Visiting Park Guell: what is there to see? Information, tickets, best sights and fun facts

There are few parks in the world which have such a legendary status as Park Guell in Barcelona. When it comes to popularity, only Central Park in New York might be able to overthrow Gaudi’s gardens. Its magnificent terrace, the famous stairs with salamander, the remarkable houses and the special entrance are only a few of the many sights which you can admire here. To be fully prepared for your visit to Parc Guell, I’ll happily tell you everything and even more you need to know about it. That way you’ll known exactly what to see in Park Guell.

visit park guell

Buy your ticket for the same price online and avoid waiting in line

As you probably know, it can get really crowded in Barcelona. This quickly results in insanely long waiting lines. To use your time wisely (because there’s really so much to see here!), it might not be a bad idea to purchase skip-the-line tickets. You can easily and safely do this through GetYourGuide or Ticketbar, where you can also book really fun combination tours for Park Guell by the way. Besides, skip-the-line tickets are equally expensive as the ones you buy on the spot, but you get to bypass the waiting lines for free! Are you curious about all the possibilities? Click here. Below you’ll already find some of the many ticket types and tours.

 

A brief history of Park Guell

In the nineteenth century count Eusebi Güell had the bright idea to have some sort of garden city designed, but only for people of a certain wealth. The chosen location was a rocky hill, with barely vegetation and at most a couple of trees on it. The choice however wasn’t a coincidence, because that way the inhabitants didn’t only get to enjoy clean air, but also a magnificent view of the city. Originally it was intended to put up 60 villas, but in the end only two were built. Antonio Gaudi, who was a close friend of the count, was swayed by Guell to buy one and moved in with his family and father in 1906. He’d live no less than twenty years in this house, which was constructed by Francesc Berenguer.
The construction of Park Guell itself started in 1900 and was finished fourteen years later. When the count passed away in 1922, his heirs decided to donate the area to the city of Barcelona. Four years later it was officially opened to the public. It would last until 1984 to finally become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nowadays, it is one of the most popular sights in Barcelona.

gaudi park guell

In this gigantic park you can easily spend a day!

Park Guell and modernism

Antonio Gaudi was one of the most important architects of modernism, an art movement where they emphasize arches instead of straight lines. It’s also characterized by rich adornments and many details, attention to nature and a preference for asymmetry. You won’t see (just like with the Sagrada Familia and his other buildings) any straight lines, because according to Gaudi they don’t exist in nature.
When we’re on the subject of details and Gaudi, we immediately have to think of his famous trencadís. These are small pieces of broken ceramics, with which he decorated surfaces and thus resulted in a wonderful and colorful mosaic. In Park Guell we instantly envision its splendid balcony.

Regarding the incorporation of nature, Gaudi was given the perfect opportunity to integrate man and nature in Park Guell. You’ll see that the buildings, roads and sculptures respect the topography of the hill on which the park lies at all times. In that respective the walls and pillars which support the viaducts are shaped like tree trunks and palm trees, of which the stone has the same color as the land on which they stand. Finally, you should know that the hill was formerly known as ‘Mont Carmel’ (the barren mountain). Thanks to Gaudi quite a few trees and plants were introduced here, which have adapted to their environment miraculously. That’s why now we get to enjoy pine trees, eucalyptus, palm trees, oaks, olive trees, cypresses and almond trees amongst others. The celebration of nature is now complete.

If you want to learn more about Gaudi and modernism, you can always book a walking tour during which a professional guide will tell you more about this interesting subject.

parc guell

You’ll truly find modernist characteristics all over Parc Guell.

Visiting Park Guell: what to see?

First of all, you should know that you can divide the park in two parts: the free section and the so-called monumental zone, which barely comprises 5% of the park. But since you’ll find most of Gaudi’s architectural creations here, you have to pay for it. It’s pretty obvious that this is the most popular part of Park Guell. Once you have braved the long waiting lines (which you can luckily skip for 8,5 euros, the same price as a normal entrance ticket, but you can only book it online), you can finally discover the fantastic sights of Parc Guell.

The entrance and the pavilions of the porter’s house

The entrance to Park Guel was to represent the entrance gate to heaven: a quiet place, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The main entrance of the park can be found at the southern side (Carrer d’Olot), from which you have a fantastic view of the famous stairs.
The wall of the park is made of rustic stone, which was finished off with ceramic tiles and medallions with the name of the park on them. The iron gates (shaped like palm leaves) are not original, because they were taken from Casa Vicens (a house which was also designed by Gaudi). On both sides you will find two pavilions, the right one being the actual former porter’s lodge. The left one used to be a waiting room and phone booth, but has now become a part of the museum of the history of Barcelona. The roofs of both buildings truly are magnificent, mostly because of the traditional Catalonian clay tiles which are covered with the aforementioned trencadís.
This sight can be found in the paying part of the park.

what to see in Park Guell

The beautiful entrance gate to Park Guell.

visit parc guell

One of the pavilions at the entrance of Parc Guell.

