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The Best of Barcelona

Barcelona is packed with great places to see and go read more about this Wonderful city and what is has to offer.

Barcelona Gaudí Route

Full name: Antoni Gaudí i Cornet: Otherwise known as God’s Architect & the Father of Catalan Modernism

Gaudí was born on the 25th June 1852, in Reus in the province of Tarragona, in the autonomous community of Catalonia. His father was a coppersmith and Anton’s interest in architecture surfaced at an early age. When he was 18 he went to Barcelona to study architecture, but military service interrupted his studies and he later graduated in 1878. It wasn’t long after graduating that he started to develop his own style, which we can see today in animated surfaces, with bright ceramic tiles, patterned stones or bricks, or reptilian metalwork. His works are compositions of juxtapositions of geometric masses.

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He was filled with passion for religion, nature and of course architecture and this is supremely evident in his works. Additionally his works also encompass strong elements of popular identity and tradition. He was nicknamed God’s Architect because of his intense Roman Catholic faith, which can be seen in his work, and which became even stronger as he became older.

He never married as he totally devoted his life to his work, although he was attracted to Josefa Moreu, a lady teacher, but she didn’t reciprocate the feelings. Every day he would walk to pray and do confession at the Sant Felip Neri church, and on the 7th June 1926, he was struck by a tram.

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At this stage of his life he was dressing very frugally, so people assumed that he was a beggar and the unconscious Gaudí was not helped immediately. He got basic care at the Santa Creu Hospital after a policeman took him there, but it wasn’t until the following day that he was recognised by Mosen Gil Parés, the Sagrada Familia chaplain. At this stage his health had deteriorated greatly and couldn’t benefit from further treatment. He died, aged 73, on the 10th June 1926.

Part of the above excerpt is from our feature on UNESCO in Catalonia

There’s also a route here in Catalonia that you can follow, that includes Gaudí, Miró, Casals & Picasso – find out more about the Route of the Four Geniuses.

Barcelona Gaudí Route Overview

Starting off in the Eixample district, we can see some of Gaudi’s most important buildings along the Passeig de Gracia. Casa Milà – La Pedrera – is at the corner of Carrer Provença, and further down is the Casa Batlló. From here continue on to the unfinished, incredible Sagrada Familia.

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Next head to Park Guell, it’s wonderful Hansel and Gretel gate houses, Palau Guell and the Colonia Guell, where you can see the crypt of the church.

Also in Barcelona along this route you can admire the magnificent casa Vicens, Casa Calvet, Torres Bellesguard and the lesser known Col-legi de les Teresianes.

La Pedrera – Casa Milà

Aged 54 Gaudi designed La Pedrera, which comprises of two apartment blocks, which share a facade and are connected by interior courtyards. At the peak of his powers, he designed this, his final piece of civil architecture, which marked a break away from how architecture was perceived that time.

casa mila

The Espai Gaudí Is the attic, which is made up of 270 catanary arches of flat brick. No doubt one of the most distinctive spaces that he designed, it is also home to the only exhibition which is dedicated to his work and life.

The Pedrera period apartment gives us great insight into the way the bourgeoisie of the early 20th century lived.

The Terrace is so far removed from the architecture of that time, with highlights which seemed to shout out Gaudi’s name.

The courtyards were one of his important innovations, providing a show of light, shapes and colors.

Address:

Carrer de Provença 261-265

How to get there:

Barcelona Tourist Bus – Pg. La Gracia-La Pedrera stop
Buses – 7, 16, 17, 22, 24, 39 and V17
Metro L3 and L5 Diagonal stop
Trains – Provença stop
Opening hours and official website: https://www.lapedrera.com/en/home

Related: Spain's Most Beautiful Towns

Casa Batlló

Talk about a display of fantasy and color! Casa Battló is an expression of total, bold creative freedom. The project was a radical refurbishment of the building which dated to 1875, and Gaudi let his imagination run wild. Between 1904 in 1906 a group of artisans collaborated with him in the stunning decorative work you can see today.

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Photo by Llaria

The building is an artistic legend, full of surprises behind a wonderful modernist facade. The plethora of enchanting visual solutions and fascinating details cannot but keep the visitor enthralled.

Address:

Passeig de Gracia 43

How to get there:

Barcelona Tourist Bus – Casa Batlló-Fundació Antoni Tàpies
Buses – 7, 22, 24 and V15
Metro L2, L3 and L4 Passeig de Gracia stop

Opening hours and official website: https://www.casabatllo.es/en/

 

Sagrada Familia

Still unfinished, but however close to completion apparently, is the Sagrada Familia, the genius’ key work. Gaudí devoted himself to this work for 43 years up until his death in 1926. Luckily the drawings and surviving models make it possible for his original plans to be carried out, and currently the due date for completion is 2026.

Gaudi Route Barcelona Sagrada Familia

The first stone of the temple was laid on the 19th March 1882. The original architect for the project was Francisco de Paula del Villar, who resigned from the job apparently because of disagreements with the promoters. This was when it fell to Gaudí.

He worked on the crypt between 1883 and 1889. Donations were flowing in at a steady rate, and then a particularly substantial one arrived, which meant that he was able to propose a grander design. The Nativity facade had its foundations laid in 1892 and later in 1909 he built the provisional school buildings.

