Antoni Gaudí's Masterpieces Walking Tour, Barcelona

Antoni Gaudí's Masterpieces Walking Tour (Self Guided), Barcelona

Gaudi is admired around the world as one of the most distinctive architects of the 20th century. The unique technique and use of natural forms make his creations stand out from the pack. La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Casa Batllo and other masterpieces will certainly take your breath away with their beauty, forms, colors, and overall design. Just make sure to book tickets in advance, since peaking inside may be depending on their availability.

Our itinerary starts at Palau Guell, by far the most budget-friendly of Barcelona’s Gaudi houses, which also allows seeing quite a bit from the outside, since there is no fence or wall to block the view of its entry gates, facade and rooftop. Gaudi designed this house in 1885 when he was still a rookie, having received his first commission from a wealthy industrialist. Straight away, the city mansion strikes you as strangely forbidding. A phoenix hovers above the entry, with outstretched wings representing Catalan renaissance, while beneath it are the four stripes of the Catalan flag. From across the road, you can see the tops of Gaudi’s brightly colored ceramic and tile chimney stacks.

Next is the Casa Calvet, built for a textile manufacturer in 1899. Some hold that it’s Gaudi most conservative work; however, it also contains markedly “modernista” elements, such as bulging and curved balconies, as well as attic balconies looking like something from a fairy tale.

The family mansion of Casa Batllo and the apartment building Casa Mila are two very different residential structures – yet, they share much of the same architectural vocabulary. The latter’s undulating sculptural appearance made it one of Barcelona’s most striking and controversial structures.

Finally, La Sagrada Familia is by far the city’s most well-known attraction, and for good reason. Nothing comes close to this singularly unique cathedral with spires rocketing toward the sky, looking like it dripped from the heavens above. Spain anticipates the church to finally be finished in 2026 (the centennial of Gaudi’s death).

Follow this self-guided walking tour and enjoy the sight of Barcelona’s architectural marvels created by Antoni Gaudi!
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Antoni Gaudí's Masterpieces Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Antoni Gaudí's Masterpieces Walking Tour
Guide Location: Spain » Barcelona (See other walking tours in Barcelona)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
Author: clare
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Palau Guell
  • Casa Calvet
  • Casa Batllo
  • Casa Mila (La Pedrera)
  • La Sagrada Família
Palau Guell

1) Palau Guell (must see)

Palau Guell (or Guell Palace) is a town mansion in the Raval district, created by Catalonia's #1 architect Antoni Gaudí for the industrial tycoon Eusebi Guell. Gaudí was commissioned to the project in 1885 and the palace was opened in time for the World Exhibition of 1888.

A magnificent Modernist building, this is one of Gaudí's early works in Barcelona and is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, known as "Works of Antoni Gaudí". Designed as a multipurpose building, with flats, event and exhibition spaces, there were just 18x22 meters of floor space available to build it.

Some of the facade elements make it look like a Venetian palace. The interior is centered around the main guest room fitted with tiny observation holes, hidden in the ornate walls and ceiling, through which the owner could sneak peek at the guests, from the upper floor, prior to greeting them in person. The two large oval gates at the front, featuring iron-work in the form of seaweed, resembling a horsewhip, made it possible for the high-society guests to arrive in their carriages straight into the horse stables at the basement. From there, they could then climb upstairs.

Why You Should Visit:
Location just off the famous Las Ramblas and being less well-known means fewer tourists and a great way of saving time yet managing to see some nice Gaudí work right in the old quarter of the city.

The roof terrace is the pièce de résistance, with colorful chimneys, decorated with broken tiles and mosaics, no two of which are alike! Altogether there are 20 chimneys, which also serve as ventilation shafts.
On a rainy day, the roof is closed, mind you, so you better check the weather forecast upfront so as not to visit here when it's wet outside.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-8pm
Casa Calvet

2) Casa Calvet

The Casa Calvet is located in Calle Caspe, Barcelona and it is built in the typical Catalonian style. It comprises four stories, excluding the first floor and basement, and also contains a roof terrace. It is one of the many splendid architectural sites in Barcelona duly appreciated by locals and visitors alike.

Antonio Gaudi was the mastermind behind the design of this building and was commissioned to this project by the son of Pedro Martir Calvet, the textile manufacturer. The choice was made based on the fact that Gaudi’s work had never failed to express modernity and proved successful with every design.

Initially, the initiation of the project was delayed because of the rejection of Gaudi’s plans based on the fact that the desired structure exceeded the space allotted to Gaudi. Gaudi, who had no intentions of altering the design to the likes of the municipal architect, sent the plans back without modifying them and threatened that if the plans were not permitted to be implemented as they were, the design of the structure would be severely compromised. Hence, the Casa Calvet was constructed in a strict accordance with Gaudi’s ideas. An epic structure completely representing Antonio Gaudi’s style of work, the Casa Calvet adorns Barcelona like many other historic structures that one can find in the city.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Casa Batllo

3) Casa Batllo (must see)

Casa Batlló – one of the highlights of Modernism and Catalan Art Nouveau architecture in Barcelona – is largely regarded as the ultimate masterpiece of Antoni Gaudí. Originally built in the 1870s, it was redesigned by Gaudí in 1904 in an astonishing renovation project that turned this relatively ordinary mansion into a work of art. Lovingly referred to by the locals as the “house of bones” for its almost bone-like balconies, or the “house of the dragon” for its roof resembling a dragon’s humped and glossy scaled back, this is certainly one of the weirdest-looking residential buildings of Europe.

