Park Güell offers a peek into Antoni Gaudí’s colourful modernist fantasy world. Eusebi Güell, a wealthy local businessman, commissioned Gaudí to design and build a luxury housing complex set in a beautiful park overlooking the city of Barcelona. Güell was inspired by the English parks and gardens he had seen while traveling. Today, over a hundred years later, Park Güell is one of Barcelona’s most popular tourist attractions.
What you’ll find in this article:
- Practical information about tickets and guided tours
- The difference between the paid zone and the free zone of Park Güell
- Opening hours and prices
- Information on how to get to Park Güell
- History, architecture, background information and interesting facts
- Insider tips, such as where to get a bite to eat near the park
- Tips on how to combine a visit to Park Güell with a visit to the Sagrada Familia
What is Park Güell and why should you visit it?
Park Güell is one of the most famous works of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. There is no single other creation of Gaudí in which the connection with nature is so strongly present.
Personally, we think that Park Güell is a real must-see during your trip to Barcelona, especially if it’s your first time visiting.
Apart from the architectural pearls that are hidden all over the park and the delicious scent of the plants and trees, you will also be amazed by the wonderful view over the city.
In other words, one of the highlights of Barcelona.
Interesting fact: Originally, Park Güell was meant to be a luxury housing complex for the local bourgeoisie.
Eusebi Güell, Gaudí’s patron and the person who commissioned the project, wanted to build a beautiful garden with individual, detached homes on a hill above the city, where the local elites could escape from the noise and the grime of 19th century industrial Barcelona.
Unfortunately no buyers were found for the homes and the project never took off. Only two of the houses were ever completed, one of which became Gaudí’s home. It is now a museum and can be visited in the park.
Visit Park Güell
Since 2013 there is an entrance fee for the monumental zone of the park.
You can choose to only visit the free part, and you’ll definitely enjoy it if you choose to do that, but you’ll be missing out on the most spectacular parts of Park Güell, such as the famous trencadís benches and the salamander steps.
If you decide to visit the monumental zone, you should buy your tickets for Park Güell online in advance.
Lines at the park can be very long, and due to limitations on how many people are allowed in per day you may end up waiting for a long time.
Important: The monumental zone of the park only allows 800 visitors at a time.
When you purchase your ticket you’ll be asked to choose a time slot for your visit. Make sure you’re on time, because if you arrive more than 30 minutes late your ticket will be cancelled without a refund.
Tip: If you buy your tickets online you’ll get to skip the line and access the park really quickly.
When to visit Park Güell?
The best time or day to visit Park Güell depends on your plans and the available time slots and dates.
Keep in mind that some time slots are already fully booked months ahead, especially in the high season, so you may need to be a little flexible.
In the Summer, temperatures can get quite high in Barcelona, so if you’re visiting between June and August it’s best to go in the morning or in the evening.
Early morning and late in the evening are also the times the park is generally least crowded, so take that into account when choosing the time of your visit.
How long is a visit to Park Güell?
That depends on if you only visit the monumental (paid) part of the park, the free part or both.
Between an hour and a half and two hours is usually enough time to see the whole thing.
If you enjoy walking around among the trees, flowers and plants, you will be staying longer.
In any case, make sure to wear comfortable shoes.
Also keep in mind that it will take you a while to get to the park, because it is quite far from the city centre.
Park Güell Tickets & Prices
There are three options for general entrance tickets for Park Güell.
Standard entrance ticket to the park’s monumental zone. Price is €7 for adults, children younger than six get in free, and €5.90 for children between 7 and 13 and adults over 65.
Combination ticket: hop on hop off bus + Park Güell
You can also buy a combination ticket for Park Güell and the hop-on hop-off bus (one day). Price is €37 for adults, and €21 for children between 4 and 12.
Guided tour of Park Güell
You can also choose to visit Park Güell with a guide. During the tour you will learn even more about the park’s architecture, its history, and Gaudí’s unique style. Price is €26, and includes the cost of the ticket. You’ll receive booking confirmation via email, including the meeting point for your tour.
You can enter Park Güell for free (basic entrance ticket) with your Barcelona City Pass.
