Walking with Gaudi
Standing on the paved tiles designed by Gaudi in 1907 on Paseo de Gracia outside Casa Batlló. Look closely and you'll find sea snails and starfish!
Barcelona is one of those big cities with lots and lots and LOTS to see and do… Not just that. For me, it's one of those cities where you want to see and do all of them. I had three days and before we'd even landed on the tarmac I was wondering when I'd be able to get in another visit. I remember years ago seeing some photos of Sagrada Familia and ever since then wanting to go and explore Gaudi's Barcelona.
Architecture fit for a Saint?
Possibly the most famous and greatest unfinished piece ever! Gaudi started work on Sagrada Familia in 1883 and continued until his death in 1926. Gaudi was a devout catholic and believed his work on the cathedral to be of the utmost importance. A century later, work continues with architects doing their best to keep to Gaudi's original designs (real and imagined as some of them were destroyed). As well as hoping the cathedral will finally be complete in 2026 in time for the centennial of Gaudi's death, there is strong support for Gaudi to also become a Saint...
www.sagradafamilia.cat (Adult tickets cost €14.30 and can be purchased online. You can also purchase a ticket with a guide at the ticket office in the cathedral)
So with not a whole heap of time and plenty of things on my list just for this wee trip, I figured it was a good idea to take heed of friends' recommendations to do a walking tour. I'm not usually a tour sort of person - especially if I've managed to get a few tips from a local or two about where to go. I quite like being able to take my time, wandering aimlessly and just soaking up the atmosphere. It's a great way to explore the subtle and sometimes not so subtle differences as you go from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. But, needing a little bit more focus with so much to see, a Gaudi walking tour seemed like a great way to see lots and learn more. Like in most major cities, there are a host of companies who offer free walking tours. I had a look at the rough itineraries of a couple and decided to go for Runner Bean Tours. Free walking tours rely on tips - and they leave it up to you. I know it can be a pain sometimes trying to work out what would be a fair tip - my sister and I gave €10 each, which I felt was fair. No-one's judging you so if you take one of the tours, just tip what you think is fair!
Outside Palau Güell
Palau Güellc/ Nou de la Rambla, 3-508001 Barcelona
www.palauguell.cat (Adult tickets are €10 and can be purchased at the site)
We met up at Plaça Reial where the tour begins and the Runner Bean guides were easy to spot with their bright green vests. And although there were about 15 of us altogether, Ann Marie, our guide did an amazing job of engaging the group as a whole as well as individually. She knew her stuff too! Which was great because despite already feeling like a big Gaudi fan just from a few pictures, I actually didn't know very much about him or his work. What I loved too is that as well as all the history and facts given around each piece we went to visit and about the great man himself are the quirky observations made. Like learning that Salvador Dali designed the branding for a lollipop or that some of the characters that have become part of the architecture in his work look remarkably like they came out of Star Wars. I won't give it all away… though it's tempting because it was all so fascinating! I would however recommend taking a tour yourself. (Or if you do prefer to do these things at your own speed, you could always check out various itineraries and head off just on your tod!)
Curvy La Pedrera
Although I didn't go in to explore the building fully (or take a closer look at the Stormtrooper like chimneys), there was a free exhibition on pottery by artist, Artigas, which meant we could see a bit of the first floor... and it was free!
La PedreraProvença, 261 - 26508008, Barcelonawww.lapedrera.com (You can book tickets online. Adult tickets are €16.50)
Taking a closer look at Casa Batlló
The tour doesn't include entrance into any of the buildings - and at 2 and a half hours long, you wouldn't have time to see them all! It's a great opportunity to get to know them a little bit and then you can pick one or all of them to explore even further. With not a whole heap of time, we decided to take a closer look at just one, picking Casa Batlló.
Dressed up windows
I loved the look of this dreamy looking house so figured if there was only one place I could see more of, it had to be this one.
Casa BatllóPasseig de Gràcia, 4308007 Barcelona
(Adult tickets cost €18.15 and can be purchased online or at the ticket office. Over the summer, until 23 September, they do 'Magic Nights' where they open the house to 9pm and for €29, you'll get the chance to experience the house with a glass of cava, DJ and a live musical performance)
Like you're deep sea diving at Casa Batlló
A sea snail ceiling
Up in the sky
And the one that got away...
Not quite managing it this time around... I reckon a lovely afternoon could be spent sitting and exploring Gaudi's works at Parc Güell. It's already on my list for my next Barcelona visit
See more in Barcelona
We really rather love Barcelona and you can see just why in our other posts on the Catalunyan capital...
Mile high dining over Barcelona
Barcelona's newest hotspot bar & Hendricks gin with cucumber
Spain for more festivities in September
Views to dive for in Barcelona
Getting fresh at La Boqueria Market
Barcelona: Beach city