Places with Encanto: Barcelona’s Parc Guell

When I was a child, I used to cut up old pictures into tiny squares, scatter the fragments and look at the kaleidoscope of memories that began to collect, adorn other picture frames and end up in projects I completed for high school.

Years later, I toured Gaudi’s whimsical Parc Güell, a high-hanging oasis in the middle of a bustling metropolis. The shards of ceramic that lined the few physical structures and park benches captured my imagination much the same way that my photos had.

Originally meant to be a luxury subdivision dreamt up by Count Güell and designed by Antonio Gaudí, only two houses were ever built. The property was turned over to the city and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the 1960s. Despite the crowds and the uphill climb from the nearest metro stop, the park is a beautiful showcase of Gaudi’s work on a small scale, and it’s one of the redeeming parts of a city I’m not too fond of.

Have you been to Parc Güell? Which shot is your favorite?

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. I agree with you, Cat. Park Guell was my favorite place about Barcelone. The uphill climb was almost the best part as it made the architecture at the top even more magnifique! That, and the fact that I’m from the Midwest where there are no hills that seem like mountains…

  2. I loved Barcelona from the moment I arrived and still do. I lived there for two years and would do it again in a heartbeat (only not on the pitiful salary of a TEFL teacher!). I’m a huge fan of mosaics and love, love, love Parc Guell. I have some very similar photos in my collection.

    I was so inspired by Gaudi’s creations that I decided to try my hand at decorating a concrete bench in my garden in Portugal with mosaics. The flat surface was fun to do but having zero experience of tiling, I wasn’t prepared for how frustrating it is trying to get tiles to stick to upright surfaces. My husband had to finish it off for me!

    I have a deeper respect for other people’s handiwork after that.
    Julie Dawn Fox recently posted..Gaudy or Gorgeous? You decide at Portugal’s National Coach MuseumMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Amazing how it makes you actually stop and think about the time and the artistry! I had been to the Sagrada Familia before finally seeing the inside completed, so we sprung for the audio guides and actually set aside the whole day for the place. Gaudi may have been mad, but he was a genius and his work is a testament to it!

  3. Park Güell makes for a calm respite from the go-go-go tourism in the rest of Barcelona; I really enjoyed just strolling through the trees and paths at dusk and admiring Gaudí’s architecture whenever it would show up. Thank God there are escalators to get up to the park—that hill is a doozy!

  4. cat, these photos are divine. and i too used to make that kind of cut up art. it is divine how those hand-torn scraps made such fantastic art. i love the work here. 100% reminds me of the art i saw in a plaza in tumbes, peru. i’ll have to find pics and post. soo magical and your brought it all back. my fav pic is the one where you did the close up third from the last, even though that sun dial swiggly things is divine too. thank you. i love it.
    gabiklaf recently posted..Photo of the Week- Dew Drops, Boquete, PanamaMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Looking forward to reading it, Gabi! I had to go through over 100 pictures, and this was my fourth visit to the park!


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