The Gaudí route in Barcelona
Other than the two most distant points (Hospital de Sant Pau and Casa Roviralta), the furthest distance is under 3 kilometres, meaning we recommend walking the route, making stops for refreshments or something to eat. You can also travel easily by metro and bus.
La Sagrada Familia: Antonio Gaudí’s masterpiece, started in 1882 and still under construction. He wanted to express Christian beliefs through the building’s architecture and beauty, and communicate the evangelical message to everyone. He achieved a symbiosis of Christian symbolism and form, with peculiar architecture created using new structures, shapes, and geometries, yet very logical and inspired by nature, with light and colour figuring strongly. UNESCO declared the Nativity Façade and the crypt a World Heritage site in 2005.
Parque Güell: This extensive garden with peculiar architectural features was inaugurated in 1922. The park’s name came from Eusebi Güell, a rich businessman with a passion for Gaudí’s works and his main sponsor. Although the original idea involved building luxury residential complex, it was eventually abandoned, and a park over 17 hectares in size constructed in its place, that includes many waveforms, columns that look like trees, animal figures, and geometric shapes. Most of the surfaces are decorated with mosaics created from small coloured tile fragments.
Casa Milà or La Pedrera: This impressive building was created between 1906 and 1912, and is located on Paseo de Gracia in the centre of the city. The Milà family lived on the first floor, giving rise to the building’s name. It is currently open for visiting and it houses a large exhibition space. The rooftop is an unusual space with impressive artistic and symbolic strength. The ventilation towers and chimneys form impressive sculptures of petrified warriors.
Casa Batlló: Built between 1904 and 1906 as a luxury home at the request of Josep Batlló, a rich aristocrat. The Casa Batlló façade looks like it is made from skulls and bones. The skulls are actually balconies and the bones are pillars. Gaudí took great care with his designs with details such as varying the size of the windows depending on their height. This meant he could ensure that each room in the house was equally lit. Colours and shapes found in marine life were used as an inspiration for the creativity he applied to this building.
Palacio Güell: Constructed as a private residence for the Güell family, the palace has been preserved practically in its original state. It is located on Calle Nou de la Rambla in Barcelona, close to the port and the city’s seafront.
Casa Calvet: A building located at Calle Casp 48. It was built between 1898 and 1900 for the manufacturer, Pere Màrtir Calvet. It was used both for his business, to which he devoted the ground floor and basement, and residences, located on the upper floors. Now converted into a restaurant, the hall and the ground floor are of particular interest, where we can see a typical Catalan ceiling, spiral granite columns, or arches with relief in the form of vines.
Torre Bellesguard or Casa Figueres: Located in the Sant Gervasi neighbourhood, away from the city centre. It was built between 1900 and 1909 using straight line shapes, very unusual in his works, and inspired by the mediaeval castle of Martí l'Humà, the last king of the Casal de Barcelona Catalan dynasty, who lived in Bellesguard until his death in 1410. Gaudí constructed a castle incorporating modernism and gothic architecture, restoring the remains of the mediaeval castle, found in the building’s gardens.
Colonia Güell: The Colonia Güell development was started in 1890 at the request of the businessman, Eusebi Güell, on his Can Soler de la Torre estate, located in the municipality of Santa Coloma de Cervelló. Interest in moving away from the city’s social conflicts derived in new industry considering an industrial colony concept, with worker houses located alongside the factory on the same property, constituting an urban centre managed by the company that had its own character and social and economic life.
A route through the other modernist gems in Barcelona
Along with Gaudí’s La Sagrada Familia, Lluís Domènech i Montaner’s Palau de la Música is another must see in Barcelona. These are some of our recommendations for other Catalan Modernism treasures:
Casa Amatller: A modernist building adjacent to Casa Batlló and close to Casa Lleó Morera. It was built by the architect, Josep Puig i Cadafalch, between 1898 and 1900. The three buildings comprise what is known as the The Block of Discord. The style is a mix of Catalan Gothic and flamenco (characterised by the flat triangular shape on the upper part of the façade).
Casa Bruno Cuadros: Commonly known as the House of Umbrellas because of the umbrella shop on the ground floor, the building is located at Las Ramblas 82. It particularly stands out for the superb wrought iron dragon on display to everyone that passes by. The building dates back to 1858, although it was fully refurbished in 1883 by the architect, Josep Vilaseca. The building is protected as a cultural asset of local interest.
