Park Güell //Barcelona, Spain

Among other sights, Barcelona is best known for Park Güell, planned by Antoni Gaudí in 1895. Gaudí’s sponsor, the industrialist Eusebi Güell, acquired the land in 1885. The park is situated on the top of a mountain ridge, offering breathtaking views of the city and the sea. Güell commissioned Gaudí to build a visionary garden city, a symbiosis of nature and residential buildings. Gaudí matched his construction plans with the hilly territory; organically shaped support walls and terraces lend this park a thrilling natural look. The materials used for building were extracted from the land itself. Due to low demand, only three villas instead of the planned sixty were eventually built but the footpaths and the extensive garden were completed to schedule. The park was officially inaugurated and opened to the public for the Universal Exposition in 1929. The fairy-tale forest and the architect’s former home, both designed by Gaudí, are open for visitors free of charge. Only the Monumental Zone featuring some of Barcelona’s most popular sights – the mosaic salamander, the serpentine bench and the market halls – charges an admission fee.