The dragon/salamander stairs

If you’re standing at the entrance, you’ll immediately spot the double stairs which are flanked by two walls with merlons (tooth-shaped section of a defensive wall) which form terraces, underneath you’ll even find two grottoes. The right cave was used as stable for the horses.
The stairs themselves can be divided into three parts: at the first landing you’ll see a couple of sculptures of goblins among other things and halfway you’ll see the emblem of Catalonia.
Furthermore, you can admire the most popular image of Park Guell: the dragon or salamander which is covered with mosaics and from whose mouth water from the fountain is running.
At the final part of the stairs there’s a bench in the shape of a Greek theater, which is hidden under the so-called hypostyle room. This phenomenal part of Park Guell can only be visited by people with tickets.

dragon stair park guell salamander

Salamander or dragon? Either way it’s a marvelous work of art!

The hypostyle hall

Hypostyle is a fancy word that means as much as having a roof which is supported by pillars. For its design Gaudi found inspiration in ancient Egypt, where this kind of hall was extremely popular.

The lovely stairs will therefore take you to the hypostyle hall of Parc Guell, which was designed to be the market place of the estate. It is also known as the Hall of a Hundred Columns, despite there being only 86 Doric columns. These are 6,16 meters high and have a diameter of 1,2 meter. The colonnade is supported by the so-called architrave (the supporting beam), on which the famous wavy bench lies.
Also on the ceiling the renowned trencadís will catch your eye, which weren’t made by Gaudi himself but by Josep Jujol, one of his assistants.
Furthermore this is where they collected the rain water, which was subsequently filtered and sent to an underground reservoir. The excess water was drained through the mouth of the famous dragon/salamander.
This impressive piece of architecture can also only be visited if you have bought entrance tickets.

hypostyle hall park guell what to see

Do pay special attention here to the incredibly beautiful ceiling.

The Greek theater or the Nature Square

In the center of the monumental zone of Parc Guell (for which you’ll have to purchase tickets), lies a big boulevard which was originally called the Greek theater. Now this place is mainly known as the Plaça de la Natura, or the Nature Square. As the name suggests, big outdoor shows were supposed to take place here, where the spectators were to take place on the surrounding terraces.

The new name is actually pretty ironic. A little bit earlier I mentioned that Gaudi always respected nature and adapted the park to its surroundings, instead of the other way around. The Plaça de la Natura is however artificial, since a part of it was carved from the rock and another part is supported by the hypostyle room.

The absolute eye-catcher here is the balcony, that has become one of the most iconic spots in Barcelona. Unsurprisingly, the phenomenal view you have from here is one of the most beautiful sights in Barcelona. The balcony has the shape of a 110-meter snake and was designed according to the ergonomic principle, so that the human body would fit perfectly in it. A visit to Park Guell therefore isn’t complete until you’ve sat here for a while.

nature square park guell things to see

The famous benches of Park Guell. This might be the best-known spot in this park!

The Laundry Room Portico

At the east side of the Nature Square you’ll find an original iron door which brings you to the former gardens of Casa Larrard, the earlier house of Guell that has been used as a school since 1931. This route brings you along a portico which is shaped like a wave breaching on the columns. This is also a fine example of one of the characteristics of modernism: the symbiosis of architecture and nature. The pillars were made by different artists so that none would be the same. Yet there’s one that really stands out and that’s the laundress’s one. This can either be interpreted as a woman carrying a laundry basket on her head, or as a bearer of sacrifices. In that respective it looks like an Egyptian statue which you can admire in the Louvre.

Parc Guell Laundry Room Portico

I think this portico is even more slanted than the leaning tower of Pisa!

The gardens of Austria

You’ll probably be wondering what Austrian gardens are doing in Spain. Well, in 1977 Austria donated a couple of trees to Park Guell and to show their gratitude, they named the gardens after this mountain country. Before Parc Guell had become a public park, it used to be a plant nursery of the municipality. From the garden you have a good view of the house of the lawyer Marti Trias i Domenech. Fun fact: his son (Alfonso) recognized Gaudi when he had been hit by a tram. Because the famous architect used to dress in a rather peculiar way, most people ignored him. Unfortunately, Alfonso’s intervention was to no avail, because the grandmaster eventually succumbed to his injuries.
On a different note, you also have a really pretty view of the former residence of Gaudi himself, which now has been turned into the Gaudi museum.

gardens of austria visit park guell


The gardens of Austria look like some kind of botanical garden!

