Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926) was the most important and influential architect of the early 20th century in Barcelona, Spain. Considered a genius by many and a madman by others, his role in art history is undeniable. Here is our top 5 list of Gaudí’s must-see sights in Barcelona. All buildings have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and impress with their creativity and uniqueness.
Casa Batllò – One of the most beautiful buildings in Barcelona
Day or night, the street in front of one of the most important sights in Barcelona is always full of people. Casa Batlló is the most colorful and vibrant house the brilliant architect built for the Batlló family in 1904-1906. Due to the wavy shapes and bright colors, the house has become a symbol of the modern art movement as well as the limitless creativity of Antoni Gaudí.
Casa Batlló is beautiful both outside and inside. Gaudí replaced the original facade with a new composition of colored glass and ceramics. The noble floor, the atrium, the attic, the roof terrace with the chimneys are just some of the fascinating highlights of the house. None of the rooms at Casa Batlló are furnished, and you won’t even notice them.
Opening hours: Open every day of the year from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (last entry at 8:00 p.m.).
Casa Batlló is visited by almost 3000 tourists every day. So that the large crowd doesn’t affect your experience, the best time to visit is early in the morning – between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. If you can’t make it early in the morning, the next best time is late afternoon – between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Every evening, from June 3rd to November 3rd, there are also open-air concerts on the roof terrace of Casa Batllós.
Tips: Visiting Casa Batlló with a virtual reality guide is impressive. The audio guide is a kind of tablet that uses augmented reality to show which furniture and other things were originally in the rooms. Children in particular love this SmartGuide tour and are enthusiastic.
La Sagrada Familia – The symbol of Barcelona
The Sagrada Familia is the symbol of Barcelona and shapes the urban landscape. Construction began in 1882 and should be completed by 1900. However, neither Gaudí nor his successors saw the completed basilica. Construction of this architectural masterpiece continues and is not expected to be completed until 2026. The church is now the most popular tourist attraction in Barcelona and Spain and receives over 4 million visitors annually.
Opening hours: The Sagrada Familia is open to visitors all year round, but opening times vary according to the season. April to September have the longest working hours – from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. It’s 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. for March and October, and hours of operation are shortened to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from November to February. On Christian holidays it is only open until 2 p.m..
Buying your ticket online in advance or booking a guided tour will shorten the waiting time at the entrance.
Tips: The best time to visit the magnificent basilica is when it is bathed in sunlight. From morning to late afternoon, the sun falls directly through the stained glass window and creates breathtaking color effects.
This colorful park, perched high on the hills, was named after Count Eusebi Güell – and was originally intended as a residential complex for the city’s wealthy. It was made available to everyone when Gaudí passed away in 1926.
It’s even more imaginative inside the park. Walls, streets and paths imitate natural shapes. Ornate buildings, colorful mosaics and the amazing snake bank invite you to take photos. And the view of Barcelona from above is unique!
Opening hours: Open every day of the year from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Tips: Buy your tickets for Barcelona’s Park Güell easily with your mobile phone – it only takes a minute! The best time to visit is early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Make sure the entry time is stated on the ticket. Be on time at your chosen time slot at the entrance to the monumental zone, as cancellations and changes are not possible. A separate ticket is required to access the Gaudí House Museum.
La Pedrera (Casa Milà)
Casa Milà was completed in 1912 by Antoni Gaudí and represents the high point of Gaudí’s career. His second name is “La Pedrera”, which means quarry, because of its stone facade. It is still not clear what inspired the artist to create this extraordinary beauty.
Originally built as a residential home, the five-story building is 4,500 square feet and is absolutely breathtaking – both outside and inside. The curved shapes, bizarre balconies, spectacular stairwells and surreal chimneys on the roof terrace are impressive. If you want to challenge yourself, try to find a straight line in the design.
Opening hours: Casa Milà is open all year round from Monday to Sunday, except at Christmas and one week in mid-January. The opening times vary according to the season. From March to early November, the museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The night tour is possible from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. From November to February, the opening times are shorter – from 9 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. and the night tour from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The exception is the Christmas season, which lasts from late December to early January. During the holidays, as in the summer season, the museum remains open until 8:30 p.m. The upper floors close 15 minutes before the building closes.
Tips: The best time to visit is either in the early morning before 10 a.m. or in the afternoon after 4 p.m. Buy tickets online to skip the line at the entrance.
Palau Güell – Gaudi’s first building in the center of Barcelona
Designed by Antoni Gaudi, this mansion in Barcelona was designed between 1886 and 1890 for the Catalan industrial magnate Eusebi Guell and his family. This is one of Gaudi’s first architectural masterpieces and was specially used for entertaining high society guests. The facade impresses with rich wrought-iron decorations, but at first appears surprisingly simple. The interior of the house and the roof terrace were the places the artist chose to let his imagination and extreme creativity run wild.
Palau Güell is special because it is one of the few modernist buildings in the old town, right on the Rambla. Most of Gaudi’s works, as well as those of Lluís Domènech i Montaner and the rest of his contemporaries, are located in the “Eixample” district, near Plaza Catalunya, where the city’s expansion began at the turn of the century.
Opening hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday.
Summer opening times (April 1 to October 31): 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (ticket counters close at 7:00 p.m.)
Winter opening times (November 1st to March 31st): 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (ticket counters close at 4:30 p.m.)
Closed: Mondays except public holidays, December 25th and 26th, January 1st and 3rd week of January (due to maintenance work).
Tips: The Palau Güell can be visited free of charge on the first Sunday of the month. Open days are still on September 11th (Catalan national holiday), June 10th (local holiday), April 23rd (Saint George) and September 24th (La Mercè, the patron saint of Barcelona) and on the same day the birth of Eusebi Güell on December 15th. For reasons of preservation and security of the building, spaces are limited. Find out exactly when and how the free tickets are distributed.