Please sign in to post.

[infox] Park Güell visits to change procedure from Spring/Summer 2019

So it's finally here.... by Summer 2019, the way to visit Park Güell is about to change:

BACKGROUND
Until now, many visitors used the buses #24 and/or #92 to reach Park Güell, especially when coming from Sagrada Família as the park is on top of a hill and when it's hot it's not so pleasant to walk to. However, this brought too many inconveniences to the neighbours of the neighbourhood of La Salut, where the park is located, as the buses where far too often saturated with bypassers. Even with the reinforcement of the lines introduced last year, the buses continue to be full to the rim. Also, a noticeable increase of dodge faring among tourists taking those buses has been detected.

NEW "TERMS"
Therefore, the City Hall has decided to alter the manner visits to the park are made by introducing changes both to the way tickets are sold as well as to the way visitors will reach the park.

  • Bus stops for lines #24 and #92 by the park will be eliminated
  • Tickets to visit Park Güell will be sold exclusively online
  • The cost will rise to 10€ and will include the ride in the shuttle from the nearby Alfons X metro station (please read X as "the 10th", as it refers to Roman numerals, not the alphabet letter 'X') to the park and vice versa. This shuttle will be a "new" service for the purpose of transferring visitors from the metro to the park.

These measures intend to drive visitors' traffic away from the regular bus lines serving the neighbours of that area of the city and into the metro system, which is far more capable of absorbing extra traffic and also to disperse the number of visitors throughout the day. As in many other sites in the city, allocating time-band slots will facilitate the management of the flow of visitors.

So, if you are planning to visit next year, stay tuned for sometime next Spring/Summer for these measures to enter into effect. There'll be enough information available, ie. at the park's site: www.parkguell.cat or at the TI site: www.barcelonaturisme.com

ABOUT THE PARK
I would like to take the opportunity to remind that the park is divided into two zones:

  • the Monumental zone -which contains most of the "monuments" for which is worthwhile visiting this park- and which includes the Plaça de la Natura, with the wonderful views of the city and the serpentine tiled bench, impressively ergonomically designed; the Pòrtic de la Bugadera (the Laundry Room Portico) a wave-shaped stone portico, an inspiring pathway with slanting columns acting as a double colonnade, this buttress is another Gaudi masterpiece; the Hansel and Gretel Houses at the entrance of the park, two gatehouses resembling the fairytale gingerbread houses; the Drac (dragon in the Catalan language) covered in "trencadis" or mosaic from shards of tiles, a feature that can be seen throughout the park, measuring 12 feet long, some say it is a tribute to St. George who slew a dragon for Barcelona.
  • and the rest also referred to as the free area, which occupies 92% of the park and is like a typical Mediterranean pine forest. In the free area, you can also find other monuments such as the different roadways and viaducts built on columns and vaults made from stones found on the site. On the pathway itself, there are stone-crafted pillars with plots of vegetation at the top. Also the Turó de Les Tres Creus (Three Cross Hill) the highest point of the hill with a panoramic view of Barcelona.

For those willing to have a picnic, near the Laundry Room Portico there's a picnic area with tables. Free of charge, but no services involved so you have to bring your own food and drink.

Enjoy!

PS: Source http://www.elpuntavui.cat/territori/article/10-administracions/1478872-un-nou-bus-acostara-els-turistes-al-parc-gueell.html

Posted by
1935 posts

Enric,
You are very kind to post this upcoming change.

Your information was very helpful when we were preparing to visit Barcelona a few years ago.....VERY helpful.

I hope the Rick Steves' staff sees your post, so they can update their guidebooks.

While I can well understand the reasons the changes are being made, it also eliminates the option for tourists to just make last-minute decisions to visit the ticketed portion of the Park (as we did) if they do not have a device (or do not feel comfortable using such a device for purchases) to make on-line bookings. Maybe the Park management will consider having a staffed booth at the designated Metro station, for dinosaurs to purchase tickets (if available) on site. Do I also understand that if someone unknowingly just walks up to Park Guell, he/she will not be able to purchase a ticket from a person on site?

Since we were visiting in early March that year, we just stayed flexible, showed up when it worked for us, and we had almost no line to purchase tickets and enter. It is important for visitors to receive your update.

