There are countless famous buildings in Barcelona that are an architectural marvel, especially the Gaudi buildings. This is one of the main reasons why the city attracts swarms of tourists from all around the world every year. Most of these stunning buildings are the gift of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi.
Belonging to the Modernism (Art Nouveau) movement, Gaudi remains the best-known practitioner of Catalan Modernism to this date. The architect is without a doubt still one of the most famous names of Barcelona and his style and influence can be seen all over the city. His works and buildings have enjoyed global recognition and admiration throughout the years.
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Why are Gaudi Buildings unusual?
Gaudi’s unique approach to design has resulted in some of the most creative and impressive buildings you will ever see. Every work of the master architect is an art jewel of its own. No less than seven of his masterpieces have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Which Gaudi Building To Visit?
I’ve compiled an extensive list of the best Antoni Gaudi buildings in Barcelona that are worth visiting if you’re in the city. Even if you are unaware of his architectural marvels, you are bound to notice these masterpieces, as they are unmistakably beautiful and distinctive! These sites are worth visiting for more than just their architecture and visual appeal – the distinctive pieces unveil the story of the city’s beautiful culture and heritage. Here are the best Gaudi places to visit in Barcelona:
Which are the best Gaudi buildings in Barcelona?
1. Sagrada Família
Starting with the most famous of Gaudi’s designs and the most famous church in Barcelona, we have the Sagrada Família which is a Roman Catholic basilica. It has been under construction since 1882, as Gaudi was well aware that the building will not see completion in his lifetime and thus, he left plans to guide future architects and masons that would be working on the task.
Once it has been completed, the basilica will boast three grand facades, some 18 spires and a myriad of symbolic architectural details referencing the Christian faith. The project is not expected to reach completion by the year 2030.
If you want to get a unique panoramic view of the city, don’t forget to climb one of its towers! You can take the audio tour offered at this place, which is both informative and interesting.
It is a popular destination so don’t be surprised if there are long queues. You can somewhat avoid them by going as early as possible or purchasing a ticket online before you go. You may also book a guided tour that covers the famous church in Barcelona and Park Güell in detail if you’d like to get more background information on these impressive places.
Photos of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona:
2. Park Güell
Easily one of the most stunning places you can pick in the city for a stroll, Park Güell is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Every building in the garden complex has been dynamically designed, including Gaudi’s house where he lived till his demise. The most famous sites in the park include the colonnaded hall and terrace with serpentine shapes.
Only the monumental zone of the park requires paid entry while the rest of it remains free for all to roam and explore – it’s worth getting the ticket though. Every section of the park is full of colorful mosaics that are truly captivating. You can avoid long queues on entry by booking your tickets online. Or you could also opt for a guided tour of the serene park to learn more about the Modernism Art Movement.
3. Casa Batlló
A complete restoration of a house built in 1877, Casa Batlló showcases the typical constructive elements used during the Modernism movement by Gaudi. Ceramics, stone, and forged iron together make for such a radical design that it was highly criticized during construction.
The famous building is beautiful enough from the outside, but the interior is also a must see if you want to witness artwork at its best!
This guided tour not only includes the ticket cost but also an interactive video guide that you will greatly enjoy. In the evenings, there are concerts held on the rooftop – an especially magical experience you’ll never forget!
4. Casa Milà
Also known by the name La Pedrera, the Casa Mila was the last private residence designed by Gaudi that reached completion in 1906. The building has a rough-hewn sort of appearance, which is why it has been given the nickname of La Pedrera (meaning the stone quarry). The building looks more like a sculpture carved out of a stone than something that has been built.
It’s forged iron balconies further add to its unique and asymmetrical look. This building too is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Visit the building during the early open hours if you’d like to avoid huge crowds and view the city from the roof for a spectacular view. This guided tour that starts at 8 in the morning is the perfect way to do so!
5. Palau de la Música Catalana
This concert hall was actually designed by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, not by Gaudi. I’ve included the building in this list of Gaudi buildings in Barcelona anyways because he was Gaudi’s teacher and contemporary and the Catalan modernista style can easily be confused with Gaudi’s work.
