The Ultimate Gaudí Guide

If there is only one word that is synonymous with the essence of Barcelona, then that word is Gaudí. Visitors who arrive in Barcelona are content with discovering the world of Gaudí, a world that includes iconic landmarks such as Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, the Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell, and even Palau Güell. However, there is an entire universe from this artist that's just itching to be discovered, far beyond the horizon of his most famous attractions. Some of these gems aren't necessarily located in the Catalan capital, but you'll find details on how to arrive to each from Barcelona.

So, if you're a fan of Antoni Gaudí i Cornet, then sit back, relax, and join us on a journey to discover as much as possible in this, the Ultimate Gaudí guide.

The Beginning of Greatness

 Cooperativa Obrera Mataronense (Mataró)

The Nau de Gaudi

This factory was located in Gracia, Barcelona; from 1864, but ten years later moved to the city of Mataró. Lucky enough, Gaudí was friends with the owner, Salvador Pagès i Anglada. This reconstruction was his first major project, working alongside architect Emili Cabañes. At the time he favoured academic forms, designing the interior parabolic structures, company banner, and urinals outside. It is nicknamed "La Nau" or "The Nave" because of the supports. The years were not kind to the structure so much of it is renovated, first into a "cyber-centre" that provides free internet access. Right now though it's a free to visit contemporary art museum called the Bassat Collection.

Visit at: Calle de la Cooperativa, 47, 08302 Mataró.
Getting there: Train from Catalunya Station to Mataró (R1), about 40 minutes

 The Lamposts of Barcelona (Barcelona)

Gaudi Lampposts Barcelona

The year is 1878 and the Municipality of Barcelona have approached Gaudí about a project to place newly designed lampposts across the city. The budget per lamppost was set at 3605 pesetas, which is about 22 euros, or with inflation; 1800 euros. Although Gaudí had only recently graduated, he did so well with the project that his final design actually came in under budget. Not bad for his first Barcelona project.

Visit at: Plaça Reial and Pla de Palau
Getting there: Liceu Metro (L3) and Barceloneta (L4)

 Church of Sant Pacià (Barcelona)

Church of Sant Paciá

The famous architect, still in his early years, was far flung from the aloof and "out-there" style he later developed. In his more reserved and conservative years, he made a mosaic for this church, which still remains today. In 2013 it had only just over 1700 visits, so you can rest assured that this is a true hidden gem.

Visit at: Carrer de les Monges, 27-33, 08030 Barcelona
Getting there: Fabra i Puig Metro (L1)

 Palau de Pedralbes (Barcelona)

Palau de Pedralbes - Gaudi

Though he didn't design the building itself, there are many elements that surround it that are attributed to Gaudí, including the Fountain of Hercules and the Umbracle; a pleasant shelter surrounded by nature. This is the final project before Gaudí moves onto his Orientalist style.

Visit at: Avinguda Diagonal, 686, 08034 Barcelona
Getting there: Palau Reial (L3)

The Orientalist Era

 Casa Viçens (Barcelona)

Casa Vicens

The first building from the architect in Barcelona and an absolute must visit. Construction started in 1883. Though you can't go inside, you can appreciate it from the outside. If you wanted to explore the interior, you'll have to wait until 2016 when Casa Vicens will open to the public to the public as a museum. It was sold for a reported  €30,000,000. Even if you can't go inside, the exterior is stunning enough to warrant anyone to make a quick visit.

Visit at: Carrer Carolines, 18-24, 08012 Barcelona
Getting there: Lesseps or Fontana Metro (L3)

 El Capricho (Comillas, Cantabria)

El Capricho

This building, commenced in 1883 for Güell's father in law, is quite hard to access and is essentially for hardcore Gaudí fans. It was developed during Gaudí's orientalist period and is a brilliant showpiece of how the architect began to deal with major projects along with Casa Viçens.

Visit at:  El Capricho de Gaudí, Barrio Sobrellano, s/n, 39520 Comillas, Cantabria, Spain
Getting there: It's easiest to fly to Santander from Barcelona and then catch a bus to Comillas.

 Pavellons Güell (Barcelona)

Pavellons Guell

The Güell-Gaudí relationship was essentially solidified with the beginning of this project in 1884. The idea was to renovate an estate that Güell owned. The main points of interest include the gate depicting a dragon, and various gatehouses in his orientalist style.

Visit at: Avinguda de Pedralbes, 7, 08034 Barcelona
Getting there: Maria Cristina or Palau Reial Metro (L3)

 Palau Güell (Barcelona)

Palau Guell

As the name suggests, this is another project commissioned by Eusebi Güell and is the last of the Orientalist style buildings. It's the first prime example of Gaudí getting extra creative with his own style, just visit the roof terrace ordained with beautifully designed chimneys and see for yourself!

