Barcelona has quite a few famous parks, but none of them more famous than this one designed by Gaudí. It’s a great place to soak up the Catalonian rays. In the design of Park Güell, Gaudí unleashed all his architectonic genius and put to practice much of his innovative structural solutions that would become the symbol of his organic style and that would culminate in the creation of his masterpiece: La Sagrada Família.
Park Güell is skillfully designed and composed to bring the peace and calm that one would expect from a park. The buildings flanking the entrance, though very original and remarkable with fantastically shaped roofs with unusual pinnacles, fit in well with the use of the park as pleasure gardens and seem relatively inconspicuous in the landscape when one considers the flamboyance of other buildings designed by Gaudí.
The focal point of the park is the main terrace, surrounded by a long bench in the form of a sea serpent. The curves of the serpent bench form a number of enclaves, creating a more social atmosphere. Gaudí incorporated many motifs of Catalan nationalism, and elements from religious mysticism and ancient poetry, into the Park.
I was lucky enough during my visit to have some amazing Iberian sunshine, despite the relatively cold weather for Barcelona at that time of year. I have seen photos of the park being completely swamped by tourists, but luckily it was not busy on this occasion. I guess it was the time of the year when people are still saving up for their holidays, so less people are actually here. However, I am told that Park Güell is a great place for the locals of Barcelona to come and unwind during a siesta or at the weekends.
Gaudí designed them using local stone in a way that integrates them closely into the landscape. His structures echo natural forms, with columns like tree trunks supporting branching vaulting under the roadway, and the curves and alignment of sloping columns designed in a similar way to his Church of Colònia Güell. The large cross at the Park’s highest point offers the most complete view of Barcelona and the bay. It is possible to view the main city in panorama, with the Sagrada Família and the Montjuïc area visible at a distance.
I don’t think Park Güell is a must-see when visiting the city. Nevertheless, it is a good place to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown – and it is yet another famous Gaudí-inspired landmark of Barcelona!