- January to March 25th: 8.30 am — 6.30 pm (in March until 7pm)
- March 26th to April: 8 am — 8.30 pm
- May 1st to August 27th: 8am — 9.30 pm
- August 28th to October 28th: 8am — 8.30 pm
- October 29th to December: 8.30am — 6.30 pm
Park Güell has fixed visiting schedules. This means that you have to decide in advance (when you book your tickets) at what time you would like to visit the park.
You will be asked to choose a half-hour time slot for your visit, which is the time during which you’ll be allowed to enter the park with your ticket.
Don’t worry, once you are inside you can stay as long as you want. Just make sure you’re not late.
You can print out your tickets or save them on your smartphone.
Important: Last entry time is one hour before the park closes.
Visit Park Güell for free
You only need to buy an entrance ticket for the monumental zone of Park Güell, the rest of the park is free.
That said, if you skip the monumental zone you’ll be missing out on the most famous parts of Park Güell.
Restaurants and bars near Park Güell
It is forbidden to have picnics in the park’s monumental zone. In the rest of the park it’s allowed, but not very convenient because there aren’t many good places to sit down and eat.
You need to be lucky and find a spot on a bench. There is a bar near the exit of the Park next to the shop.
Instead of eating in the park, we recommend you stop for a bite to eat before or after your visit in Gràcia, a cute neighborhood that’s right below Park Güell.
A few insider tips:
- Bar Restaurant Delicias: classical Spanish and Catalan tapas and when the weather is good you can sit on the terrace. (Carrer de Mühlberg 1, about a 10 minutes walk from Park Güell, metro Vallcarca)
- Cafè Camèlia: a cosy, vegetarian café in Gràcia where you can have lunch or a piece of homemade pie. (Carrer de Verdi 79, metro Fontana)
- Gastrobar FruFrú: for later on in the day, a mojito with a bite to eat! Hidden on a little street where no tourists go. (Carrer de Septimania 36, metro Lesseps)
How to get to Park Güell?
The park has several entrances and from the nearest metro station it’s quite a walk, so here are the best ways to get there:
- By metro — Plaça Lesseps: Take the green metro line (L3) to Plaça Lesseps. Walk along Travessera de Dalt until you reach Carrer Larrard. Make a left and walk uphill until Carrer d’Olot, where you’ll find the main entrance to Park Güell. This route takes about 20 minutes and involves a lot of walking uphill. Alternatively, you can turn left one block before reaching Carrer Larrard, onto Avinguda del Santuari de Sant Josep de la Muntanya. Follow this street past the convent on the left until you reach the escalator, head up, and continue straight until you reach Carrer D’Olot. From there turn right and you’ll reach the entrance to the park. This route takes more or less the same time, but is less steep than the previous one.
- By metro — Vallcarca: A good option for the fit among us. Take the green metro line to Vallcarca, (the next stop after Lesseps). Take the Parc Guell* exit from the station and make a left at Baixada de la Glòria. You can take the escalator up, but you will also need to climb a steep path. You’ll arrive at a side entrance of the park, where you will be treated to an extraordinary view over the city of Barcelona. The advantage with this route is that you’ll enter the park at its highest point and can move downhill once you’re inside.
By metro — El Coll La Teixonera: This is the easiest route if you’re visiting Park Güell after the Sagrada Familia. Take the blue metro line (L5) to El Coll-La Teixonera and exit via Mare de Deu de Coll. Follow Carrer Beat Almato, take the escalator uphill, and turn right onto Carrer Santuari. Go past the church, make a right onto Carrer Ceuta, and then take the middle of the three small streets. Walk on until the Cami de Can Mora and after about a five minute walk, once the road starts to go up, turn right. After about 200 meters you’ll arrive at the entrance gate of Park Güell.
Metro stop El Coll la Teixonera is the deepest metro station of Barcelona. To get to the platform you’ll need to take an elevator that goes deep underground.
- By bus: Out of all public transport options, this one is the least hassle, as the bus will drop you off right next to the entrance to the park. From Plaça Universitat, Plaça Catalunya or Passeig de Gràcia you can take bus line 24 (Paral·lel/Carmel) to the Carretera del Carmel. You’ll arrive at one of the side entrances of Park Guell.
