Ready to embark on your Barcelona vacation?
Don’t forget to pay a visit to Park Güell.
This monument to whimsy is one of Barcelona’s must-see attractions, and there’s a reason for that.
Here you’ll find storied statues and sculptures twisting through corridors of mosaics, set against a backdrop of carefully manicured lawns and buildings reminiscent of Alice’s Wonderland.
But be warned.
Once you enter Park Güell, it can be difficult to find your way out again. The park itself is virtually a maze of structures, and it’s compelling enough to warrant an all-day visit.
What exactly is so special about this famous park?
Read on to learn about the slightly zany history of this great institution, and discover how you can incorporate it into your visit.
Fascinating History of Park Güell Offers a Taste of the Past
The history of Park Güell is an ironic one.
The project was commissioned around the turn of the last century by Count Eusebi Güell, an elite member of the Spanish bourgeoisie.
His vision was a private residence for the aristocracy. This housing development was to be carefully designed and laid out away from the eyes of the general public.
He enlisted the help of celebrated architect and friend Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí threw his heart and soul into the project, creating many of the delights we can see in the park today.
However, the housing development was a total failure in its debut. The “ideal society” envisioned by Güell completely rejected the property and only a single plot of land was sold.
That plot of land was purchased by Gaudí himself, who owned and sometimes lived in it. Upon his death in 1926, it was opened for the public as a park, so everybody could enjoy the sculpture and architecture.
The park now receives nearly 3 million visitors each year.
What Visitors can Expect to Find at Park Güell
Park Güell is a hodgepodge of almost indescribable beauty and fancy.
Its attractions are many and quite varied, from fabulously designed buildings to grand pillars of mosaic art to spectacular sculptures you have to see to believe.
The sculpture that Gaudí created here is a testament to the character of the man. It’s absolutely his own, carved from sheer force of personality to create the monuments we see today.
Some of the highlights include an incredible stone dragon which guards the entrance. Leading away from this you’ll enter into the Sala Hipóstila, a great pavilion which was originally built as a marketplace for the community.
Instead, the great stone columns serve to enchant visitors with their intricate beauty before drawing the gaze up to a ceiling inlaid with mosaic artwork.
Don’t miss the chance to see Casa-Museu Gaudí, where the great architect himself lived on the grounds.
The spired house resembles a petite castle, albeit one designed by Dr. Seuss. Its walls bend delightfully around original furniture designed by Gaudí.
Visitors here won’t be disappointed by the ample opportunities to explore his life and times. However, tickets must be purchased separately.
Atop the Sala Hipóstila is the Banc de Trencadís, a flat pavilion offering a lovely view of Barcelona. Take a rest at the mosaic bench outlining the pavilion, or stop for a conversation in the park.
The view from Turó del Calvari in the southwest corner of the park is not to be missed, either.
Choosing Your Perfect Park Güell Tour
You can choose to wander about on your own as you visit the park, or you can explore it with a tour.
Park Güell guided tours are an enriching experience which allow you can delve deep into the history of the park.
You should book tickets online depending on which type of tour you want. You can pay extra to skip the line (it gets ridiculously long almost every single day) and reserve your energy for exploring the park.
Alternately, you can arrive on the day of your visit and buy your tickets then.
Keep in mind that the park lets in a maximum of 400 visitors per hour in the Monumental Zone. Park Güell will not allow any guests inside after this, so it’s a good idea to buy online.
Planning Your Visit to Park Güell
Getting lost in the park is the goal of many visitors.
But just in case, you’ll want to look at a Park Güell Map before you go. Familiarize yourself with the park and how to get there.
It’s a good idea to visit the park in the early morning or in the evening when the crowds have subsided a bit.
Park Güell nights are an experience to remember. Wandering around the park as dusk sets in, you’ll be immersed in evening’s quiet introspection as you feast your eyes on the sights.
Park Güell is a Place to Remember Forever
The park will awe you with its architecture, inspire you with its sculpture, and make you smile with its story.
It’s an essential part of paying a visit to Barcelona, and who knows?
You may even come back next time around.