Gaudi architecture: Antoni Gaudi | Biography, Sagrada Familia, Works, Buildings, Style, & Facts

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Spain, country located in extreme southwestern Europe. It occupies about 85 percent of the Iberian Peninsula, which it shares with its smaller neighbour Portugal.

Spain is a storied country of stone castles, snowcapped mountains, vast monuments, and sophisticated cities, all of which have made it a favoured travel destination. The country is geographically and culturally diverse. Its heartland is the Meseta, a broad central plateau half a mile above sea level. Much of the region is traditionally given over to cattle ranching and grain production; it was in this rural setting that Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote tilted at the tall windmills that still dot the landscape in several places. In the country’s northeast are the broad valley of the Ebro River, the mountainous region of Catalonia, and the hilly coastal plain of Valencia. To the northwest is the Cantabrian Mountains, a rugged range in which heavily forested, rain-swept valleys are interspersed with tall peaks. To the south is the citrus-orchard-rich and irrigated lands of the valley of the Guadalquivir River, celebrated in the renowned lyrics of Spanish poets Federico García Lorca and Antonio Machado; over this valley rises the snowcapped Sierra Nevada. The southern portion of the country is desert, an extension of the Sahara made familiar to Americans through the “spaghetti western” films of the 1960s and early ’70s. Lined with palm trees, rosemary bushes, and other tropical vegetation, the southeastern Mediterranean coast and the Balearic Islands enjoy a gentle climate, drawing millions of visitors and retirees, especially from northern Europe.

Spain’s countryside is quaint, speckled with castles, aqueducts, and ancient ruins, but its cities are resoundingly modern. The Andalusian capital of Sevilla (Seville) is famed for its musical culture and traditional folkways; the Catalonian capital of Barcelona for its secular architecture and maritime industry; and the national capital of Madrid for its winding streets, its museums and bookstores, and its around-the-clock lifestyle. Madrid is Spain’s largest city and is also its financial and cultural centre, as it has been for hundreds of years.

The many and varied cultures that have gone into the making of Spain—those of the Castilians, Catalonians, Lusitanians, Galicians, Basques, Romans, Arabs, Jews, and Roma (Gypsies), among other peoples—are renowned for their varied cuisines, customs, and prolific contributions to the world’s artistic heritage. The country’s Roman conquerors left their language, roads, and monuments, while many of the Roman Empire’s greatest rulers were Spanish, among them Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius. The Moors, who ruled over portions of Spain for nearly 800 years, left a legacy of fine architecture, lyric poetry, and science; the Roma contributed the haunting music called the cante jondo (a form of flamenco), which, wrote García Lorca, “comes from remote races and crosses the graveyard of the years and the fronds of parched winds. It comes from the first sob and the first kiss.” Even the Vandals, Huns, and Visigoths who swept across Spain following the fall of Rome are remembered in words and monuments, which prompted García Lorca to remark, “In Spain, the dead are more alive than the dead of any other country in the world.”

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In 1492, the year the last of the Moorish rulers were expelled from Spain, ships under the command of Christopher Columbus reached America. For 300 years afterward, Spanish explorers and conquerors traveled the world, claiming huge territories for the Spanish crown, a succession of Castilian, Aragonese, Habsburg, and Bourbon rulers. For generations Spain was arguably the richest country in the world, and certainly the most far-flung. With the steady erosion of its continental and overseas empire throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, however, Spain was all but forgotten in world affairs, save for the three years that the ideologically charged Spanish Civil War (1936–39) put the country at the centre of the world’s stage, only to become ever more insular and withdrawn during the four decades of rule by dictator Francisco Franco. Following Franco’s death in 1975, a Bourbon king, Juan Carlos, returned to the throne and established a constitutional monarchy. The country has been ruled since then by a succession of elected governments, some socialist, some conservative, but all devoted to democracy.