Visit at: Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 3-5, 08001 Barcelona
Getting there: Liceu (L3)

The Neo-Gothic Era

 Celler Güell (Garraf, Barcelona)

Celler Guell

Eusebi Güell was one of Gaudí's greatest fans at the time and this is the first major project that he commissioned him for in 1882, making it the first of the architect's Neo-Gothic buildings on paper (but not to be completed). It's essentially the beginning of a wonderful partnership that resulted in many amazing projects with the Güell name, though construction never started until 1895. Today it's a restaurant that you can discover both inside and out.

Visit at:  El Celler Güell, 08860, Garraf, Spain
Getting there: Barcelona Sants Station (R2), about 35 minutes.

 Col·legi de les Teresianes (Barcelona)

Colegi de las Teresianas

Bodegues Güell may have been the first Neo-Gothic building to have been commissioned, but Col·legi de les Teresianes was the first to have been built. As a man of god, he happily took on this school for nuns halfway through and completed it with what little budget remained. It is interesting to see how this flamboyant architect dealt with a building that essentially requested to remain austere and sober, sneaking in the use of wrought iron for which he is known and lovely details around the entrance.

Visit at: Col·legi de les Teresianes, 08022 Barcelona, Spain, on Saturdays or Sundays.
Getting there: La Bonanova (L6 from Plaza Catalunya) about 10 minutes.

 Episcopal Palace of Astorga (Astorga, León)

Episcopal Palace

By now Gaudí has left behind the orientalist style and is well into his Neo-Gothic phase. This palace has an almost fairy-tale magic to it, located in this small town. It was commissioned by the Archbishop in 1889 and wasn't completed until 1915. The bishop died and Gaudí abandoned the project. However Ricardo García Guereta eventually came along to finish the job with a tamer final product, yet still inspired by what Gaudí had built.

Visit at: Episcopal Palace, 24700 Astorga, León, Spain
Getting there: Trains to Astorga leave from Barcelona-Sants, about 8 hours.

 Casa Botines (León)

Casa de los Botines

As if it wasn't clear enough that Gaudí and Güell were best buds, the entrepreneur recommended Gaudí for a nearby project whilst he was working on the Episcopal Palace nearby in León. As he designed the project he wanted it to blend with the surrounding Medieval style architecture. Originally used as apartments, it's now the headquarters of the Caja España bank. It took only ten months to build, but is a prime example of his Neo-Gothic phase.

Visit at: Calle de la Legión VII, 3, 24003 León, Spain
Getting there: Trains to León leave from Barcelona-Sants, about 7 and a half hours.

 Torre Bellesguard (Barcelona)

Torre Bellesguard

This building only became open to the public in 2013 but is important as it's the last Neo-Gothic work of Gaudí, before his own developed style 'takes over'. As such, it is unique in that you can see elements of his naturalistic themes weening into the final Neo-Gothic design. You can visit the exterior for free or book a guided tour of the building.

Visit at: Carrer Benedetti, 16, 08022 Barcelona
Getting there:  Avinguda Tibidabo Station (L7)

The Era of Gaudí

 Colònia Güell (Santa Coloma de Cervelló, Barcelona)

Church of Colonia Guell

This would be one of the final projects that Güell would give to Gaudí. The idea was to create a town or "colony" outside of Barcelona where his workers could live. Gaudí happily took it on, but as a man of religion he focused on the church and let his assistants deal with the town. Hints of the mastermind can be seen throughout town, but it's really the church that stands out, with many of the techniques he applied here going on to be used on the Sagrada Familia. He began designing in 1898, so it's the first main project in which we really begin to see Gaudí applying his own personal style, inspired by nature, and why we love his work today. It was never completed as Güell fell ill and so did the funding. Absolutely unmissable.

Visit at: Carrer Claudi Güell, 6, 08690 Santa Coloma de Cervelló, Barcelona
Getting there:  Plaza Espanya (R5 or S4), about 40 minutes, exit at Colònia Güell

 Casa Calvet (Barcelona)

Casa Calvet

Said by many to be Gaudí's most bland building, however it was his first major modernist project to be completed that incorporated elements of the style he was beginning to develop. He also had to contend with limited space and restrictions. Today it houses a restaurant.

Visit at: Carrer de Casp, 48, 08008 Barcelona
Getting there:  Urquinaona Metro (L1)

 Cova Cascada, Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu  (Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona)

 The Cova Cascada in the Park of Sant Boi

Just outside of Barcelona city, it may be that for many years a work by Gaudí has been hidden in plain sight... and nobody even noticed. This work coincides exactly with the era when he used his strong and uniquely developed style, but many argue it is too unpolished to be from Gaudí and go as far as to say that someone was simply inspired by him. However, there is the counter argument that he would have been working on Park Güell around the same time, and just like he did with Colonia Güell practicing for the Sagrada Familia, this was a way for him to prepare for a masterpiece. They also say that the quality is in fact very high for a first attempt and had been rigorously planned. Either way, now you can visit and decide for yourself.

