11 of the Best Gaudi Buildings
Is Barcelona on your bucket list? The lure of the fantastical architecture of Antoni Gaudi is a major drawcard, with over 3 million visitors each year to the Sagrada Familia and over a million to each of his other Barcelona buildings!
Seven of these buildings have been declared World Heritage Sites. He has been described as God’s Architect – read on and you’ll see why!
An no matter whether you want to see each of these yourself (and get express admission and skip the queues) or take a tour and maximize your time – this article has all of your options covered.
Map of Gaudi Buildings in Barcelona
Casa Vicens (Viens)
The first building designed by Gaudi in Barcelona was Casa Viens (Vicens) and in 2005. It was declared a UNESCO world heritage site. Purchased by a bank in 2014, it was immaculately restored and opened to the public in 2017.
Casa Viens is a combination of Hispanic and Arabic traditions called Neo-Mudéjar and oriental style architecture. A striking building, Casa Viens is one of the first Art Nouveau buildings in the world.
Gaudi broke away from traditional architectural conventions and used a wide range of material in the building including concrete, glass, and iron. These materials were set beside coarse red bricks and patterned ceramic tiles.
Best Tickets and Tours of Casa Vicens
Park Güell was built as Gaudi’s personal estate and is now a public park system of stunning beauty. Park Güell sits on Carmel Hill and is a UNESCO Heritage Site that dazzles you with its natural beauty and views of the sea.
The park though was never finished but it remains today as one of Gaudi’s most familiar works. The site features mosaics, sculptures, and various structures perfectly designed to fit within the natural environment.
Best Tickets and Tours of Park Güell
Sagrada Familia is probably the most iconic Gaudi building in Barcelona this unique UNESCO site, still under construction, attracts over 3,000,000 visitors a year. The astounding interior demonstrates the sheer genius of Antoni Gaudi with its minute attention to detail from stained glass to the decorations on the columns and altar.
Sagrada Familia is the epitome of Art Nouveau, Gothic, and Gaudi’s uniquely personal style. Sadly, he was killed in a traffic accident in 1926 before the building could be finished. He is buried in the Crypt of the Basilica.
Construction is expected to be completed in 2026 when there will be a monumental celebration to honor Gaudi and his work.
Next to the Sagrada, Gaudi built a school for the worker’s children and the children from the surrounding neighborhood. The school has a wavy form with a brick front and it contains three classrooms, a chapel, and a hall. There are three outside classrooms with iron pergolas.
Best Tickets and Tours of Sagrada Familia
After his first commission, Casa Vicens, Gaudi began designing and building the Güell Pavilions which the Count commissioned.
Güell wanted Gaudi to redesign his estate and enclose it within a walled and gated area in the town of Sarrià, which is now a suburb of Barcelona. Gaudi again used a design that was a combination of Mudéjar and Oriental.
The buildings at Güell include a stable, gatehouses, and a lunge ring. The stables have a Catalan vaulted ceiling and the buildings within the estate are of brick in various shades of yellow to red and covered in colored glass.
Gaudi used a wrought iron dragon with glass eyes in the main gate and the Fountain of Hercules in the gardens has a spout in the shape of a Chinese dragon.
The estate was left to the Spanish Royal Family in Güell’s will and converted into a royal palace in 1918. In 1950, the University of Barcelona purchased the Estate. In 1969 the Pavillions were declared a Monument of National Historic and Artistic Interest.
Güell Palace commissioned by Eusebi Güell in 1886, is considered one of the best Gaudi buildings in Barcelona and is on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The front of Palau Güell is reminiscent of a Venetian palace, with two large oval gates at the entry. A magnificent staircase leads to the family home the centerpiece of which is a salon decorated with murals and a 17m high parabolic dome ceiling. This was a room for entertaining and impressing guests.
The northern parts of the Palace were reserved for special events and social occasions whereas the southern part was specifically for the family including the dining room and the billiards saloon.
Best Tickets and Tours of Palau Güell
One of Gaudi’s earliest buildings, Casa Calvet is considered the most conservative. It was created to be both a commercial building and a home for a textile maker.
Casa Calvet begins to incorporate Gaudi’s love of Art Nouveau with its curving facade and attic balconies taken straight out of gothic fairy tales. In 1900 Casa Calvet received the award of ‘best building of the year,’ from the Barcelona City Council.
