Architecture in Barcelona: the main tourist sites ranked by value for money
Article updated 11 May, 2017.
Travelling on a budget? We've ranked some of Barcelona's biggest architectural attractions in terms of value for money to help you identify your priorities.
Unfortunately, admission to tourist attractions in Barcelona is getting more and more expensive. In recent years, prices have really taken off, sometimes without justification. Even some places which were formerly free now charge admission.
However, the price of entry to a tourist attraction is not a reliable indicator of value. To help you chose which sites to visit, we’ve arranged Barcelona’s major architectural sights in order of what, in our opinion, represents the best value for money. The destinations further down the list are still well worth visiting – it’s just that we feel the ticket price is a little too high.
1. Architecture in Barcelona: Sagrada Familia
It’s not cheap to get into Sagrada Familia (around €15 for entry alone, without going up the towers and with no guide). However, all of the work involved in completing the basilica is financed by ticket sales alone, so it’s all for a good cause!
You also get a lot for your money: Sagrada Familia is absolutely unique. It’s astonishingly beautiful, and well worth every cent of the entrance price. The light flooding into the structure, the colours, and Gaudí’s genius for completely innovative design all add up to make Sagrada Familia a truly unmissable place to visit during any trip to Barcelona.
- Click here to find out more about Sagrada Familia.
2. Architecture in Barcelona: Parc Güell
Access to Parc Guëll, formerly free, is now only possible by buying a ticket (around €7). This measure has one notable advantage, in that there are fixed quotas of visitors every hour. When entrance was free, the park was always packed. Now, you’ll have space to wander the alleyways, sit on the famous “wave” benches and take a photo with the mosaic salamander, without having to fight for elbow room.
3. Architecture in Barcelona: Palau Güell
This mansion, designed by Gaudí, is less well-known than Casa Batlló or Pedrera, almost certainly because it was created during the architect’s pre-modernist period. It’s well worth a trip, though: not only will you get to admire the magnificent décor, but you’ll also be able to spot signs and clues of future developments, which led to the explosion of the art nouveau movement.
Entry costs around €12 and includes an audio guide, making for a very thorough and fascinating visit.
4. Architecture in Barcelona: Palau de la Música
The Palau de la Música is one of the world’s most beautiful concert halls. The colours and decorative details in the building are sublime, particularly in the daytime, when the sun streams through the stained-glass dome.
Entrance costs around €18: not cheap, but for that, you get a guided visit. Note that tickets for concerts at the Palau de la Música start at €25, representing better value for money! If you can find a concert you want to go to in the daytime, even better: you’ll be able to see the concert hall in full daylight.
5. Sant Pau Hospital
The idea of a hospital as a tourist attraction may seem odd – but not when you realise that the hospital in question constitutes the largest grouping of modernist structures in Europe. A visit to the multiple buildings and underground passageways is a fascinating and different experience. Entrance costs around €8, free for under-16s.
6. Torre Bellesguard
Another of Gaudí’s lesser-known works! Set in the hills overlooking Barcelona, the house is packed with history and features in any number of stories. As well as being a beautiful and interesting place to visit, the Torre Bellesguard houses an unfinished room, enabling visitors to gain an understanding of the different stages in Gaudí’s creative process. Entry costs around €9.
If this is your first trip to Barcelona, we’d recommend visiting another of Gaudí’s more famous works first – this is not the most iconic example of his style.
7. La Pedrera
Ah, the famous Pedrera! So well-known, so remarkable, so popular with tourists… so why is it so far down our list? Well, because of the ticket price: almost €21. Yes, the building is spectacular, the apartment is a fascinating plaec to visit, and the roof terrace is simply extraordinary. But the price is so high… especially if you’re visiting as a family! Go if you can afford it, though, as it’s one of the fullest expressions of Gaudí’s creative genius.
8. Casa Batlló
Just like La Pedrera, Casa Batlló merits its reputation. If your budget allows, then go! It’s a true marvel of architecture and engineering, with surprises around every corner. That said, you’ll have to pay for the privilege: visits last around 1 hour, and cost almost €22.
Even if you’re not planning on going in, stop outside to admire the beautiful and extraordinary façade.
Finally, if you’re interested in the architecture of Barcelona, take a look at our free walking tour of Catalan Art Nouveau sites: a fabulous itinerary to follow in order to discover some of the city’s most spectacular façades without spending a cent.
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