How to visit the Eixample?
The word Eixample means Extension.
This district exists since 1860, after the demolition of the medieval ramparts. Today it is a vast commercial and residential district. Its perpendicular streets, give the city a new vision.
A small Museum in the open air, the square d'Or concentrates the biggest number of modernistic buildings in the city. Frontages of wood, glass, iron and ceramics : an architectural Delight.
Our visits are made such as you start from one point and arrived to another logically.
Have a good journey in El Eixample:
1- La Casa Calvet***
The Casa Calvet, built as a dwelling and offices for the textile manufacturer Pere Calvet, is the first and least imaginative of the three houses Gaudí designed for Barcelona's Eixample (Extension).
The interest of the Casa Calvet centres on the imaginative resolution of the rear façade, the decoration of the hallway, and the design of the furniture, purely organic and breaking with everything before it.
What most calls attention on the façade are the symbolic elements. Over the door, the owner's initial, C; and supporting the main gallery, a cypress, symbol of hospitality. On the main storey, the relieves represent mushrooms, because Pere Calvet was a mycologist. Above the gallery, the horn of plenty. The three heads of the crown represent Saint Peter the martyr (Pere Calvet's patron), Saint Genesius of Arles and Saint Genesius of Rome, patrons of Vilassar, in el Maresme, where the family came from.
You can not visit the Casa Calvet in Barcelona but you can discover the very good restaurant Casa Calvet inside the building.
Opening hours : Can not be visited.
Phone : + 34 93 412 40 12
Metro/Bus : Metro: L4 L1 Urquinaona / Bus: 17, 39, 45, 47, 62, B21
2- Passeig de Gràcia
Passeig de Gràcia was from the beginning designed to be Barcelona's Grand Avenue. It is Barcelona's most elegant avenue and one of the best architectural walks in the city with lots of Modernist buildings (la Casa Batlló, La Casa Milà...). The quality and quantity of modernist buildings is unrivalled.
It's origins can be traced back to Roman times when it was a path that linked to the Via Augusta. In medieval times the city's door to this road was the Portal dels Orbs (blind people's gate), today the Portal del Angel pedestrian shopping area.
For the shopping:
Aside from being one of the best places to see Catalan Modernist architecture, this avenue is one of the major streets for shopping in Barcelona. All national and international fashion houses have their boutique here. Among prestigious designers, you will find Adolfo Dominguez, Loewe, Chanel, Yves-Saint-Laurent, Hermès, Laurel. Foreign brands, such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Max Mara, Escada and Armand Bassi stand beside Spanish ones such as Purificación García, Camper and Loewe. Even more accessible brands like Zara, Mango, Globe, Benetton and Laura Ashley. More shopping in Barcelona..
Metro/Bus : Metro: L3, L2, L5 Passeig de Gràcia and Diagonal / Bus: 7, 16, 17, 22, 24, 28
3- Music Museum. Museu de la Musica
The Music Museum of Barcelona located in an astonishing construction of architect Puig y Cadafalch.
Significant collection of guitars among other rare instruments.
Opening hours : Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 am to 6 pm. Thursday from 10 am to 9 pm. Saturday and Sundays, from 10 am to 7 pm. Mondays closed.
Phone : 00 34 93 256 36 50
Metro/Bus : Metro: Diagonal / Bus: 6, 7, 15, 20, 22, 24, 26, 34, 39, 45
4- La Casa Milà***
A totally unusual façade for this last civil work of Antoni Gaudí, La Casa Milà, nicknamed La Pedrera ( the quarry), in part because the cliffs near Barcelona were the inspiration of the great architect but also because of the appearance of the wavy facade of the building. In fact, the building does not have a single straight line, the façade is designed in such a way that it is impossible to draw a vertical line from the roof to the ground..
Not much appreciated by the inhabitants of the city who cover it with sobriquets - piles of white stones, hangar for airships, earthquake - Gaudí had to fight with its owners who refused to pay his full salary. Following a lawsuit initiated by the architect and lost by the Milà, the latter decides to pay the sums recovered to a convent.
A tumultuous history for what is now a monument of Catalan modernism.
The Patrons: Pere Milà i Camps and his wife.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Barcelona grew rich. The industrial revolution being at full speed, the city grew and was being transformed, while the Catalan bourgeoisie settled in residences that rivaled architectural boldness. The Passeig de Gràcia became one of the main arteries of the city and it is in all logic where best architects defy themselves with fantastic projects. The architect Antoni Gaudí, whose notoriety has been perfectly proven, finishes the Casa Batlló with the help of the constructor Jaume Bayo i Font but also the Pharmacy Gibert and the decoration of the Bar Torino in 1902, last both disappeared now a days. Gaudí at that time had already started the project of the Sagrada Família since 1884 and also worked on the Parc Güell (1900-1914).
