On a quick walk through El Raval, the neighborhood west of La Rambla, we stumbled upon Palau Güell. This was one Barcelona attraction that we hadn’t heard much about, but are glad we found, and for anyone interested in architecture or the amazing works of Antoni Gaudí, this is one we recommend visiting.
The palace was one of Gaudí’s first projects and though there is a dark Medieval feel, the interior is functional and elegant.
He paid attention to intricate and aesthetic details, and with his choice of materials, mostly tile, glass, wood and wrought iron, he created some of the design features that would come to define his Modernist style, like the parabolic arch and distinctive rooftop chimneys.
A tour of Palau Güell takes you from the basement (formerly the stables and storage for coal, wood and straw)
to the rooftop terrace to stand amidst the colorful chimneys.
You’ll enter the palace through the arched entrance with its wrought iron privacy screen, unique in that it allows those inside to see out, but obscures the view looking in.
From there, climb the main stairs, past the red and yellow striped window inspired by the Catalan flag,
to the first mezzanine level where homeowner Eusebi Güell conducted his business affairs.
Here you’ll get a chance to see the intricately crafted peephole in the door, just one example of Gaudí’s attention to detail.
Continue on up to the Main Floor where the Güell family entertained. These rooms include the Hall of Intimates and Smoking Room,
the impressive Dining Room, the Southern Terrace with an ornate window balcony, and the Central Hall where you’ll see the organ and chapel, with doors made of rosewood and decorative elements of bone, brass and tortoise shell. Music was a passion of the Güell family and the second Mezzanine level contains the musicians’ area behind an Arabian-style latticed screen of ebony and rosewood with bone inlay.
The next floor up served as the family’s private quarters and includes the master bedrooms, children’s bedrooms, bathroom, and a Gaudí-designed toilet.
The tour continues on to the upper attic room, which served as a kitchen, laundry and servants’ quarters. Today the space is used as an exhibition hall.
From here, climb out onto the rooftop terrace to walk amidst the 20 chimneys (notice the Trencadís mosaic designs made with broken glass and shards of glazed tile) and take in the view of the El Raval neighborhood below. Of note throughout the palace are the fireplaces, some of which are designed with Gaudí’s trademark arch. Your audio tour takes about 40 minutes, but expect to spend an hour or more here to really appreciate the home (depending on your level of interest, of course).
Palau Güell is one of the seven properties comprising the ‘Works of Antoni Gaudí’ registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and was commissioned in the late-19th century by wealthy industrialist Count Eusebi Güell, Gaudì’s patron. The palace served as the main residence of the Count, his wife Isabel López and their 10 children, until the family moved to a new home in Parc Güell.
Palau Güell is located at Nou de la Rambla, 3-5. To get there, just head down La Rambla toward the port and take a right on Nou de la Rambla.
Adult Admission = 12.00€; price includes a 40 minute audio guide.
The ticket office is located at Nou de la Rambla, 1 and is separated from the Palace entrance by a bank ATM. Before getting into line at the Palace entrance, make sure you have your ticket in hand.
The museum has seasonal opening hours, so be sure to check their website before your visit.