Palau Güell was commissioned by the wealthy businessman Eusebi Güell (just like the well-known Park Güell) and was one of Gaudí’s first assignments. Don’t let the modest look of the outside mislead you: the interior and the rooftop of this palace are spectacular and definitely worth your time.
In this article you will find:
- What is Palau Güell and why should you visit it
- Practical information about opening hours, prices and tickets
- How to get there
- Background information (facts, history and architecture)
- Insider tips such as where to eat and what other monuments you can visit nearby
What is Palau Güell and why should you visit it?
Palau Güell is the only building Gaudí designed that he was involved in from beginning to end.
The exterior is quite modest, but the interior is stunning and most definitely on the same level as the other famous houses he created. The rooftop is especially worth visiting.
In 1984 Palau Güell, like Gaudí’s other masterpieces, was added to Unesco’s list of cultural world heritage.
Plan your visit to Palau Güell
Palau Güell is located in El Raval, which is part of Barcelona’s old city center. It is close to La Rambla, and also to the Gothic quarter, so you can combine your visit to the house with other attractions in these areas.
Palau Güell is closed on Mondays, but you can visit at any time during the rest of the week. In order to see everything including the roof you will need an hour to an hour and a half.
We suggest you book your tickets online in advance because the lines can be quite long.
Tickets and guided tours at Palau Güell
There is only one type of entrance ticket for Palau Güell. Make sure to get your tickets in advance, because the line can be very long. You can order tickets in English with Ticketbar. The price is €12, with a multi-language audio guide included.
Entrance + tour
There are organized tours of the house which you can join at no extra charge on the spot. Make sure you are in the possession of an entrance ticket for Palau Güell already to join the free guided tours. The tour lasts about one hour. Note: there are no tours available on days of free admission.
Friday 12 am & Sunday 10.30 am: tour in French
Friday 10.30 am & Saturday 10.30 am: tour in English
Saturday 12 am: tour in Spanish
Sunday 12 am: tour in Catalan
Palau Güell is open Tuesday to Sunday for the following hours:
- April 1st to October 31st: 10 am — 8 pm.
- November 1st to March 31st: 10 am — 5.30 pm.
The ticket office closes one hour before closing time.
Closed on Monday, January 1st and 6th and December 25th and 26th.
- Adults: basic ticket €12.
- Students and 65+: €9
- Children under 10: free admission
- Children between 10 and 18: €5
Palau Güell offers an audio guide. Audio guides are available in 8 different languages: Catalan, Spanish, English, French, Italian, German, Japanese and Portuguese.
There is no extra charge for the audio guide, it is included in the admission price.
Visit Palau Güell for free
It’s possible to visit Palau Güell for free, but keep in mind that the line is even larger on days of free admission, so go early.
Days of free admission at Palau Güell:
- First Sunday of every month
- Museum Night (May)
- 11th of September
- 24th of September
- In 2018 there are two extra days: 8th of July and 15th of December, the death and the birthday of Eusebi Güell. 2018 happens to be the 100th anniversary of Eusebi Güell’s death.
How to get to Palau Güell?
Palau Güell is located just off the Ramblas in the ‘barrio’ of El Raval, in the old city centre of Barcelona.
- Metro: Palau Güell can be easily reached by metro. The closest metro stop is Liceu (metro line L3, green line), but you can also get off at Drassanes (metro line L3, green line).
- Hop-on hop-off-bus: the closest stop is the Columbus monument at the bottom of La Rambla.
- Bus: city buses 14, 59, 91, 120 stop along the Ramblas near Palau Güell.
- Bike: Palau Güell is easily accessible by bike. From Plaza Catalunya you’ll take roughly 10 minutes.
- Walking: Palau Güell is a 15 to 20 minute walk from Plaza Catalunya.
What to see and do during your visit to Palau Güell
The building’s facade is quite modest in comparison to Gaudí’s other famous buildings, but according to the master himself it was the best option out of 25 designs he made in total.
Palau Güell is part of Gaudí’s eastern phase, that lasted roughly from 1883 until 1888.
During this period the architect made a series of works inspired by art from the near and far east, for example India, Persia and Japan, but also from Spain’s Moorish heritage.
The big gates at the front side of the palace were meant for guests that arrived with their horse-drawn coaches. The horses were stabled downstairs in the basement. Later, during the Spanish Civil War, this basement was used as a prison.
For his decorations he used a lot of ceramic, but also traditional materials such as wood, glass and stone.