Spain is bordered to the west by Portugal; to the northeast it borders France, from which it is separated by the tiny principality of Andorra and by the great wall of the Pyrenees Mountains. Spain’s only other land border is in the far south with Gibraltar, an enclave that belonged to Spain until 1713, when it was ceded to Great Britain in the Treaty of Utrecht at the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. Elsewhere the country is bounded by water: by the Mediterranean Sea to the east and southeast, by the Atlantic Ocean to the northwest and southwest, and by the Bay of Biscay (an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean) to the north. The Canary (Canarias) Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwestern African mainland, and the Balearic (Baleares) Islands, in the Mediterranean, also are parts of Spain, as are Ceuta and Melilla, two small enclaves in North Africa (northern Morocco) that Spain has ruled for centuries.

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Spain accounts for five-sixths of the Iberian Peninsula, the roughly quadrilateral southwestern tip of Europe that separates the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean. Most of Spain comprises a large plateau (the Meseta Central) divided by a mountain range, the Central Sierra (Sistema Central), which trends west-southwest to east-northeast. Several mountains border the plateau: the Cantabrian Mountains (Cordillera Cantábrica) to the north, the Iberian Cordillera (Sistema Ibérico) to the northeast and east, the Sierra Morena to the south, and the lower mountains of the Portuguese frontier and Spanish Galicia to the northwest. The Pyrenees run across the neck of the peninsula and form Spain’s border with France. There are two major depressions, that of the Ebro River in the northeast and that of the Guadalquivir River in the southwest. In the southeast the Baetic Cordillera (Sistema Penibético) runs broadly parallel to the coast to merge with the mountains of the Iberian Cordillera. Along the Mediterranean seaboard there are coastal plains, some with lagoons (e.g., Albufera, south of Valencia). Offshore in the Mediterranean, the Balearic Islands are an unsubmerged portion of the Baetic Cordillera. The Canary Islands in the Atlantic are of volcanic origin and contain the highest peak on Spanish territory, Teide Peak, which rises to 12,198 feet (3,718 metres) on the island of Tenerife.

Spain has some of the oldest as well as some of the youngest rocks of Europe. The entire western half of Iberia, with the exception of the extreme south, is composed of ancient (Hercynian) rocks; geologists refer to this Hercynian block as the Meseta Central. It constitutes a relatively stable platform around which younger sediments accumulated, especially on the Mediterranean side. In due course these sediments were pushed by major earth movements into mountain ranges. The term meseta is also used by geographers and local toponymy to designate the dominating relief unit of central Iberia. As a result, the Meseta Central defined by relief is subdivided by geology into a crystalline west (granites and gneisses) and a sedimentary east (mainly clays and limestones). The northern Meseta Central, which has an average elevation of 2,300 feet (700 metres), corresponds to the tablelands, or plateau, of Castile and León, although it is in fact a basin surrounded by mountains and drained by the Douro (Duero) River. The southern Meseta Central (the Meseta of Castile–La Mancha) is some 330 feet (100 metres) lower. Its relief is more diverse, however, owing to heavy faulting and warping caused by volcanic activity around the Calatrava Plain and to two complex river systems (the Guadiana and the Tagus) separated by mountains. Its southern plains rise gradually to the Sierra Morena. The southeastern side of this range drops almost vertically by more than 3,300 feet (1,000 metres) to the Guadalquivir depression. Dividing the northern and southern Mesetas are the Central Sierras, one of the outstanding features of the Iberian massif. Their highest points—Peñalara Peak at 7,972 feet (2,430 metres) and Almanzor Peak at 8,497 feet (2,590 metres)—rise well above the plains of the central plateau. In contrast, the granitic Galician mountains, at the northwestern end of the Hercynian block, have an average elevation of only 1,640 feet (500 metres), decreasing toward the deeply indented (ria) coast of the Atlantic seaboard.

Part of Alpine Europe, the Pyrenees form a massive mountain range that stretches from the Mediterranean Sea to the Bay of Biscay, a distance of some 270 miles (430 km). The range comprises a series of parallel zones: the central axis, a line of intermediate depressions, and the pre-Pyrenees. The highest peaks, formed from a core of ancient crystalline rocks, are found in the central Pyrenees—notably Aneto Peak at 11,168 feet (3,404 metres)—but those of the west, including Anie Peak at 8,213 feet (2,503 metres), are not much lower. The mountains fall steeply on the northern side but descend in terraces to the Ebro River trough in the south. The outer zones of the Pyrenees are composed of sedimentary rocks. Relief on the nearly horizontal sedimentary strata of the Ebro depression is mostly plain or plateau, except at the eastern end where the Ebro River penetrates the mountains to reach the Mediterranean Sea.

