A Gaudí-themed weekend in Barcelona
Article updated 14 November, 2018.
A weekend devoted to the works of Gaudí is a great way of discovering the architect's immense contribution to Barcelona's inimitable charm.
Would Barcelona be quite so special without Gaudí? Probably not! A weekend devoted to the legacy of this architectural genius and his contemporaries will help you to understand the extraordinary contribution which these talented artists made to the city of Barcelona.
Gaudí weekend, step 1: find a room in a modernist hotel
One of the best ways of truly soaking up the charm of a vintage or modernist building is to sleep there, at least for one night.
We recommend the BCN Fashion House, an elegant bed and breakfast on the first floor of a modernist building, or the Violeta Boutique, a charming hotel housed in a 19th-Century building in a central location.
If a youth hostel is more your style, try the pretty Casa Gràcia.
Why not book a room at the Retrome, a hotel which combines the charm of Art Nouveau with sophisticated vintage décor?
Expensive, but classy:
Looking for somewhere in the heart of the old town which heads back to the luxury of bygone days? book a stay at the Hotel España, a splendid example of Barcelona’s modernist architecture.
A weekend of Art Nouveau
Saturday morning: Sagrada Familia
A visit to Sagrada Familia is an absolute must! Hint: book ahead in order to avoid the interminable queues to get in. Another option is to visit with an official guide to delve deeper into the secrets of the basilica.
Saturday afternoon: Casa Batlló and la Pedrera
Gaudí wasn’t the only brilliant architect working in Barcelona during the modernist period: take time to admire the houses alongside the Casa Batlló and some of the other buildings on our free walking tour of modernist Barcelona.
Modernist shops in the area
After stopping off at the shop at La Pedrera, which is worth the trip, head to 291 Carrer Mallorca. Cubiña is a designer furniture shop located in the Casa Thomas, a Catalan modernist gem designed by a contemporary of Gaudí, Domènech i Montaner.
Stock up for Sunday’s picnic
Sunday’s itinerary includes a picnic at Parc Güell, so take the time to buy provisions from one of our favourite markets in Barcelona.
Coffee or beer?
No matter – both are available at Els 4 Gats, a bar which has become slightly too touristy for our liking, but which is still worth a trip. It was designed by Puig i Cadafalch, another renowned modernist architect.
Picasso and other contemporary artists were regulars at Els 4 Gats, and the bar has retained a bohemian, late-19th Century and early-20th Century atmosphere.
- There’s a restaurant in the back room, but we recommend sticking to drinks – the dining experience can be disappointing.
An unforgettable dinner in a unique setting
We have yet to test the two restaurants mentioned below, but both have excellent reputations as great places to eat if you’re celebrating something special, and if your budget allows.
The first, Casa Calvet, is housed in a modernist building designed by Gaudí in 1899. Any meal in such a prestigious setting is sure to be memorable! Typical dishes include fresh duck liver with bitter orange, rice with lobster, or a rosemary ice cream, all created by the chef, Miquel Alija.
The restaurant at the Hotel España has also retained its original décor. The chef, Martín Berasategui, has been awarded 7 Michelin stars over the course of his career, which we suspect may be a good sign…
Time for a nightcap?
If you still have the energy, head on over to Casa Almirall, a modernist bar in the Raval, which dates back to 1860, or to Marsella, for a total immersion into early-20th Century bohemian Barcelona (absinthe optional).
Note that these bars can be busy, especially the weekend, due to their charm and central location.
Sunday morning: Parc Guëll
Time for a trip to Parc Güell! Book ahead, as the park is popular, particularly in summer. It’s also the perfect place for a picnic.
Sunday afternoon: Casa Fuster or Palau Güell?
Vintage luxury at Casa Fuster
Looking for somewhere luxurious, comfortable and peaceful to spend an hour or two? Curl up on one of the huge couches at the Cafè Vienès in the Casa Fuster hotel. Time seems to have stood still in this five-star establishment, built by one of Gaudí’s contemporaries, Domènech i Montaner.
The house speciality at Cafè Vienès is, as you might have guessed, Viennese coffee!
- Drinks aren’t cheap, but you can linger for as long as you like. Perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon!
Where? Cafè Vienès at Casa Fuster, Passeig de Gràcia, 132
When? Every day, 10am – midnight in summer and 9am – 2 or 3am in winter
How much? Under 20 euros
Why? for the full-on modernist experience
Still not done? Discover Gaudì’s Palau Güell
If you still have as much energy as a Duracell bunny, why not head back into the centre of Barcelona to visit Palau Güell?
- With a little luck, you may find that entrance is free on the Sunday you choose to visit. Fingers crossed!
And there we have it – you’ll be a positive expert in all things Gaudí by the time you’re done. Come back soon!
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