sagrada familia barcelona modernist architecture


Finding Gaudi: Follow the Ultimate Route to Barcelona’s Best Modernist Architecture

Sagrada Familia is the ultimate masterpiece of modernist architecture, albeit unfinished. (Photo: Patrick Ward / Alamy)

If you’re coming to Barcelona then you’ll almost certainly end up running into some of the city’s modernist architecture sights. But you can help yourself by planning out a route that’ll take you around some of the most beautiful modernist sights in Barcelona — the perfect Gaudí-inspired treasure hunt.

Before heading off to discover the top architectural wonders in the Catalan capital, fuel up with a quick drink at the Cotton House Hotel. Within an hour or two, in a comfy pair of shoes, this gentle stroll will lead you around the highlights of Barcelona’s legendary modernist movement.

casa leo i morera barcelona modernist architecture
(Photo: Jessica Bowler)

Casa Lleó i Morera

Designed by Lluis Domenech i Montaner

The starting point for your tour sits on the lower section of Passeig de Gràcia, the fanciest street in all of Barcelona.

Casa Lleó i Morera was a remodeling job of a 19th-century family home carried out by architect Lluis Domènech i Montaner. Today, it’s missing some of the original sculptures and features he created, but it’s still got a gorgeous stained-glass framed gallery on the first floor.

Address: Passeig de Gràcia, 35, 08007

casa batllo rooftop barcelona
(Photo: Jessica Bowler)

Casa Batlló

Designed by Antoni Gaudí

Next, we’ll visit one of Gaudí’s most well-known projects – which just so happens to be literally steps away from Casa Lleó i Morera. Casa Batlló is locally known as the “House of Bones” for the skeletal structures on its façade. It’s just as colorful inside as out, and it’s well worth a visit in the summer months, when a “Magical Nights” concert series is hosted on the building’s rooftop.

Address: Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007

fundacio antoni tapies barcelona
(Photo: Ben Holbrook)

Fundació Antoni Tàpies

Designed by Lluis Domenech i Montaner

Turn left onto Carrer de Aragó to take a look at this curious art museum. Named after Catalan painter Antoni Tàpies, this building is half industrial sternness, half artistic quirkiness. Current exhibitions include a film series on empathy, an exhibition of prototypes from different artistic and cultural groups and plenty of stuff that Tàpies himself did.

Address: Carrer d’Aragó, 255, 08007

la pedrera barcelona
(Photo: Jessica Bowler)

La Pedrera (AKA Casa Milà)

Designed by Antoni Gaudí

Turn right back around to keep going up Passeig de Gràcia. The fourth building you’ll be feasting your eyes on is La Pedrera, another one of Gaudí’s most famous projects. Also known as Casa Milà, the most outstanding feature of this house is the undulating rooftop filled with swirling towers. It also affords you a rather nice view of the grand avenue below.

Address: Carrer Provença, 261-265, 08008

hotel casa fuster barcelona
(Photo: Jessica Bowler)

Hotel Casa Fuster

Designed by Lluis Domenech i Montaner

Right at the very top of Passeig de Gràcia, you’ll find this grand hotel. It promises its guests luxurious experiences beyond its doors, but even if you’re not staying here, it’s worth a stroll by to see it. It features a café filled with Art Nouveau furniture that hosts jazz concerts once a week.

Address: Passeig de Gràcia, 132, 08008

casa comalat barcelona
(Photo: Ben Holbrook)

Casa Comalat

Designed by Salvador Valeri i Pupurull

After the hotel, turn around and double back down Passeig de Gràcia until you get to Carrer de Corsega. Make a left, and you’ll quickly come to a colorful building with large archways and topped off with a swooping rooftop. What isn’t quite as noticeable is the less colorful but no less impressive second side of the Casa Comalat, which you can get to by turning right onto Carrer de Pau Clarís and then right again onto Avinguda Diagonal. You may be surprised that two such different sides are really part of the same building!

Address: Avenida Diagonal, 442, 08036

casa des les punxes barcelona
(Photo: Jessica Bowler)

Casa de les Punxes

Designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch

Your next – and next to last – visit is also on Avinguda Diagonal. “The House of Spikes” is definitely off the beaten tourist trail and makes a great stopping point between the last sight on your tour.It’s named for the six spiky towers that sit atop the building, and it was built to join together three houses owned by sisters. At the moment, you can’t go inside the building, but it’ll be opening up for visitors soon. Until then, savor the intricate details inspired by nature that are carefully moulded on the facade.

Address: Avenida Diagonal, 420, 08037

Sagrada Familia

Designed by Antoni Gaudí

What could make a more spectacular ending point to your trip than the Sagrada Familia? Gaudí’s famously unfinished church is the biggest and possibly most impressive of all the the architectural sights in Barcelona. Finish here, and perhaps enjoy a drink or something cool in the shade in the park in front of the church as you admire its towering spires.And with that, our modernist treasure hunt has officially come to a close – and in a fairly spectacular location as well. Follow along this little route, and you’ll put yourself in a great position to be pleasantly surprised by some of Barcelona’s world-class architectural sights.

Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013

This story originally appeared in Driftwood Journals, an insider guide to Barcelona and beyond.