A series of sierras trending northwest-southeast forms the Iberian Cordillera, which separates the Ebro depression from the Meseta and reaches its highest elevation with Moncayo Peak at 7,588 feet (2,313 metres). In the southeast the Iberian Cordillera links with the Baetic Cordillera, also a result of Alpine earth movements. Although more extensive—more than 500 miles (800 km) long and up to 150 miles (240 km) wide—and with peninsular Spain’s highest summit, Mulhacén Peak, at 11,421 feet (3,481 metres), the Baetic ranges are more fragmented and less of a barrier than the Pyrenees. On their northern and northwestern sides they flank the low-lying and fairly flat Guadalquivir basin, the average elevation of which is only 426 feet (130 metres) on mainly clay strata. Unlike the Ebro basin, the Guadalquivir depression is wide open to the sea on the southwest, and its delta has extensive marshland (Las Marismas).


Although some maintain that “aridity rivals civil war as the chief curse of [historic] Spain,” the Iberian Peninsula has a dense network of streams, three of which rank among Europe’s longest: the Tagus at 626 miles (1,007 km), the Ebro at 565 miles (909 km), and the Douro at 556 miles (895 km). The Guadiana and the Guadalquivir are 508 miles (818 km) and 408 miles (657 km) long, respectively. The Tagus, like the Douro and the Guadiana, reaches the Atlantic Ocean in Portugal. In fact, all the major rivers of Spain except the Ebro drain into the Atlantic Ocean. The hydrographic network on the Mediterranean side of the watershed is poorly developed in comparison with the Atlantic systems, partly because it falls into the climatically driest parts of Spain. However, nearly all Iberian rivers have low annual volume, irregular regimes, and deep valleys and even canyons. Flooding is always a potential hazard. The short, swift streams of Galicia and Cantabria, draining to the northwestern and northern coasts, respectively, have only a slight or, at most, modest summer minimum. The predominant fluvial regime in Spain is thus characterized by a long or very long summer period of low water. This is the regime of all the major arteries that drain the Meseta as well as those of the Mediterranean seaboard, such as the Júcar and the Segura: for example, from August to September the Guadiana River usually has less than one-tenth of its average annual flow. Only the Ebro River has a relatively constant and substantial flow—19,081 cubic feet (540 cubic metres) per second at Tortosa—coming from snowmelt as well as rainfall in the high Pyrenees. In comparison, the flow of the Douro is only 5,050 cubic feet (143 cubic metres) per second. The flow of many Iberian streams has been reduced artificially by water extraction for purposes such as irrigation. Subterranean flow is well-developed in limestone districts.


There are five major soil types in Spain. Two are widely distributed but of limited extent: alluvial soils, found in the major valleys and coastal plains, and poorly developed, or truncated, mountain soils. Brown forest soils are restricted to humid Galicia and Cantabria. Acidic southern brown earths (leading to restricted crop choice) are prevalent on the crystalline rocks of the western Meseta, and gray, brown, or chestnut soils have developed on the calcareous and alkaline strata of the eastern Meseta and of eastern Spain in general. Saline soils are found in the Ebro basin and coastal lowlands. Calcretes (subsoil zonal crusts [toscas], usually of hardened calcium carbonate) are particularly well-developed in the arid regions of the east: La Mancha, Almería, Murcia, Alicante (Alacant), and Valencia, as well as the Ebro and Lleida (Lérida) basins.

Soil erosion resulting from the vegetation degradation suffered by Spain for at least the past 3,000 years has created extensive badlands, reduced soil cover, downstream alluviation, and, more recently, silting of dams and irrigation works. Particularly affected are the high areas of the central plateau and southern and eastern parts of Spain. Although the origins of some of the spectacular badlands of southeastern Spain, such as Guadix, may lie in climatic conditions from earlier in Quaternary time (beginning 2.6 million years ago), one of the major problems of modern Spain is the threat of desertification—i.e., the impoverishment of arid, semiarid, and even some humid ecosystems caused by the joint impact of human activities and drought. Nearly half of Spain is moderately or severely affected, especially in the arid east (Almería, Murcia), as well as in much of subarid Spain (the Ebro basin). The government has adopted policies of afforestation, but some authorities believe that natural vegetation regrowth would yield more speedy and more permanent benefits.

