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Park Guell: Antoni Gaudi's artistic creation

The grand terrace overhangs the main entrance at Park Guell.
The grand terrace overhangs the main entrance at Park Guell.
Leslee Haralson

Nestled in Barcelona’s hilltop El Carmel is the one-of-a-kind creation of Antoni Gaudi, Park Guell. Designed in the place of an unsuccessful commercial venture, Gaudi reversed the failure by transforming it into a striking garden with curving paths and artistic delights.

The focal point of the park is the overhanging terrace where spectacular views of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea can be enjoyed. Also visible in the distance is another of Gaudi's famous landmarks, Sagrada Familia. Surrounded by cranes, it is a work in progress despite the artist's untimely death many years ago.

There are abundant walkways to explore and artistic features to discover. Be mindful of Barcelona’s nearly 75% average humidity level year round, so bright summer days can feel sultry. This is especially true for the hike up to the park, so consider visiting Park Guell early in the day before heat and crowds kick in.

Most park-goers arrive by metro which means there are two ways to enter the park, both up steep hills. A secret not well advertised in Barcelona is that the side entrance has the benefit of escalators, so visitors actually only end up climbing about three blocks of hills and two flights of stairs. Quite a difference compared to the strenuous 20-minute plus climb to reach the main entrance. Although guests arrive at a side entrance, a winding path with lovely city scenes guides people to the main park gates. TIP: The metro stop for the side entrance is Vallcarca.

Gingerbread-like houses stand as sentinels on either side of the main gates at the entry of Park Guell. The famous Gaudi dragon waits on the stairs to greet all those who enter. Park Guell, a monument to Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona’s most famous resident and source of intense Catalonian pride.

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