Walking tours are a great way to explore any town or city. And while you are in Barcelona, you ought to do a walking tour because the city bursts with art and architecture (from Gothic to Gaudi). After having explored the Gothic area by foot, we decided to immerse ourselves in the great works of Modernista Barcelona with Runner Bean Tours and it was our best decision ever. Want to know why? Keep reading. And before we get into the details of what we saw and what we did, here’s what you must know about the free walking tour in Barcelona
Is Prebooking essential for this tour? Yes, you need a reservation to guarantee a spot for yourself . If you are a group of more than 8 people then get in touch with the tour company and book a private tour. You can make reservations in advance by contacting Runner Bean Tours . You can also get in touch with them via Facebook by clicking HERE OR also contact them via Instagram HERE . The company is highly active on all their social media sites and hence it wouldnt be a problem for you to get in touch with them whatsoever.
Where is the Meeting point of this tour ? Placa Reial ,right next to the water fountain. Make sure to arrive at least 10-15 minutes before the start time of the tour and collect your sticker which guarantees your spot on the tour . While at the meeting point, the guide will show you Gaudi’s first work in the city of Barcelona and you will be amazed to know what it was! Lampposts 🙂 Yes, Gaudí received a commission from the City of Barcelona to design new candelabras (lampposts) to light the streets of Barcelona and it was in the year 1878 he presented the plan for these lampposts. Even today, the lampposts stand there but not many visitors realise it was Gaudi’s work. !!
How frequent is this tour – Daily. During Winters (October 1st to March 31st) the tours are scheduled at 11 AM & 3 PM and during Summers (April 1st to September 30th ), it is 11 AM & 4.30 PM . However Please note- No tours will happen on December 24th, 25th, 26th and on January 1st
What is the duration of the tour ? Approximately 2.5 hours
What are the languages in which the tour is available? For now ,its only English!!
Do you get to see the interiors of the building? No. You will only be taken to the building and the guide would explain everything from the outside. However, you are free to visit the interiors at any time once you are done with the tour. But entry to these buildings will have a special fee and remember to keep that money ready.
While you go on this tour, make sure to carry your T10 Metro card if you have one or else some change with you to buy the train tickets because there will be two short metro trips involved in this tour and you will have to buy your own tickets. Its always advisable to take your T10 Metro card with you, in that way you save a lot of money for each ride.
Is the Tour Donation based? Yes! You can pay whatever you fee the tour was worth once the tour is over
Now that the basic questions have been cleared, lets dive straight into our tour! 🙂 To be very honest, this has been the best walking tour we have been to. Our guide Miguel was fantastic. Very knowledgable, witty ( must have quality for a tour guide), full of life and energy and very friendly and open to clearing everyones doubts. Not just Miguel, but we loved everything about this tour. The tour was organised really well and what i liked the most was that the guides had their microphones on which made them audible. Now you must be thinking having a mike on is not really necessary, but let me tell you it is a must! Most of the times, the tour guides do not speak loudly maybe because they are already exhausted with the tours they have had earlier in the day and they lack the energy to speak out loud. Having these mikes on are a fabulous idea because we all could hear our guide very well even if the group was slightly large. Our guide Miguel also gave us ample time to click photographs at each and every stop and at one particular stop, he was sweet enough to click a picture for us! What more to ask for from a tour guide? Runner Bean, if you ever happen to read this post, please know that Miguel is a keeper!
During this guided tour, we were taken to four main attractions where Antonio Gaudi created magic . A little introduction about Antonio Gaudi before we get to see his works.
- Antonio Gaudi (1852-1926) was a popular Spanish Architect whose work was greatly influenced by nature. To him Nature was his greatest teacher maybe because as a little child he grew up on Tarragona country side where natural beauty was in abundance. Seven of his works are on the UNESCO World Heritage list. He was a genius and thats very well depicted in all of his works. After he graduated in Architecture from the University of Barcelona, he started working on several projects and as he began to mature as an artist, he slowly developed his own style. His style predominantly meant two things : to avoid straight lines and also to use recycled materials (bright ceramic tiles, recycled metalwork etc) whenever possible to give a different look to his works This technique, named “Trencadís” promoted recycling at the same time, and it consisted of a mosaic of ceramic shards made by hand .Gaudí’s work is well admired by architects around the World as being one of the most unique and distinctive architectural styles. Gaudi was a man of strong temper but at the same time was cheerful too. Though he was run down by a tram and injured and later on died, he very much lives through his works!
