There is so much to see in Barcelona that even after a second visit I’ve still not managed to see everything on my list. But one place I have managed to visit on both occasions is Park Güell.
After spending a lot of time wandering the city’s attractions, it’s nice to escape out to the greener areas and they don’t come better than Park Güell (of course, being Barcelona, it was designed by Gaudi).
Most of the park is free to enter but you now need to pay to enter the monument area where most of the Gaudi constructions are, this area is limited to 400 people entering per hour during restricted times.
Who is Gaudi? Antoni Gaudi was a famous architect who took a unique approach to modernism. From studying architecture in Barcelona he went on to become an international name, eventually collaborating with some of his old professors.
Of all the Gaudi buildings in Barcelona, his most famous piece, the Sagrada Familia, is still being constructed – this is due to be completed in 2026 but is definitely worthwhile visiting even today.
Like Gaudi’s other work, Park Güell takes a lot of inspiration from nature, this is why there are no straight lines as Gaudi favoured the organic curves representative of natural objects.
IMPORTANT: At the time of visiting (April 2018), there is a lot of construction work going on in the park which means that one of the entrances is closed and some areas of the park are fenced off – this does slightly ruin the experience so if at all possible I’d recommend visiting in 2019 when this work should be complete. Check here for updates.
Which parts of Park Güell are free?
Almost all of Park Güell is free, there is a wonderful view point with a view across the city and lots of walkways to stroll along and admire, even if you don’t want to pay for entrance, It’s still worth visiting for the free areas.
The following photos are from areas free to visit all day:
The real attraction is the monumental zone at the centre of the park. Previously free of charge, there is now a charge for entering the monumental zone. At the time of visiting (April 2018) the cost is €7.50 for adults or €5.25 for under 12’s and over 65’s – all assuming you buy online in advance WHICH YOU SHOULD! Under 6’s enter for free.
Each ticket has a half-hour window to see the park but actually you can stay in the area for as long as you wish.
Is it worth visiting the Monumental Zone of Park Güell?
For me it was absolutely worth the entrance fee but make sure you book a time slot in advance otherwise you’ll be waiting around for hours. If you’re not so interested in Gaudi’s work or architecture then you may wish to give it a miss and enjoy the free parts of the park.
Here are some photos of what you can expect inside the Monumental Zone (paid area):
How to visit the Park Güell Monumental Zone for free
It’s a well-known secret the monumental zone is only regulated during official park opening hours, if you visit half an hour before opening or half an hour after closing times then you can enter the monumental zone for free. Check here for up to date opening hours.
Visiting in the morning is recommended over the evening as you’ll see the sun rise across the city and there are less tourists and street sellers.
Facts you may not know about Park Güell
Park Güell wasn’t planned as a public park, it was originally to be a housing estate for the rich, the two buildings were aimed at attracting investors but this was unsuccessful.
Gaudi lived in the park until he died in 1926, that same year it was officially opened as a public park.
Like many of his other works, Gaudi didn’t put his own name to the park, instead using the name of his friend and patron Eusebi Güell. This is because he was very modest which ironically was a factor in his death after he was knocked over by a tram in Barcelona but left to die as he was mistaken as a beggar due to his shabby clothes.
How to get there using public transport?
Metro + Walking
Option 1: Take Line L3 to Vallcarca metro stop – from here there are sign posts to the park and escalators up the steepest parts. However, be warned – not all of the escalators were working when we visited so we still ended up with a steep walk. It took around 20 minutes to reach the back entrance to the park.
IMPORTANT: Due to the aforementioned construction works you’ll be directed around to a front entrance – this journey is a little easier as it is downhill. I’d still recommend stopping at Vallcarca over Lesseps.
Option 2: Take line L3 to Lesseps metro stop – this stop also takes around 20 minutes but there are no escalators so you’re guaranteed an uphill walk.
Metro + Bus
If you don’t fancy the walk, bus 24 connects Park Güell to Lesseps metro station. However as the bus goes down many small streets, it is very small and often very full.
The bus stop is conveniently located directly outside the main Park Güell gates.