Casa Comalat: A modernist building located at Avinguda Diagonal 442 and with its rear façade on Calle Córcega 316 in Barcelona, and built in 1911 by the architect, Salvador Valeri i Pupurull. The main façade on Avinguda Diagonal uses highly decorative stone, as it was created in a Late Modernism style. The Calle Córcega façade is very colourful due to the polychromatic tile decoration extending throughout as a waveform and the wooden balconies with blinds.
Casa Fuster: Designed and created by Lluís Domènech i Montaner between 1908 and 1910. It is located on Paseo de Gracia, next to Avinguda Diagonal. It was converted into a luxury hotel in 2004.
Casa Lleó Morera: Located on Paseo de Gracia, forming the so-called Block of Discord with Casa Batlló i Amatller. Its elegant façade is very detailed, given that it features the work of forty of the best craftsmen of the period, who followed Lluis Domènech i Montaner’s indications.
Casa Martí “Els 4 gats”: A neo-Gothic modernist building, located on Calle Montsió 3 bis. It was built in 1896 by Josep Puig i Cadafalch at the request of the Martí i Puig family. The building is on the plot of the old Santa María de Montesión Monastery, previously Santa Eulalia del Campo. The ground floor housed the Els Quatre Gats tavern from 1897 to 1903. It is now a restaurant with a very cheap lunchtime menu.
Casa Roviralta: Also known as Frare Blanc, this modernist building by the architect, Joan Rubió i Bellver, is located at Avenida del Tibidabo 31, in the Sant Gervasi - La Bonanova neighbourhood. The house was a country home, used by a Dominican friary, giving rise to its common name of Frare Blanc. It was bought by a rich Spanish emigrant in 1903, Teodor Roviralta, who asked Rubió i Bellver to convert it into a residential building.
Casa Sayrach: This house at the end of Carrer d'Enric Granados is one of the city’s most recent modernist buildings. The building’s beauty derives from its organic shapes, a feature adopted from Gaudí’s universe.
Casa Terradas- Casa de les Punxes: Declared a Historical Monument of National Interest in 1976 and built by the architect, Josep Puig i Cadafalch, at the request of the Terradas family, la Casa de les Punxes is now one of Barcelona’s most emblematic buildings and located right on the modernist route. (Av. Diagonal 420)
Casa Thomas: This protected building, located at Carrer Mallorca 291, was built between 1895 and 1898 by Lluis Domenech i Montaner at the request of Josep Thomas, and used as a residence and a photoengraving workshop.
Hospital de Sant Pau: Located among a group of buildings in Barcelona and built by the architect, Lluís Domènech i Montaner, it is one of the main representatives of Catalan modernism. It was built in two phases between 1902 and 1930. Domènech himself built the first phase comprising thirteen modernist buildings between 1902 and 1913. His son, Pere Domènech i Roura built the second phase from 1920 onwards, comprising another six moderate modernism buildings and other later buildings. With its main building and numerous halls, as well as Instituto Pere Mata de Reus (also by the same architect), Hospital de Sant Pau is one of the largest groupings of Catalan modernist architecture.
The Museum of Modernist Barcelona: It is located in a 1902 modernist building built by the architect, Enric Sagnier. Its location constitutes the perfect cultural-historical framework for the collection it houses, given that it is in the ideal neighbourhood for examples of Modernism. The ambitious urban plan that Ildefons Cerdà implemented at the end of the 19th century to expand the city by annexing the Eixample neighbourhood to the centre enabled the Catalan society to develop an architectural profile and a characteristic image and identity. Many of the buildings, including the museum, are important historical and aesthetic records of a brilliant and majestic period of Barcelona.
Palau Baró de Quadres: This very striking, modernist building was built by the architect, Josep Puig i Cadafalch, between 1904 and 1906. Puig i Cadafalch was commissioned by Baron Manuel de Quadras. It was declared a Historical Monument of National Interest in 1976 and has been open to the public since 2016.
Palau de la Musica Catalana: This is Barcelona’s most special music auditorium. It was built by the Barcelona architect, Lluís Domènech i Montaner, one of the main proponents of Catalan modernism. The construction between 1905 and 1908 applied very advanced structure solutions with the use of large glass walls and the integration of every type of art, sculptures, mosaics, stained glass windows, and ironwork.
Palau Montaner: Ramón Montaner commissioned this building from the architect, Josep Domènech i Estapà, located adjacent to one he previously built years before his partner. The project was designed in 1889, but disagreements with the owner after the work started led to the contract being cancelled after completing the ground floor and two upper floors. The work was completed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, the owner’s nephew. The architect, Antoni Maria Gallissà, helped with the third floor and decoration, and Domènech i Estapà designed the wall surrounding the building, along with the metal doors and bars.