Park Guell in Barcelona is one of the city’s top attractions and one of the most popular Instagram spots in Barcelona. Most of the popular things to see in Park Guell are in the Monumental Zone. This area houses most of Gaudi’s work within the park.
While Park Guell has free entry all day, the Park Guell Monumental Zone requires tickets most of the day. You can visit the Monumental Zone for free though if you go at the right time.
Even without the Monumental Zone, there are plenty of other things to see in Park Guell. From lookouts to a museum to more of Gaudi’s work, you can easily spend hours in Park Guell. However, most people just take time to visit the Monumental Zone and leave.
Keep reading to find out what to see in Park Guell inside the Monumental Zone and throughout the park. Find the best time to visit Park Guell and how to get free entry to the Park Guell Monumental Zone too.
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VISITING PARK GUELL: FREE ENTRY TIMES
***Thank you to my blog readers for letting me know that the Park Guell free entry times have now been reserved for residents. You must have a ticket and enter between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. as of winter 2021. Residents may enter for free from 7:00 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. and from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. More information here from Park Guell.
The entire Park Guell is free all day long except the Monumental Zone. This area is the most popular and most visited section of the park. This area of the park is roped off certain times of the day to control the number of people in the Monumental Zone.
To get in to the Monumental Zone at Park Guell for free, you must visit outside of the regulated hours. In the morning, if you enter the Monumental Zone before it opens, stay as long as you want. Once you leave though, you must have a ticket to return during the regulated hours.
The regulated hours for Park Guell when you need tickets to enter the Monumental Zone are from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
If you visit outside of these hours, you do not need a ticket and can enter the Monumental Zone for free. However, there is little to no lighting in the Monumental Zone without the sunlight, so visiting at night is not recommended.
GETTING TICKETS TO THE PARK GUELL MONUMENTAL ZONE
If you plan to visit the Monumental Zone during the regulated hours, get your ticket in advance. You can purchase tickets at the entrances to the Monumental Zone, but you may end up waiting a while.
Only 400 people can enter the park each half hour. However, once you are in the park, you can stay as long as you want. If you leave, you must have another ticket to return during open hours.
Because they limit the number of tickets sold, buying tickets at the gate sometimes means waiting a few hours to enter the park. You can wander the rest of the park while you wait, but this may cut into your plans for Barcelona.
If you plan to visit during a busier time of the year, get your tickets in advance for sure. Even when we visited Barcelona in November, our family had to wait over an hour from when they got their tickets to when they got into the Monumental Zone.
Tickets cost 10€ ($11), but there are reduced rates for children under 12, adults over 65, and people with disabilities. They do require proof if you purchase any of the reduced price tickets according to the website. You can purchase tickets in advance through the official website here.
Purchasing a ticket in advance also includes Bus Guell, a direct ride to Park Guell from the Alfons X metro station. The bus ride takes about 15 minutes. This saves you a long walk uphill on the way to the park and downhill on the way out of the park.
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT PARK GUELL & THE MONUMENTAL ZONE
The best time to visit Park Guell is in the morning right as it opens or in the evening near closing time. If you visit during ticketed hours, these times have the lowest amount of people in the Monumental Zone, allowing for pictures without so many people around. Going in the morning or evening also gives you the best light with the sun lower in the sky.
The best time to visit Park Guell overall though is in the morning before it opens. In fact, the Monumental Zone at Park Guell is the best place for sunrise in Barcelona in my opinion. Going for sunrise means no one is around, you have the park to yourself for pictures, and it is free to enter.
How much time you have sunlight before the park opens depends on the time of year. During the shortest days of winter, there is only about 15 minutes between sunrise and when the park opens. Most of the year, there is at least 30 minutes between sunrise and when the park opens.
I was nervous that the free entry for Park Guell would not work, but we walked right in for sunrise in November. They start setting up the ropes and ticket tables a few minutes before opening, but we got there around 8 a.m. The sunrise in Park Guell was amazing, and we had time to walk around and get pictures with only a few other people in the park.
