Inspired by the English garden city movement, Park Güell was originally designed by Antoni Gaudí as a housing project but is now a popular park overlooking the city.
The modernisme movement had an ambition that went well beyond aesthetics. It was the expression of a desire for the modernisation and cultural resurgence of Catalonia, fuelled by the dynamic nature of Barcelona.
Antoni Gaudí was given the task to develop an estate for well-off families on a plot of land owned by Eusebi Güell. The location north of Gracia was seen as highly desirable with outstanding views across the plains of Barcelona and out into the sea.
A lack of buyers led to construction being stopped in 1914, with only two of the sixty planned houses completed. Güell allowed his now large private garden to be used for public events, and sold the site to the City Council upon his death. Since then the park has become of Barcelona’s most loved tourist attractions.
It was recognised as an artistic monument in 1969 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Before we continue, here’s a small interesting note about the name. Gaudí chose to use the English spelling of park to reflect his inspiration from the English garden city movement.
Visiting the park
Since October of 2013 entrance to the Monumental Precinct has required the purchase of a ticket, but there are ways to see the park while avoiding this charge. Most notably, between April and October the entrance fee is waived on Sunday evenings from 5pm to 8pm.
Also, a ticket is only required to see the Monumental Precinct, which is the area that includes the iconic Dragon, the Hypostyle Room and the main terrace with the spectacular view across the city. Other areas of the park are free to explore.
If you want to see the best bits of the park, buying a ticket in advance is highly recommended. Not only will you avoid the enormous queues that snake around the outskirts, you’ll also save a little cash too. As with the Sagrada Familia, tickets are dated and timed, so you should ensure you leave plenty of time to reach Park Güell so you don’t miss your slot. At the time of writing, a general entrance ticket costs €7 from the official website.
How to get to Park Güell
The park is located on elevated terrain north of the Gracia neighbourhood. It is a 15-minute walk from both Vallcarca and Lesseps stations on the underground. From these stations, follow the signs and then take the escalators on Baixada de la Glòria. These bring you to the entrance on Passatge de Sant Josep de la Muntanya, one of three entrances to the park.