Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Barcelona: Park Güell

Yesterday, I wrote that Gaudí was one of the three aspects that sets Barcelona apart from Madrid.  I had my first taste of Gaudí on Saturday morning when I ventured to Park Güell.

Park Güell was designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, and was built from 1900 - 1914.  It was originally intended to be a commercial housing site, the idea belonging to Count Eusebi Güell, but was unsuccessful.  Only Gaudí, Güell, and one other bought homes in the park.  Today it is a successful 50-acre park featuring gardens, Gaudí's colorful designs, wonderful views, and the Gaudí house museum.

Once you get off the metro stop, there are helpful signs along the short stroll that will lead you to the park.

Clearly marked directions for tourists looking for Park Güell

If you enter coming from the Vallarca metro stop like I did, you'll get to ride up a slew of outdoor escalators to the top of the hill where you'll find one of the park's entrances.

Outdoor escalators to Park Güell

When you get to the top of the last escalator, don't forget to look back!  You'll enjoy a great view.

I didn't know what to expect from Park Güell; it was merely in the Barcelona pages from my AAA Europe travel book.  That said, I was oh so wonderfully pleased with what I saw.  From where I entered the park, you were immediately greeted with another great view of the city.  I could spot the Sagrada Familia right away.

View of Barcelona from Park Güell.  The Sagrada Familia is the tall cathedral with cranes on the left side.

I spent a couple of hours walking through the park, enjoying the atmosphere and pleasing my eyes:

What: Park Güell
Where: On El Carmel hill in the Gràcia district of Barcelona
Metro: Vallcarca or Lesseps
Hours: Daily 10:00 - 21:00 (May - Aug.), 10:00 - 20:00 (Apr. and Sep.), 10:00 - 19:00 (Mar. and Oct.), 10:00 - 18:00 (rest of year).
Cost: Entrance to the park is free!
Normal admission to the Gaudí museum inside the park is 5.50 euro and admission for students/senior citizens is 4.50 euro.

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