One of the aspects of Barcelona that attracts many is the architecture. This goes for me as well – since after seeing the images in the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona, I immediately wanted to visit and made it a priority! Since then I have been twice and have fallen in love both times.
Of course there have been many famous architects – and some not-so-famous ones too – that have designed and
erected buildings and parks there, but the first one most people think of is Anotni Gaudí, a Catalan Spanish architect from the modernist era – but his style is hard to mistake for someone else’s. His influence can be seen sprinkled
throughout the large city on museums, cathedrals, a park, his house, and even apartment buildings.
Not surprisingly, people trek from all over the world to see his bizarrities in person – particularly the details on his “melting” cathedral – the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família – which has not yet been completed and is not expected to be until
2026. The spires can be seen from several points in the city, and are part of what make the skyline of Barcelona recognizable, as they tower over all the other buildings with their drip-like designs.
I have not been inside because it is not finished and also because it is one of the cathedrals in the world that makes you pay to enter, and it’s not cheap either. This is both frustrating for the millions that go to Barcelona to see it, but also a purposeful cost – since the money made from entrees is the money used for construction.
Gaudí’s main other sensational area in Barcelona is his park: Park Güell. Set on a steep hill in the north-western part of the city, this park, with its colorful mosaics, not-very-classical columns, and “the lizard”, is best described with
photographs. It is, hands down, my favorite park in the
world, followed by le Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in Paris and Central Park in
New York City. I’ve been a few times, and have explored the undeveloped nature paths (complete with cacti and lizards, if you are quiet, patient, and observant – the lizards were a surprise because I had never seen
wild lizards in my home climate in New York) at the top, as well as the more populated brown stone arched and columned areas, the tourist trap park cafe, and the gift shop. Gaudí’s own house is also there and has since been converted to a small and affordable museum. I have not entered, but will at some point.
Those are my two favorite Gaudí places in Barcelona, but there are some other noteworthy creations: the Casa Milá, the Casa Batllo, and the Palau Güell.
More photos from Park Guell: