Oct012012

Parc Güell: Gaudi’s vision in the hills of Barcelona

If there is one not-to-be-missed site in Barcelona I have to say for me it is Parc Güell.  A reader recommended visiting Park Güell as a place I should see in Barcelona for extensive and free admission to Antoni Gaudi architectural creations and designs. The park was jam packed with people on a sunny 80-degree afternoon or something like 26.5 Celsius in mid-September.

The guide books are correct in stating the walk to the park can be tiring on a hot day. I stopped in a market and the young Asian woman was trying to sell me a 0.5 liter bottle of water from the tourist drinks refrigerator and I waved her off to grab a 2-liter bottle of water from the shelf. I had a serious thirst.

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The Lessups metro station is a bit of a 1.22 km hike to Parc Güell on a hot, humid day with the afternoon sun baking after morning storm clouds with rainshowers cleared out of Barcelona. The bus only gets you half way closer than the metro and the worst part of the hike is the last street going uphill.

Parc Güell has great viewpoints for seeing across Barcelona when the weather is good. This park land is on the ridge of a high hill overlooking central Barcelona. The elevation allows views of the city and walking trails can take you to the other side of the forested hills away from the highly residential downtown city.

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The sky looked clear across the city of Barcelona to the Mediterranean Sea.

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Parc Güell entrance tower on the right as you enter the park.

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Looks like a ‘gingerbread cookie with frosting and candies’ house to me.

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Left tower at entrance going into Park.

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This cat could get away with drinking water from the park fountain. I found cats to be a rare sighting in Barcelona, even though I saw hundreds of dogs in the city. This cat looks much like my little Pim cat in Monterey. The photographic detail also reveals the tile aspect of the fountains and stairs.

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Fountains line the stairways at the entrance of Parc Güell. This dragon fountain is apparently the common symbol for the park.

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After the heat of the sun for the 25 minutes to reach the park from the Metro I relaxed in the open, yet shaded space above the fountains where cooler stone provided a refreshing walk around columns straight and angled.

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Parc Güell ceiling design in space below plaza.

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The columns support an open air plaza on top.

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Stairways lead from the columned shade to an open plaza on top. The view is expansive looking out over Barcelona from the plaza situated directly above the columns space. There were over 150 people in this topside area of the park.

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The plaza at Parc Güell on a sunny afternoon.

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The plaza is open with curved mosaic tile seating stretching around the perimeter of the plaza.

There are other areas to explore and even better views found higher up the hillside above the plaza.

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The abundance of trees surprised me after two days walking around Barcelona. There are many shaded areas of the city, but the trees were thick and dense in parts of Parc Güell.

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Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia (center) and Poblenou district (far left) of photo. I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express City 22 and Four Points Diagonal Barcelona within 5 minutes walk of the shiny tower (far left). Hotel Arts, Ritz-Carlton is white skyscraper on far right at the beach of Barcelona.

Parc Güell was originally created as a real estate development project to provide a garden environment on the hillside above Barcelona’s factories and smoke stacks. The real estate aspect of the project never took off with only two houses built. Gaudi bought one of the houses (not the one in the photo below) and lived there for 20 years. The view was good for keeping an eye on his work. 

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Three Crosses was the place in the park to be for late afternoon sun.

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Three Crosses is highest viewpoint in Parc Güell. The stairway is not that easy to navigate and you have to watch your step on the top. There is no railing as you walk topside among the other people also snapping photos and chilling on the view.

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View from Three Crosses.

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View from Three Crosses.

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W Barcelona and cruise ship port.

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Gaudi used rock shapes to emulate nature and created walking paths through natural looking rock form designs throughout the park.

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I found similarity between the support columns and the trees planted nearby the path.

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This is the Parc Güell house where Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) lived from 1906 to 1926. The house is now the Gaudi Museum.

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This is a bad photo, but best illustrates the viaducts at Parc Güell. There are shaded areas under the viaduct and a road on top.

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Top of a viaduct in Parc Güell.

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Parc Güell is a major site to see in Barcelona. The city views are great on a clear day and there are gardens and woods to walk around if you are tired of the hustle and bustle of city center life in Barcelona and your mind is ready for expansion.

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The circular signs on the left side of this building state “Park Güell” yet the signs in Barcelona primarily use the Catalan spelling Parc Güell.

Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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