There are so many things to do in Barcelona, a vibrant metropolitan and chic city. The best thing to do is stroll through the city’s streets by foot, for that way you really get to explore the city and get close to Gaudí’s famous modernist buildings.
But before we explore the greatness of Antoni Gaudí, here are some facts about the city of Barcelona:
- It is the capital of Catalonia (yes, many of you may know this – but it is an important fact nevertheless.)
- Barcelona also has it’s own flag and language, ‘Catalunyan’ or most commonly said/named as ‘Catalan’.
- Barcelona is home to the Parliament de Catalunya, located in Parc de la Ciutadella, one of the most important buildings in Catalunya.
- Its the home base of one the best football teams in the world. Need I say it? FC Barcelona.
Back to how Barcelona is a beautiful city rich in culture, arts and stunning architecture. You may already know about Antoni Gaudí and his modernist architecture.
Like mentioned before, walking Barcelona by foot is a great choice. This way you really get to explore the city and get close to Gaudí’s famous buildings. Not only are they a top tourist attraction for tourists, but also for those who live in Barcelona. Strolling through city streets you will come across both civil or religious buildings, the most popular ones being Sagrada Família, Park Güell (looks like a fairytale) and La Pedrera.
Here is a guide through some of Gaudí’s Barcelona:
Gaudí had a vision. A vision full of structures, bold colors, curved lines in places nobody had thought of – and he was not willing to conform. He was to execute his vision. Casa Batiló, for that matter, is one of Gaudí most famous projects that honors Catalonia’s Saint George (patron saint) and represents George and the Dragon tale.
Here’s the address here you will find Casa Batiló: Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona
Let us know if you see any Dragons…
Casa Milà, “La Pedrera”
Built on the same road as Casa Batiló, Gaudí took on the task to build Milà and Segimon. Built during the years 1906-1912, a controversial design to say the least. A project that almost crumbled when Gaudí idea of including religious elements was not to the owners liking. This building has an undulating stone facade, iron-decorated balconies and separate lifts, stairs and underground parking for owners and their servants.
It was given the name “La Pedrera” as a satire to disliked building it had become at the time. Nevertheless, in 1984, it was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Casa Milà is located at 92, Passeig de Gràcia (passeig is Catalan for promenade) in the Eixample district of Barcelona . Exact address: Provença, 261-265, 08008 Barcelona
Casa Bellesguard (also known as Casa Figuiera)
Built to be the largest estate house in the city, this was a project that Güell (a famous Catalan entrepreneur at the time) commissioned Gaudí to complete. This modernist manor house was meant to express Gaudí “seamless blend of nature with man-made structures”. The term ‘Bellesguard’ comes from the Catalan for “Beautiful View”, representing the fact that the building lies at halfway up the Collserola mountain overlooking Barcelona; you can imagine the views.
Casa Bellesguard, that was actually Gaudí residence at one point is found at: Carrer d’Olot, 5, 08024 Barcelona
As the name well describes, this project of Gaudí’s was essentially that, a park. It is one of the few architectural designs that is open to the public, meaning anybody can access it and hence enjoy it. It is a garden complex originally thought to become a commercial housing site that went wrong. Named after Eusebi Güell, the previously mentioned entrepreneur who became a close friend of Gaudí’s. Built in 1900-1914, with access to underground railway. This ‘park’ (it got it’s English name ‘park’ as it was originally inspired by the English garden city movement) boasts of fantastically shaped roofs, unusual pinnacles, boldly shaped gardens of relatively inconspicuous landscape. A flamboyant project indeed.
