Gaudí and Modernist Architecture Tour in Barcelona

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Modernist Architecture in Barcelona @DownshiftingPRO

One of the most interesting things to do in Barcelona is to take a Gaudi architecture tour in Barcelona. A tour will actually tell you more about the entire modernisme movement which impacted Barcelona streets, buildings, parks and the overall esthetics of the city. You will love it.

At the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th the Catalan Modernist movement rose in Spain’s Catalonia region. It is associated with an upsurge of Catalan nationalism (which remains strong to this day).

The art and literature movement, associated with modernisme was the search for greater entitlement of Catalan culture, was the answer to Art Nouveau in France and Belgium. With more than 100 architects who made buildings in the Modernista style, you can focus on three of whom are well known for their outstanding buildings: Antoni GaudíLluís Domènech i Montaner and Josep Puig i Cadafalch.

Its main form of expression was in architecture, but many other arts were involved, especially the design and the decorative arts (cabinetmaking, carpentry, forged iron, ceramic tiles, ceramics, glass-making, silver and goldsmith work, etc.), which were particularly important, especially in their role as support to architecture.

Moderinist movement also included the decorative arts and literature
Items designed by Antoni Gaudi in the Gaudí House-Museum in Parc Güell
Park Güell, Ctra. del Carmel, 23A, 08013 Barcelona, Spain

You can see these examples in the wrought iron balconies and the interior of these fabulous buildings. Gaudi often designed many pieces of furniture for his architectural projects. There are a few key pieces in the Gaudí House-Museum in Parc Güell – a small house where Gaudi lived from 1906 to 1925 (a year before his untimely death).

On the UNESCO  World Heritage List, seven properties built by the architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926) in or near Barcelona testify to Gaudí’s exceptional creative contribution to the development of architecture and building technology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These monuments represent an eclectic, as well as a very personal, style which was given free reign in the design of gardens, sculpture and all decorative arts, as well as architecture.

Taking a Gaudi architecture tour in Barcelona means you need to try and see these seven buildings on the UNESCO World Heritage List: Parque Güell; Palacio Güell; Casa Mila; Casa Vicens; Gaudí’s work on the Nativity façade and Crypt of La Sagrada Familia; Casa Batlló; Crypt in Colonia Güell.

Detail of benches in the Park Guell - Barcelona - Gaudi architecture tour in Barcelona - Modernist Architecture - @DownshiftingPRO
Detail of benches in the Park Guell – Barcelona

I have created a Google Map with the List of Modernista Buildings in Barcelona (found on Wikipedia). All of the pins in purple with a star in the middle are places which I visited on my tour. I have added the additional buildings in the vicinity which are also of interest with a light green pin.

Insider’s Tip: From the map, you can see, part of this tour is very close together. But once you leave the Passeig de Gràcia, you may have to take a taxi to the next area. We walked this tour with my 85 year-old mother and the guided suggested we take a taxi from Casa de les Punxes to the Sagrada Familia. From there, we slowly made our way to the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau complex.

Our guided tour began at Plaza Catalunya but you can begin from Passeig de Gràcia metro (subway) station and start walking north towards Avinguda Diagonal.

Golden Square

In the Eixample district you will be in the heart of the Quadrat d’or “Golden Square” where you will find competing buildings from three of the most famous Modernista architects – Antoni GaudíLluís Domènech i Montaner and Josep Puig i Cadafalch. Within the Golden Square is a block of houses known as the Mansana de la Discòrdia (block of discord). Between 1900 and 1907 competing bourgeois families commissioned homes in this area.

Montage of the buildings in the Mansana de la Discordia Golden Square Barcelona wikipedia Illa de la Discòrdia
Montage image of the Mansana de al Discordia (wikipedia)
L-R Pg. de Gràcia, Barcelona, Spain
Casa Lleo Morera (#35), Casa Mulleras (#37), Casa Bonet (#39), Casa Amatller (#41), Casa Batllo (#43)

Casa Lleó Morera

Domenech i Montaner -  architecture tour in Barcelona - Modernist Architecture - @DownshiftingPRO
Casa Lleó Morera – 1904 – Lluís Domènech i Montaner,
Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona, 35, Barcelona, Spain

Casa Lleó Morera built between 1902 and 1906 by Lluís Domènech i Montaner. It is a combination of different elements showing the influences of classical, medieval, Islamic art and architecture. Commission by Francesca Morera, it was her son who eventually lived in the home. It has been considered that Morera’s family wanted to leave traces of their lineage with the continuous references to their family name (Morera, which means mulberry tree in English) in the decoration. Some examples are the mulberry tree found in the patio, the mulberry motifs of the door handles or the portraits made by Antoni Serra in the second floor.

