
At the top is the Temple of the Sacred Heart with a majestic sculpture of Christ, the best viewing platform located in front of the temple. The view from it is fantastic.
It is better to travel with children. In addition to the unique architectural structure there is an interesting amusement park, one of the oldest in Spain. Some structures are centuries old, but are still popular with children and adults. The Ferris Wheel, the Airplane, the Viking carousel, the castle with ghosts attract thousands of guests of the Catalan capital.
The easiest way to get to Tibidabo today is by cable car. The famous blue tramway was launched at the beginning of the last century, but it takes everyone who wants to see the heart of Catalonia in all its glory to the mountain every day.
Video tour of Barcelona
The most popular tourist attractions in the Catalan capital are considered to be the projects of Antoni Gaudi. It is recommended to start acquaintance with the city with them.