Posted by
3341 posts

Enric,

As always thanks for the information. Fond memories of the Park 2 years ago! We were there late September and it was a comfortable day. That said, we took a taxi there and walked back to our hotel. Sounds like a win win with the new plan.

Posted by
2650 posts

@Maggie... I'm afraid the world is moving on, even for "dinosaurs" :))... These days, for example, here in Catalonia banks push "direct debit" all the time and if you still want to pay, say, your electricity bill in person, most of them they'll direct you to the ATM at the branch. They won't accept you going to the cashier for these sort of transactions. Same goes in other situations, in the metro, for example, many stations don't have staffed booths anymore, if you need a ticket you go to the ATM at the entrance. So, even "dinosaurs" gotta start using technology for everyday petty activities over here.

As per visitors, well, not sure where exactly in TN do you live, but here in Europe, there are a number of cities (ie Venice, London, Paris, Berlin... Barcelona too) where the number of visitors has reached a "complicated" level where, in certain instances, it is starting to seriously "disrupt" everyday life for residents (in some, ie Venice, it's already greatly disrupting) so governments are trying to manage the incoming flows to minimize and to reduce the negative impact.

Among the different initiatives being taken, one that seems to be gaining weight is the managing of the flow of visitors at the main sights (=most popular sites) by assigning "time-bands". These are served FIFO (first in, first out) thru online websites and, given the great demand -these days, for example, you might find yourself unable to get a ticket for Sagrada Familia in the height of summer if you don't buy it online several days in advance- there is no need anymore for an on-site sales booth. In fact, not having one allows for discouraging people to turn up without a ticket.

Anyhow, as far as I understand, in March they'll still be operating "the old fashion", so it shouldn't affect you. But again, do follow the websites to be updated in this particular issue. And yes, as far as I know -although things might change!- you won't be able to get into the Monumental area of the park if you didn't purchase an online ticket. But again... I don't work there, so I don't take the decisions.

Be warned that, in the field of tourism, Barcelona, alongside Paris and London, are kind of "trendsetters".

Enjoy!

Posted by
2650 posts

As per my comment above re: managing visitors... the issue has come up in the forum many times. In the very near future, with the access of millions of people from emerging economies to what's commonly referred to as "the middle-class", travelling will be more affordable and popular to them and certain destinations will definitively become over-crowded (some are already near the tipping point!).

One has to keep in mind that a place where other people live is not a theme park, so when too many of us are visiting a city, a town or a village, we can seriously disrupt the life of the people living there, even if not on purpose or with intent to do so. This is so, not only because the sheer number of visitors interfere with everyday activities of the local population, but also because of the derived consequences (increased cost of living, gentrification of neighbourhoods, the death of local establishments, etc.).

Some will raise the flag of "revenue", but consider that in many of the most important destinations here in Europe, believe it or not, tourism is merely a fraction of the place's GDP, and while normally an important one is by no means that critical. This doesn't mean visitors are not welcome of course, this only means that tourism is/will be welcome until it reaches the point in which it interferes too much with the rest of the activities of the people living there. And we need to accept that.

The governments in different destinations are responding in different ways but a common line seems to be "discouraging" further growth (ie more hotels, more gentrification, etc) and encouraging "a more fluid flow" by introducing limitations (ie. number of cruisers able to dock at the same time, stricter health and safety regulations at sites which limits the capacity at a given time, etc.). This is done, not only to avoid too much "intrusion" into residents' lives but also to guarantee a level of "quality" in the visitor's experience -who wants to spend days queuing or being packed like sardines in every attraction one visits, right?

So, I am afraid, the way one visits certain places will gradually change in the near future and a more "planned" visit will have to be considered. This 'spur of the moment' will sadly go away.

Posted by
2650 posts

I hope the Rick Steves' staff sees your post, so they can update their guidebooks.

Well, thanks Maggie for your praise... and for your wishes... maybe Rick Steve can hire me for collaborating with his guidebook of the city, that'd be great, (are you listening Laura?) LOL!

Posted by
21041 posts

I submitted a link to Enric's post on the Guidebook Feedback form.

Posted by
3457 posts

Enric , your posts were incredibly helpful for my visit in 2016 , and I am always pleased to continue following your writing . Your dedication and helpfulness are admirable , I much appreciate your input .

Posted by
16883 posts

Enric, I hear you... and will forward your helpful info to the book editors ;-)