Torre Rosa or the Gaudi Museum

This house was built by Francesc Berenguer, the apprentice also known as the right-hand man of Gaudi. It was meant to be a show house to put on display for the future owners of the 59 other houses. As you could read above these were never constructed and Gaudi took up residence in this place between 1906 and 1925. Later he would move to the workshop of the Sagrada Familia, where he’d remain until his death. Now it has been decorated as a museum where you can admire furniture, drawings and ornaments by the hand of the grandmaster himself and Josep Maria Jujol. Do pay attention as well to the heart-shaped window on top of the building.
Unfortunately, the waiting times for the museum can also be really long, so it’s definitely not unwise to invest in a skip-the-line ticket (€7,50 instead of €5,50).

park guell what to see torre rosa

For Gaudi it might look really sober, but the inside definitely is not!

The crucifixion

El turó de les Tres Creus or the hill of the three crosses is the highest point of the park. Originally Gaudi intended to build a chapel here, but in the end these plans were never realized. Instead he chose for an homage to the Passion of the Christ. From the three crosses, one is shaped like an arrow pointing at the sky. The other sides are aimed at the four wind directions.

park guell barcelona

And on top of this hill you also have a splendid outlook over Barcelona.

Opening hours Park Guell

If you are going to visit Park Guell you obviously don’t want to end up in front of closed doors. The opening times depend on what time of the year you’re visiting Parc Guell and thereby there are three different seasons:

  • The low season (winter-fall)
    From January 1st until February 15th and from October 27th until December 31st from 8:30 AM until 6:15 PM (last access at 5:30 PM)
    From February 16th until March 30th: from 8:30 AM until 7 PM (last access at 6 PM).
    Usually during this period you won’t be needing the skip-the-line tickets which allow you to skip waiting lines.
  • The mid-season (spring + late summer – fall)
    From March 31st until April 28th and from August 26th until October 26th: from 8 AM until 8:30 PM (last access at 7:30 PM).
    Skip-the-line tickets are recommended if you don’t want to be waiting in line.
  • The high season (spring – summer)
    From April 29th until August 25th: from 8 AM until 9:30 PM (last access at 8:30 PM).
    Skip-the-line tickets are a good idea if you don’t want to be spending a ridiculous amount of time waiting in line.
tickets parc guell

The magnificent entrance of Parc Guell.

Tickets Parc Guell

It’s advised to get your Park Guell tickets online and in advance, especially since you’ll end up paying the same price! That way you won’t lose any valuable time in the sometimes extremely long queues. Especially during the high season many, many tourists visit Parc Guell, so then it’s totally worth buying your Parc Guell tickets online. Besides, skip-the-line tickets cost exactly the same as normal tickets. Make of that what you will!

At the counter the following prices for Park Guell apply:

Note: the price of Park Guell isn’t affected by the season during which you visit the park. You pay the same during the low season as during the high season.

 

Visiting Parc Guell: how to get there?

There is no direct metro stop at Park Guell, the closest stops are Vallcarca (fifteen-minute walk) and Lesseps (twelve-minute walk). The easiest way to reach Park Guell is by bus. There are two lines which drop you right in front of the park: number 24 (which you can take from the Plaça de Catalunya) and number 92 (which you can take from the harbor and passes the Sagrada Familia as well). The many different hop-on hop-off tours also always have a stop near Park Guell.

Another really quick way to get there is by private transfer, where they pick you up in the center and drop you off again after your visit.

how to get to park guell

The easiest way to visit Park Guell is by public transfer, a private van or the hop-on hop-off bus.

Helpful tips for a visit to Parc Guell

  • Go for a guided tour. There is so much to tell about Park Guell and its designer and that’s why a guided walking tour is genuinely interesting. That way you really get the most out of your visit to Parc Guell. Usually tickets to Park Guell are already included in the price by the way (starting from €25 per person).
  • Buy a skip-the-line ticket during the high season. They only allow a maximum of 400 visitors every half hour in the monumental zone of the park and in the summer months you reach this number in the blink of an eye. That’s how unprepared travelers sometimes lose hours of their precious holiday time, just waiting in line. Be a smart cookie and pay a little bit extra so you don’t have to queue up. Besides, the priority tickets cost the same online as when you would just buy one on the spot.
  • Get there as early as possible. This Gaudi garden in Barcelona is one of the most popular sights in town, so during a visit to Parc Guell you’re never on your own. That’s why it’s strongly advised to visit Park Guell as early as possible, when other tourists are either still asleep or having breakfast.
  • Don’t forget to visit the free part of these Gaudi gardens. Even though there are fewer architectural creations by the hand of Gaudi, you can still notice his touch very clearly. It’s therefore definitely worth the while to stroll around here for a bit.
parc guell park guell

Park Guell is one of the prettiest sights in Barcelona!

