Many of Barcelona’s historical buildings have been designed by Antoni Gaudí, the famous modernist architect. With so much to see and do in this city of culture, we’ve compiled a guide to the most important sites, to help you make the most of your trip.
One of the most imposing and iconic landmarks of Barcelona, the Basilica is a highly popular tourist attraction. The church is dedicated to the Holy Family and is considered Gaudí’s masterpiece.
Although construction began in 1882, it is expected that the building won’t be completed until 2026. It has now entered its final stage of construction and will in all likelihood take longer to build than the Egyptian Pyramids!
During the first years of its construction, there was a school on-site for the children of the construction workers, now used as an exhibition space. A careful and considered design, the Basilica also has 18 towers, each of which has its own significance. There’s so much to see here, so make sure you allow plenty of time to visit!
Another of Gaudí’s architectural masterpieces, Casa Milá, also known as La Pedrera (the stone quarry) was built between 1906 and 1912. It was commissioned by a wealthy businessman as a place of residence and was designed in an art nouveau style.
The entire facade of the building is made from natural stone with white ceramic tiles used around the top of the building. Because of Gaudí’s desire to design the building with natural shapes, there are no right angles at all!
Every aspect of the building is intriguing, even down to the chimneys on the roof, also called ‘witch scarers’, which appear to guard the skylights. The materials used and the design of the roof is a landscape in itself. The building is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s easy to see why!
Built for the 1929 International Exhibition to showcase the city’s architecture, Poble Espanyol (Spanish village) remains open today as an open-air architectural museum. The 117 buildings house scale reproductions of buildings, squares and streets from different areas of Spain.
In order to choose the buildings for inclusion in the exhibition, the creators visited 1600 towns and villages across Spain. At the time, it was expected that the village would be demolished after the exhibition but, fortunately, it has been preserved.
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Construction of this cathedral began in the 11th century on the foundation of a previous basilica. Housing 29 chapels, the church is around 83 metres long and 25 metres high. A beautiful Gothic building, it is located at the Pla de la Seu, almost in the centre of Barri Gòtic. On Saturdays at 18:30 and Sundays at 12:00, people dance the traditional circle dance of the Catalans, the Sardana, in the forecourt of the cathedral.
During your trip, make sure you explore the cloister with small chapels, gardens and fountains. Our top tip is to visit the church at dusk when the exterior is atmospherically illuminated – it’s stunning!
Said to be Gaudí’s crowning glory, Casa Battló is a must-see on any trip to Barcelona. Apparently, Gaudí wanted the roof to represent the legend of the dragon of St George. It’s shaped like the back of a dragon with large, shiny scales.
The entire facade of the building is tiled with a mosaic of glass and ceramic discs. The lower-floor balconies have bone-like pillars and those on the upper levels look like pieces of skulls. These features give the building the nickname of “House of Bones”.
In true Gaudí style, there are no straight lines, both inside and outside the building – an impressive feat. Completed in 1906, the interior is divided into apartments, and the largest residence spans more than 700 square metres.
It’s the historical buildings in Barcelona that make the city so impressive. We hope you enjoy exploring the history and culture as you take in the sights. Have a great trip!