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Park Guell

Hi all - Wondering if you think a guided tour of Park Guell is important or a good idea?? Also, I've read to get there early in the morning to avoid crowds. We'll be there the second week in March.
Any other tips in regards to Park Guell would be welcome!

Many thanks, Mary

Posted by
2120 posts

I've heard that Parc Güell is currently under some kind of renovations, with a lot of scaffolding up around the buildings, you may want to double check it they won't be wrapped up by March. Also, just my honest opinion, but I think Park Güell is a tad overrated and definitely overtouristed, even without the scaffolding, don't feel it's essential, especially if you have limited time in Barcelona

Posted by
18405 posts

Tip #1: You cannot just show up on any day of the year. They no longer sell entry tickets at the park. You must arrive with a ticket in your hand.

Tip #2: The tickets now include a shuttle bus from one of the Metro stations, so that will be the easiest/cheapest way to get there.

Early morning is a good idea during the hot months, for sure. I am cold-natured and it would not be my choice in March. I'd risk crowds to avoid (potentially) shivering. It's an outdoor site, so you'll still be able to see the Gaudi architecture even if you're unlucky to be there at a busy time. Other people will certainly disagree with me on this--possibly also you! If you prioritize trying to make photos with no people in them (good luck with that in Barcelona), you should go early.

If you want to see the interior of the little gatekeeper's house (which no guidebook I've seen has deemed essential), you should try for the earliest entry time, line up before the park opens and go straight to the cottage. There's a separate line for it, and that line will quickly build up until you're looking at a long wait. I had the second entry-time slot, and by the time I noticed the line for the cottage it was 45 minutes long. It wasn't important enough to me to stand in the line, so I can't tell you what you would see inside the cottage.

I also have not been to the free-admission part of the park.

I don't think a tour is necessary. To me it's a straightforward visual experience; it's not like a church, where you may need someone to explain a lot of symbolism.

Edited to add: I agree with Carlos that if your time is tight, Parc Guell can be skipped. I'd say the same thing if you're unlucky with the weather. The park wouldn't be so much fun in the rain (which it was what it was doing at the time of my first visit on a chilly, wet day in May 1980ish--pre Global Warming).

Posted by
3666 posts

We loved Park Guell. It's unique among European sites, and it was a nice break to be out in some fresh air wandering around. I do agree that you should go right away in the am and that a tour is not at all necessary. I would just do some reading in a guidebook or two before you go. YES!! you need to purchase tickets in advance. I cannot speak to any construction/scaffolding.

Posted by
53 posts

thanks for your speedy replies - we will have 6 night (5 days) in Barcelona so am thinking we have time for this. It does seem to be so highly rated, so I'm kinda surprised that you both think it's not essential - but surely good to know. We sure won't do a guided tour then. Thanks!

Posted by
203 posts

We were in Barcelona at the end of October and had booked Parc Guell for 9:00 to allow time to get to the place where you enter for your timed entrance. We took the Metro to Alfons X, where we caught Bus Guell. It drops you off at the entrance to the park area (free), which we enjoyed wandering as Gaudi was involved in designing the structures there as well. We arrived on time to enter the Monumental area (ticketed) and wander there - no guide needed. There was reconstruction on the tiled benches but sections were open to sit on and take photos. We loved our visit to Parc Guell and encourage you to go. We walked back through the free park area to catch Bus Guell back to the Metro station. If you love the Modernista architecture, try to visit the Hospital de St Pau (Recinte Modernista). It was a beautiful complex and was free on Sunday. We also toured Sagrada Familia (unbelievable!), Casa Batllo and Casa Mila (La Pedrera), among others. We stayed at Hotel Continental Palacete - great location and a 24 hour buffet!

Posted by
1016 posts

I would not buy a tour! Its an easy stroll, not large and not a ton to see. Read about it first if you want more information. Given that you'll be there in March, you may want to go later in the day when its warmer and because the crowds won't be as bad in March than in summer.