There are not many buildings in the world that seem more like a living thing than an inanimate object, yet Casa Batlló achieves exactly that and its design feels almost alive. Any time – day or night, there is a small crowd outside, standing on the pavement staring up the wavy-shaped facade covered in a mosaic of fragmented colored glass and ceramic discs. Gaudí's use of light and color is wonderful, especially in the ceramics, and the curves soften the hard materials quite brilliantly. The building's interior is swirly and curvaceous, but to see it with your own eyes, you'll have to pay an admission fee which is somewhat steep compared to other attractions in Barcelona.

However, if you decide to go in, make sure to take a free audio-guide, as it really helps understand the historical and artistic context of the building. Now that all the rooms are devoid of furniture, this smart guide enables you to imagine what it was like when the original furniture and lighting were in place. As in the case of Casa Milà, Gaudí designed every single bit and piece here, right down to the very door handles, so as to ensure they fit in seamlessly, complementing the entire form and function.

Despite the presence of an elevator, visitors are encouraged to walk up the stairs to the rooftop, so as to soak up the atmosphere with its intricate textures and shapes – glass walls and tiles. At the end, up on the roof, visitors are rewarded with a scenic view of the area, as well as the up-close encounter with the roof itself including, of course, the signature twisted and tiled chimney pots looking as if they were brought in from a land far, far away...

For a fee, you can get a photo taken on the small balcony at the front of the building (on your way down from the roof); both a printed copy and e-copy.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-9pm (last entry: 8pm)
Casa Mila (La Pedrera)

4) Casa Mila (La Pedrera) (must see)

Hugging the corner of Passeig de Gràcia, the curvy Casa Milà is yet another fabulous creation of Antoni Gaudí, located just minutes away from his other masterpiece, Casa Batlló. Commissioned by a rich developer who had just married an even richer widow, this apartment block is the most original in the entire city of Barcelona and vividly illustrates how well ahead of his time Gaudí, the designer, really was.

The nickname La Pedrera (“The Quarry”) stems from the building's stony, fortress-like appearance, but Gaudí himself thought of it more as a body covered with skin, where the columns are the building’s skeleton, and the stone – its flesh. It may not look much from a distance, but as you get near, you are gradually drawn in and can't stop staring! The whole structure is so seamlessly sinuous that it looks as if molded rather than built, while the apartments inside resemble eroded cave dwellings.

After being declared the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, La Pedrera was acquired by a Catalonian banking foundation and, upon the completion of restoration and cleaning works, some of its original decorations came back into sight. The owners also refurbished the building, adding some new features inside.

Among them is a recreated early 20th century-style apartment on the fourth floor, an elegant model of a well-to-do family's dwelling of the period. Up in the attic, there is a tribute to Gaudi’s life and work presented in the form of scale models and plans, drawings and photographs of all his Barcelona creations. Among other things, the display illustrates the master's inspiration found in natural objects such as pumpkins, seashells, and even python skeletons.

In keeping with the building's facade, the roof terrace maintains the peculiar architectural style in the form of chimneys, ventilation shafts and stairwells without detriment to their functionality. Complementing this is a stunning panoramic view of Barcelona and a nice respite from the street bustle down below. If you plan on getting out on the roof terrace, make sure to come on a fine day, for it is closed when it rains.

Do try and book your ticket online in advance to skip the queue and, possibly, come at or after the sunset, when the lights are on, so as to appreciate the surreal audiovisual show. In summer months, jazz and flamenco concerts are often held here, which is quite a treat as well!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-8:30pm (March-Oct / Dec 26-Jan 3); 9am-6:30pm (Nov-Feb)

Night Tour:
Daily: 9-11pm (March-Oct / Dec 26-Jan 3); 7-9pm (Nov-Feb);
La Sagrada Família

5) La Sagrada Família (must see)

Gaudí's major Gothic masterpiece is indeed awe-inspiring up close. This mammoth basilica seems to sprout from the ground and keeps rising and rising as far as the eye can see. Gaudí spent a large part of his career on this iconic monument, having dedicated over 43 years to its design. The construction works are still underway and are as much part of the attraction as the building itself.

From the outside, there is much to take in, but the interior is no less extraordinary with the eyes being drawn at once to the walls and the roof. Huge, bright, colorful and vibrant stained-glass windows line the walls, filling the church with natural light and an explosion of color. Supported by countless pillars with strong trunk bases that sprout into branches as they near the ceiling, the temple's roof really looks like a forest canopy.

Simply walking around alone and marveling may work in a regular church, but the Sagrada Família leaves you clueless as a rock if you decide to do the same here. This cathedral is another level and there is so much to know about it that you really shouldn't waste your time without a guide. Luckily, the audio devices they provide at the entrance offer plenty of information whilst allowing sufficient time to wander around. Alternatively, you can book a guided tour in the language of your choice directly at the basilica's website.

When planning a trip, pre-purchasing a ticket online is absolutely recommended and will let you skip the long line upon arrival.

Furthermore, don't forget to make time for the museum below offering a great deal of information, including audiovisual presentation, about the Sagrada Família project's past and future, as well as about Gaudí himself. You may also wish to visit the small school built by Antoni Gaudí for the construction workers' children right on the site.

Note that children under 6 cannot go up the towers and a walk down the spiral steps can be a bit daunting for some. Should you decide to go for the climb, ask the staff where the “backside elevator” is, as there are usually fewer people there.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-8pm (Apr-Sep); 9am-7pm (Mar, Oct); 9am-6pm (Nov-Feb); 9am-2pm (Dec 25/26, Jan 1/6); last entry: 30 mins before closing time

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