Palau de la Musica Catalana (Palace of Catalan Music)#10 in Best Things To Do in Barcelona
Barcelona's Palau de la Música Catalana is considered to be a masterpiece of Catalan art nouveau. Built by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, the palace earned the title of a UNESCO World Heritage site for its striking architectural features. Outside, make sure to snap a few photos of the intricate mosaic pillars and the busts nestled atop some of them, which depict famous musicians such as Bach and Beethoven. The interior of the palace is even more of an eyeful, complete with mosaic pillars and intricate sculpture work of its own as well as stained glass windows and beautiful motifs of flowers spread throughout. And you won't be able to miss the massive stained glass central skylight — it protrudes from the ceiling, treating the concert auditorium to plenty of natural light. Aesthetics aside, the Palace of Catalan Music is a hub for symphonic and choral music and of course, Catalan musical arts. It also acts as a concert venue for local, national and international acts.
Travelers agree with the experts: the Palace of Catalan Music is an architectural marvel. Visitors thoroughly enjoyed admiring the many intricate details found throughout the music venue, saying even if you can't get tickets to a show, it's worth a visit just to see its magnificence in person. Others highly recommend holding out for a show. Some weren't crazy about the admission price or that you had to be on a tour to be able to see the venue. Those who did attend a show said the experience of hearing such great music in such a beautiful venue was next to magical, and the only way to experience this attraction properly.
You can find the Palace of Catalan Music in central Barcelona. The closest metro stop is Urquinaona. Guided tours are offered daily for 18 euros (about $21). If you book up to 21 days in advance online, you get a discounted rate of 14.40 euros (around $16.50). Children 10 and younger are admitted for free. Tours take place every 30 minutes and last 55 minutes. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. but there are different hours for July, August and Easter. For more information, check out the Palace of Catalan Music'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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