Valencia is one of those cities I have driven by and flown through several times,…
UNESCO has recognized the works of the great architect Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926), in particular, seven properties in or near Barcelona, which are a testimony to Gaudí’s exceptional creative contribution to the development of architecture and building technology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These monuments represent an eclectic, as well as a very personal, style which was given free rein in the design of gardens, sculpture and all decorative arts, as well as architecture. The seven buildings are Parque Güell; Palacio Güell; Casa Mila; Casa Vicens; Gaudí’s work on the Nativity façade and Crypt of La Sagrada Familia; Casa Batlló; Crypt in Colonia Güell.
We have been lucky enough to visit three of these properties:
- Park Güell
- The Sagrada Familia
- Casa Mila
1. PARK GÜELL
Eusebi Güell gave Gaudí the assignment of drawing up plans for developing an estate for well-off families on a large property he had acquired in the zone known popularly as the Muntanya Pelada (bare mountain). Its location was unbeatable, in a healthy setting and with splendid views over the sea and the Plain of Barcelona. Güell wanted to recreate the British residential parks, which is why he named it Park Güell, in English.
The park was purchased by the City and was opened as a municipal park in 1926. The Güell family house was converted into a State school. Park Güell was recognised as an artistic monument in 1969 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
2. SAGRADA FAMILIA
The ground was broken for the Sagrada Familia in 1882 under the guidance of the architect Francisco Paula de Villar, until 1883 when Gaudí took over as head architect and transformed its design into the most extraordinary gothic creation. The construction work has been hampered by funding (it is privately funded) and wars but even after Gaudí’s tragic death in 1926 his conceptual designs have been faithfully followed by his successors.
The Sagrada Familia is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, giving it the status of a ‘minor basilica’
3. CASA MILÁ (LA PEDERA)
Casa Milà, is popularly known as ‘La Pedrera’ (the stone quarry). The lines were long, and it was expensive to get in – so we hummed and ahhed for a while about going in, but we eventually decided to go for it. And boy we were not disappointed.
The building was commissioned in 1906 by businessman Pere Milà and his wife Roser Segimon. At the time, it was controversial because of its undulating stone facade, twisting wrought-iron balconies and windows designed by Josep Maria Jujol.
In 1984, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is still a working building and is occupied by several businesses, but areas – including the roof – are open to the public.
Best time to visit Barcelona
The best time to visit the Barcelona is from May to June when balmy temperatures in the low to mid-70s mesh with a flurry of festivals that trumpet the advent of summer. The actual summertime is sticky with humidity – locals leave their beloved city in droves to catch a breeze somewhere else. They come back for the fall when the average highs drop back into the 70s. Winter is mild compared to other Spanish destinations, with highs in the high 50s. And while coming during the spring may seem like smart idea for avoiding crowds, April sees frequent showers, which may put a literal damper on sightseeing plans (most of Barcelona’s top attractions are experienced outside). Keep in mind that no matter what time of the year you’ll visit, there will be tourist crowds: Barcelona is the most-visited city in Spain.
Where to stay in Barcelona
1. MH APARTMENTS
We have stayed at with MH Apartments twice when visiting Barcelona.
The apartments work well for us when we travelled as a family and as a couple. The apartments were spacious and well equipped. We like to eat some of our meals in when we travel so having a full kitchen is very handy.
The checking in procedurehas been easy both times we stayed. If you travel by car then parking might be a challenge. It is likely you’ll have to find street parking (not easy) or a close by car park.
2. LIVE AND DREAM
Live & Dream features a minimalist white design throughout with bursts of color in bedding and furniture. This stylish guest house offers free Wi-Fi and internet connection throughout.
Sants Station is 8 minutes’ walk away and from here you can get the highspeed AVE Train or the train to the airport. Located 650 feet away, Plaça de Sants Metro Station offers direct access to the Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera and the Ramblas.
The rooms at Live & Dream come with air conditioning.
3. BARCELONA CENTRAL GARDEN HOSTEL
BCG is an attractive middle sized hostel located just 3 blocks away from Plaça de Catalunya. It is a safe, friendly, clean and relaxing home away from home for genuine travelers and families. It is the perfect place to enjoy the city, with opportunity to meet new people and feel truly at home. This is not a party hostel’.
There is a comfortable lounge and kitchen area that faces onto a beautiful outdoor garden terrace.