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Note the beautiful pink marble columns at the front of the building

On the first floor, beside the windows, two couples of feminine figures can also be found, showing several objects related to the technological improvements made in the turn of the 20th century, such as the  phonograph,  electricity, telephone and photography.

Casa Amatller

Pugi i Cadafalch - architecture tour in Barcelona - Modernist Architecture - @DownshiftingPRO
Casa Amatller – 1898–1900 – Josep Puig i Cadafalch
urban gothic façade

Casa Amatller was the first on the Mansana de la Discòrdia to be refurbished between 1898 and 1900. Designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch the urban gothic façade looks like a house you are more likely to find in the Netherlands or Germany. This means that what is really a block of flats looks like a single palazzo, an impression accentuated by the delicate porticoes on the balconies on the first floor. The Germanic element is the bold ridged cornice, highlighted with ceramic tiles. You can visit the caretaker’s office, which has survived intact and contains one of the finest stained-glass windows of the modernista era.

Casa Batlló 

Beside Casa Amatller is possibly the more famous Casa Batllo. It is an allegory of the legend of Sant Jodi (Saint George) and the slaying of a dragon. The roof is the dragons’ back and the balconies sculpted in the form of carnival masks, are skulls of the dragon’s victims. The façade reveals Gaudi’s remarkable use of colour and texture.

Industrialist Josep Batllo wanted Gaudi to demolish the 29 year old structure in 1904 but the renowned architect convinced him to refurbish it instead adding an extra story and attic and radically altering its exterior and interior.

Gaudi architecture tour in Barcelona - Modernist Architecture - @DownshiftingPRO

La Pedrera-Casa Milà

La Pedrera-Casa Milà - 1906–1912 - Antoni Gaudi
La Pedrera-Casa Milà – 1906–1912 – Antoni Gaudi
Passeig de Gràcia, 92, 08008 Barcelona, Spain

As you continue on the Gaudi architecture tour in Barcelona head 500 m. northwest on Passeig de Gràcia from Casa Batllo, you will come across the other iconic Gaudi building – La Pedrera-Casa Milà. Built as a private home with apartments to let, Casa Mila was built with a chocolate fortune. This was the last project Gaudi worked on before he dedicated the rest of his life to the Sagrada Familia.

Balcony detail of La Pedrera-Casa Milà - 1906–1912 - Antoni Gaudi
Balcony – detail- at La Pedrera-Casa Milà

One of the most visited buildings in Barcelona, there is a museum dedicated to the Gaudi. Not to be missed is the rooftop terrace with the warrior towers (ventilation towers). The el pis (a furnished moderinista flat) on the fourth floor of the Pedrera (Stone Quarry) is decorated in 19th-century as a bourgeois flat – the main pieces were designed by Gaudi.

Ventilation towers of La Pedrera-Casa Milà - 1906–1912 - Antoni Gaudi
Ventilation towers of La Pedrera-Casa Milà Photo Credit: Bernard Gagnon

Palau del Baró de Quadras

Palau del Baro Quadras - Modernist Architecture tour in Barcelona
Palau Baró de Quadras – Institute Ramon Llull –
1906 – Josep Puig i Cadafalch
Avinguda Diagonal, 373, 08008 Barcelona, Spain

Continuing north on Passeig de Gràcia towards Avinguda Diagonal you will find Palau Robert (#107) and the home of the Catalonia Tourism office. Continue on and heading east on Avinguda Diagonal to # 373, the Palau Baró de Quadras.

Neo-gothic palace or modernista apartment building? With two distinctly different façades, you will wonder what you are looking at. This 1906 modernist palace was designed by architect Josep Puig and features Gothic & Arabesque-inspired details. With intricate carvings, an ornate balcony and mansard roof, the Avinguda Diagonal façade takes a cue from North European palaces. The building’s Carrer del Rosselló side is decorated in more subdued modernista style.

