What to do in Park Güell
Most cities, and certainly most tourist cities have at least one park which is frequented by visitors and locals alike, and Barcelona is no exception. It may indeed be no exception, but Barcelona is exceptional in that it’s most famous park, Park Güell, in the district of Gracia, is part city park, part museum, part art gallery and part a place of entertainment.
Of all the hundreds of things to do in Barcelona, Park Güell should be close to the top of the list. The park, lying between Can Muntaner and Can Coll where you can find the famous Bunkers de Carmel, was originally purchased by Count Güell the year 1899.
It was destined to be a high-end urbanisation and Sr Antoni Gaudi was chosen as the designer and architect, but things soon changed. The housing development was not successful, only two of the sixty villas which were planned were ever built. It was felt at that time that the park was too far away from the city and the Barcelona wealthy preferred their “out of town” residences higher up in the Collserola hills. Antonio Gaudi lived in one of the houses until his death in 1926 but no further houses were built on the site.
Work on Gaudi’s vision for the park began in 1900 and lasted until 1914 when he decided to concentrate all of his efforts on La Sagrada Familia. True to his overriding obsessions with nature and religion, which can be seen in his other works like La Pedrera and La Casa Batlló, it is sometimes hard to tell the natural from the man-made structures in the park.
Brick, stone and plaster forms imitate the organic, with angles and lines in perfect symmetry with the many mature trees and bushes which fill the un-pampered areas of the park. This semi-forested park is very much alive and natural with paths and walkways leading the adventurous visitor on a trail through a green playground to places unseen from the principal areas.
If anyone is wondering what to do in Park Güell there really is a lot to see. The park rises above most of the city of Barcelona from an elevation of 150 meters to 210 meters above sea level. The highest point, originally intended to feature a chapel had to make do with a brick-built cairn, on top of which are three stone crosses. This was Gaudi’s reference and tribute to the hill of Calvery.
From “les Tres Creus” the views are exceptional.
The central part of the park, by the main entrance from Carrer d’Olot is the most monumental and well known. It features the “l’escalinata del drac” or stairway of the dragon, where you can see the iconic Gaudi dragon sculpture with its intricate mosaics and the “Greek Theatre” area with its colourful stone and ceramic and benches.
The majority of the area of Park Güell is free to enter, but you must pay enter the central part. Due to very high demand, tickets are sold for specific time slots to enter and leave and cost around 10€ if you want to queue, or 24€ for a “skip the line” and Park Güell Tour. If you interested in sightseeing in Barcelona Park Güell is a great start, but if you want to see the city from the best miradores, or scenic lookouts you can easily combine your visit to the park with Tourisimo tour.
Tourisimo Barcelona is a small company which is based only 50 meters from the side entrance to Park Güell from Avenue Coll del Portel. From metro Vallcarca on line 3, you can take the mechanical escalators on Calle La Baixada de Gloria up to the park and stop at Calle de Sostres 17.
There you can experience a self-drive, guided tour in one of our cool little electric two-seater cars which takes you up and out of the city to the Collserola Natural Park and the best views over all of Barcelona from hills above.
This tour of 1.5 – 2 hours combines very well with a Park Güell visit and provides for some of the best photo opportunities which the city has to offer.
So if you’re still looking for things to do in Barcelona and wondering what to do in Barcelona, come for an eco-tour with Tourisimo. It’s a very different experience from a Barcelona bus tour, or a hop on hop off tour, you drive yourself with your friend or family member in the seat behind following a guide in another vehicle to a part of the city that few get to see.
Come on, give it a try, you won’t regret it.