Five nice hotels near Park Guell

Because (almost) everyone wants to visit Parc Guell, many travelers choose to spend the night in the vicinity of these Gaudi gardens. This is an excellent choice because there’s a great number of nice hotels in the area. To make it easier for you, I’ve selected the five best hotels near Park Guell.

  • Hotel Best Price Gracia
    Apart from the fact that it’s not far from Park Guell, there’s also a metro stop nearby (Joanic) at barely 450 meters from the hotel. Twenty minutes later you’re already in the center. The rooms of this hotel are modern and each one is equipped with air conditioning and Wi-Fi.
    You can get a deluxe double room for just below 70 euros per night.
  • Hotel Ronda Lesseps
    As the name might suggest, this beautiful hotel is situated nearby the Plaza Lesseps and therefore just a fifteen-minute walk from Parc Guell. The spacious rooms are tastefully decorated and have extremely comfortable beds. You are thus guaranteed to have a good night’s rest so you can visit Park Guell bright and early.
    A standard double room will set you back just under 90 euros for a night.
  • Pol & Grace Hotel
    The rooms in this hotel are soundproof, so here you’ll sleep –if possible- even better. Sophisticated people can enjoy the library and there are always works of art of local artists on display.
    For a double room you’ll pay 120 euros, but they regularly offer discounts.
  • Hotel The Original Le Palacete
    The magnificent rooms here are unique mix of modernity and history and after only a fifteen-minute walk you’re already at Park Guell. If even that’s too far for you, you can also rent bicycles here. Also the breakfast on the splendid terrace is to die for.
    A deluxe king room costs 156 euros here.
  • ABaC Restaurant Hotel Barcelona GL Monumento
    Connoisseurs will recognize the name, because the restaurant of this hotel has three Michelin stars. Besides, there’s also a spa, hammam and swimming pool. The rooms are equipped with 4K Smart TV’s, high-speed wireless internet and a hydro massage bath tub and rain shower.
    For 230 euros per night you’ll get quite some luxury in return.

Seven other Gaudi buildings you cannot miss

Barcelona is sometimes also called ‘Gaudi’s city’, which isn’t strange since there are so many creations by the hand of this genius that you can visit here!

The Sagrada Famiglia

This is beyond any doubt the most famous building of Gaudi and also one of the most important sights in Barcelona. Since 1892 they have been working on its construction, which should be finished by 2026 (a century after Gaudi’s death). Originally Francisco de Paula del Villar was the architect, but after his resignation in 1893 Gaudi took over control. The result is a fantastic patchwork of gothic elements, art nouveau and his own typical geometric style.

Casa Vicens

This is the first important building that was designed by Gaudi and also one of the first art nouveau buildings in the world as well. Its construction took place between 1883 and 1888 and it was meant as a house for a rich family, who also possessed a ceramics factory. Partly because of this Gaudi decided to apply his iconic trencadis technique here. The architecture is a beautiful collection of eastern and neoclassical elements. Besides, you’ll notice some Islamic influences on the façade and in some rooms. But the reason why this building is so important has a different reason: with it Gaudi severed himself from traditional architecture and created his own unique style. A combination of Casa Vicens with a visit to Park Guell therefore can’t be missed.

Casa Vicens Gaudi

Casa Vicens.

Casa Milá

Casa Milá is also known as La Pedrera, which means as much as stone quarry. This is because of the quite rough look of the building, even though it actually is more of a sculpture than a building. They worked on it from 1906 until 1912 and that made Casa Milá the last residential design of Gaudi.
Even though the entire façade with its mixture of stone and iron balconies is truly astonishing, the rooftop absolutely steals the show. The sculpted and decorated skylights and stairwells, chimneys and exits have all been elevated to a work of art. In the evening spectacular audio-visual shows take place here, which is one of the most fun things to do in Barcelona.