The building itself consists of chalk that Gaudí got from the Garraf, where he owned some land.
The palace is not very big, it has a footprint of 18×22 meters. You can visit the central hall, the basement, the old coach-house, Eusebi Güell’s study, the family’s bedrooms, and finally the roof terrace.
The main hall was used to receive important guests and to organize private concerts. The organ sounds beautifully thanks to the magnificent dome.
This space is one of the most beautiful in the entire palace: Gaudí planned for this, as it was one of Güell’s directives when he commissioned the building.
Most of the rooms in the palace are not furnished, because the furniture is still in possession of the Güell family.
The furniture that is actually there was supplied by the local government of Barcelona.
In total there are twenty different chimneys on the roof. Gaudí used the trencadís technique for them: he created a mosaic with thousands of pieces of ceramic.
The highest point is a cone shaped tower (also called ‘the needle’) located on the dome.
History of Palau Güell
Businessman Eusebi Güell discovered the work of Antoni Gaudí at the Paris World Expo of 1878.
He would later meet the young architect in person in Barcelona, at the workingshop of carpenter Eudald Puntí.
Throughout his career Gaudí spent a lot of time there, where he manufactured many of the unique furniture items for his buildings, such as the lanterns for the Palau Güell, or those of the Plaça Reial.
Güell wished to enlarge the family residence at the Rambla, where he lived with his family since the death of his father in 1872.
Joan Güell had made a fortune in the overseas colony of Cuba, and his wealth and holdings had gone to his son.
Eusebi’s plan was for Gaudí to build a palace at the Carrer Nou de la Rambla, a street close to Las Ramblas.
In July 1886 Eusebi bought the building on number 5 of this street: this would become the main entrance.
A year later he also bought the house on number 3 of Carrer Lancaster, which would become the back side of the Palau Güell.
As was often the case with very devout Catholic families in those days, Eusebi and his wife Isabel Lopez many children — 10 in total.
Palau Güell had to have plenty of space to accommodate the extended family and its many servants, and also be suited for the many social functions the Güell’s put on.
Gaudí worked non stop for four years to build the palace. It’s also the only building that he created and finished from beginning to the end.
During the World Exhibition of 1888 in Barcelona, Palau Güell was officially opened, but it took another two years to finish it entirely.
To unburden the neighbors, Eusebi also bought the house on number 9 (on the corner of Carrer de Lancaster), in 1894 and later numbers 5 and 7 at the Carrer de Lancaster.
Eusebi lived in the palace until 1906, when he moved to Casa Larrard in Park Güell, where he stayed until his death in 1918.
His wife Isabel López Bru (a daughter of the marquis of Comillas) inherited the complex and later left it to their daughters Maria Lluïsa and Mercè Güell i López.
During the Spanish Civil war (1936-1939) Palau Güell was used as a police station.
In 1944 an american millionaire offered to buy the palace but in the end it became in possession of city of Barcelona.
Mercè Güell, Eusebi’s youngest daughter and the last owner of the palace, donated Palau Güell to the city of Barcelona in 1945, on the condition that it would be maintained well and used for cultural, scientific or artistic purposes.
Since then the palace has had several functions, such as housing the Association of Friends of Gaudí (currently in the Casa Museu Gaudí), the Institute of Theater, and the Museum of Performing Arts.
Between 2005 and 2011 extended renovations took place led by architect Antoni González, at a cost of 9 million euros. The roof and the facade were thoroughly renovated.
González’s goal was not so much to show the visitors how the Güell family lived, but to put shine a spotlight on Gaudí’s architecture.
A couple tips for your visit
- During summer (July and August) concerts take place on the rooftop terrace. The music styles vary from jazz to tango and rock.Tickets for Nits del Palau Güell cost 35 euro per person. Included in this ticket is a tour around the palace, the concert, a glass of cava and a snack. In case of rain, the money is refunded. Check the official website for more info and bookings.
- Around Palau Güell you can have an excellent meal at “My Fucking Kitchen” (yes, the Spanish are peculiar when choosing names, but don’t let that dissuade you) and at Bar Cañete, two great places for Spanish and Catalan food.
All Gaudí houses in Barcelona
Palau Güell is not the only house that Antoni Gaudí designed in Barcelona. The other houses are: La Pedrera, Casa Batlló and the Casa Vicens, which just opened to the public in 2017.
Attractions near Palau Güell
There are many attractions near Palau Güell: