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A park you’ll want to take a bite out of

A park you’ll want to take a bite out of

Entrance to Park Güell
Entrance to Park Güell

Walking uphill to Park Güell, Antoni Gaudí’s failed masterpiece, is a bit of a feat on a boiling, humid day in Barcelona, but once you see the grand entrance, the hike is absolutely worth it.

Two gingerbread houses at the entrance lure in tourists as if they are Hansels and Gretels. The edible-looking guard house and now-bookstore are some of the only examples of Gaudí’s simple housing. Not too shabby, huh?

Gingerbread houses
Gingerbread houses

The park was originally built as a high-income housing community for Gaudí’s benefactor, Eusebi Güell, but the development was truncated when World War I began. Thankfully, some parts of the park were put to use, such as the cave-like structures underneath the majestic staircase. It was used to park Güell’s luxury car collection.

Cave-like car garage
Cave-like car garage

Walking up the crowded staircase, there are three fountains, of which the third is the famous ceramic dragon that is printed on pretty much every souvenir in the area (and throughout Barcelona for that matter). It symbolizes Catalan pride as the dragon that Barcelona’s patron saint, Jordi, slayed.

Dragon - I can't believe I got a picture of it with barely anyone touching it!
Dragon - I can't believe I got a picture of it with barely anyone touching it!

At the top of the stairs stands the Hall of 100 Columns, which was built originally as a marketplace. Today, it is a refreshing place to hide from the bright Barcelona sun. Make sure you look up at the ceiling where four beautiful sun mosaics represent the four seasons (some which are likely nonexistent in Barcelona…).

Season Mosaics
Season Mosaics
P1080686 Park Guell
P1080686 Park Guell

The pathway of columns is like a perfect wave you’d find on Barcelona’s beaches, and it’s also a place where tourists enjoy taking photos.

Up top, a long, ceramic bench wraps around the entire terrace. If you’re lucky, you’ll see vendors who were selling souvenirs illegally running from the park’s lazy security (who don’t pursue).

Illegal vendors running on the terrace
Illegal vendors running on the terrace

Take a walk around the park and you’ll see some interesting things, such as the spherical stones on the ground that are supposed to represent rosary beads.

Rosary bead stones
Rosary bead stones
P1080728 Park Guell
P1080728 Park Guell

Or a relaxing area where you can enjoy the greens and flowers.

Don’t miss out on walking to the Hill of Cavalry, where there are sweeping views of Barcelona along with a tower topped with a cross. This represents where Jesus was crucified. There are also people selling some ice-cold water up here, which you may be inclined to purchase…

View from Park Güell
View from Park Güell
Atop Hill of Cavalry
Atop Hill of Cavalry

Tips:

  1. The easiest and cheapest way to get to Park Güell is to take the Metro to the Lesseps stop and walk. Take a taxi if you don’t want to walk.
  2. If you want to purchase souvenirs, it is cheapest if you purchase them outside of the park, especially if on the walk up the hill to the park.
  3. Skip the tour of the guard house – it is pretty much bare inside with claustrophobic staircases.
  4. If you didn’t purchase tickets to Gaudí’s house (separately or as a combo ticket with Sagrada Familia), it’s really not worth it unless you want to look at the furniture inside. Gaudí led a very simple lifestyle so there isn’t much interesting architecture to see.
  5. Entrance into Park Güell is FREE!!!
Burma Superstar!

Burma Superstar!

Degustation in need of service augmentation

Degustation in need of service augmentation