Gaudí meets Pere Milà i Camps, a rich entrepreneur and property developer who is also keen to mark his era with the creation of a house with an innovative design and great luxury. The project started in 1906 by Gaudí and will indeed become one of the most emblematic residences of the city.
Unpublished volumes and spaces for the time
The building is built on a surface of 1,835 m2 at the corner of Passeig de Gràcia and Provença street. The first floor for the Milà family occupies 1,323 sq. M. The building consists of nine levels, overlooked by a roof terrace. This imposing structure actually houses two detached and independent buildings, each with its access door and its skylight, communicating only via the ground floor. The unity of the buildings is rendered by a common facade.
Casa Milà was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 as "Works of Antoni Gaudí" in conjunction with Park Güell, Güell Palace, Casa Vicens, the Nativity Facade and the Sagrada Família Crypt, The Casa Batlló and the crypt of the Güell Colony.
The sculptural façade of Casa Mila – La Pedrera
A striking symbol of the Casa Mila, its large sculpted wave-shaped facade and its 33 stone balconies crowned with forged steel like algae are abstract motifs. Wave shapes, ornamental work of the stone, luminous effects according to the time of day, Gaudi wishes to evoke the marine swell. He went so far as to draw the ceramic hexagonal pavers on the sidewalks adjacent to the building. They are also marine motifs, with octopus, stars and conchs. Its creative freedom will be limited only by the events: a statue dedicated to the Virgin of the Rosary was never installed on the facade due to the anti-clerical uprisings of 1909.
The visit of Casa Milà: The roof terrace
The building is crowned by a roof built on the attic, where Gaudí installed thirty chimneys, two ventilator towers and six stairway exits in very original shapes to create a terrace that looks like an authentic sculpture garden. A strange landscape, on different levels, with functional sculptures covered as in the Park Guell de trencadis, this mosaic based on ceramic breakage. A dazzling view of the city and a landscape whose symbolic significance is constantly being sought. Some see giants, others see masks or Corinthian helmets. The discovery of their meaning will be part of your visit to La Pedrera. The terrace has the particularity of being open in the evening for an audiovisual show that we describe later on.
The visit of the Gaudí Space
The Gaudí space is installed in the attic formed of large arches of stones giving a higher floor with a sinuous aspect to the roof terrace. This museum is very interesting to visit because it gives a general overview of the work of Gaudí and his work method. Examples include models of La Pedrera, Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Güell Colony and Casa Batlló. But perhaps the most amazing is to discover the collection of furniture created by Gaudi himself to decorate every room of the building. Chairs, tables, furniture, screens, doorknobs locks .. One understand the great dimension of the creativity and precision of the master by observing the refinement of every detail of this furniture.
The Apartment of the Milà family
Through small staircases we descend to the reconstruction of an original apartment at the times of the Milà. You will be able to see how every detail of the decoration was important and as everything had to be beautiful and functional. A beautiful design lesson that should inspire many architects today!
Price of entrance tickets to La Casa Milà - La Pedrera
La Pedrera is today one of the most visited monuments in Barcelona. Access to its inner courtyard is free. The entrance ticket allows you to visit the roof terrace, the Gaudi Space and the Mila apartment. We begin the visit from the top to go down by stairs to the ground floor of the building.
We advise you to purchase a ticket that will allow you to choose the date and time of your visit and to avoid queues that can be always expected for this monument
- Adult over 13 years old regular rate: 22 €
- From 7 to 12 years old: 11 €
- From 0 to 6 years old: free
- Students 16.5 €
- Senior over 65: 16.5 €
An audio-guide is included in the price of the tour. There are two versions: a short version of 40 minutes and a long version of 75 minutes. The audio guide is available in Catalan, Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Korean, Chinese and Japanese.
Opening times with our skip the line tickets :
- Every day from 9am to 8:30pm (last entry at 8:00pm)
- January 1st: 11:00am - to 8:30pm (last entry at 8:00pm)
Night visit « Gaudí’s Pedrera-The Origins »
A second visit to La Pedrera at the evening is possible: it is called « Gaudí’s Pedrera - The Origins »
This magic evening offers a series of screenings in different parts of the building but also a show (in English) on the roof and even a cup of cava at the end of the visit.