Also, it’s simply a stunning building absolutely worth visiting! It was built between 1905 and 1908.
You can marvel at the great skylight up close and admire the floral decorations of the grand staircase. You will find nothing but beauty and splendor in every aspect and detail of the building’s design. This guided tour for only 20€ gives you access to the areas that are usually off-limits to the public.
6. Güell Pavilions
The Güell Pavilions were a complex of buildings that were owned by Eusebi Güell and his family. Antoni Gaudi was commissioned to renovate the design of the gated perimeter wall and garden as well as the main house. The complex itself is not as interesting as the iron cast gate adorned with an iron dragon. Visit the building if you want to see Gaudi’s work complete with historical references in the design that will fascinate you!
7. Casa Vicens
This is the first ever private residence that was designed by Gaudi. Its design has been influential throughout the history of the Catalan architecture. The owning family was quite wealthy and possessed a ceramic factory, and that is one of the reasons why we see the ‘trencadis’ façade for the Gaudi building in Barcelona, which contains a variety of ceramic decorations.
Traces of Islamic architecture can also be found in the building’s façade and a few of the rooms. The building tends to get crowded after 11am, which makes it difficult to appreciate the architectural wonder, so make sure to visit during the early hours!
The Bellesguard is a historical monument that stands on the site of the castle that was built by King Aragon. The castle fell into ruins when the king died without an heir and centuries later its new heirs commissioned Gaudi to rebuild the Bellesguard. Gaudi tried to stay true to the history of the site while also adding his own touch.
The building might not be the easiest to get to and is often overlooked by tourists but if you want to see the excellent job Gaudi did at remodeling the place then you can have a great time at this comparatively less busy Barcelona Gaudi attraction.
9. Teresian College
One of Gaudi’s earliest works, the building wasn’t originally designed by him. However, later on, he was given the contract during its construction and Gaudi inherited the design from the previous architect, which he kept little of.
Gaudi made sure that the completed building would reflect a certain austerity following the wishes of the Teresian order. To this day, this Barcelona Gaudi building remains a private school.
10. Casa Calvet
Casa Calvet is considered by many to be Gaudi’s most conservative work, however, the design contains his signature modernist elements too. It has symmetry, which is unlike what we see in most of Gaudi’s works. It is only on close inspection that you are able to pick out those features that establish its identity as a work of the master architect. Originally designed for a family of textile industrialists, today this building houses a world class restaurant with a superb menu. Enjoy exquisite food while you take in the Gaudi designed interior.
11. Colonia Güell
This church and crypt with an asymmetrical oval design was designed by Gaudi in 1898 and finished in 1914. The architecture and design of this building are a must-see even for those that might not be as interested in relishing the works of the Catalan architect.
The windows jut out over the walls and in the upper part of the door, we see a ceramic composition showing the four cardinal virtues. The crypt, with its five aisles, has been built in basaltic stone bricks with mosaics that render to it an archaic appearance.
It was the construction techniques employed here that laid the foundation of what was later applied in the design of the La Sagrada Familia. The church, however, was never completed, and it is only the completed crypt that is available for those visiting today.
Opening hours are from 10am to 5pm on weekdays and 3pm on weekends. Get admission to the crypt and Colonia Güell along with an audio guide that is available in 9 different languages and a map of the place with this guided tour of the place.
12. Sagrada Família Schools
As is evident from the name, it’s a schoolhouse situated near the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The building was constructed in 1909 as a school for the children of the workers building the basilica. When construction of the La Sagrada Familia began, it was located at the outer edge of the city and this made it difficult for children of the workers to go to school. This motivated Gaudi to build the school close to the cathedral.
It is a small building with a brick façade built of three overlapping layers and a roof of wavy construction that is typical of what we see in much of Gaudi’s work. The wavy roof adds strength to the building as well as a design that is pleasing and aesthetic.
In 2002, the school site was required to continue development on the church and therefore it was dismantled and transferred to the southern corner of the site. Make sure to visit the building to see Gaudi’s work as well as the internal portions that have been dedicated to a recreation of Gaudi’s office and educational displays.
If you’re interested to know more about Catalan Modernism, you can read about the arts, the architecture and the men behind it here.
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