Gaudi’s Casa Batlló and the Sagrada Família

Barcelona is known as the city of Antoni Gaudi, the Catalan architect who brought nature and life into his buildings. He is my favorite architect and one that I have come to admire greatly each time I see his work. While planning our trip to Barcelona I made sure that a few of Gaudi’s works would be on our itinerary. Having already visited Casa Mila twice, I asked R if we could visit a different Gaudi residence, Casa Batlló, just a few blocks south of Casa Mila on Passeig de Gracia.

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Looking up at Casa Batlló
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Casa Batlló front facade viewed from Passeig de Gracia
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Left: Casa Batlló; Right: Rooftop details

Strolling along Passeig de Gracia you are transported back in time to the early 1900s when this major avenue was the showcase for Barcelona’s bourgeoisie. Today it remains as one of the most expensive streets in the city and has become an impressive shopping and business area as well as an architectural playground. Although there are many beautiful and unique façades along the avenue, Casa Batlló’s marine inspired façade stands out among the rest. I could hardly wait to go inside and see another of Gaudi’s buildings for myself.

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Inside Casa Batlló
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Looking through the window towards Passeig de Gracia
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Living room of Casa Batlló
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Casa Batlló
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Detailing of chandelier in Casa Batlló
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Left: Chandelier; Right: door in lightwell

The line to get in was short, thankfully, since it was the first morning of the New Year and most people were still asleep after celebrating all night. Yes, I was one of the few who didn’t sleep in and dragged R out of bed that morning with me to go see Gaudi’s work. But it was so worth it. Once inside you are immersed in Gaudi’s imagination. Every curve and detail flows together in unison and I can only imagine what it must have been like to see this building being built. Gaudi played with the natural light and color through the use of stained glass windows and a light well in the center of the house. As you ascend to the rooftop the blue tiles in the light well become a darker shade of blue, as though you are about to resurface from the ocean.

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Casa Batlló light well
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Left: Looking up the lightwell; Right: Blue tiles in light well
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Roof of Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló has become one of my favorite works done by Gaudi, I feel as though I could spend hours in each room, studying every ornamentation.  From a colorful façade to the unique elements inside, Casa Batlló is a masterpiece. As I write this I realize that many may argue with me about which of Gaudi’s works is the true masterpiece. I am sure many believe that his best work is the Sagrada Família, the beautiful basilica that has been rising over Barcelona’s skyline since 1882 and also on our Gaudi itinerary.

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Left: Casa Batlló ; Right: Sagrada Família

Popping out of the metro station at Sagrada Família, R and I both had to stop for a moment and take in the view of the basilica. You don’t realize just how large the towers are until you stand right underneath them. Taking it in for only a quick minute we hurried to the other side of the park to meet with our tour group. I highly recommend booking a tour ahead of time to get into the Sagrada Família. Not only will you get inside without having to wait in the long line but you will also be introduced to the building and its history by an informative guide.

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Sagrada Família – nativity facade
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Left: Rear facade; Right: Detailing on nativity facade
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Nativity facade above entry

Once we checked in with the tour our guide lead us to the front of the basilica, the nativity façade at the main entrance. This façade was completed while Gaudi was still alive and illustrates the birth of Jesus. Gaudi believed that this façade should be done first because of how ornamental and richly decorated it is as opposed to the rear façade that illustrates the death of Jesus. Had they begun with such a bare and negative façade the people would have rejected it he said. And I could not agree with him more, the nativity façade has various stories and parts to it that you could spend days studying each statue and detail. Because this façade was completed over a hundred years ago it has weathered in color and parts have been destroyed. The newer towers and exterior pieces that have been fixed are a lighter color. Once the entire basilica is complete they will go back and clean the limestone to make it all look new.

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Ceiling of Sagrada Família
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Left: Light from stained glass windows; Right: looking up at the ceiling
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Left: Sagrada Família ceiling; Right: colorful stained glass windows

As you walk inside be prepared to be blown away by the soaring columns and stained glass windows that light up the basilica with color. If you have visited European cathedrals you know how beautifully ornate they are but nothing I have seen compares to the Sagrada Família. The sun enters through the stained glass windows throughout each hour of the day changing the light and atmosphere. It truly is a unique space and what amazes me the most is how Gaudi could have designed such a structure so many decades ago. There are no words for such a space and I hope my photos do it justice.

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Sagrada Família
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Sagrada Família
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Balconies along the stained glass windows

So yes, I will agree the Sagrada Família is an incredible work designed by Gaudi even if I did fall in love with Casa Batlló. Both projects are vastly differently in design  and scale but have the true Gaudi characteristics. I can’t wait to see the Sagrada Família once it is complete. Currently 70% of the basilica is done as they work on the six central towers. This year marks 135 years since the first stone was laid down and construction began. It is predicted that the Sagrada Família will be finished in 2026, R and I are already planning to return.

Sagrada_Familia_panorama

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Left: View of Sagrada Família from Park Guell; Right: Interior of the Sagrada Família
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Sagrada Família

The work of Gaudi will forever fascinate me as I visit each of his buildings. His brilliance and design cannot be compared to any other architect in my opinion and each work is a masterpiece within itself.  If you ever are in Barcelona you must visit the Sagrada Família because every time you come it will be different as they work on completing it. I loved walking through each of the rooms at Casa Batlló and recommend stopping by to see for yourself. I know there are many Gaudi buildings to visit around the city and Catalonia but the Sagrada Família and Casa Batlló are my favorite.

Visit Casa Batlló

Address: Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona, Spain

Buy tickets here

Visit the Sagrada Família

Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain

Buy tickets here

Tour we took: Priority Access Barcelona Sagrada Familia Tour

x the Adventurer

Copyright © Dream of Adventures 2018. All rights reserved.

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Coffee drinking, food loving, Czech yogi raised in the US dreaming of adventures =o)

54 thoughts on “Gaudi’s Casa Batlló and the Sagrada Família

  1. Gaudi’s work looks amazing! Love how he made the buildings look unique and have some styling in every detail. I definitely need to go visit and see this for myself! I’m glad you got to spend some time to appreciate his work. The nativity facade looks like a piece of art. Glad you got to go on the tour!

    exquisitely.me

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I DREAM of getting to Barcelona and seeing Gaudi’s work. I majored in Spanish Language and Literature in college, so I spent many many hours reading about him and his work. I can only imagine what it’s like to see it in person! And seeing how much Ben loved the churches and architecture in Italy, I know he’d be obsessed with this. Can’t wait to see more pics of your adventures!

    Susie | http://milehighdreamers.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish you had come with us! We speak zero spanish and the most I can say is please and thank you haha. It would be something to check off your bucket list for sure, the food , the culture and architecture are amazing. There is something about the countries along the Mediterranean that have a special something about them =o)

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  3. Oh I am in love with Gaudi’s work as well. His architecture just blew me away. The Sagrada Familia is the most amazing church I have ever seen. I could have spent all day there. You have taken some great shots N, thank you for taking me back there. X

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I fell in love with Barcelone the first time I came here! It is such a beautiful city! Not too big – and not too small! I love all the little tapas bars – and I love the work of Gaudi! I was just as impressed as you, when I entered Sagrada Familia! It felt like stepping into a Tolkien universe! I have never seen anything like it in my life! Casa Batllo I only enjoyed from the outside, but it seems like I have to take a closer look next time I am there 🙂

    X Louise

    http://www.louiseloveslondon.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t agree more =o) Barcelona takes my breath away each time I visit and visiting the Sagrada Familia is always magical. You will have to stop at Casa Batllo next time you are there, it is well worth it =o)

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