I’ve spoken before about my first trip to Barcelona and how it didn’t start well.
But despite a rocky beginning, we went on to have a brilliant weekend in the Catalan capital. I loved everything about this Spanish seaside city, but what I most remember is how this sparked my love of the incredible work of Antoni Gaudi.
Gaudi was a local architect famed for his quirky Catalan Modernism style of design. His stunning buildings are dotted around the city, each one completely unique, yet unmistakably his.
From undulating balconies and brightly coloured mosaic facades, to spindly spires and womb-like rooms – Gaudi took you on a journey into every tiny crevasse of his creative mind.
If you want to truly immerse yourself in the Catalan culture but also want to keep costs down, forget exorbitant hotel rooms. Team up with some friends to book a night-by-night tourist rental, or even a short-term apartment rental.
With so many of his iconic buildings and projects dotted around the city, one of the best ways to see Gaudi’s Barcelona is simply to stumble across them during your wanderings. There’s no chance of missing their distinctive designs – it’s like a little architectural treasure hunt!
My favourite is his most well known, as it’s the one that first introduced me to his work – the Temple of the Sagrada Familia. This is a church like none you’ve seen before, and the shining jewel in the crown of Gaudi’s Barcelona. He spent over 40 years devoted to this project, which combined his two greatest loves – the church and architecture.
The basilica has to be seen to believed, looking more like a movie set than a place of worship that draws people from all over the world.
As well as a full timetable of events for parishioners and locals, it’s one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. You can even climb the winding staircase right up into the iconic spires (just make sure you don’t suffer from terrible acrophobia before you do…).
Almost unbelievably, after Gaudi’s death in 1926 his popularity faded. It wasn’t until the 1950s that his work began to regain prominence and get the local and international recognition it deserved, with many of his projects now declared UNESCO World Heritage sites.
A well-deserved mark of respect for arguably the city’s most famous Barcelonan.