- Hop on Hop off bus: Barcelona’s tourist bus also stops at Park Güell. Make sure you get on the blue line. This line also goes by the Sagrada Família, so it’s ideal if you want to visit both.
- By taxi: The easiest option. A taxi can drop you off at the main entrance of Park Güell. From the city centre it will cost around €12.
- By bike: Every now and then we’re asked if it’s possible to bike to Park Güell. It is, but only if you’re very fit and want a challenge. It’s about 5 kilometers from the central Plaça Catalunya and you’ll be going uphill almost all the way, so make sure you have enough gears on your bike!
- By car: You can reach Park Güell by car relatively easily, let your GPS guide you. Here is a list of places to park nearby: Parking Bus Park Güell, Carretera del Carmel 20; Parking Esperança i Guell, Carrer de Sant Cugat del Vallès 13; Parking Massens i Guell, Carrer de Massens 73.
What can you see and do during your visit to Park Güell?
Built on the side of a hill, Park Güell is over 17 hectares large and is spread out across many levels.
The spectacular main gate, the mosaic bench, the Hall of Columns… there is much to see and enjoy both in the monumental zone and the free area of the park.
It’s a great place to take a beautiful walk, get acquainted with Gaudí’s work, and enjoy spectacular views of the city.
Park Güell’s Entrance
The park is surrounded by a thick wall, which was meant to keep the would-be residents safe inside the garden city.
The wall’s use of natural brown stone and brown and yellow mosaic tiles make it quite striking, although as it stands now it is incomplete, like other elements of the housing development project.
At the entrance to the park you’ll see the beautiful iron gate which gives way to the lower plaza, flanked on each side by two houses that are characteristically Gaudí, with their tiled roofs and spires.
These two buildings were meant to be the guard’s house and the reception building.
Currently one of them houses a gift shop, while the other is an information center where you can watch a video on the park and Gaudí’s work.
To be able to enter you need to be in the possession of a paid ticket. Through the gate you’ll reach main stairs, “l’escalinata del drac” (the stairs of the dragon).
L’escalinata del drac with the famous lizard
Nobody seems to know what this ‘monster’ is exactly. Is it a huge Salamander? An Iguana? Some other type of lizard, or perhaps a dragon?
In any case, it’s the most popular photo spot of the entire park.
According to some experts it symbolizes Python, the guardian of the subterranean waters in Greek mythology. A couple of meters behind the popular ‘Python’ you can spot another reptile: a snake head.
Its meaning is symbolic: the red and yellow stripes behind the head of the snake represent the Catalan flag.
Hall of 100 pillars – Sala Hipóstila
At the top of the stairs you arrive at the Sala Hipóstila, or Hall of 100 pillars (although the name is slightly misleading, in reality there are only 86).
These Doric-style pillars, which are 6 meters in length and 1.20 in diameter, support the central plaza above.
Additionally, they also function as water collectors.
Water filters through the earth of the plaza above, through the pillars’ hollow interior, to a 12,000 liter cistern that is hidden underground, beneath the hall.
This cistern was meant to supply irrigation for the park. Even in the late 19th century, Gaudí had a mind for sustainability and efficient use of natural resources which put him ahead of his time.
According to the original plans, the Sala Hipóstila was meant to be a covered market where the residents of the development could do their shopping, but this never came to pass.
The space has great acoustics, so musicians love to come and play in the area.
Also while you’re here, notice the colorful mosaic ceilings of the chamber.
These are the work of architect Josep María Jujol, one of Gaudí’s partners, and the different colors represent the lunar phases and the seasons of the year.
Plaça de la Natura and the famous mosaic bench
Above the Sala Hipóstila lies an oval plaza, known as ‘Plaça de la Natura’ (Plaza of Nature).
The plaza is surrounded by Gaudí’s famous mosaic benches, which act as a balustrade.
This spot is popular with visitors because of the stunning mosaic inlays (known as trencadís in Catalan), and because it offers great views of the city below.
Gaudí originally wanted this space to be an open air theater, which is probably why he named it the ‘Teatre Grec’ (Greek Theater).
The square is 86 by 40 meters and is partly carried by the columns of the hall of pillars underneath it.
