BARCELONA — This city is dotted with Antoni Gaudí’s whimsical buildings, each a work of art, each worth a visit as you walk off the indulgences of your meal from the night before.
Today, nearly 90 years after the architect was killed by a street car, the capital city of Catalonia is the direct beneficiary of Gaudí’s creativity and relentlessness.
His master work, the basilica known as La Sagrada Família, is still under construction a century later. Every day, it attracts thousands of tourists who line the block to gaze at the soaring, incomparable structure, even as construction workers in hard hats walk past them carrying their lunch coolers.
But Gaudí (1852-1926) paid the bills by designing and either building or remodeling mansions for the captains of industry who were his patrons in Barcelona. He developed his inimitable style specializing in ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork, forging, and carpentry, while working on his smaller-scale projects. Start your sightseeing with these landmarks, so when you arrive at La Sagrada Família, the silhouette most associated with Barcelona, you’ll be able to appreciate all the influences and details that went into it.
If you have limited time, go to Casa Batlló and Park Güell. Once a showpiece home, Casa Batlló is now a six-story museum where Gaudí’s inventive genius shows on every level. And Park Güell, on the outskirts of Barcelona, is definitely worth the cab or metro ride. The failed attempt at a utopian residential community features the model home where Gaudí lived alongside undulating benches, Dr. Seussian gatehouses, and the most photographed salamander in the world.