The best way to get your bearings in Barcelona is overlooking the city from the top of the park in Gracia, north of the city center. Park Güell was designed by Gaudí and built between 1900 and 1914. It’s famous not only for the incredible vistas from the top of the hill, but also for its many quirky features, including gingerbread-style houses, covered walkways and a mosaic tiled terrace.
The 15-hectare (37-acre) park was originally designed to be a housing complex for the city’s aristocracy. In the end, only two houses were built. Gaudí lived in one of them. Today it’s open to the public as the Gaudí House Museum. Pay a small fee to wander through the house, which is filled with furniture designed by the architect, and learn about his life and work.
The entrance to the park is at the bottom of the hill. The gatehouses look like giant gingerbread houses and are hard to miss.
A dragon fountain sits at the bottom of a set of stairs. Stop for a photo in front of the mosaic statue, then continue up the hill to the mosaic terrace at the top. Gaudí designed the terrace in his signature style, with bright colors and curving lines. The terrace is in the shape of a sea serpent. Look out across the whole city. This area gets crowded, especially at sunset. Winters are less busy.
The rest of the park is filled with shrubbery and walking paths. Stop for a rest on benches designed by Spain’s most famous architect.
The park is open from 10 a.m. every day. Closing times vary depending on the time of year. Admission is free.
It’s a 20-minute uphill walk from the nearest metro station to the entrance of the park. Catch a bus for a less strenuous access.