From 1914 he decided to concentrate solely on the Sagrada Familia. While he was still alive, God’s architect completed the Nativity facade, and the crypt.

Architecture

The basis of the architecture lies in Gothic and Byzantine cathedral traditions. However Gaudi’s intention was to transmit Christian belief to the beauty and architecture of the structure. Geometries, forms and structures were inspired by nature, and as common in his work color and light to play a central role. Christian symbolism is also injected, for example the 18 towers each have a special significance.

Address:

Carrer de Mallorca 401

How to get there:

Barcelona Tourist Bus – Sagrada Familia
Buses – 19, 33, 34, 50, 51, B24, H10, V21
Metro L2, L5 Sagrada Familia stop

Opening hours and official website: http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/

 

Palau Guell

The Palace is in itself a metaphor, because the patrons humble beginnings are represented in the steer ground floor and basement, and as we go up in the building, so does the feeling of wealth and color.

Palau Guell

A wide range of building materials were used, but with an emphasis on expensive ones, especially marble. The structure is a combination of a Catalan medieval palace with coffered ceilings with exquisite wood. Of course as always we see innovations, in this instance the parabolic arch is the hallmark of this particular work.

Address:

Carrer Nou de la Rambla

How to get there:

Buses – 14, 59, 91 and 120
Metro L3, stops either Liceuy or Drassanes

Opening hours and official website: http://www.palauguell.cat/en

 

Colonia Guell

23km south west of Barcelona, in Santa Coloma de Cervello, lies this pioneering industrial village, which was triggered really due to social unrest at the time. The concept was to design an industrial village which would improve the quality of life of the workers. Some of the top modernist architects of the time were involved in the project, and Gaudi designed the church. However in 1914 the family withdrew the funding, which means that the church is known today as the crypt. Once again we see wonderful integration of materials, and the trademark use a broken mosaic tiling. The crypt, like his other work, is just amazing.

Address:

Carrer de Claudi Guell

How to get there:

Metro S4/S8/S33-Colònia Güell

Opening hours and official website: http://www.gaudicoloniaguell.org/en

Park Guell

The Hansel and Gretel gate houses welcome you to an enchanting place with amazing sculptures, stunning mosaics, genius archetectonic elements and beautiful gardens. Park Güell is where the surreal somehow becomes real, where a dance and demonstration of Gaudi’s personal style laces its way around pathways and wooded areas.

The project was originally intended to be a miniature city of homes for wealthy people in landscaped grounds. However it didn’t take off commercially and in 1914 it was abandoned. At this stage Gaudí had already created a Plaza, two gate houses, 3 km of walkways and roads, and also steps. The city authorities bought it in 1922 to be used as a public park.

During Gaudí’s naturalist phase

Located in the Gracia district of Barcelona, Park Güell was conceived and designed during Gaudi’s naturalist phase. His already established personal style was being inspired further by organic shapes, and through his analysis of geometry he began to conceive and bring into being new structural solutions. His forms are structurally rich, based on a kind of Baroquism, and are liberated from classic premises and rigidity.

Add into the mix his incredible imagination, creative liberty and genius, Park Güell is where his adoration of natural forms has manifested into this amazing experience that can take your senses on a flight, at least to some extent as Gaudí’s did.

Mythology, Catholocisim & Catalanism as bedfellows

The vision that had been conceived between the two men for the original project encompassed a perfect balance between high quality homes, with the latest mod cons, alongside symbolism, political and religious ideals, with some mythological elements. All of these facets needed to blend harmoniously together, and of course to be finished off with an artistic touch.

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The roots of their relationship – the seeds of Park Güell

Entrepreneur, Count Eusebi Güell, first discovered Anton Gaudí in 1878, at the Universal Exhibition in Paris, where he had planned a window display for a glove retailer. Later that year the entrepreneur commissioned Gaudí to make furniture for his father-in-law for a Pantheon Chapel on the Cantabrian Coast, in a town calle Comillas (which actually translates into – “quotation marks”). The architect of the wonderful Neo-Gothic Chapel, at the Palau de Sobrellano, was Joan Martorell i Montells, whom Gaudí already knew, and regarded as his Master, having worked at his studio.

The work on Park Güell commenced in 1900, at which stage Barcelona was a buzzing has a passion metropolis with more than half a million residents. The walls of the city had been demolished around 50 years earlier and it was thriving because of the industry. From 1860 the Eixmaple district has developed spectacularly under the planning of the engineer, Ildefons Cerdà.

If you want to avoid queues to one (this applies to all of them) of Gaudi’s major works in Barcelona, it’s best to book your tickets online.

Address:

Carrer d’Olot

How to get there:

Barcelona Tourist Bus – Park Guell 
Buses – 24, 92, 116

Opening hours and official website: http://www.parkguell.cat/en/

 
Where to stay

Hotel Grums Barcelona, Barcelona

Hotel Grums Barcelona

Opened in 2011, this contemporary style design hotel is situated at the foot of Montjuic hill, just a few steps from the Avinguda del Paral.lel. The hotel offers an excellent spa and a well-equipped fitness centre. The ferry terminal is just a 5-minute walk away; famous attractions such as Las Ramblas, Playa de Catalunya or Playa de Espanya with the trade fair centre Fira de Barcelona are within walking distance.For reasons of maintenance and renovation cleanup the GRUMS SPA will be closed on April, for more information contact by mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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