When you visit Barcelona, the first thing people recommend is to check out any (and all) of Gaudi’s work. Antoni Gaudi is one of most well known architects, and his work is considered the centre point of Barcelona. He lived between the 19th and 20th century, and his work reflects a superb mastery over materials, design and the imagination. His two most well known works are the Casa Batllo and the (ongoing) Sangrada Familia. I was lucky enough to be able to visit both of these sites during my visit to Barcelona!
Casa Batllo is located at Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona, but you won’t have any trouble finding it. It stands out amongst the red and light yellow buildings with it’s pale exterior and dragon scale roof. It was designed by Gaudi in the early 1900s, and owned by the Batllo family. It is now open to the public from 9am to 9pm.
Tickets should be purchased in advance online. If you’re worried about lines you can also pay an extra 5 euros to skip the line. But be mindful of what time you book – my friend and I paid the extra 5 euros – but when we got there, there wasn’t any line!
Once inside you are given an audio guide, and can venture around by yourself. There are stunning rooms with stain glass windows, and mosaic walls that make us of the light sources. It’s truly a masterpiece, and well worth the visit. There’s also a show at night which we didn’t get a chance to see, but I have heard it’s very interesting and well worth it. You can purchase tickets here.
With the Sangrada Familia you MUST book tickets at least 2 days in advance.It’s Gaudi’s final gift to Barcelona, construction began in the last 1800s, and is set to be completed in 2026. We booked our tickets online, and also selected the extra option to go up to one of the spirals. You can choose to go up on either the Nativity or Passion side – we chose the Passion as it is slightly taller.
On the outside you can see the figures from both the nativity and passion parts of Christ’s life. On the picture to the right you can see three ‘triangles’ the middle is for Jesus, and the other two are for Mary and Joseph. The height of the Sangrada Familia could be, but was specifically made not to be as high as the biggest hill in Barcelona – as Gaudi believed that the work of man should never be greater than the work of God. The two pillars on the Jesus triangle are held up by a tortoise and a turtle respectively, the tortoise is on the side to the inland, while the turtle is on the Mediterranean sea side.
The inside of the church is absolutely magnificent. The two sides have different ‘hues’ of stain glass – one is cold and one is warm which are specifically designed with the sun’s position in mind. Currently there is a small prayer area available to patrons as well as service being held. My friend and I visited on a Sunday so we could get a glimpse of one of the services.
The views from the top of the Sangrada Familia are absolutely stunning. You can see the entire of Barcelona. To get up there, there is a short elevator trip, the problem is getting down. There’s 400 steps! For the first 100 there are little break stops where you can take some photos and check out areas of construction. But the last 300 are just in a really narrow spiral staircase. I began feeling very claustrophobic and anxious inside, so I do warn people to keep in mind how tight the staircase is.
One final tip – make sure to be careful with your belongings – this is a high pick pocket area. You can read about a scary encounter my friend and I had here. You can purchase tickets for the Sangrada Familia here.