Visit Park Güell at: Carrer d’Olot 5 08024 Barcelona
Another project both named and commissioned by Güell, a building with a touch of Orientalist style. It is considered the first project with which Gaudí went crazy with creativity and built his ‘crazy’ vision. If words do not convince you, visit for yourself at: Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 3-5, 08001 Barcelona
Considered not only Gaudí most bland building but controversial too. How does work out you ask? Casa Calvet is a house squeezed between two older structures and built in one of the most prestigious and elegant areas of Barcelona. Also, it is a Gaudí piece that seems to miss that Gaudí-touch, with unusual characteristics to his normal style. That said, it was his first big modernist project in which he executed the style and idea that he had from the beginning for it. Casa Calvet is nowadays a restaurant. If you fancy booking a table or seeing it for yourself, here’s the address and phone number: Carrer de Casp, 48, 08008 Barcelona / 934 12 40 12
Casa Vicens is the must-see architectural splendor that one must visit when visiting Barcelona. Built in 1883, it was Gaudí’s first important work. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Works of Antoni Gaudí” in 2005. As a family residence that is it today, one cannot go inside but you sure can appreciate if from the outside. Unless you have 27,000,000 € and want a new home in Barcelona…
To see this beautiful architectural piece go to: Carrer Carolines, 18-24, 08012 Barcelona
La Sagrada Familia
And now we finished up with the famous building: La Sagrada Familia. Despite it being probably the most spoken about architectural design that Gaudí has ever made, it is ironic to say how this building actually came about. La Sagrada familia was a project that originally didn’t include Gaudí at all. It was in 1883 when Gaudí was at the peak of celebrity, with developed and full skills and ideas, when he joined the project. He was commissioned to finish it but at it then became his lifetime’s work; his masterpiece that he never got to finish. Gaudí sadly passed away before it was finished. So, will it ever be finished? A question Barcelona’s citizens ask themselves often; one that still has no answer.
Location of La Sagrada Familia: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona
But there a lot more to do in Barcelona than admire Gaudí’s works
For those who are not familiar with tapas, they are what Barcelona, and the whole of Spain, are about. Standing whilst eating and drinking is a foreign concept to many, and loud bars, taverns and restaurants filled with loud people is different and exciting too. But it’s the food that brings it all together, and with every glass of wine you’re most likely to get a ‘tapa’ for free.
With plenty of places to go and eat tapas, La Barceloneta is the area full of tapas bars to enjoy.
La Rambla is a street in central Barcelona, popular with tourists and locals alike. Divided into 5 sections with important and famous buildings such as Teatre del Liceu and the colorful Mercat de St Josep de La Boquería. Performers on the streets, human statues to all kind of street dance it comes to no surprise why the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca once said that La Rambla was “the only street in the world which I wish would never end.” Barcelona is not only full of long streets with buzzing ambiance, but with ‘barrios’ (neighborhoods) that exhume in charisma. Busy boulevards and places where tourists can’t find, you will find some interesting architecture and intriguing nightlife. East from La Rambla, places such as Passeig El Born and Eixample, both neighborhoods with vibrant day and night life.
The olympic port is also a very attractive sight with lots of fun activities to do, and if you’re feeling adventurous and willing to explore elsewhere from the city centre, we suggest you to to mouton Tibidabo or the monastery of Montserrat.
A big plus for Barcelona’s location is it’s proximity to the water. With perfect climate, specially in spring, early summer and autumn, and beaches only 15 mins walk from the city center, with numerous and endless shops and malls – it’s a city with everything and anything where to enjoy a great vacation.
Other cultural and historical places to visit
1) Picture the city of Picasso’s youth
Picasso was born in Málaga (Picasso Museum Málaga), but he did spend most of his young life in Barcelona. To experience what it was like for Picasso to live in Barcelona, there’s a little route you can do. “Walk down C/Reina Cristina and then cross over to number 3 on C/Mercè to see where his family lived, though the building was later destroyed. If you need to make a stop along the way, head to Els 4 Gats, where artists, including Picasso and Salvador Dali, gathered at the time to chat, eat dinner and have meetings about art. Finally, visit the Museu Picasso itself, a gallery that houses works from Picasso’s formative years.”
2) Fundació Joan Miró & Muhba Museu d’Història
One of the largest museums in the world. Fundació Joan Miró is home to a vast collection of 225 surrealist paintings, 150 sculptures and graphic pieces, by the renown Spanish artist himself (Joan Miró). There are numerous other Museums that are truly worth the visit both artsy and historic. A visit to Muhba Museu d’Història is the best way to learn the city’s history.
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