Yesterday late afternoon, I got a ticket to go to Park Güell in Barcelona - a beautiful architectural project designed by Antoni Gaudí on Camel Hill, overlooking the city.
The best way to get to the park is by bus, as the metro stations are a bit far, and would require you to walk a while uphill. Bus lines 32, 24, and 92 will all take you close to the entrance that lets you see the most of Gaudi’s structures. Buses 24 and 92 stop at the Carretera del Carmel- Park Güell entrance, which is pretty much directly at the Eastern entrance to the park.
The public park is fairly large, but there is a closed area - the Monumental Zone - that requires a ticket purchase to enter. It’s best to purchase these online in advance, so you can plan ahead for your trip. Because the park restricts access to the Monumental Zone, there are a limited number of tickets available at a time. Tickets are sold in half-hour entry increments, and you can enter for up to half an hour following the time stated on your ticket.
The Monumental Zone does open to the public, for free, an hour and a half before closing time each day. During the winter this is from 18:15, in spring from 20h, and in high summer starting at 21:30h. This is a good deal if you want to just see the park and the structures, but these times more or less coincide with sunset - so you'll be missing any good photo opportunities, and you won't be able to fully appreciate the colors of the tiles used all around the park by Gaudi.
In my opinion, the best time to visit the park is at the last or second-to-last priced time of the day. [17h in winter, 20:30h in summer]. I'd say it takes about an hour to half-and a half to properly explore the entire Monumental Zone. This means that if you enter the park with the last group, by the time you're finished going around to see everything, you'll pretty much have approached the time of the free sunset-entrance.
By this time, most of the ticket-buyers will have exited the park, which makes for a really awesome window of time where, if you like, you can be pretty much alone in this beautiful, historic, art piece. See my late photos below for evidence.... !
My ticket was for 20h, but I arrived at the park around 18:30h to walk around the free access zone and enjoy the views of the city. If you arrive by bus from the East entrance, I would suggest walking up and above the Monumental Zone toward the west end of the park, before coming back to enter on that side. In this area, you can see some gardens designed by Gaudi, with pretty cool, grotto-like terrace walls, with bird nests built into them.
Continuing along this path, you’ll see the Monumental Zone below you, and the Western entrance. Go past and above the Western entrance to climb upward toward an overlook, or ‘Mirador’ - where you’ll get a 360* view of Barcelona and the surrounding mountains. This area can get a bit hectic with everyone clamoring up for a photo, but around the Mirador there are some nice, more peaceful areas with benches and trees, to enjoy the park.
I headed back toward the Monumental Zone with about 15 minutes until my entrance time. You can start queuing up whenever you like, but won’t be able to enter until the actual time stated on your ticket. The Main entrance at the north of the Monumental Zone has the longest line, so I think the best place to queue is at the West.
Park Güell provides some nice maps of the Monumental Zone: you can find them here. This area itself is a lot smaller than it appears on the maps, and it's really easy to navigate and see everything within an hour. The 'Muntanya' map starts at the Western entrance.
Et voilà! There you are - enjoy the artwork and beauty and experience of the park! It's pretty cool, if you think about it, how parks like these come to be - basically commissioned works of art that are here for us to appreciate and enjoy. So, soak in the colors and the feelings and the views! I won't say too much more on that....
And, if you’re following my tip about the time to enter, don’t forget to head back up to the panamoric view area before the free entry time, to take advantage of the sunset colors and diminished crowds, before a new one enters! Honestly, it’s pretty cool and you might even feel like you’re the only one in another time…
And that’s Park Güell, folks! If anything, visiting the park today made me want to go back and buy a ticket to La Sagrada Familia even more. I’ll keep you updated on that… !
It’s going to be a beautiful weekend… !