I feel like, so far, every post I’ve made about Barcelona has involved some kind of happy accident. Whoops, we just happened to ride up this hill during a beautiful sunset; whoops, we went on an angry walk and just happened to wind up in this awesome park that helped me refocus my entire life. You’re probably thinking, “yeah, whatever, who in Barcelona is paying you to promote it as the city of miracles?” Well, I’ll tell you: no one, but I’m all ears if you know anyone who would.
Anyway, this pattern ends now, because that’s not what happened here. There was no accident, happy or otherwise. We wanted to go to Parc Güell, and so we did. Personally, I think that’s really an achievement in itself, much more impressive than just “happening” upon it; and if you’ve ever attempted to navigate one of the most famous cities in the world with your family, hundreds of various and equally appealing attractions, and your strong desire for cava all pulling you in multiple directions, I think you’ll agree.
Parc Güell is arguably Antoni Gaudí’s most famous work in Barcelona after La Sagrada Família. It’s been a public park since 1926 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984. The walk to the top is quite steep, as you can see here; luckily, there’s the occasional escalator to ease the pain.
Once inside the park, the pathway takes you through gardens, around various wacky architectural elements, and up to an absolutely stunning view of the city. There’s a great deal of symbols and icons representing different aspects of Catalan art, culture, and history. You need tickets to enter the “Monumental Zone” (see the map here) but the rest of the park is free of charge to visitors. Tickets can be purchased online ahead of time to avoid the queues (and there will be queues).
You can also see Gaudí’s house, originally his private residence and today a museum commemorating him and his designs. Visiting the museum requires the purchase of another ticket, separate from the one needed to enter the Monumental Zone.
For the record, there’s plenty to see in Parc Güell without paying. We didn’t enter the paid section or the museum, and it was well worth the visit regardless. You can enjoy the views, walk beneath the aquaduct, and check out the mosaics and structures–just not quite as closely as you could with a ticket. Overall, it’s a great inexpensive option for an afternoon in Barcelona.
And when you’re finished, don’t worry: the walk down is a hell of a lot easier.
To get to Parc Güell: Take the metro line 3 to the Vallcarca station and walk from there. If you have limited mobility, the park is (unfortunately) not a great option — there doesn’t seem to be any accessibility options. (Click for map.)
Opening hours and admission: The hours of the park are all over the place depending on the time of year. See this page for opening times and how to purchase tickets to the Monumental Zone.