Best Tickets and Tours of Casa Calvet
Casa Milá – La Pedrera
Pere Milà commissioned Casa Mila and it was to be a family home. The Mila family would live on the main floor and rent out the apartments.
Casa Mila is one of Barcelona’s most interesting buildings. It is called La Pedrera because the building features forms drawn from nature with curved balconies and a finish of rough plaster that resembles a stone quarry.
Undoubtedly my favorite rooftop in the world! On the roof terrace, you can see how Gaudi used the architectural details of chimneys, skylights, and beautifully decorated vents to mimic a city skyline.
Best Tickets and Tours of Casa Mila
A plain house when Josep Batlló bought it, in 1904 he commissioned Gaudi to redesign it completely. Breaking every conceivable architectural convention, by 1906 this stunning building received an award for “One of the best three buildings of the year”.
The pillars on the facade look like bones and the roof appears to be the scales on a dragon’s back. This mesmerizing building has become known as the house of bones and the house of the dragon.
The facade incorporates found objects, stones, stained glass, and ceramics creating a sparkling building that makes you smile in appreciation. This building is a celebration of Gaudi’s work bringing together art, life, movement, and joy.
Best Tickets and Tours of Casa Batlló
Cascada Fountain at Parc de la Ciutadella
Cascada Fountain is within one of Barcelona’s prettiest parks – Parc de la Ciutadella (Citadel Park).
Many Catalan artists contributed to the fountain and Gaudi was one of them at the beginning of his career. He was given a task as a student to correct and design the grand fountain’s hydraulics and water tank.
With its faint resemblance to the Trevi Fountain in Rome, the design incorporates dragons, stone-carved clams and a gold statue of Aurora riding four horses.
Church of Colònia Güell
Cripta de la Colònia Güell is the Catalan name for this Church and it is also known as Gaudi’s Crypt.
Unfinished to this day, the Church is widely considered Gaudi’s best building – and what a fantastical building it is!
In the original plan, the building was to have two naves, two towers, and a central dome. However, construction was halted on the death of Count Güell.
The only portion of the Church fully completed is that of the Crypt which appears to melt into the surroundings. Within the Church are 22 stained glass windows that allow light to infiltrate into the darkness of the Church.
Best Tickets and Tours of Cripta de la Colònia Güell
Torre Bellesguard, also known as Casa Figueres, is built from stones and bricks and the interior features colored glass, white walls, and iron details. The Catalan style arch built from overlaid bricks is stunning when seen against all the myriad details incorporated by Gaudi.
Gaudi also restored the medieval palace ruins that are now an intricate part of the grounds of the mansion.
Gaudi’s experiments with new materials and shapes gave him the inspiration to develop what would have been considered inconceivable in the past. His attention to detail, his desire to incorporate the natural world, and his ability to skillfully decorate the exterior of his buildings leave a legacy of beauty for the world.
Have you picked a favorite from these 11 Gaudi buildings in Barcelona?
Best Tours and Tickets for Torre Bellesguard (Casa Figueres)
The Best Tours of Gaudi’s Barcelona
Above you will have seen the best ways to purchase tickets to see the individual architectural masterpieces of Gaudi’s Barcelona. But what if time is short? There are so many wonderful things to see, do, and eat in Barcelona. Seeing a few of Gaudi’s most iconic buildings on a tour can save you time, allow you to fit the most into your Barcelona itinerary, and can minimize your exposure to the traffic, hassles, the heat, and the throng of tourists that is peak season in Barcelona! My pick of the best quality, best value for money, and most highly reviewed tours of Gaudi’s Barcelona are below.
Links and Further Information
- There are so many things to do in Barcelona. See all of the best things to do in Barcelona, from Get Your Guide here
- For another of Europe’s most important and beautiful Gothic churches, see my post on Strasbourg Cathedral: A Gothic Masterpiece
- For other great European landmarks to see on your next trip, see 10 Best Northern Ireland Landmarks for History and Culture, the 12 Best Cultural and Historical Places in England to Visit and for Scotland, see the Best Scotland Landmarks for History and Culture.
- If you’re like me and you love the history, culture, and beauty of Europe, plan your next trip to Greece, Croatia, Hungary, France, and Italy with tripanthropologist.com
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