Visit at: Carrer Doctor Antoni Pujadas, 42, 08830 Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona
Getting there:  Trains from Plaza Espanya (S8, L8, R6), about 30 minutes.

 Park Güell (Barcelona)

Park Guell

This is the last major completed project that Güell commissioned from Gaudí. It was to be a large estate for houses but it was never fully successful, especially since Güell fell ill towards the end of the project. It is the ultimate exhibition of Gaudí's fully developed Modernisme style in which he seamlessly blends nature with his man-made structures. It's also houses the architect's personal residence, which he decided to purchase himself.

Visit at: Carrer d'Olot, 5, 08024 Barcelona
Getting there:  Vallcarca or Lesseps (L3)

 Finca Miralles (Barcelona)

Portal Miralles

Though not a large Gaudí project, it is one nonetheless. This construction consisted of a gate and wall surrounding Casa Miralles. The gate and most of the wall remains so you can still discover this structure.

Visit at: Passeig Manuel Girona, 57, 08034 Barcelona
Getting there: Maria Cristina (L3)

 Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma (Palma de Mallorca)

Cathedral Santa Maria de Palma

Gaudí was invited to renovate this cathedral, though he eventually abandoned the project. However, you can clearly see his ideas and style incorporated throughout the building, especially around the altar.

Visit at:  Plaza Almoina, s/n, 07001 Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Getting there: Take a plane or ferry to Palma.

 Primer Misterio de Gloria - La Resurreccicn de Jesús (Montserrat, Barcelona)

 Primer Misteri de Gloria

There is a series of sculptures located between the Monastery of Montserrat and the nearby cave where a depiction of the Virgin Mary was found. One of the sculptures in the series was designed by Gaudí and is called "Primer Misterio de Gloria - La Resurrección de Jesús". You can easily visit it on a day trip to Montserrat.

Visit at:  Muntanya Montserrat, 08293, Barcelona
Getting there: Train from Plaza Espanya (R5)

 Casa Batlló (Barcelona)

Casa Batllo

This is arguably Gaudí's most famous house project. The owner wanted to demolish the original building but Gaudí had a vision, with which he transformed it into a structure that refuses to conform, using curved lines and beautiful colours. This building is said to represent the tale of George and the Dragon as the architect had avid pride in Catalonia, of which Saint George is the patron saint.

Visit at:  Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona
Getting there: Passeig de Gràcia Metro (L3)

 Casa Milà / La Pedrera (Barcelona)

La Pedrera

On the same road, the wealthy couple Milà and Segimon saw Casa Batlló and decided they wanted something for themselves too. This project was almost abandoned as Gaudí wanted to include religious elements and had various disagreements with the couple and council. The result was a widely disliked building at the time, known today as La Pedrera, a name given to it as a form of satire.

Visit at: Provença, 261-265, 08008 Barcelona
Getting there: Passeig de Gràcia Metro (L3)

 Jardins Artigas (La Pobla de Lillet, Barcelona)

Jardines Artigas

Just within the region of Barcelona and on the border with France, there is a remote little town with a quaint park called Jardins Artigas, as well as the Chalet of Catllaràs, both by Gaudí. The gardens were a thank you gift for the hospitality of Joan Artigas i Alart. There is a resemblence with Park Güell because he was working on it at the same time and sent some of those who were on the project to build the gardens.

Visit at:  La Pobla de Lillet, 08696 La Pobla de Lillet, Barcelona
Getting there: Train from Barcelona - La Sagrera Meridiana to Campdevànol, where you can catch a bus to Pobla de Lillet run by Mir. In town there is a train that takes you to various attractions. Around 2 hrs 30 mins - 3 hrs.

 Escuelas de la Sagrada Familia (Barcelona)

Escuelas de la Sagrada Familia

These schools were built so that the children of those who were working on the Sagrada Familia would have a place to learn. They were disassembled, but today have been rebuilt and are used as the offices for the Sagrada Familia. This process will probably have to happen again as the Sagrada Familia grows in size and will occupy their current position.

Visit at: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona
Getting there: Sagrada Familia Metro (L2)

 Sagrada Familia (Barcelona)

The Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia originally started without Gaudí at all, but by 1883 he was well-liked and famous enough to join in on what would later become his lifetime's work. He became head architect in 1884 but was never fully dedicated to the project until 1915 after he had fully developed his skills and ideas. It is essentially the definitive building from the artist as it is the culmination of the styles developed throughout his entire life. If you haven't seen the Sagrada Familia, then you haven't seen what Gaudí was truly capable of.

Visit at: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona
Getting there: Sagrada Familia Metro (L2)

These have been all of the major projects from Gaudí that you can still visit today. There are of course many projects from the mastermind that were never realised or were eventually destroyed, but those are for another day. For now, get ready, go out, and discover everything that is great architect has to offer... You won't be disappointed.

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