Posted by
18405 posts

Five days are two more than most folks who post here seem to have. I'd certainly include Parc Guell in that case. Short-time visitors need to consider travel time to and from the site and the availability of a number of more-conveniently-located Gaudi sites in the city. It's a matter of choosing from a long list of interesting things to do to maximize your sightseeing opportunities.

As you will find out, the rooftops at Casa Mila and Casa Batllo bear a vague resemblance to the installations at Parc Guell.

Posted by
3666 posts

I booked my tickets in advance on the Park Guell website. If you go, I'd sure go to more than the free area.

Posted by
2120 posts

With 6 nights I'd say it's safe to include Parc Guell. As a local I may have a different perspective, but for me there are other more enjoyable parks around Barcelona that feel less like a zoo of tourists. That was the case when I was last in Parc Guell 8-7 years ago, even then it was 95% foreign tourists and 5% local population, ironic considering it's original intended use ;-)

Posted by
327 posts

Mary, like I said on your other posting about Palau de la Musica, it all depends on whether you just want to "see" a site or learn more about it from an informed guide.

We read Rick Steves Barcelona pocket book in advance of our two full days there and really enjoyed all the guided tours/skip the lines we had booked in advance: Park Guell, La Sagrada Familia, la Palau Guell, and Palau de la Musica. We also enjoyed walking about on our own with Rick's maps (Barri Gotic, La Ramblas, the waterfront, etc.). Barcelona is busy year-round, so plan and research accordingly.

BTW, one of our favourite little discoveries in Barcelona was an old nut shop: Casa Gispert - you don't need a guided tour there!
https://www.casagispert.com/en/about-us-casa-gispert/

Posted by
195 posts

Sorry if this is repeated info, but you can get advance tix at the information booth in Placa Catalunya (between the "i" signs, down the stairs). Also, you can probably get tix at Viator, etc.

Posted by
89 posts

I booked a tour of Park Guell on my recent trip to Spain (early November) mostly for the ease of transportation from the city center and actually found the guide to be very interesting and informative. She talked about Gaudi himself and pointed out many things (and explained their significance) I would have missed on my own. We had time to explore on our own too. I did not find the construction obtrusive at all. The weather was gorgeous and the view from the park to the sea was beautiful. BTW, there are two small houses in the monumental zone, one you can tour and the other is a gift shop. Instead of waiting in line at the tour house, just visit the gift shop, you can go upstairs etc. If I remember correctly the total cost was about 30 euros for transportation, guide and monumental zone admission.

Posted by
5880 posts

I feel so lucky to have visited a few years ago when we did. We were able to spend a day wandering through the Towers of Sagrada Familia and Park Guell was just a local park we could stroll into and not crazy crowded. Everywhere has no become a theme park with lines and misery.

I cannot imagine this place needs a tour; read up a bit and then enjoy it.

Posted by
18405 posts

Tickets to the park now include the a shuttle bus from one of the Metro stations to the park, so getting there on your own is relatively easy.

Posted by
6 posts

Of everything we saw in Barcelona in October, Park Guell was the ONLY site that we felt we should have skipped. It gets a lot of attention in the tour books, which makes it seem like a can't miss activity. But we both felt like it was quite overrated. If you are interested in seeing the Gaudi architecture, there are much better places. The swarms of tour buses and tourists make it so you almost can't move around the park. I think it must be on the itinerary of every organized tour from around the world. And when we were there, much of it was behind scaffolding, which meant the crowds were even more concentrated. If you are going for the Gaudi architecture, I would recommend Casa Vicens and Palau Guell (in addition to La Pedrera, Casa Batllo, and Sagrada Familia). They are a little bit more off the beaten path as far as tour books are concerned, but you get all of the aspects of the Gaudi architecture without the ridiculous crowds. And, since the park is somewhat outside the city, it requires a fair chunk of time to travel and see it. The free bus from the metro station was great, though.