Casa Comalat

Casa Comalat Barcelona
Casa Comalat – Built between 1909-1911 – Salvador Valeri i Pupurull
The unique feature is it has two distinct façades on two separate streets
 335 Carrer de Còrsega, Barcelona, Spain

Clearly a nod to Antoni Gaudi, Casa Comalat (at Avinguda Diagonal, 442) is a building with two distinctly different facades. One is very elaborate and ornate (more of in the style of Gaudi’s Casa Batllo) and the other is more symmetrical and subdued. Dating from the final phase of the modernista era, the architect Salvador Valeri i Pupurull worked on the Casa Comalat from 1909 to 1911, and was clearly influenced by Gaudi’s organic forms.

Casa Comalat - Gaudi architecture tour in Barcelona - Modernist Architecture - @DownshiftingPRO
Casa Comalat – a detail of the top of the facade on Avinguda Diagonal, #442

The main façade, which overlooks Avinguda Diagonal, is made of stone and is more symmetrical and regular in shape. At street level, there is an interesting wrought-iron doorway and, above it, a central gallery surmounted by a pinnacle. At the top, a series of openings cut into the façade and surrounded by stone garlands jut out above the remaining curved balconies with their floral motifs.

Casa de les Punxes (Casa Terrades)

Casa de les Punxes - architecture tour in Barcelona - Modernist Architecture - @DownshiftingPRO
Casa de les Punxes – 1095 – Josep Puig i Cadafalch
Avinguda Diagonal, 420, 08037 Barcelona, Spain

Commissioned by a mother for her three daughters so they would have rental income. They are three separate housed place together in a corner block.

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudi - Barcelona, Spain Gaudi architecture tour in Barcelona - Modernist Architecture - @DownshiftingPRO
Sagrada Familia – 1983 – present – Antoni Gaudi
Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain

I first saw The Sagrada Familia with my daughter in 2015 and she wrote a lovely post about it here. We were fortunate to have seen in when the sun was shining and the stained glass windows were at their glory.

There are no words to explain what a marvel this The Holy Family Cathedral (Sagrada Familia) really is. It is very large and still under construction. The Cathedral was designed by Antoni Gaudi but has been added to by other designers with Gaudi principles in mind. Gaudi’s master plans were partly destroyed in the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and it took over 16 years to piece together his original designs.

Learn more on the Gaudi architecture tour in Barcelona by visiting the most popular tourist site: The Sagrada Familia. A little history: in 1883, Antoni Gaudí took over as chief architect, transforming the project with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí continued to build and design other buildings and home throughout Barcelona but in 1906 he devoted the remainder of his life to the project, and he is buried in the crypt. At the time of his death in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete.

Gaudi architecture tour in Barcelona - Modernist Architecture - @DownshiftingPRO - Sagrada Familia
The Passion Facade – Depicting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ

When I returned in 2019, the Passion façade and It is anticipated that the building can be completed by 2026, the centenary of Gaudí’s death. Below you will see an animated rendition of a completed Sagrada Familia with its 18 towers and three monumental façades. Each façade is connected to a moment in life of Jesus Christ: the birth, the Passion/Death/Resurrection, and His eternal glory.

Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau

The Art Nouveau Site of Sant Pau, built between 1902 and 1930, is one of the architectural jewels of Catalan Modernisme. It is a campus with a series of buildings designed as a city within a city by Domènech i Montaner and finished by his son after his death.

Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau  - 
built between 1901 and 1930 - Lluís Domènech i Montaner
Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau (campus view) – built between 1901 and 1930 – Lluís Domènech i Montaner
Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167, Barcelona, Spain

The campus includes 8 pavilions and and various other buildings all linked by underground tunnels. The pavillions recall the history of Catalonia in mosaics, murals and sculptures with gardens throughout the campus. The gardens and buildings are open to the public with guided tours. The main building has interesting displays so make time to see this exhibition.

Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau  - 
built between 1901 and 1930 - Lluís Domènech i Montaner
Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau
 Carrer de Sant Quintí, 89, 08041 Barcelona, Spain

built between 1901 and 1930 – Lluís Domènech i Montaner

The pavilion is topped by the clock tower, 62 metres high, which has become one of Barcelona’s iconic landmarks.


