A long long time ago, I went on a trip to Europe. September 2013 to be exact. Now that it’s 2015, it’s time to start sharing some of my experiences! Today, I talk about Park Güell, the second work of Antoni Gaudí that we visited in Barcelona.
One thing that we were not blessed with while visiting Barcelona was great weather. Our second (and final) day in town was a Sunday and it was pretty gray and overcast. It was also a bit rainy, as you can see from the number of umbrellas. Despite the weather, we decided to explore Park Güell.
The long walk up to Park Güell
One thing we didn’t realize before heading to Park Güell was that it sits on top of a very tall and steep hill. We were also not exactly sure where the park was, so all of the people moving upward gave us a sense for where we should be going.
The road on the way up was pretty narrow, so people just kind of walked whereever.
If you are afraid of heights, don’t look down as you walk up to Park Güell. It will only give you anxiety.
Once we bypassed the worst of it, we arrived at a series of escalators. So many escalators! And some of them helpfully graffied to let you know where you are.
As if there couldn’t be more stairs. Once we go past the walking and the escalators, there were some more stairs to climb!
Into the park
Eventually (after about 30 minutes of walking), we made it into the park!
I’m not sure how I feel about this, but there were a number of cacti that park visitors inscribed with their initials and other messages. Overall, the cacti seemed to be healthy but I’m quite skeptical of how safe it is to paint them as you can see someone did!
Walking to the top of the hill was a bit grueling, but it paid off. We got to see the Sagrada Familia towering above the rest of Barcelona. As I’ve said before, that church is. so. BIG.
Even though we made it into the park, we realized we STILL hadn’t made it to the top.
There were a lot of people in the park when we visited. We were almost worried there wouldn’t be enough room at the tippy top for us.
However, we made it and were blessed with an even better view of Barcelona. If only the weather were better that day. If you squint your eyes enough, you can see the Mediterranean Sea in the background.
Onto the terrace
The park is made up of a series of paths that lead up to the top of the hill. Eventually, we made it to the terrace, which is the big focal point of the park.
The terrace is where you really see the work of Gaudí start to shine through. The entire terrace is lined with mosaic benches. And, of course, the terrace is full of lots of people!
A closer view of the perimeter shows that each winding nub has its own design. And the terrace sits on a series of columns.
The terrace butts up to more hills. This wall of stones is actually hiding some public restrooms. That’s why people are forming a queue.
Here is a close-up of the bench that surrounds the perimeter of the terrace. One thing that really impresses me is how well this part of the park has withstood the test of time – after all, the park opened in 1926!
I was really excited to visit this park, because I had originally seen photos of it in one of my art history textbooks while in undergrad. As an art history major, I love to get out into the world and see the art that I studied.
The main entrance to the park (we ended up entering through the back) features two buildings designed by Gaudí. One houses a gift shop that we visited, but I do not remember what the other houses.
A number of columns hold up the terrace. With the columns come, you guessed it, more mosaics!
So, what did I think of Park Güell? It was great! Here’s a breakdown of what I thought.
I’m going to give Park Güell a 4 of 5 star rating. It’s a great place to visit and I would go again, but I probably wouldn’t go OVER and OVER again. If you are ever in Barcelona, I would definitely recommend checking it out.
We spent somewhere between 2 and 3 hours at Park Güell. One caveat is that we did not really fully explore what the park refers to as the Monumental Area or the Gaudí House Museum.
An interesting discovery that I made while writing up this post is that as of October 2013, there is now a fee required to enter the park. Coincidentally, we went in September 2013 and did not have to pay a fee.
According to the Park Güell website, tickets are sold for the Monumental Area (which includes the terrace and area surrounding it) and only 400 people can enter that area per hour. At this time, tickets run between €7 and €8 for adults and are discounted for children and seniors.
Although it’s another expense, I think that paying the entry fee is worth it and would still have gone despite the added cost.
What do you think? Would you check out Park Güell? Even though it now has an entry fee?