Once the park opens for ticketed entry, it fills up quickly. By 9 a.m., the park was packed with people. Even though they limit it to 400 entries every half hour, people can stay as long as they want. Most people stay an hour or less, but some stay longer making the area feel very crowded.
You can also visit after the restricted time ends. However, this time of day is more crowded than mornings. People who arrive in the evening wait until after the ticket tables close to enter and watch the sunset. I have heard evenings are the most crowded time to visit as there are no limits to how many people can enter, but I’m not sure if that is true or not.
Depending on the time of year, there is sometimes only 15 minutes between closing time and sunset. Other times of the year, there is closer to 30 minutes or even an hour between closing time and sunset. During the time of year when there is a longer time between closing and sunset, there are probably breaks in the crowd after the park closes.
If you can manage an early start to the day, definitely plan to be at Park Guell for sunrise. If you need a little more time or prefer to go during the ticketed times, try to be there close to opening time so that you can enjoy the park without so many people.
WHAT TO SEE IN PARK GUELL
There are plenty of things to see in both Park Guell and the Monumental Zone to fill up at least half of a day. However, you can pick and choose what to see and spend as little as an hour in the park. If you want to take your time and see it all, it could take you a full day.
WHAT TO SEE IN THE MONUMENTAL ZONE OF PARK GUELL
The Monumental Zone is a small part of the entire park, but it is the most popular part of the park. When most people say Park Guell, they mean the Monumental Zone. This area houses the majority of Gaudi’s work in Park Guell.
Make sure to wander all the trails in the Monumental Zone. Below are the most popular spots, but there are unique views throughout the park. The main areas along the stairway and middle of the Monumental Zone stay crowded, but the rest of the area is much quieter.
THE LAUNDRY ROOM PORTICO CURVED WALKWAY
The Laundry Room Portico is one of the most popular Instagram photo spots. In fact, a line forms right at the start of it so that people can take pictures without anyone behind them. Do not wait in this line though.
The curved walkway often seen in Park Guell photos continues beyond this first little section. Simply walk around the line into the dirt area next to the curved walkway. Walk along the walkway until you find a spot without anyone in the background and take as many pictures as you want without a line.
If you go to the upper level walkway in this area, you also have a great view down on the curved walkway itself and a more unique view for photos. Make sure to walk throughout the entire Monumental Zone and not just the popular photo spots. There are plenty of unique angles to get your own photos there.
THE GREEK THEATER OR NATURE SQUARE FOR THE BEST VIEW
The Greek Theater or Nature Square makes for the perfect spot to watch sunrise in Barcelona. When we visited in November of 2018, much of this area was closed off for construction. It is still under construction, and construction is scheduled to continue through June 2020.
There are still some parts of this area you can visit for pictures, but having so much of it blocked off meant waiting for an opening to get your own picture. When we went, only one or two of the balcony areas at the end of the viewing platform were open, so it filled up quickly.
This is when going in the morning really helps. We had no wait to take our pictures there before the park opened and when the park first opened. However, by around 9 a.m., we stopped by one more time and the area was super crowded. Everyone wanted the same little area for photos with Barcelona in the background.
If you go in the morning, go straight to this area to get your pictures. Then see the rest of the Monumental Zone. If you go later in the day, be prepared to wait it out.
During some phases of construction, more of the overlook area will be open allowing for more spaces to enjoy the view. Once the construction ends in summer of 2020, there will be more space to spread out and take your photos.
THE HYPOSTYLE ROOM WITH THE MASSIVE COLUMNS
This was my favorite area of the Monumental Zone. There is also construction in this area, so you may have to get creative to get your photos.
This area does not get as crowded as some of the other areas except the space at the front overlooking the park and the city. We spent some time watching sunrise from here, and it was a beautiful view with less people.
Make sure to look up at the ceiling here and not just as the columns themselves. The whole area is beautiful, and in the early morning, the sunlight dances through the columns making for beautiful photos.
Thanks to the columns, even during the more crowded part of the day you can get photos without anyone behind you. Use the columns to block people out or wait a few seconds for them to keep moving behind another column.