The benches’ curious shape, which was inspired by a Sea Serpent, was meant to bring people together and stimulate social interactions.
The story goes that to shape them (you’ll find they’re surprisingly comfortable), Gaudí had a nude man sit on the still-soft plaster to help mold it.
Trees, plants and the garden Jardins d’Àustria
The land where the now so green Park Güell was constructed, was originally extremely dry and empty.
Gaudí choose mediterranean tree-and plant types that would adapt perfectly to the property: pine trees, eucalyptus, magnolia, palm trees, cypresses, almond trees, prunes, mimosa, thyme, lavender and rosemary.
Result: it always smells heavenly!
Inside the monumental part also lie the beautiful ‘Jardins d’Àustria’ (Gardens of Austria), which were given such a name because they host trees Barcelona received as a donation from Austria in 1977.
One of the houses in Park Güell belonged to Gaudí’s patron Eusebi Güell: Casa Larrard.
This villa dates from the 18th century but was completely renovated by Gaudí. Nowadays this house is the Park Güell Escola Baldiri Reixac, a school for children.
El Pórtico de la Lavandera (Pòrtic de la Bugadera)
At the east side of the square of the Greek theater is an iron gate with a path that leads to the gardens of Casa Larrard.
This promenade, one level above the house, is surrounded by a forest of pine trees and has the shape of a huge wave on steeping pillars, with a double pillar for extra support.
It’s one of the best examples of the organic architecture that Gaudí applied.
The curved pillars perhaps don’t give you the idea of stability but they are constructed for exactly that. This promenade reminds of a cave and was meant for protection of the sun.
The free part of Park Güell
There are different entrance gates for the free zone, for example on Carretera del Carmel (see ‘bus’ at ‘How to get to Park Güell?’ or the ‘alternative option’).
In the free area of the park you’ll find many pretty walking paths and a couple of beautiful houses and spots from where you have a wonderful view over the city.
The cave paths are especially interesting. These viaducts were meant to connect several areas of the park and the houses that were supposed to be built.
In the free part you will find the Viaducto de las Jardineras and the Viaducto del Algarrobo. When designing these paths, Gaudí was inspired by nature and the roman, gothic and baroque art styles.
He also kept in mind the fact that vehicles (coaches back then) had to be able to pass through.
Casa Museu Gaudí – the house of Gaudí
Casa Museu Gaudí was the official residence of Gaudí between 1906 and 1925.
Despite it being nominally his home, he didn’t spend much time in it over his final years, when he was consumed with the Sagrada Familia project.
Of the 60 homes that were projected for the development, Gaudí’s was one of the only two that ended up being built, and it wasn’t designed by him but rather by Francesc Berenguer.
The building is recognizable because of its color — pink, and is colloquially known as the ‘torre rosa’ (pink tower).
In the museum you’ll find furniture designed by Gaudí, as well as other household elements he and his collaborators created.
Some of the items on display actually belonged to and were used by Gaudí.
The second house in Park Güell was Casa Trias, named after its owner, the lawyer Martin Trias i Domenech, the first buyer of a plot in the garden city in 1902.
Turó de les Tres Creus
The highest spot of Park Güell – and according to many the spot with the best view over Barcelona – is the hill Turó de les Tres Creus.
Here you will see three crosses on top of a pile of stones, the Golgotha. Two of them give the cardinal points (NSEW) and the third one points at heaven.
Gaudí wanted to use the hill to build a chapel for the inhabitants of the garden city to have a place to worship, however during the construction prehistoric remains appeared and it was decided to turn it into a memorial with three crosses.
This is one of the must-visit spots outside of the monumental zone and a fantastic place to get some landscape pictures of Barcelona.
When you climb the spiral stone stairs to the top of the tower you’ll see why.
History and architecture of Park Güell
Antoni Gaudí designed Park Güell between 1900 and 1904, commissioned by his patron, the wealthy businessman Eusebi Güell.
Inspired by his trips to England, where the garden city idea was born, and by the Jardín de la Fontaine in Nimes, where Güell spent his childhood, he bought a large piece of land just above the neighbourhood of Gràcia in 1895 with the intention of building a luxury residential area to escape from the less appetizing aspects of life in industrial Barcelona.
