When traveling with small children, it’s difficult to balance history with fun. Our recent family trip to Barcelona presented those challenges. I struggled between seeing the icons of the city and keeping my sons entertained. Follow along with our family’s travels to two must-see landmarks of Barcleona.

Two Landmarks of Barcelona that You Have to Visit Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Balancing Family Fun with Two Landmarks of Barcelona

Such is the struggle of a family traveling with young boys. How do you balance family fun with the city’s most iconic landmarks?  While I enjoy history and learning, my young sons get distracted easily. We decided upon these two landmarks of Barcelona that everyone must visit.

For our recent trip, we chose the Antoni Gaudí route. One of the most famous architects in Barcelona, Gaude’s iconic masterpieces became the face of Barcelona itself. Although  many Antoni Gaudí places to visit, but our picks were 1. Sagrada Familia, 2. Casa Batllo3. Parc Güell for an insight into what this brilliant artist and architect did for Barcelona.

With a guided visit to Sagrada Familia behind us, next on our list: Casa Batllo and Parc Guell. We opted for no guides, allowing us to customize the self-guided tour to my boys’ needs.  I was gifted with a dose of history; my boys got the chance to learn and play.

TIP: Advance reservations highly recommended as these tours book quickly.

Fun Facts about Casa Batllo

Casa Batllo
We listened to the self-guided tour and learned about Casa Batllo. I loved the history. My boys loved looking at the weird shapes and learning all about the house.

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Fun Facts – Casa Batlló

The building where Casa Batlló stands was built between 1875 and 1877 by Emilio Salas Cortés, one of Gaudí‘s teachers. At first, it was a sober and classical building with a basement, a ground floor, four upper floors and a garden behind the house.

 

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

In 1900, textile businessman Josep Batlló and his wife purchased the building. In 1904, Josep Batlló contacted an innovative architect named Antoni Gaudí.

By 1906, Gaudí carried out a full refurbishment of the building using innovative techniques. The result was the building that we are able to enjoy today.

Josep Batlló died in 1934.

Not until 1962 did the building become a National Cultural Asset of Catalonia (BCIN).

In 1969, it was designated a Cultural Asset of Spain (BIC).

In 1984,  restoration work was carried out on the balcony railings,  restored to their original color. During that same year, the building’s facade was illuminated.

In 1989, the building received renovations of its ground floor, basement, and foundations.

Casa Batlló finally opened  to the public in 2002.

Casa Batlló has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005, one year later receiving the Award for the Conservation of Architectural Heritage.

Fun Facts: Parc Güell

My boys let loose of some energy running around and exploring the beauty of Parc Guell. (I don’t think I need to tell you that this was their favorite part of the day.)

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Park Güell was started in 1900 when Gaudí got the assignment of drawing up plans for developing an estate for well-off families on a large property in a zone known popularly as the Muntanya Pelada (bare mountain).

The building conditions were highly restrictive, as only one-sixth of the plot could be built upon.

Güell (the owner) wanted to recreate the British residential parks.

Gaudí respected the vegetation that was already growing on the property, such as the carob and olive trees, and when new species were introduced.

The first person to buy a plot in the Park, in 1902, was a friend of Güell, lawyer Martí Trias i Domènech.

Gaudí himself moved there in 1906 to live with his father and niece.

  • By 1907 events were already being held in the great square.
  • The tiled bench running around it was completed in 1914.
  • A lack of buyers led to the works being abandoned in 1914.
  • The park thus became a large private garden, which Güell allowed to be used for public events.
  • Eusebi Güell died in his house in 1918, and his heirs offered the park to the City Council.
  • It was opened as a municipal park in 1926.
  • The Güell family house was converted into a State school.
  • Gaudi’s house in Park Güell was opened to the public as Gaudí House Museum in 1963.
  • It was recognized as an artistic monument in 1969 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
One of Two Must-See Landmarks of Barcelona Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

More about Spanish Architect Antoni Gaudí

ABarcelona-based Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí’s works were greatly influenced by nature. Part of the Catalan Modernista movement, Gaudí was born on June 25, 1852.

After his studies were interrupted by military service, Gaudí graduated from the Provincial School of Architecture in 1878.

Upon graduation, Gaudí initially worked in the Victorian artistic style, but he soon developed his own style.

In 1883, Gaudí was charged with the construction of a Barcelona cathedral called Basilica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia (Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family). Although the plans had been drawn up earlier and construction had already begun, Gaudí completely changed the design.

Other buildings designed by Gaudí  include: the Episcopal Palace (1887–’93) and the Casa de los Botines (1892–’94), both Gothic, and the Casa Calvet (1898–1904) in the Baroque style.

Gaudí died on June 10, 1926, in Barcelona, Spain.