Photo: krivinis/Shutterstock

The Most Colorful Park in the World Is Actually a Failed Housing Estate for the Rich

Barcelona Insider Guides Art + Architecture
by Morgane Croissant May 1, 2023

The most visited attraction in Barcelona, Park Güell gives La Sagrada Família, the most iconic building in the city, some stiff competition. Just like the extraordinary church, the park is one of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí’s marvellous creations, of which there are seven in Barcelona (all are UNESCO World Heritage sites). Now famous throughout the world for their extraordinary colors, pattern, shapes, and decorative elements, Gaudí’s works can easily be visited, including Park Güell where you can spend hours roaming the beautiful 30 acres.

Where is Park Güell located?

Park Güell is located on El Carmel hill. The park overlaps two Barcelona districts: Gràcia and Horta-Guinardó. There are five neighborhoods around the park: El Coll, La Salut, Vallcarca i els Penitents, El Carmel, and Can Baró.

Because it is on a hill, know that you might break a sweat walking to and inside the park — there are several set of stairs and steep streets/paths.

How do I get to Park Güell?

If you’re not staying nearby and don’t have your own vehicle, the easiest ways to get to Park Güell is either by metro or bus:

  • By metro: Take the green line (L3) to Lesseps station, then walk for about 12 minutes up to the park.
  • By bus: Take the by H6 or D40 to Travessera de Dalt, then walk for less than 10 minutes up to the park.

Who designed Park Güell?

Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain

Photo: krivinis/Shutterstock

The park was designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí was given the assignment in 1900 by Barcelona entrepreneur Eusebi Güell, hence the name of the park.

When was Park Güell built and why?

Entrance at Park Güell designed by Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain.

Photo: catwalker/Shutterstock

The construction of the park started in 1900 when Antoni Gaudí was given the reigns of the project by entrepreneur Eusebi Güell who had purchased the land. The initial plan was to build a large estate of 60 houses for wealthy families who could benefit from some of the best views in the whole city. Lack of buyers led the project to fail in 1914. Only two houses were built on the site: Casa Trias and a show house where Gaudí moved (today the Gaudí Museum House). Eusebi Güell died in his own mansion in the park in 1918 and the city purchased the land and opened it as a municipal park in 1926. In 2013, access to the park was regulated to prevent overtourism.

Why is Park Güell so famous?

Dragon stairs at Park Güell

Photo: Lena Serditova/Shutterstock

The park is mostly famous because it is the work of architect Antoni Gaudí whose style, defined by bright colors and patterns, curved shapes, and intricate decorative elements, is highly celebrated for its uniqueness. The structures found in the park are typical of Gaudí’s style: beautiful, amusing, singular, practical, and very photogenic. The views from the park are also a source of appeal for visitors. The status of the park as a UNESCO World Heritage site adds to its popularity.

Do people live in Park Güell?

People do not live in Park Güell. However, there are several residential buildings located around the park and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods have a nominative card which allows them unrestricted free access throughout the year.

Can you get into Park Güell for free?

Aerial view Park Güell

Photo: Diana Lozovska/Shutterstock

Park Güell is divided into two zones, the Forest Zone, which you can enter for free and without a ticket, and the Monumental Zone, where all of Gaudí’s creations are located and for which you need a ticket to enter.

Unless you are a resident of the surrounding neighborhoods or a member of Gaudir Més, you cannot enter the Monumental Zone for free.

Is Park Güell free on Sunday?

The Monumental Zone of the park, where you can see Gaudí’s architectural creations, is not free on Sunday, or any other day. The Forest Zone, however, is free every day and does not require a ticket.

Can you just turn up at Park Güell?

It is not recommended to just turn up at the park without a ticket. The park has a limited visitor capacity and if it is filled up, you will not be able to enter. Purchasing your admission ticket online in advance is the safest option.

Park Güell tickets

For general admission, adults pay $11 (10 €); Children from age seven to 12 and people over 65 pay $7.75 (7 €); children under the age of seven enter for free, but they need a ticket nonetheless.

Scheduled entry tickets can be purchased on the official website.

Note that admission to the park does not include access to the Gaudí House Museum that is located within the park.

Guided visits are available, but if you’d rather go at your own pace, download the official audio guide on your phone before your visit.

Park Güell hours of operation

The park is open from 9:30 AM to 7:30 PM every day of the year.

How many hours do you need at Park Güell?

Plan to spend three hours in the park to take it all in and go through the aforementioned audio guide’s detailed visit. There is plenty to see and lots of photo opportunities you won’t want to pass on. Also, you’ll want to take the time enjoy the views, take a rest on a bench, and spend time looking at the bright, loud, and cute parakeets that are everywhere in the park. Once in the park, you can stay as long as you want until closing time.

The best hotels near Park Güell

If you prefer a rental or a hotel with a view while in Barcelona, check out Matador’s selection of the best Airbnbs in Barcelona and the best Barcelona hotels with iconic views over the city.

We hope you love the spaces and stays we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay.

BcnStop Parc Güell

Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia

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BcnStop Parc Güell is a three-star aparthotel located in the Gràcia neighborhood, only a 10-minute walk to the park. The property has six air-conditioned accommodations with kitchens, free WiFi, and flat-screen TVs with digital channels and Netflix. Additional amenities include laundry facilities, tour/ticket assistance, and express check-in/check-out. Each apartment is individually decorated and has a seating area, dining area, coffee/tea maker, and bathroom with a shower and complimentary toiletries.

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Hotel Ronda Lesseps

Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia

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The Hotel Ronda Lesseps is a four-star hotel located in a quiet location in the Gràcia neighborhood, only 11 minutes on foot from the park. The hotel has 59 rooms with free WiFi, air conditioning, safes, flat-screen TVs, and bathrooms with showers and bidets. Additional amenities include a return airport shuttle, a beautiful terrace, cafe, garden, bar, buffet breakfast for a surcharge, express check-in/check-out, and a 24-hour front desk.

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Catalonia Park Güell

Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia

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Catalonia Park Güell is a three-star eco-friendly hotel located in the Gràcia neighborhood. It is a 15-minute walk to the park. The property has 141 rooms with free WiFi, air conditioning, LCD TVs with satellite channels, and bathrooms with free toiletries. The hotel has an outdoor pool, terrace, bar, laundry services, free newspapers, front desk safe, tour/ticket information, concierge services, and 24-hour front desk.

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