The prices for the night tour « Gaudí’s Pedrera - The Origins »
- Adults over 13 years old: 34 €
- From 7 to 12 years old: 17 €
- From 0 to 6 years old: free
Schedules for the audiovisual show « Gaudí’s Pedrera - The Origins »
- From January 4th to March 2nd: Monday to Sunday, from 7pm to 9pm
- From March 3 to November 1: Monday to Sunday, from 9 pm
- From November 1st to December 24th: Monday to Sunday from 7pm to 9pm
- From December 26th to January 3rd: Monday to Sunday from 9pm to 11pm
Where is La Pedrera? Getting there.
Passeig de Gràcia, 92. 08008, Barcelona.
Tel. +34 902 202 138
- Bus: 7,16,17, 22, 24 and V17.
- Metro: lines 3 and 5, Diagonal station.
- FGC: Provença - La Pedrera.
- RENFE: Passeig de Gràcia.
Opening hours : March to November. Monday to Sunday: from 9am to 8pm (last admission: 7.30pm) // November to February. Monday to Sunday: from 9am to 6.30pm (last admission: 6pm) // Closed: 25 December, and one week in January for maintenance, 1 January: special opening hours from 11am
Phone : +34 902 202 138
Metro/Bus : Bus: 7,16,17, 22, 24, 28 // Metro: lines 3 and 5, Diagonal.
5- La Manzana de la Discordia***
La Manzana de la Discordia is a block on Passeig de Gràcia in the Eixample District. The block is known for having buildings by four of Barcelona's most important Modernista architects, Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Antoni Gaudí, Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Enric Sagnier, in close proximity:
Casa Lleo Morera. Tel : 93 488 01 39. Mondays to Saturdays from 10h to 19h. Sundays from 10h to 14h.
Casa Batlló. Tel : 93 21 03 06. All days from 9h to 20h.
Casa Amatller. Can not be visited.
Casa Mulleras. Can not be visited - Passeig de Gràcia 37
Manzana de la Discordia (Apple of discord) is a contemporary pun playing with the word "manzana " meaning at the same time "block of houses" and apple.
In the same block of buildings, the Four most important architects of the moment: Puig I cadafalch, Domènech I Montaner, Enric Sagnier and Gaudi.
4 palaces, 4 different styles and three different architects is the result of our big pleasure today.
Opening hours : Casa Batllo: Everday from 9am to 9pm
Phone : Casa Batllo: 00 34 +34 93 488 06 66
Metro/Bus : Metro: L3 Passeig de Gràcia
6- Tapies foundation***
The Antoni Tàpies foundation was created by the Catalan painter Antoni Tàpies in 1984 to promote the study and understanding of modern art and culture.
Of course you will find works from all periods of the artistic development of Antoni Tapies. You will appreciate the beautiful library devoted to modern literature and documentation on the art and artists of our century.
The foundation is housed in a building by the modernista architect Lluís Domènech i Muntaner.
The roof terrace alone is worth a visit.
After 2 years of architectural reforms by the firm of architects Ábalos-Sentkiewicz, the foundation was reopened in March 2010 with renewed exhibition spaces in order to recuperate the industrial character of the building and a new entrance to the museum to improve the areas of reception and bookshop… To see!!
Opening hours : Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 7pm // Closed 25 and 26 December, 1 and 6 January.
Phone : +34 934 870 315
Metro/Bus : Metro: L3 Passeig de Gràcia
7- Avinguda del Tibidabo
On both sides of this avenue there is a Modernist urban development from the beginning of this century, which was created by the chemist Dr. Andreu.
There are some very interesting villas by several different architects. The so-called "Tramvia Blau" (blue tram) goes up this avenue and is the only one of its kind left in Spain.
There is a magnificent view over Barcelona.
Metro/Bus : Bus: 73, 123, 196
8- Park Güell***
The Park Güell is the second most visited monument in Barcelona with 2,780,000 visitors in 2015. A very popular tour, full of emotion, magic and full of surprises in a place that only Antoni Gaudí could know how to get them out of the ground!
A major attraction of this Barcelona park is a walk where you can discover some of the most beautiful symbols of the city, such as the famous salamander mosaic or the large terrace surrounded by undulating benches which offers a dazzling view of the horizon.
The Park Güell was inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List in 1984 for its contribution to the development of architecture and building techniques at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
The Park Güell: a story that nearly ruined Antoni Gaudí!
The history begins in 1900 when Eusebi Güell, who gave his name to this park as to other major works of Catalan modernism such as the Palau Güell, buys land on a hill in the south of Barcelona to make it a garden city. The patron who made a fortune in the textile industry during the industrial revolution of the late nineteenth century once again called the most fashionable architect of the time Antoni Gaudí.
