Perched on a hillside away from Barcelona’s city centre sits the surreal little world of Park Guell. One of famed architect Gaudi’s most playful, colourful and imaginative design projects, today it's among Barcelona’s most popular attractions. The entrance gate, flanked by two buildings reminiscent of cartoonish gingerbread houses, provides a delightful indication of the magic to come.
Construction of the park began in 1900 and the site was originally intended to be an exclusive residential community for Barcelona’s upper class. However, after the plans were met with little interest, only two of the intended 60 houses were built – one of which Gaudi himself ended up living in and is now the site of the Gaudi House Museum, a must-visit for those seeking a more intimate look into the architect’s life (separate ticketed entry applies for this attraction).
From the entrance, a flowing double staircase complemented with colourful mosaic-covered sculptures leads visitors up to the grand Hypostyle Room. With its 86 columns and roof made of domes blanketed in tile shards and vibrant mosaic designs, the Hypostyle Room is a sight to behold. Directly above the hall is the massive, open-air Nature Square with a colourfully tiled bench that snakes its way around the perimeter where visitors can sit and take in the panoramic views or snap some lovely pictures of the surroundings.
Due to extreme popularity, access to the main gated area of the park is by ticketed entry at an allocated time slot and it is recommended to arrange tickets in advance. The surrounding lush parkland, however, is free for the public to enjoy. Get to the park via metro (Vallcarca or Lesseps stations), buses H6, 24, 32 and 92 or taxi. The main entrance is on Carrer de Larrard, while the entrance on Passatge de Sant Josep de la Muntanya has an escalator to help ease the trek up the hillside.