I really struggled with what to do there because there are so many amazing options. I settled on seeing all the Antoni Gaudi architectural sites. The Complete Gaudi Tour with Casa Batllo, La Pedrera, and Park Guell is what I booked through one of my suppliers. I will link it at the bottom in blue if you are interested in taking this same tour. We had a fantastic guide who knew every detail and was able to answer all the questions we came up with. There were just 16 of us on the tour, so it wasn't a massive crowd and felt more personal. It had TRUE skip-the-line access to all the sites. Some tours advertise skip the line but you still have a little wait. We sailed right through in all three places where skip the line is necessary. The tour title doesn't even begin to describe the extent of what we did. It included the following Gaudi sites:
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We literally cut in front of the people waiting in line to enter this building for the first entry of the day. This was once a private home and apartments on the upper levels. The Batllo family hired Gaudi to design the home to be unique. This is considered to be one of his masterpieces. Locally it is known as the House of Bones because of some of the skeletal qualities. Personally I found this to be my second favorite Gaudi property of the day. There are no straight lines or perpendicular corners. I found it to be soothing. I am no architect, but I enjoyed learning about the construction facts about the building. If you like unique and/or bizarre this might also be a favorite of yours too!
A short walk from Casa Batllo was our next stop. We did a quick walk-by with some information, but did not go inside. I would have liked to though. The local name translates to The Stone Quarry because of it's uneven concrete look. This was the last private residence designed by Gaudi. The original owner had various disputes with Gaudi over the design elements and the neighborhood was not happy with the final result. They claimed it would bring down the value of surrounding homes. It started as a single residential home, later divided in to apartments, and even commercial entities at some points. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. So I think it may have had the opposite effect! ;)
Our third stop, after a short mini-bus ride across town, was Gaudi's first residential project. It's rather obvious that this home was designed before his distinctive smooth undulating style had developed. This home has more angular elements with bright colors. The building was a private residence up until 2014. It is now a museum open to the public. We did not go in this one either, but it can be toured on your own if you're interested!
This park is a former failed residential project. The financier convinced Gaudi to design the public spaces and a few buildings, a few buildings, and homes. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this was one of the sites I was most excited to see. Our guide took us through the groups entrance where we didn't wait more than 30 seconds to be on our way through the park. Much to my disappointment, there was a lot of construction going on and I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped. Our guide was fabulous, pointing out all of the technology and advanced systems built in to the area for drainage, viaducts, and more. It's truly a fascinating place and I want to go back when there aren't scaffolds everywhere! The park is filled with mosaic art, his typical wavy lines, and nature. As we left, we saw the long lines of people waiting for their timed entrance. I'm glad we had STL.
The golden treasure of the tour, La Sagrada, had me awestruck. I'd seen images of it and I knew I had to see it because everyone does, but it truly took my breath away in person. This was the highlight of the day. My husband even commented that it was cool to see and he isn't much in to touring churches. I had always thought the building looked depressing from pictures, but up close it is nothing of the sort. It is amazing how much detail went in to the carving and building of the outside. Once I stepped inside, I was even more blown away by the stained glass coloring and smooth lines. The tour gave us the option (included) to take an elevator to the top of the tower but we didn't do it because we were starving and left the tour a few minutes early. I do wish we had gone up so I could comment on that part of the experience. If you take this tour please take those elevators to the top for me and let me know how it was.
and to think La Sagrada is still under construction for quite a few more years!