Casa Milà (La Pedrera)#10 in Best Things To Do in Barcelona
The nickname, La Pedrera (meaning "The Quarry") is appropriate for Antoni Gaudí's stately, fortress-like Casa Milà. Bobbing around the corner of Passeig de Gràcia and Carrer de Provença, this eclectic Catalan-style art nouveau building rubs elbows with the more classic architecture usually found in its neighborhood, Eixample. It is known for its wavy stone façades and intricate carvings that can only be attributed to Gaudí's quirky style. Casa Milà was originally constructed as a home for the commissioners of the building (Pere Mila i Camps), who also requested the complex includes apartments be built for rent. Casa Milà was not only Gaudí last work on Passeig de Gracia (Casa Batlló is just a few blocks south) but his last civil work as well. Since then, Casa Milà has been designated as a National Monument of Interest by the Spanish government and a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Today, La Pedrera is a cultural center managed by the Catalunya-La Pedrera Foundation. Come here to admire the architecture: there are few single straight walls or right-angled corners in the entire building. Also head to the roof to get a good look at Gaudí's chimney garden (many of which resemble heads of armor), then work your way down through exhibits to learn more about Casa Milà and Gaudí himself.
Many travelers said what made touring the interiors of Casa Milà worth the extra dough was its striking rooftop. Visitors loved marveling at the whimsical chimneys, which many felt could easily stand alone as art sculptures. Others also appreciated the views they got of the city, with a few recommending coming at night to see Barcelona lit up (as well as the attraction's rooftop light show). Because this is such a popular site, many recommended buying tickets online in advance to avoid long lines, especially during the hot summers.
Casa Milà is open to visitors every day from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and then reopens from 9 to 11 p.m. for nighttime ticket holders. The attraction is less than two blocks south of the Diagonal metro station (servicing the green and blue lines). Admission is 22 euros or about $25. Discounts are available for students and children. For more information, check out Casa Milà's website.
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#1 Park Güell
Antoni Gaudí's Park Güell is as whimsical as parks can get. The park was originally supposed to be a housing community for the rich, commissioned by Eusebi Güell. Güell hired Gaudí but the project eventually folded due to the land's incompatible building conditions. Gaudí continued on, modeling the park after gardens he had seen in England (Güell means English in Catalan) and building around the natural elements of the land instead of tearing them down.
Today's park covers 42 acres of space and features everyday park props with a twist that is quintessentially Gaudí. Instead of numerous benches spread throughout, here visitors will be greeted with one long, wavy stone bench adorned with vibrant mosaics and equipped with views of the ocean. And instead of drab administrative buildings, the welcome centers here (which house park souvenirs and learning materials on Gaudí and the park) look like buildings you'd see in a Dr. Seuss book. You'll also find plenty of picturesque pathways that weave along verdant vegetation, down cascading tiled staircases and through jagged stone columns and tunnels. While you're here, don't miss the chance to see the Sala Hipóstila. Located right at the entrance, the Sala Hipóstila was originally intended to be a marketplace. Today it serves as nothing more than to dazzle visitors with its stately stone columns and beautiful mosaic works, which you'll find dotted all over the ceiling. Other popular attractions here include the Casa Museu Gaudí (Gaudí House Museum), Gaudí's former home turned museum, and Turó de les Tres Creus, a lookout point with pretty impressive views of the city situated in the southwestern point of the park.
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