Now what we saw at the Gaudi Tour Barcelona
- Palau Guell – Our first stop was at the spectacular mansion The Palau Güell designed by the architect Antoni Gaudí for the industrial tycoon Eusebi Güell and built between 1886 and 1888. The most Gaudi like style in this building are the chimneys that are installed on the top of the roof in the year 1895. While we all did notice the colourful art work on the roof top, most of us couldnt tell they were chimneys. They are brightly coloured and come in fun shapes resembling ice-cream cones, mushrooms etc . The Palau Güell has been included to the list of World Heritage sites by the UNESCO since 1984
- Casa Batllo literally transalates into House of bones. The name is purely owing to its architecture which has a skeletal frame to it . The building is located in Passeig de Gràcia. The house was bought by Josep Batlló in 1900 and In 1904 Josep Batlló Josep Batlló hired Antoni Gaudí to remodel Casa Batlló and to divide it into apartments.The building was brought to life just the way Gaudi wanted it – by avoding straight lines and the roof in the shape of dragon. While Gaudi never shared his interpretation there are many theories about its symbolism. Some compare it to Monet waterlilies, while others compare it to the Carnival of Venice.Also , if you look closely at the structure you would see a cross . Apparently its a symbol to pay tribute to the Catalonian patron saint, Saint George who was known to have won the battle with the dragon. We were told that there are people who live in Casa Batllo on rent but in order to stay there you need to be related to the owners or be friends with them. I remember our guide talking about the tax control and hence the rent is kept quite low .Imagine getting to stay there. WOW! Just in case you want to go inside and have a house tour kind of thing, then Buy Casa Batllo tickets HERE. Also keep an eye on the Magical Nights which opens on June 1st 2017 on their website. Its a summer special event with live music at the Dragon Terrace and two drinks are included in the ticket too!
Admission to Casa Batllo – It is open 365 days a year. Opening hours are Monday to Sunday, from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm. (Last entrance 8.00 pm) and The visit lasts approximately one hour.
- Casa Mila – It was the last private residence designed by architect Antoni Gaudi and was built between 1906 and 1910. It was built for a wealthy businessman Pere Mila i Camps and his wife Roser Segimon i Artells. It was believed that Pere hired Gaudi after having seen the Casa Battlo and wanted a home which would look more beautiful and spectacular than Casa Battlo. The entire facade was made of natural stone, with white ceramic tiles around the upper edge of the building. Also it is told that not a single right angle can be found in his masterpiece. The Casa Mila boasts of a spectacular roof with the most beautiful chimneys you can ever imagine. Supposedly the chimneys inspired George Lucas to make the stormtrooper helmets for Star Wars. You can buy tickets HERE .
- La Sagrada Familia – Gaudi’s Masterpiece! He died while working on the Sagrada Familia on June 10, 1926, in Barcelona. After Gaudis death, several other world renowned architects have been working on this world renowned Basilica to give life and shape to Gaudi’s dream . If you are in Barcelona for a very short period and you are wondering what is the “must see attraction “in the city, then the answer is Sagrada Familia. The intricate detailing will stun you.The construction of this Holy Temple began in 1882, more than a century ago. The temple is still under construction, with completion expected in 2026 to mark the 100th anniversary of his passing . Make sure to buy your tickets online in advance from HERE . During the tour, the guide will explain in detail about the exterior work and intricacies but he obviously cannot tell you about the whole work because it would definitely need more time.
Must Have during this Tour
- Wear a good sunscreen cause during Summers, Barcelona sun can bake you !
- Wear comfortable clothing ideal for walking and a good pair of walking shoes is a must
- A good camera to capture Gaudi’s magic
So thats it for todays post, hope you enjoyed reading it! And one last thing, if you ever ever plan a Gaudi tour, we highly recommend you do it with Runner Bean Tours!
PS- This is not a sponsored post! The review is honest and our own.