Barcelona: 5 Park Güell survival tips

Barcelona's Park Guell is a celebration of all things Gaudi. Photo: George M. Groutas
Barcelona's Park Guell is a celebration of all things Gaudi. Photo: George M. Groutas

By Regina W. Bryan in Barcelona—

In my six years in Barcelona I’ve been to Park Güell twice. Both times when I have gone up there I’ve promised to come more often because it really is a fabulous park, but the bus ride is so long to get up there that I rarely follow through.

I adore its weird mosaics, spooky fairyland houses and dramatic “market” area. Touring the park gives visitors a more in-depth look at Gaudí’s genius.

While it’s a bit of a drag getting up to the park, it’s worth it, especially on a sunny, clear day when you will be able to see the entire city spread out before you like an apron tied around the tummy of the mountain.

It’s a spectacular vista indeed from the park’s 3,000 sq. meter mosaic patio, with the Mediterranean in the distance. This is where you will want to get a couple choice photos to put up on Facebook immediately. All your friends will be jealous of your fabulous Barcelona vacation.

Park Guell’s mosaic benches. Photo: Dr. Snafu

So here are a few tips for making the most of your trip up to Gaudí’s wonderland:

Hydrate!

First of all, bring H2O or some other beverage. If not you’ll be forced to buy from the cafe on-site which is really pricey. They sell sangria at this cafe. Do yourself a favor and don’t buy it, because it’s not of good quality (most sangria is not, and most Spaniards don’t drink it, go figure).

If you’re going up to the park for the day, pack a lunch and then have a picnic off one of the trails.

Stay alert

As you’re strolling along the paths that wind through the vast park, be alert and keep an eye on your stuff.

It’s sad to say, but Barcelona has a ton of petty crime. Where there are tourists, there are thieves. Don’t wander the upper trails with your $900 camera around your neck and you should be fine.

As a woman, I don’t think I would walk those upper trails sola. That was my impression on my last visit a couple months ago, due to the men I saw lurking in the bushes and running off into the forest. However, please don’t think that Park Güell is dangerous, it’s not. Just be aware, that’s all.

Go home with Gaudi

Gaudí’s home is open to visitors and should definitely be on your “to do” list. The house was built in 1903 and the famous architect lived there for about 20 years. Many of his belongings are still exhibited in the house, and it’s an interesting look into what life was like in the early 20th century.

Go to market

Afterward, hear music by local guitarists while you admire the intricate rosette ceiling in the covered market place. The covered area is held up by 90 columns and is a sweet spot to get out of the sun and chill for a bit while hearing some, usually, very talented buskers.

Walking to and from the Metro

Walk up and back from the park from the Lesseps Metro stop. You need to be in shape to do this jaunt as it is uphill for a good 15 to 20 minutes. Coming back is easier.

Or take buses 24 – 31 – 32 – 74 – 92 which will get you close to the main gate. If there are four of you, split a cab up to the parkby far the easies way to get there.

Admission: The park was free to visit until 2013, when the city announced that they will start charging €8 to visit in October 2013.

About the author

Regina W Bryan
About the author: Regina W.Bryan is a Barcelona-based freelance writer and photographer. When not eating tapas and exploring Europe, she is tending her balcony veggie garden and practicing Catalan. For more of her thoughts on Spain, check: www.regwb.com and www.thespainscoop.com.
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