Barcelona has been welcoming travellers and traders for more than 2,000 years. Perched on the western edge of the lovely Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona is a Spanish gem, famous for its beauty and its history. It is also famous for having been the home of one of the most intriguing and innovative architects of the modern era.
Even people who haven’t heard about the stunning works of Antoni Gaudi know his name. When you describe someone as being “gaudy”, meaning brash, colourful and brightly decorated, you are referring to the style of Antoni Gaudi.
Gaudi was a Spanish architect born in the mid-19th century, and his breath-taking works of art make up many of Barcelona’s most popular tourist attractions. His most famous is the Sagrada Familia; Barcelona’s grandest, most opulent, and still unfinished cathedral.
Gaudi had an organic style, inspired by the natural world, and he worked many art forms into his architecture, from ironwork and stained glass to ceramics. His buildings are simply like nothing else in the world, and are well worth a trip to Barcelona to explore.
Any visit to Barcelona must start with the grandeur of the Sagrada Familia, which is the most visited attraction in all of Spain. Gaudi began working on the monumental cathedral in 1883, and the work continues to this day, with an expected completion date set for 2026. Even though it is still unfinished, It has been declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations.
It is not a typical cathedral by any means. With 18 spiralling towers planned to reach high to Heaven, and room inside for 13,000 people, the structure dominates the city landscape. There are sculptures of animals and plants, woven into the design. Pillars are shaped like trees, or bones. Anyone not afraid of heights should take the long climb to the top of one of the towers for an incredible view of Barcelona. People coming to Sagrada Familia can also visit Gaudi himself, as this is the location of his burial crypt.
Park Guell is another one of Gaudi’s great works in Barcelona. This urban park was Gaudi’s home for twenty years, and you can visit the Casa Museu Gaudi where he lived. There is also an enormous and colourful statue of a lizard, which is one of the most photographed items in all of Barcelona.
The Casa Batlló was built to be the home of a wealthy businessman, and Gaudi designed it to look like a dragon. Its fascinating balconies and brightly coloured tiled mosaic façade draw millions of visitors every year.
Finally, the Casa Milà is Gaudi’s second most visited building in Barcelona. This apartment building and office block is classic Gaudi, and the roof is one of the city’s hidden treasures, for its view of the nearby Sagrada Familia, as well as for its whimsical and imposing sculptures. During the summer, visitors can enjoy ‘La Pedrera de Nit’, where drinks are served on the roof, and live music is played under the warm Spanish night sky.
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