In 1878 he saw Gaudí’s work for the first time and the businessman and architect, both living in Barcelona, became friends.
Güell bought the Montanya Pelada, ‘the Naked Mountain’, at the northwest of the city.
The area was completely barren, there was no water and the rocky ground made it very difficult to build a park, so Gaudí developed a plan that incorporated the land’s natural mediterranean features into its design.
The property was too steep for roads and paving, but instead of leveling off the ground, Gaudí adapted his design to the landscape.
By building walkways and excavating roads and tunnels, he made the ground accessible. The rubble that resulted from this process formed the foundation of the park.
The layers of ceramic that you see everywhere were created as a collage, using the waste products of construction.
The use of natural ground stone and other construction residue as construction materials caused certain problems.
Gaudí had to construct his works with complex layers in order to make them resistant to the elements.
The walls are built with a 4 centimeter thick layer of brick and concrete and a layer of cement, that was strengthened with thick iron bars.
This all is covered with a layer of roofing tiles and eventually an outer layer of cement with the mosaic of the ceramic tiles.
It was only when the renovation works were carried out by the city after 1922 that this construction became visible.
Once completed, the garden city was meant to hold sixty luxurious homes with a panoramic view over Barcelona.
Each plot was between 1,200 and 1,400 square meters and no more than one sixth of the land would be used for construction, with the rest dedicated entirely to nature.
Unfortunately, with asking prices between 23,000 and 37,000 pesetas, the locals found the parcels too expensive.
Another issue was distance; in the early 20th century there were no metro and bus lines to get to the area, and the roads up the hill were steep and of bad quality.
The political climate in the city also negatively affected the project. The general strike of 1902 inaugurated a period of political instability in Barcelona, which culminated with 1909’s ‘Semana Trágica’.
The ‘Catalan matter’, in which both Gaudí and Güell were involved, didn’t help in a time that the ruling classes tried to be friends with the central government in Madrid.
Eventually only two parcels were sold. On one of them is now Casa Museum Gaudí, where the architect lived between 1906 and 1925, in the company of his old father and his niece.
The other parcel became Casa Trias, owned by lawyer Martí Trias i Domènech, a close friend of Güell and Gaudí.
Güell also lived in the park, in the large villa called Casa Larrard, which Gaudí renovated for him between 1906 and 1922. Currently there is a school housed in the villa.
Open to the public
In 1906 it became clear that the project hadn’t achieved the expected results. Still, construction wasn’t stopped until 1914, when the first World War broke out.
After the death of Eusebi Güell in 1918, his heirs decided to sell the land to the city of Barcelona under the condition of opening it to the public as a park.
In 1926, the year of Gaudí’s death, Park Güell was opened for the public.
Just like Gaudí’s other masterpieces, the park is on the Unesco list of cultural world heritage sites (since 1984).
Between 1987 and 1994 the park was renovated by Elías Torres and José Antonio Martínez Lapeña together with Joan Bassegoda.
Interesting Fact: in contrast to Parc de la Ciutadella and Barcelona’s other urban parks, Park Güell is spelled with a ‘k’ instead of a ‘c’.
Eusebi Güell deliberately choose the English spelling because his development was inspired on the garden cities he had seen while traveling in England.
Our personal tips
- For a picnic it’s much better to go to Parc de la Ciutadella, Park Güell doesn’t have any grass and very few benches with tables.
- It’s easy and worth it to combine a visit to Park Güell with a visit to Gràcia or the Sagrada Família.
- If you want to bike to the park, make sure that you get a bike with gears. It’s a steep uphill ride.
- If you travel with a larger group, make sure you keep your own entrance ticket with you. Every now and then we hear from people that accidentally exit the monumental area of the park and are not allowed back in. If you only have one reservation for the group, make sure you keep this in mind!
Attractions near Park Güell
There are two important attractions near Park Güell:
Visit the La Sagrada Família and Park Güell on one day
Both la Sagrada Família and Park Güell are must sees, especially if it’s your first time in Barcelona. If you want to visit these two can’t-miss monuments on a single day read our tips below.
How to get from the Sagrada Família to Park Güell?
