5 Gaudi Sights to See in Spain
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I wonder how many people think the adjective “gaudy” comes from Gaudi? Well, just in case you thought it might, the answer is nope. Actually the word gaudy comes from Latin “gaudium”, meaning enjoyment or merry-making.
Enjoyment and merry-making also might come to mind when thinking of the architectural artworks of Antoni Gaudi, a famous Spanish architect originally from Catalonia. His designs are known as the Modernisme style, and incorporate themes from nature, organic forms and complex geometry.
Many of Gaudí’s works are registered UNESCO World Heritage sites including Sagrada Família, Park Güell, Palau Güell, Casa Milà, Casa Vicens and Casa Batlló.
Here are five of his creations you should stop and see when visiting Spain.
La Sagrada Familia
Probably Gaudi’s most famous work, this unfinished cathedral is a striking creation from the architect’s imagination. The structure is impressive from the outside as well as inside, and if you can get the special ticket to go up in the towers you’ll get an even better view.
The Sagrada Familia really is a unique building and is worth the visit inside. See the light coming through the stained glass windows for a jewel effect. Visitors can access the Nave, Crypt, and the Passion and Nativity towers with a special ticket.
The Sagrada Familia is slated to be completed in 2032. But if you are in Barcelona before then you should still be sure to stop by. Construction continues daily.
Especially during the spring and summer it is smart to reserve your entry tickets in advance. Get your tickets to skip the line for the Sagrada Familia here. If you wish to climb the towers you need a special reservation, you can get tickets here.
Another famous Gaudi landmark is the Parc Güell in Barcelona. Located on a hill overlooking the city and the sea, the park is filled with fanciful walls, stairs and structures covered in mosaics.
Parc Güell was originally built as a housing development but is now a municipal park. It also holds the Gaudi House Museum which contains furniture designed by the architect. You can purchase tickets here.
You can visit the open areas of the park for free but if you’d like to see the special monuments and mosaics you will need a ticket. Get your ticket in advance here.
A fascinating thing about Casa Batllo is that it was not constructed from the ground up, but was instead renovated by Antoni Gaudi in the early 1900s.
The first thing you might notice about the building is the unusual shapes on the facade. They remind me of bones and animal heads. Look closely to notice the lovely tile designs and stained glass details. Inside is even more fantastic, with curved shapes on every surface. Don’t miss the roof with the famous “dragon back” tiles.
This house in Comillas was designed for a wealthy Cuban gentleman who never got to live in it. It was one of Gaudi’s earlier works, and displays many creative touches that would come to be his signature style. The outside is decorated with patterns of sunflower tiles and the inside has many lovely details. I enjoyed the greenhouse at the back of the house, put in to remind the owner of his tropical homeland.
El Capricho is now a museum and you can visit it with guided tours each day. This region of northern Spain is also beautiful with forested hills and rocky cliffs dropping into the sea.
Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera, is an imposing structure when seen from the city streets of Barcelona. Inside the outer walls are two open spaces to let light in to every corner of the building. Get your tickets for Casa Mila here.
Be sure to check out the wrought iron details on the balconies and comprising the huge windows and doors. One of the main sights is the roof, which is filled with chimneys in fanciful shapes that look like imaginary creatures from another planet.
Casa Mila also has a night show where the rooftop is illuminated in colorful lights.
These are just a few of Antoni Gaudi’s famous designs in Spain. How many of these places will you visit?