When visiting Barcelona, the first thing people often comment on is the surreal and colourful buildings which pepper the streets. The modernist architect Antoni Gaudi was born here in 1852, and examples of his work can be found across the city. Gaudi’s works are one of many reasons so many people treat themselves to Barcelona city breaks. Below, we take a look at the Gaudi landmarks not to miss.
Sagrada Familia – started 1882
The Sagrada Familia is arguably Gaudi’s greatest architectural achievement. While he did not live to see his project finished – completion is estimated for around 2026 – the cathedral has become one of the most iconic attractions in Barcelona and across Europe, with thousands of visitors every year. By simply standing outside the building, you can see intricate carvings on every surface, sculptures inspired by nature and religion, as most of Gaudi’s work was. The theme continues inside, where the building’s supporting pillars have been designed to give the impression of standing underneath a canopy of trees. For the best views in Barcelona, climb the 400 steps (or take the lift!) to the top of the towers and enjoy views 500 feet above the city.
Parc Guell – built 1900-1914
Parc Guell is a municipal park just outside the city centre, designed by Gaudi as a peaceful retreat from the noise and bustle of industrious Barcelona. Expect sweeping landscapes, mosaic structures, stunning viewing terraces and a ceramic beach, as well as a native family of green parakeets nesting amongst the tropical plants. The park also houses Antoni Gaudi’s home, now a museum dedicated to his life and work. There you can find furniture designed by the artist, and his study, just as it was when he left the house to live in the Sagrada Familia catherdral.
Casa Battlo – built 1877, restored by Gaudi 1904 – 1906
Casa Battlo was built as a fairly plain block of flats in 1877. However, in 1904, Gaudi was commissioned to update it, transforming it into a masterpiece of gothic fantasy architecture, complete with marine-themed exterior and skeletal window balconies, lending it the nickname “the house of bones.” Tours include a look around one the homes of the aristocratic Battlo family, a rooftop visit, and a chance to see some of Gaudi’s most surreal work on display.
Casa Mila – built 1905-1910
Casa Mila, locally known as la Pedrera, was originally commissioned as a private residence by wealthy developer Pere Mila. Gaudi created the building as a Roman Catholic spiritual symbol, intending there to be statues of Mary and the two arch angels on the front. In the end, this was considered too controversial for the time; subtler religious iconography can still be found throughout the house. The best way to see the building is to take the “Espai Gaudi” tour, which takes you up to the attic and roof terrace. Here you can explore the internal courtyards, see a typical reconstructed apartment from the modernist era, and access the roof, which has superb views over the city, as well as more examples of Gaudi’s unique architecture.
With so much to absorb in Barcelona, it can be hard to fit everything else in. To top off one of your Barcelona city breaks, take a walk down the Passieg de Garcia, a boulevard lined with high fashion shops and modernist architecture landmarks, to take in as much shopping and culture as possible on your break!
Siobhan Gibson is a travel content writer and writes on behalf of the easyJet Holidays website.
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