One of several Modernista buildings on the Illa de la Discórdia north of Barcelona’s old town, Casa Batlló looks like something out of a fairytale – the iridescent rooftop resembles the scaly spine of a dragon and the façade features funky shapes, fun colors, balconies like Carnival masks, and pillars that look like bones.
It’s one of the most unique historical homes we’ve ever visited (even more spectacular at night!) and, despite the steep price of admission, we highly recommend taking a tour, which allows you to wander through the house, from the ground floor up to the rooftop terrace.
The original late-19th century building constructed in rather nondescript classical style by Emilio Sala Cortés, takes its name from textile magnate Josep Batlló i Casanovas. After purchasing the building to serve as his private residence, he commissioned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi to completely rebuild the structure and make it something ‘spectacular’. The resulting monument, which includes whimsical yet ergonomic features, is definitely spectacular, and is listed – along with six other Works by Antoni Gaudi as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
On your tour of Casa Batlló you’ll see:
A mushroom-shaped festejador;
Cave-like rooms with nautilus-inspired ceilings,
wooden ventilations systems,
Stairways with smooth, serpentine banisters;
Decorative wooden doors with unique ergonomic handles;
Panels of translucent glass that give the impression of being under water;
And tile work in varying depths of blue for a clever distribution of light in the stair well.
On the upper levels you’ll visit the lofts with parabolic arches that support the roof.
These rooms previously served as laundry rooms for the building’s residents.
and you will have an opportunity to step out on to the balcony for a view of the neighborhood.
After take the stairs to the rooftop terrace
for a close up look at the scaly tiles and colorful trencadis mosaics.
and the skylight for the light well,
Your tour also includes access to the back terrace for a view of the rear façade. Though not as spectacular as the rest of the building, the colorful tile work and wavy balconies are interesting to see.
Casa Batlló is located at Passeig de Gràcia, 43 in the Example. It’s a pleasant 10 minutes from Plaza de Catalunya.
Adult admission = 23,50€ (includes audio guide)