Guell Park in Barcelona, Spain

Tourists should know: Barcelona's Parc Güell

Parc Güell is a private park system atop Carmel Hill in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. The Park del Carmel is located on the northern flank of Carmel Hill, which is part of the Collserola mountain range. Park Güell is situated in La Salut, a suburb in Barcelona’s Gràcia district. With urbanization in mind, Eusebi Güell commissioned Antoni Gaud, a renowned architect and the face of Catalan modernism, to build the park.

The park was developed between 1900 and 1914 and opened to the public in 1926. UNESCO designated the park as a World Heritage Site in 1984 under the category “Works of Antoni Gaud.”

Origin as a residential complex

Count Eusebi Güell, originally planned the park as part of an economically failed housing development. The original English name Park (in Catalan, “Parc Güell“; in Spanish, “Parque Güell”) was inspired by the English garden city concept.

Muntanya Pelada was a stony hill with minimal vegetation and few trees (Bare Mountain). It already had a big country house named Larrard House or Muntaner de Dalt House and was next to La Salut, a neighborhood of upper-class residences (The Health). The objective was to capitalize on the site’s pristine air (far from smoky factories) and excellent vistas, with sixty triangular lots set aside for luxury homes.

Guell Park, Barcelona
Guell Park, Barcelona

Count Eusebi Güell moved into Larrard House in 1906, adding prestige to the development. In the end, only two houses were designed by Gaudí. One was intended to be used as an exhibition hall, but after completion in 1904, it was put up for sale and there were no buyers, so Gaudí bought it with the money he saved at Guell’s suggestion and moved in with his family and father in 1906.

This home, where Gaudí lived from 1906 to 1926 (his death), was built in 1904 by Francesc Berenguer. It includes original works by Gaudí and several of his collaborators. Now, since 1963, it is the Casa Museum Gaudí. In 1969, it was designated as a National Important Historical Art Monument.

Garden Municipal

It has since been transformed into a municipal garden. You can get there by subway (the stop is farther from the park and much lower down the hill), city bus or commercial tour bus.

As of October 2013, entrance to the Monumental Zone (main gate, terraces, viaducts and parts with mosaics) is chargeable, so entrance to the park is no longer free.

There are discounts for those who want to see both Gaudí’s house and the Sagrada Familia cathedral.

Garden Municipal
Garden Municipal

The reason for the design of the park is Gaul and composed

Park Güell has been designed and constructed to provide the peace you would expect from a park. The building next to the entrance is notable for its fantastically shaped roof with a very original and unusual spire, but it lends itself well to the park’s use as an amusement park and, given the brilliance of Gaudí’s other buildings, it seems relatively inconspicuous in the landscape.

These two buildings make up the pavilion of Porter’s Lodge. One of these buildings has a small room with a phone booth. The other, once a porter’s home, is now the permanent exhibit of the Barcelona Historical Museum MUHBA, dedicated to the building itself, the park and the city.

The crucial point of the Güell park

The centrepiece of the park is the main terrace surrounded by long benches in the shape of sea snakes. The curves of the snake bench form several zones to create a more social atmosphere.

Gaudí incorporated many engravings of Catalan nationalism into the park and elements of religious mysticism and ancient poetry. Much of the bench design was not by Gaudí but by his often-overlooked collaborator Josep María Jujol.

View of the Güell park
View of the Güell park

The roads around the park to provide the proposed housing were designed by Gaudí as structures jutting out of steep hills or running over viaducts, with separate walkways in the arcades formed beneath these structures.

This minimized interference from the road, and Gaudí designed the road using local stone to integrate closely with the landscape. His designs follow natural forms. Tree-trunk-like columns support branched vaults under the avenue, and the curves of the vaults and the alignment of the slanted columns are designed similarly to his Colonia Güell church, allowing the shape of a counter-contact arch to be formed. Ideal compression structure.

Calvary of the Guell Park

At the top of the park is a stone hill consisting of steps leading to a platform with three large crosses. Its official name is “El Turo de les Tres Creus,” but many tourists prefer to call it Golgotha. Two crosses are oriented from north to south and east to west, and the third, the tallest cross, faces the sky. This observation deck offers a complete view of Barcelona and the bay. Panoramic view of the main city with the Sagrada Familia (one of Antonio Gaudi’s famous works), the Agbar Tower and the district of Montjuïc in the distance.

The park is home to a wide range of wildlife, especially several non-native parrots native to the Barcelona area. Other birds can be seen in the park, including short-toed eagles. The park also supports and helps the population of hummingbird hawks.

Calvary of the Guell Park
Calvary of the Guell Park

Why he named it Güell Park in English?

The place now called Parc Güell was formerly called Muntania Pelada [Bare Mountain] because of the barren land. Botanical studies conducted in the field revealed that the original vegetation consisted of holm oak, viburnum and mastic in the hollows and Aleppo pines and broom, gorse and bromine undergrowth on the steeper, drier slopes.

Güell wanted to recreate a British residential park and named it Park Güell in English.

Gaudí respected plants already growing on the site, such as carob and olive trees, and chose Mediterranean plants that did not require much water when new species were introduced. He also developed various catchment and storage systems based on irrigation systems learned in the countryside during his childhood.

Vegetation and water management in this way helped prevent land erosion caused by heavy Mediterranean rains while providing water to the inhabitants of private lands.

From Private Land to Public Park

Difficult conditions for land sale under old emphyteutic lease conditions, lack of adequate transportation system and highly exclusive nature of development made it impracticable. A lack of buyers meant work stopped in 1914 and only two of the 60 planned homes were built. Thus, the park was turned into a large private garden that Güell allowed to use for social events, and in Barcelona guidebooks, he began to appear as one of the city’s landmarks.

From Private Land to Public Park
From Private Land to Public Park

What attractions are near Parc Guell, Spain?

Park Guell:

  • (0.25 miles) Park Guell Private Tour
  • (0.25 miles) Gaudí Experience
  • (0.25 miles) Gaudí House Museum
  • (0.25 miles)
  • View all attractions near La Botigueta de Souvenirs
  • on Tripadvisor

Nature and biodiversity

The large green spaces of Park Güell offer natural values and a variety of species that make a visit very attractive. So, in addition to cultural and architectural tourism related to Gaudí’s works, the park also has many sites and routes to explore the city and forest.

Guell Park, Barcelona, Spain
Guell Park, Barcelona, Spain

List of Hotels Near Parc Guell

  • Factory Hostels Barcelona
  • Rocket Hostels Gracia
  • Hotel Boutique Mirlo Barcelona
  • Hotel BESTPRICE Gracia
  • La Mejor Zona de Barcelona
  • Jardinets De Gràcia by the 5ve Soul
  • Hotel Boutique Mirlo BarcelonaOpens in new window
  • Hotel BEST PRICE GraciaOpens in new window
  • Apartamento Parc GüellOpens in new window
  • Casa Tortilla GraciaOpens in new window

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