Park GüellMy rating: 4.5 stars+ A little green oasis with an amazing view of the city. The Park Güell terrace and the famous dragon are kind of a must!
- I still think it’s a shame admission is no longer free – so I’m taking a half point off!
Note: Purchase your tickets ahead of time online, especially during the summer months, to prevent waiting in line too long (timed tickets).
Last updated: 14 Jun 2019 | Celine Mülich
How to get there: L3 (green line): Lesseps (to go to the main entrance) or Vallcarca (side entrance); from there in both cases a little walk up the hill!
And what’s there to see?
Gaudí’s naturalist style could find no better home. The marriage of nature and architecture –a melding of stone and vegetation. The bridges look as if animal bones were used in their construction, and the terrace with its sitting accommodations reminds viewers of a wave, shimmering in every color of the rainbow in the sunshine.
The original plan was a large city of gardens with 40 to 60 houses, a market place, a chapel, a theater, and much more. In the end, what came to be includes the “Hipóstila” building with its 86 Doric columns, which, in turn, hold up the terrace above. The stairs leading up to this building were created under Gaudí’s leadership, too, and feature an array of ornaments – among them the famous salamander (also known as the dragon) which consists of shards of ceramic. The terrace itself was designed by Gaudí’s assistant, Josep Maria Jujol. It measures 3,000 m² (more than 32,000 square feet) and was originally intended as a Greek theater, available to the public for assemblies and celebrations. The outer part of the terrace features lion-headed gargoyles.
Of the 40 to 60 houses planned, only three were built: The Güell family’s home (now a school), Gaudí’s home (now the Gaudí Museum), and the home of an architect friend of his, which is inhabited to this day. The two entrance houses, the “Casa del Guarda” – this, too, a museum these days – and the smaller building which now houses a shop were also created by Gaudí. He made sure that the natural surroundings were not changed too much while the park was being built – this made it more ecological, and less expensive, too. He adjusted his plans to match his surroundings, not the other way around, and as a result, the park still has a very natural feel to it.
Photogallery of Park Güell
A history of the Park Güell
In 1895, the aristocrat Eusebi Güell purchased this immense area of land (measuring 17 hectares, or about 42 acres) in order to build a garden town, similar to those existing in England. Antoni Gaudí was tasked with designing and leading the architectural endeavor. The goal was to build family homes and public squares, and by selling the houses before their completion, the project was supposed to be financed in advance without too much pressure on the public budget. However, only two plots were sold, and the project failed. The park could not be completed due to lack of public funding, and the work was discontinued in 1914.
In 1922, when Eusebi Güell died, the Barcelona city council bought the land back and turned it into a public park once more.
In 1969, the park was declared an historical and artistic monument of national interest, and in 1984, it became part of UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage. The park was renovated in 2006.