Gaudí began this splendid park in Gràcia as a real-estate venture for his patron, Catalan industrialist Eusebi Güell. Although it never came to fruition, Gaudí did complete several public areas, which some consider his crowning professional achievement, even more than the Sagrada Familia. Where does the land end and the architecture begin? On the upper terraces, the landscaping melts into the architecture, and the outdoor sculptures look like earthworks. Of the originally planned model community of 60 dwellings, Gaudí did construct a grand central plaza with a market below it, and lined the plaza with its famous serpentine bench, studded with his trademark trenchadí (bits of broken ceramics). The Doric columns of the market space below are hollow, part of Gaudí’s drainage system. Only two houses were ever completed, however. One of them (designed by Ramón Berenguer, not Gaudí) was the architect’s home from 1906 to 1925; it’s now the Casa-Museu Gaudí (tel. 93-219-38-11; admission 5.50€ adults, 4.50€ students and seniors; May–Aug daily 9am–8pm, Oct–Mar 10am–6pm), a museum containing Gaudí models, furniture, drawings, and other memorabilia. The central mosaic “dragon” fountain, a symbol of Barcelona, has become a major photo op... if you can get close to it.

advertisement
Parc Güell was formerly just that, a park, but a few years ago its popularity necessitated charging a fee to enter the “Monumental Core” of the park. Buy tickets online in advance if you can; all tickets have set entry times. The Casa-Museu Gaudí is located in the free part of the park, but it has its own admission fee.