THE PORTER’S LODGE PAVILION
The main entrance to the Park Guell Monumental Zone is on the south side of the park on Carrer d’Olot. This is where our Uber dropped us off since we arrived early. This entrance also gives you a great view of the stairway, Hypostyle Room, and the outside edge of the Greek Theater.
On either side of you as you enter are two buildings. These buildings are visible in most photos taken from the stairway, the Greek Theater and outer edge of the Hypostyle Room. The one on the left when facing the stairs was the porter’s lodge with a waiting area and phone booth. The one on the right was the porter’s residence and is open now for tours.
If you want to see the inside of the porter’s residence, there is a line to get in. There is no extra ticket required. If the line is short, take the time to go in. You get great views from the windows of the park, especially on the upper level. If the line is long, it isn’t worth it in my opinion unless you have plenty of time to spend in Park Guell.
THE DRAGON STAIRWAY FOR THE INFAMOUS PICTURE
The Dragon Stairway is another popular spot for photos in Park Guell. Many people also take photos along the edge of the stairs of the tiled walls or looking out over the city.
The most popular spot for photos on the Dragon Stairway though is with the dragon itself. The dragon, or salamander, often appears on postcards of Park Guell. People line up for photos with the dragon on the stairs.
This was the only place we noticed a full-time security guard. The guard’s job is to keep people from touching the dragon or sitting next to it. He or she also keeps the line moving. If you take a picture with the dragon, make sure not to touch it or sit on the railing next to it.
THE AUSTRIA GARDENS FOR A MOMENT OF PEACE
The Austria Gardens are off to the left side of the stairway when you walk up from the main entrance. This area is more peaceful and quiet than most of the Monumental Zone.
The path curves through a garden that gets its names from trees donated by Austria. The area has some shade and not many people, making it a perfect spot for a little break to enjoy the flowers and views of the Gaudi House Museum.
WHAT TO SEE IN PARK GUELL: FREE ZONE
The rest of Park Guell besides the Monumental Zone is free 24 hours a day. The area has lots of pathways to wander and several spots to stop along the way and enjoy the views of Barcelona. If you have some extra time or have to wait to get into the Monumental Zone, check out the free part of Park Guell.
CASA MUSEU GAUDI GAUDI HOUSE MUSEUM
This is the house Antoni Gaudi lived in from 1906 to 1925. It now serves as a museum for Gaudi including recreating some of the rooms and displaying personal items.
Tickets for the Gaudi House Museum are 5,50€ ($6). Purchase tickets through the Sagrada Familia website, and even purchase a combination ticket for both places.
We opted to skip the museum. We did not purchase tickets in advance, and it did not interest us as much as the rest of the park. With only three days in Barcelona, we chose to explore the rest of the park and keep moving.
VIADUCTS NEAR CASA MUSEU GAUDI
The pathways near the Casa Museu Gaudi have rock archways making up the viaducts in this area of the park. These make for pictures similar to those in the Monumental Zone but without the crowds or the wait.
The viaducts are mostly on the northeast side of the park. Follow the paths up to La Casa Trias from the Monumental Zone and Casa Museu Gaudi to find them.
TURO DE LES TRES CREUS VIEWPOINT
We walked up to La Casa Trias which does have a good view of the city. However, the better view is from Les Tres Creus in the southwest corner of the park. Take the time to enjoy the walk from one side of the park to the other and check out this viewpoint.
From Les Tres Creus, you see a beautiful view of the city. Look off to the west (to the right if you are facing the city) for a good view of the church at the top of Mount Tibidabo as well.
WHY VISIT PARK GUELL IN BARCELONA?
Park Guell is a must on any Barcelona itinerary. Even if you only have an hour, stop and see the Monumental Zone. The park showcases Gaudi’s work in a beautiful setting with a perfect view of the city.
Looking for a hotel in Barcelona? Check out the Four Points Barcelona Diagonal where we stayed or other hotel options here. For more Barcelona travel tips, check out our three day itinerary for the best photo spots in Barcelona.
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