  • Metro: L2/L3/L4-Passeig de Gràcia
  • Bus: 7, 22, 24, H10, V15
  • Train: R2/R11/R13/R14/R15/R16-Barcelona-Passeig de Gràcia Station

This is a very easy, walking tour. When you attempt this self-guide Gaudi architecture tour in Barcelona it covers 3.2 km and will take approximately 42 minutes (without ANY stops). However, that is not the point. Take your time. Stop, take pictures, read plaques enjoy this magnificent walking tour. Look down at the sidewalk where you will see tiles designed by Gaudi. Our tour with was very good. We had a private tour (as no one else came along) so the Tour Guide was happy to make some adjustments. There are hunreds of tours and tour guides. This was a ‘free’ tour but of course we tipped our guide well for the three hour tour.

Gaudi Street Tile in Barcelona

Since we were traveling with my 85 year old mother, we opted to hop in a taxi and went from Casa de les Punxes (Casa Terrades) to the Sagrada Familia. From there, our guide left us and we made our way to our last stop Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau.

We walked a lot that day and covered much ground. It took us the better part of the day without any stops inside the buildings. It is always best to get advanced tickets if you are visiting. Great modernista architecture is not only found in the Eixample area. Here are a few more sites to consider seeing.

Other notable areas to consider

El Mercat del Born

El Mercat del Born TBEX Costa Brava 2015 @DownshiftingPRO
El Mercat del Born – 1873 – Antoni Rovira i Trias
One of the first buildings of the modernisme movement
20150505 152915 1

Until the 1970s this was the largest wholesale market in Barcelona. It now is a muti-use cultural centre. You can visit the ruins of medieval town unearthed in 2002 (see images below). El Born Market was originally designed by Josep Fontserè and built in 1876 and is an excellent example of the architectural forerunners of Modernisme. The structure was made possible by using new industrial materials – steel, wrought iron in addition to wood and glass to bring in an abundance of natural light.

Güell Parc & Pavillions

Gaudi architecture tour in Barcelona - Modernist Architecture - @DownshiftingPRO
Güell Parc – Entrance to the Parc – Antoni Gaudi

Parc Güell is a “must see” for art enthusiasts. The park is small but the views are stellar. The climb up the very steep hill from Vallcarca metro station is not for the faint of heart. You will climb uphill as well as take escelators to the top. There are multiple access points but your best bet is to take bus #24 up the hill to the eastern entrance. There is a timed (staggered admittance) to the park on the hour and half hour so be patient. It is worth the wait.

What is fun about the park is there is a large terrace with benches which are all decorated with mosaic ceramics. It is very colourful and interesting (and provides wonderful instgramable moments).

Gaudi architecture tour in Barcelona - Modernist Architecture - @DownshiftingPRO
Güell Parc – Antoni Gaudi
The park was built from 1900 to 1914 and was officially opened as a public park in 1926. In 1984, UNESCO declared the park a World Heritage Site under “Works of Antoni Gaudí

You can visit Gaudi’s Home Museum where he lived in the later part of his life. You will see furnishings designed by Gaudi and his room. It is a quick tour. The Pavilions provide space for outdoor entertainment and you can visit the gift shop and small tower.

A modernist architecture tour in Barcelona is about discovering an alternative to traditional brick and mortar buildings. None are boring or symmetrical with clean lines. Catalan Modernisme is about whimsy and about redefining the Catalan ideals. It was a movement that sparked nationalism and pride in both art, literature and architecture. By taking a tour of modernist architecture in Barcelona you will learn about a nation within a country – Catalonia, Spain.

Gaudi architecture tour in Barcelona - Modernist Architecture - @DownshiftingPRO

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Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for and other online media outlets.

8 thoughts on “Gaudí and Modernist Architecture Tour in Barcelona”

  1. Love Barcelona because of all of Gaudí’s gorgeous work! When I visited, unfortunately Casa Batllo was under restoration. I’m planning a trip back ASAP just for that!

    • Well, I hope you can return and see it. We did a walking tour so did not go into many of these. I had already been to the Sagrada Familia but I would return in a heartbeat. Thanks for dropping by.

  2. There’s some incredible artwork in this city. I loved my time there but would also like to go back and do some more exploring, especially after seeing some the amazing places I missed. Love your guide, and the map you included, very helpful

    • Thanks for your kind words. I loved this tour. It was a free guided tour and we tipped the guide very well as he was so great. He took us everywhere and made sure my 86 year old mother was comfortable. So much to see, I will be back to Barcelona.

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