Palau Guell

The patron of the Gaudi gardens in Barcelona also had a palace erected by Gaudi. At first you wouldn’t say so, because the exterior is so sober. Yet, there are quite a few elements which give away that Gaudi designed this building, like the parabolic arch entrance and the mosaic figures on the roof. The interior then again contains more Gaudi-like elements such as the ceiling of the living room which has been perforated by little circles. This makes it looks like a planetarium during the day.

Casa Batlló

In 1904 they decided to completely renovate a house from 1877. Gaudi saw his opportunity and used a range of typically modernist elements such as ceramics, stone and iron. In the beginning the reception wasn’t really positive, partly because of its special design that was so radically different. In that way it immediately reminds us of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Still, it would be crowned one of the top three buildings in Barcelona in 1903. The façade jumps at you straight away because of its colorful mosaics (the infamous trencadis) and besides, there’s barely a usage of straight lines. The waved roof has “scales” like a dragon and they think the little turret with the cross represents the spear of Saint George (the patron saint of Catalonia), piercing the back of the dragon. If you have kids, a guided tour of Casa Batllo with an actor playing Gaudi is a particularly fun thing to do.

Casa Batllo Gaudi Park Guell

One of the other famous creations of Gaudi: Casa Batlló

Casa Calvet

If by now you haven’t seen enough of Gaudi, Casa Calvet definitely is worth visiting. Because it had to be squished in between other ancient buildings and because it was situated in one of the most elegant parts in town, this is Gaudi’s most conventional building. Especially the order and symmetry are quite unusual for this renowned architect. Yet, the shape of the balconies is already a taste of things to come since it betrays his typical style, which can also be found in the abovementioned Casa Batlló.

The Cascada fountain in the Ciutadella park

Besides Park Guell there are of course quite a bit of other fun parks in Barcelona and Ciutadella is one of them. The fountain which can be found here is one of the very first projects of Gaudi, who was working on it as the assistant of Josep Fontseré. His master was inspired by the world-famous Trevi Fountain in Rome. Therefore, you’ll see various sculptures of horses and mythical creatures. Also the statue of Venus standing in an open shell (designed by Venanci Vallmitjana) is quite magnificent.

Cascada fountain ciutadella park barcelona

You might not expect it, but Gaudi also cooperated on this fountain!

Six fun facts about Gaudi and the gardens

  1. Is it Park or Parc Guell? The name was inspired by the English Park, but in Catalan it’s written with a c. Both are actually correct!
  2. According to some sources Gaudi was a freemason and he allegedly put hidden messages all over Park Guell. You can for example see five-pointed stars everywhere. For the freemasons the number five was the symbol of order and chaos, just like the five senses and the fifth element (after water, wind, fire and earth).
  3. Besides, there’s also a link to another sacred number to them: 33. There were 33 levels in the hierarchy of the freemasons and that’s why Gaudi would have incorporated 33 steps in the stairs at the entrance.
  4. The total surface of these Gaudi gardens in Barcelona is about 45 acres. So you have quite a bit of space to go for a stroll.
  5. As a kid Gaudi suffered from quite a few health ailments, like rheumatism. On the advice of a doctor he became vegetarian because this would help him get cured from the problem. So he wasn’t a hipster before it was cool.
  6. Seven of his buildings have by now become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
park gaudi

And a guide will tell you many more fun facts!

Three fun and original things to do in and near Park Guell

  • A photoshoot Parc Guell
    These colorful Gaudi gardens in Barcelona are paradise for Instagrammers, but yet it’s so much more fun if you’re on the picture yourself as well. For lovebirds this is the ideal activity to capture your love forever on this remarkable spot.
  • Artistic Barcelona: the best of Gaudi
    In this article you’ve read quite a bit about modernism and Gaudi, but it’s by far everything there is to say about this noteworthy art movement. Art lovers can consequently choose for this tour, during which they’ll learn a lot more.
tickets park guell

Book your tickets for Park Guell in advance, that way you won’t have to wait in line.

Booking tickets for Park Guell

A visit to Parc Guell is therefore obligatory during your stay in the Catalonian capital. Don’t forget to buy your tickets for Park Guell in advance, or get yourself some skip-the-line tickets (whether or not with a guided tour) so you won’t lose any precious holiday time in the waiting lines.

 

A city trip to Barcelona

Of course there’s still that much more to see in Barcelona! The capital of Catalonia will make the heart of many a foodie, art lover, cultural enthusiast and even nature lover beat faster! Besides, a holiday to Barcelona isn’t that expensive at all! So have a look at these great deals:

Visit Park Guell: video

In this blog post, you’ve already seen quite some beautiful photos. However, to really capture the magic of this place it seems that a video is even more appropriate.

Antoni GAUDÌ - Parc GÜELL

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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