Don't miss the famous Sagrada Família

The works of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí are one of the must-see sights on any holiday to Barcelona and a free attraction where you can marvel at the kaleidoscopic colours, magical facades and undulating shapes while wandering outdoors. Influenced by nature and fairytales, Gaudí’s distinctive Catalan Modernism style features grotesque shapes, twisted forms and organic curves with colourful mosaic works.

Born in Reus in 1852, Gaudí’s unique imagination is writ large on the cityscape of Barcelona. His famous, and still unfinished work, is La Basílica de la Sagrada Família in Eixample and easily the most popular attraction in Barcelona. The facade of the Gothic-style cathedral features a molten wax appearance with intricate sculptures depicting Jesus’ early life.  The stunning central nave is like looking up at the sky within a forest of trees and is also where Gaudí is buried. The great architect dedicated the last 14 years of his life to the construction of the cathedral before he was unceremoniously run over by a tram in 1926. Mired by controversy, it’s hoped La Sagrada Familia will be completed by 2026 to coincide with the centenary of Gaudí’s death.

Also in Eixample are Casa Milà and La Casa Batlló. Casa Milà or La Pedrera meaning ‘the stone quarry’ is a building with an undulating facade. With no straight lines, the tangled seaweed balconies, sea-foamy ceilings and blue patios hint at a mermaid’s underwater lair like one of those Magic Sand structures. Once a private home, La Pedrera now hosts an art gallery, Gaudí museum and a replica Modernista apartment. La Casa Batlló is known locally as the ‘house of bones’ for the skeletal appearance of the balconies on the facade. The colourful edifice also has a scale-like roof and broken ceramic tiles embedded within the facade and you can take a peek at some of the rooms inside.

Parc Güell in Gràcia is part desert oasis and part fairytale park. Said to be modelled on an English garden, with a giant mosaic salamander sculpture on the grand staircase and palm-shaped columns, it’s more Arabian Nights than rolling meadow. The public space set on a hillside also has undulating serpent seating along the esplanade where you can enjoy a great panoramic view of the city.

Gràcia and Eixample, Barcelona, Spain, Europe

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