This garden city had to include a chapel and a total of 60 houses. But the cost of construction exploded in such proportions that only two houses and the Park were completed. The works ended in 1914 and the park became the property of the city of Barcelona ten years later.
The only consolation for Gaudi, is that he was able to buy one of these houses when they were put up for sale. He lived there until the end of his life. Now a days, the Gaudí residence can be visited as a Museum.
The called garden cities was a popular concept in England at the end of the 19th century. A kind of rational city, situated in the countryside, offering equilibrium between jobs and houses, agriculture and industry. Gaudi took some inspiration from the English model of "Garden City", finally only maintaining the word Park Güell instead of Parque Güell.
What to see in Park Güell
The Guell park, with an area of 17 hectares, is above all a garden. Gaudí created an original work with curves that integrates with nature or which tries to reproduce it with for example the columns of the alleys simulating trunks trees. The architect wanted a residential area loaded with symbols of Catalonia and Christianity.
A large part of the park has open access. But for the most interesting part you need to buy a ticket.
The Entrance and Concierge Pavilions
The main entrance is by Carrer d'Olot. The two mushroom-shaped pavilions that frame the entrance were built to accommodate the administration of the residence and the guard service. Today they are souvenir shops.
The Monumental Staircase
In front of you, once past the entrance, the monumental staircase consists of several staircases and several fountains, the most famous of which is in the form of a salamander, a mosaic salamander now a symbol of the city.
The Hypostyle Hall and its 86 sloping columns
The Sala Hipóstila, composed of 86 columns 6 meter high, was to serve as a market and refers to a forest. All its columns are inclined in order to better support the load of the large terrace which is above. Very cleverly these columns and the vault are built in such a way that the rainwater is recovered in cisterns located under the market to allow the ecological watering of the gardens, as well as the feeding of the fountains. In the ceiling of this room, circles of mosaics represent the four seasons and the lunar cycles.
The Corrugated Bench and its colorful mosaics of the Nature Square
The nature Square, designed as an ancient agora, is located above the Hypostyle Hall. It is the emblematic place of park. You know it without having seen it because its long bench of mosaics is one of the most photographed monuments of Barcelona. The bench is 110m long and is said to be the longest undulating bench in the world.
But what really attracts all the attention is its ergonomic shape designed to sit comfortably and its famous mosaics.
Gaudi used here, more than anywhere elsewhere, the technique of « trencadis » which consisted in re-using bursts of recovering ceramics to make new decorative motifs, typical of modernist Catalan architecture. This bench is the best example of this.
The Park and Calvary
A short walk through the park will introduce you to the gardens of Austria, a viaduct and Calvary made up of three crosses, it is the highest point of the hill.
The Casa-Museu Gaudí
Gaudí lived 20 years in this house which has become an interesting museum to visit, because it contains an important collection of works of the master. On the ground floor, there is an exhibition of furniture designed by Gaudí for the houses Batlló and Calvet and on the first floor the office and the artist's bedroom.
Visit the Parc Güell: Rates
Admission to the park is at a fee from October 25, 2013: it costs 8 euros on the spot full price. Entries are limited so we strongly advise you to purchase the tickets in advance.
The last thing to be aware of is that the tickets purchased online are valid for a specific time of the day, so it is good to know in order to pass the entry without a queue
Opening hours of Park Güell
- From October 30 to March 26: from 8:30 am to 6:15 pm (last access at 5:30 pm)
- From March 27th to May 1st: from 8h to 20h30 (last access at 19h30)
- From 2 May to 28 August: from 8h to 21h30 (last access at 20h30)
- From 29 August to 29 October: from 8h to 20h30 (last access at 19h30)
How to get to Park Güell?
- Bus 24 leaves from Plaça Catalunya and drops you not far from the park.
- By underground, you have to get off at Lesseps L3 or Vallcarca L3 stations and walk about 20 minutes.
The Vallcarca station is located at the top of the park where you will only have to go down to the main entrance. The station Lesseps is located at the bottom of the Park, so you will have to climb using escalators ..
Opening hours : Autumn-Winter from 25 October to 23 March - from 08:30 h to 18:00 h // Spring-Summer from 24 March to 19 October -from 08:00 h to 21:30 h
Phone : +34 902 20 03 02
Metro/Bus : Metro: L3 Lesseps & Vallcarca / Bus: 24 - 31 - 32 - 74 - 92
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