Quick Modernisma City Walk With Kids
Activity: Modernisma City Walk. Metro Stop: Passeig de Gràcia. Cost: Free. Hours: Always Open.
Antoni Gaudi was THE Spanish architect. He lived from 1862-1926. He designed most of the buildings that you think of as quintessential Barcelona, including the unfinished Sagrada Familia and the funky houses you see on everyone’s Instagrams. His trademark style was Modernisma, which he took and kind of ran with to create his own thing. His favorite inspiration were the shapes found in nature. He rarely drew out his designs ahead of time, but instead favored creating what the building needed as he went. The result is a fun and funky architectural style that is intertwined with the image of Barcelona.
There are tons of examples of his works all over town, but on this walk you’ll get to see two of my favorite house facades. In my opinion, the houses aren’t worth the 28 euros to tour, especially if you’ve got young kids. The waits are long if you don’t buy advance reservations, the houses are cramped and hot, and I think the facades are much prettier than the interiors. So save yourself a couple of bucks and a large headache by taking this walk instead!
Start at Casa Batlló at Passeig de Gràcia, 43. This house was meant to be inspired by the ocean! I love the mosaic tiles on top of it and the funky roof. Continue down the street toward Casa Milá (La Pedrera). Notice that you have your own pleasant shaded walking street. I love the mosaic benches with ironwork coming off them on this road. They are so Barcelona and are great for sitting down and feeding your toddler snacks.
Once you get to Casa Milá (La Pedrera) at Passeig de Gràcia, 92, you’ve completed this walk. La Pedrera is one of the most easily identifiable buildings in Barcelona. Gaudi designed it to “explore the irregularities of the natural world.” My favorite thing about it is the chimneys and roof area. Chimneys are usually an afterthought placed on a building, but in this case Gaudi purposefully designed them to be beautiful. Though La Pedrera doesn’t have the color punch that Casa Batllo did, the stone work on the front makes this building look more like a sculpture than an actual building.
That’s it! You’ve completed your walk. If you have some architecture aficionados in your party, feel free to double back and enter one or both buildings. If not, it’s time for churros and chocolate at one of the local bakeries.