“Which Gaudí buildings are worth it?” This is one the question I get asked by every single visitor to Barcelona. The vibrant city has become synonymous to the eclectic style of architect Antoni Gaudí, and everyone passing through it wants to get a taste of his mad genius. But unless you’re an absolute Gaudí enthusiast, you probably don’t want to spend all your precious time and money in Barcelona hitting up every single one of his works. So here’s a handy guide to Gaudí’s most famous sights so you can decide which ones are worth your while.
Cost: 7€ to enter the Monumental Zone
The park was commissioned by its namesake, Count Eusebi Guell, as a luxury housing project. Unfortunately for him, none of the Barcelona bourgeoisie of the time wanted to live in an original Gaudi home, so the space was opened to the public as a park. Quite ironic, since there’s now an entrance fee to access to the park’s Monumental Zone which houses the famous gingerbread-like guard houses, the iconic lizard and a beautiful mosaic bench snaking across the park where thousands sit and snap pictures with a breathtaking view of Barcelona as their backdrop.
Worth it? Yes. It’s unique as Gaudís’s only park, plus you get a panoramic view of the city. The mosaic ceiling tiles representing the seasons and the wave tunnel alone make this monument unmissable.
LA PEDRERA/ CASA MILÁ
Located on the fashionable avenue of Paseo de Gracia, Casa Milá was nicknamed “La Pedrera,” meaning “stone quarry” for its facade, though it gives me personally a wicked merengue craving. It was built as a private residence for the Milá family before the attic was turned into apartment buildings. A taxi driver once told me an old lady tenant still resides there, but urban legends aside it’s currently used as exhibition space for Modernist art as well as being open to the public.
Worth it? If you’ve got limited time, this one’s not the best example of the complexity of Gaudi’s architecture. Yes, the phantom-knight chimneys on the roof are cool, but I’m not sure they’re worth 20 euros and waiting in line. My advice? Take in Casa Milá’s amazing facade and wrought iron details from the street, then have a coffee in the building’s elegant Café de la Pedrera.
LA SAGRADA FAMILIA
The Sagrada Familia is Gaudí’s unique spin on a gothic cathedral. He once said of his most celebrated work, “My client is not in a hurry.” Famous for being under construction for over a decade, the unfinished masterpiece is said to reach completion just after Gaudí’s 100-year death anniversary in 2025. Unlike many other gothic churches scattered through Europe that often feel cold and eerie, the Sagrada Familia is bursting with light, color and warmth. Gaudí took his inspiration from nature, obvious in the rich symbolism of the Nativity facade.
Worth it? Absolutely. Be sure to book online to skip the cue because it is absolutely worth seeing from the inside. The structure has come a long way in the past decade, and the interior especially is breathtaking. The stained glass and pillars make you feel as if you’re in an undersea forest.
Impressed with his work on Parc Guell, the prominent Battló family charged Gaudí with remodeling their home. The textile barons wanted their private residence to stand out in the center of Barcelona and they absolutely got their wish. Casa Battló, just a few doors down from La Pedrera on Paseo de Gracia, is instantly recognizable by it’s shimmering scale-like roof that brings to mind a slumbering dragon, and its hauntingly beautiful balconies that look like eyeless masks peering out over multitudes gathered to visit.
Worth it? If you’re the museum-going type, then yes. Casa Battló really gives you an idea of what it would be like to live in a Gaudí house. Plus, the audio-guides are great at explaining how Gaudí’s designs were practical as well as strangely beautiful.