There are several ways to get from one attraction to the other. Walking, by bike, taxi, bus and metro.
Good to know: the difference in elevation is significant. Keep this in mind if you plan to walk or bike.
Tip: Make sure to budget enough time for your visits. The Sagrada Família usually takes between one and two hours (more if you’re visiting the towers), and Park Guell is more or less the same.
Travel time between the two varies depending on your mode of transport. On foot it’s roughly ~35 minutes.
- Walking: If you have enough time, walk up to Park Güell and stop for lunch in the district of Gràcia. We love Sol Soler for tapas on Plaça del Sol. If you want something sweet instead, head to La Nena on Carrer Ramon i Cajal for churros and chocolate and lemon pie.
- By bus: Take local bus line 92 at Sant Antoni Maria Claret-Lepant, a 10 minute walk from Sagrada Família. Get off at Ctr del Carmel-Parc Güell.
- Metro: Get the Blue Line at Sagrada Família towards Vall D’Hebron and get off at El Coll-La Teixonera. From there it’s a 15 minute walk and the good news is that it’s downhill. You’ll also get to to enjoy a nice view of Barcelona.
- With the hop-on hop-off bus: You can easily travel between Sagrada Família and the Park Güell on the Hop On Hop Off Bus. The Blue Line runs by both attractions and the distance is about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Taxi: There are always enough taxis at both sides of the Sagrada that take you in about 10-20 minutes (depending on traffic) to the main entrance of Park Güell (Carrer d’Olot).
Also Near Park Güell: the Gaudí Experience
Not far from Park Güell you’ll find the Gaudí Experience, an interactive 4D film that will take you on a journey through Gaudí’s life, his creations, and his unique and creative mind.
It’s especially fun for children and school groups. You’ll also find a souvenir shop and an exhibit room.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best time to visit Park Güell?
It depends on the season. In the winter, you’ll want to visit when the sun is highest, around midday. In the summer however you’ll want to dodge the hottest hours, so it’s best to visit in the morning until 11 am, or in the evening after 6 pm.
Do you need tickets for Park Güell?
Yes and no. The central part of the park, known as the monumental zone, requires a ticket to enter, but the area around it is free to visit. We recommend you visit both areas so you should buy a ticket.
Can I skip the line if I book tickets in advance?
Yes, when you buy your tickets online in advance you’ll be asked to choose a time for your visit. When you arrive at the park you’ll be able to enter immediately without having to wait.
How much are tickets to Park Güell?
Tickets are €7 for adults, and €5.90 for children and seniors.
When was Park Güell built?
Park Güell was built between 1900 and 1914. It opened to the public in 1926.
Is there WiFi in the park?
Yes there is. The monumental zone of the park has a free wifi network you can connect to.
Can the park be visited at night?
Not specifically. Park Güell doesn’t offer nocturnal visits or tours, but it is possible to access the park up until the gates close at 12 o’clock at night. However, you won’t be able to see much because there is no artificial lighting and the park will be quite dark.
Is it worth it to join a guided tour of Park Güell?
If you explore the park with a guide, you’ll learn more about its unique architecture, its history, and about the man behind it: Gaudí. That said, it’s not necessary to go with a guide to enjoy exploring the park, and if you have to choose between a guided tour for one attraction or another, we think the Sagrada Familia is a better choice.
Hotels near Park Güell
Park Güell occupies a hilltop directly above the neighborhood of Gracia. It has privileged views over Barcelona, but it is also quite far from the center, where most of the city’s attractions and places of interest are located.
If you decide to stay in the vicinity of Park Güell you’ll get to enjoy great views in area that is much more tranquil than the city center, but you’ll rely more on public transport and you’ll have to walk longer distances to get around the city.
Three hotels near Park Güell:
Casa Vilaró is a three star hotel with a bed and breakfast feel. It is 3 minutes from Park Güell’s main entrance.
Apartaments Travessera Park Güell
Apartaments Travessera Park Güell are fully equipped tourist apartments located on Travessera de Dalt. They are about 10 minutes away from Park Güell’s main entrance.
Catalonia Park Guell
Catalonia Park Güell is a three star hotel with a rooftop pool that is 10 minutes from Park Güell’s north side.