Architecture Like No Other – 5 Astonishing Antoni Gaudi Buildings in Barcelona

June 25, 2019

Elena Martinique

Working at the forefront of Catalan Modernism, the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí fascinated and inspired generations of architects, designers, and even engineers. Having a special ability to synthesize the tradition and the courage to new technical solutions, Gaudí created some of the most imaginative architectural forms in history, all of them in his native Catalonia.

Born on June 25, 1852, in Reus, Spain, Gaudí had a deep appreciation for his native land and great pride in his Mediterranean and Catalan heritage for his art. Inventive, daring, and flamboyant, but also highly personal, the Antoni Gaudí architecture was inspired by his greatest passions in life: architecture, nature and religion. The architect studied organic and anarchic geometric forms of nature thoroughly, searching for a way to give expression to these forms in architecture. A devout Catholic, his work contains many references to religious themes, becoming known as the “God’s Architect”. As a great craftsman, Gaudí designed all the architectural space filled elements in his buildings, from works from forged iron, furniture and ceramics to sculptures, mosaics and stained glass windows.

Antoni Gaudí, 1878

Antoni Gaudi – A Man of Innovations

The Antoni Gaudí architecture brought both constructional and functional innovations, including biomimicry, the use of hyperbolic paraboloid vaults, the use of inverted scale models of the proposed structures, integration of iron and reinforcement of concrete into construction, a way of designing ceramic mosaics from waste pieces, a new technique for stained glass, etc.

Antoni Gaudí once explained that architects must possess “remarkable aptitudes and iron discipline”:

[The architect is] the synthetic man who sees things clearly as a whole before they are done, who situates and connects the elements in their plastic relationship and at the right distance, like their static quality and polychrome sense.

From 1914, Gaudí completely devoted himself to his work on Sagrada Família, moving into his workshop inside the basilica. Increasingly leading an ascetic existence towards the end of his life, he stopped shaving and often wore shabby, ragged clothing. On June 7th, 1926, Gaudí was hit by a tram along the Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes.

Due to his unkempt appearance, people thought the architect was a beggar and it took some time before he was taken to the hospital where he got only rudimentary care. He was identified as the famous architect the next day, but it was too late – Gaudí died two days later, on June 10th, 1926. Antoni Gaudí was laid to rest in the crypt of the Sagrada Família church.

We bring you five Antoni Gaudí architectural works which testify to his eclectic and very personal style, which contributed significantly to the development of architecture and building technology. All of these architectural works were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Featured image: Antoni Gaudí – The Dome of the Sagrada Família Basilica, Barcelona. Captions, via Creative Commons.

Modern architecture. Antonio Gaudí

Gaudí is one of the most famous and recognizable architects in the world. In this part, we will learn how his main masterpieces are arranged.

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1-7. House of Vicens, Barcelona, ​​Spain, 1885
8-10. Pavilions Güell, Barcelona, ​​Spain, 1887

Let’s talk about Antoni Gaudí. His buildings are not similar to each other, but the author’s style is felt in them. Gaudi’s work is the embodiment of modernity, unlike the rest of modernity.

Why did Gaudí stay in the history of architecture 👇

Started 20 years before mainstream modern. Back in the 1880s, Gaudi created radical projects – not academic and not similar to the usual architecture of that time: House of Vicens, Guell pavilions.

🔎 Was a perfectionist in details. Any Art Nouveau architect pays a lot of attention to detail, but Gaudí went further than anyone: his building can have several Gothic turrets, and each spire is made in its own way.

🔝 Brought modernity to the limit. There are architects who create in the context of an era, but do it more powerfully and more interestingly than their contemporaries. For the Baroque, this was Borromini – and this was Gaudí for Art Nouveau.

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1, 2, 3, 4, 5. House of Batllo, Barcelona, ​​Spain, 1877
6, 7, 8. Park Güell, Barcelona, ​​Spain, 1900-1914
9, 10. Casa Mila, Barcelona, ​​Spain, 1901

In 1900 Art Nouveau became a global trend. At this time, Gaudi opened up completely, his most famous things appeared: Park Güell, the large tenement houses of Batllo and Mila in the center of Barcelona.

Let’s take a closer look at Batllo’s house – what makes it unique 👇

Natural forms. Gaudí’s wild fantasy came true in this asymmetrical house. All joints are similar to joints, and balconies resemble pelvic bones.

🤹 Improvisation. Gaudi loved to invent and finish a lot on the go. The mosaic of ceramic scales on the facade from the third floor and above is pure improvisation.

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, ​​Spain, construction began in 1882

It’s time to talk about the Sagrada Familia, a giant church in the new district of Barcelona. This is the greatest monument of Art Nouveau, which has not yet been completed.

How Gaudi created a masterpiece 👇

⛪️ Started with Neo-Gothic. Gothic was the best at building large, tall, bright churches.

💡 Along the way, I figured out how to do it better. Gaudi developed a more efficient building frame with better load distribution. It turned out lighter, more economical and more expressive.

Added unique details. The church resembles a Gothic one, but there are practically no quotations from Gothic in it. All the details were invented by Gaudí himself. This is an example of epic modernity, its highest point.

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Five masterpieces of Antonio Gaudí | O’Bon Paris

Antonio Gaudí (1852-1926) is one of the most famous architectural geniuses of the 19th century. He observed natural objects such as trees, sky, wind, sand, animals and created his architectural structures inspired by their images, functions and forms. On his creations you see more curves and sinuous lines than any other buildings, since straight lines, according to Gaudí, are artificial and do not exist in nature. Gaudi also created his projects using natural natural techniques: the force of gravity acting on the building. Seven of his architectural masterpieces are included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. Casa Vicente, Sagrada Familia, Palace Güell, Park Güell, Casa Batlio, Casa Mila – these major masterpieces represent the work of Gaudí. Due to his sudden death, the Sagrada Familia was not completed, but is already included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. To understand its architectural philosophy and symbolism, we will tell you in detail about each of these must-see masterpieces in Barcelona.



year, commissioned by textile magnate Josep Batllói – Casanovas. He asked the architect to build the most beautiful and outstanding house on Passeig de Gracia (Passeig de Gràcia). At that time, this street was famous for the buildings of talented architects. Initially, Batllo wanted to destroy the existing building and build a new one, but Gaudí offered to keep it and restore it. As a result, the entire building was completely rebuilt, including columns, internal layout and increase in windows.

Gaudí’s philosophical ideas about architecture and nature, embedded in the concept of the building, can be interpreted in different ways. According to different versions, it represents the sea, the human body, nature. Moreover, the walls and pillars resemble animal bones, the roof resembles the scaly skin of a dragon, and the balcony of the princess seems to tell the story of St. George, the saint of Catalonia. Gaudi, deeply interested in the internal structure of structures, created the interior in accordance with the meaning and purpose of each place. For example, wide windows allow sunlight to enter as much as possible so that the house can interact with the outside world.

The tour includes an audio guide + virtual reality simulation guide to better understand and present Gaudí’s ideas.

Address : Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona

Opening hours : daily 9:00-21:00

Price : adult rate – 25 euros, 8 years old 22 euros / adult rate (skip the line) – 31 euros, student rate – 28 euros / VIP + photo – 35 euros, student rate (7-18 years old) – 32 euros / free for children under 7 years old

Website : https://www.


Casa Mila was an innovative structure, not only in terms of design, but also for practical reasons. Gaudi built an underground parking and an elevator – something that people at that time did not even suspect. In the photo above – the roof of this magnificent building. This pipe inspired the director of Star Wars. These pipes on the roof symbolize fire, air and earth.

It is also called La Pedrera because of the use of white stone and its uneven surface. Gaudí, who loved nature and curved lines, designed this building with mountains in mind. He used soft curves to structure the exterior facade and interior of the building, creating a fantastical atmosphere. The building was built with stones and columns that support it without supporting structures. Therefore, the interior space of the building can be designed in accordance with the desire of the owner and with a huge amount of natural sunlight.

At Casa Mila you can take an audio guide.

Address: Passeig de Gràcia, 92 08008 Barcelona

Opening hours: day tour 9:00-18:30 (last entry 18:00) / night tour 19:00-21:00

Cost : day tour – adult rate 22 euros, children 7-12 years old – 11 euros, free for children under 6 years old / day tour without a queue – 29 euros, children 7-12 years old – 11 euros, children under 6 years old – free of charge / night tour – adult fare 34 euros, children 7-12 years old – 17 euros, free for children under 6 years old

*When buying at the office, the price is three euros higher




People around the world are waiting for the completion of the construction of the century – the Sagrada Familia (“Sagrada Familia”). Gaudi devoted himself to the creation of this grandiose architectural structure, until his life was cut short by sudden death. By that time, only a quarter of the building had been completed. To this day, his followers continue to work on this structure. Construction has been going on for 136 years.

Gaudí took into account the force of gravity acting on tall buildings such as the Sagrada Familia when he designed this cathedral. He thought of him primarily as an engineer. Although computer simulations were not available at the time, Gaudí tried to understand the principle itself. He hung a chain in the shape of an arch and studied the effects of gravity. The temple was built according to his research.

The facade of the cathedral depicts scenes from the Bible, in accordance with the ideas of Gaudí himself. His sincere religious faith was displayed symbolically on the walls of the cathedral. There are also parts inspired by modern art, architecture, cinema. Based on his devotion and love for this project and devoted religious faith, he is buried in the catacombs of this cathedral.

The splendor and sophistication of the architecture of this cathedral is impressive from the outside, but when you enter inside, you will feel like you are in a mystical magical forest. The supporting columns are like powerful tree trunks reaching for the sky. Natural light, penetrating through the colored stained-glass windows, adds holiness and warmth to the cathedral. The stained glass windows seem to tell of spring, summer, autumn and winter, with their proportional harmony of blue and red. Enter the temple on a sunny day to see how the sunlight penetrates the inside of the temple.

Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona

Opening hours: November-February 9:00-18:00 / March 19:00 / 19:00-09:00 00-20:00 / October 09:00-19:00 / December 25th, 26th, January 1st, 6th 09:00-14:00

Cost: adult rate – 17 EUR / including audio guide 25 EUR / excursion with guide – 26 euros / audio guide + visit to the Gaudi House Museum 27 euros / audio guide + panoramic platform on the tower of the cathedral – 32 euros

Ticket Site


PARK 0125

Gaudí’s friend and assistant Güell once asked Gaudí to create a complex of houses for his family on his land. The original plan was to build a huge complex of houses for the bourgeois, which would include parks, playgrounds and many other amenities. However, this did not attract the attention of wealthy residents of the city, construction was stopped and remained at the same level until today.

In the Parc Güell you can easily find the Trencandis mosaic he liked to use. Trencandis is a broken mosaic technique made up of fragments of ceramics and glass. Among the masterpieces of Gaudí’s Trencandis, the most famous is the statue of a lizard and is considered a symbol of Barcelona.

The benches are also decorated with multi-colored ceramic tiles and glass, creating a fabulous fantasy picture. Gaudi designed the shape of the benches, taking into account not only beauty, but also practicality. He wanted to make this place as comfortable as possible for visitors. The holes in the benches are made in case of rain, so that rainwater can easily collect in special containers. Then this water was used again.

Initially, Gaudí and Güell planned to build a residential complex for wealthy Barcelona residents. Gaudí wanted to build over 60 houses, but only 30 were completed and offered for sale, only three of which were sold. Moreover, it was Güell himself, Gaudí and Gaudí’s lawyer. It was not accepted by the public at the time. Gaudi’s house has acquired the status of a museum and is perfectly preserved, it can be visited with a guided tour.

The imagination and fantasy of the genius Antoni Gaudí will inspire your walk through the Park Güell, where the originality of architecture and philosophy is freely expressed through Güell.

Address: 08024 Barcelona

Hours: November-March 8:30-18:15 / March 9:00-19:00 / April 8:00 – 20:30 / April 29th – August 8: 00-22:30 / Aug 26th – Oct 26th 8:00-20:30 / Dec 25th, 26th, 1, 6 Jan 9:00-14:00 (check website for park hours)

Cost : adult fare 8.