The Casa Batlló in Barcelona is one of Antoni Gaudí‘s masterpieces, the famous Catalan architect was responsible for other iconic spaces and buildings in the capital of Catalonia, such as the Casa Milà, Park Güell or the Sagrada Familia. In fact, seven of them were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1984 and 2005! Built on the luxurious Passeig de Gràcia avenue, the Casa Batlló is part of one of Barcelona’s most irreverent blocks: the Illa de la Discòrdia.
The “Block of Discord” is basically a row of houses designed by the most important architects of Catalan Modernism. They are: Lluís Domènech i Montaner (Casa Lleó Morera), Enric Sagnier (Casa Mulleras), Marceliano Coquillat (Casa Bonet), Josep Puig i Cadafalch (Casa Amatller) and of course, Antoni Gaudí (Casa Batlló).
So, do you want to know more about the Casa Batlló In Barcelona: Best Tips For Visiting In 2023? Keep reading!
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Brief History of the Casa Batlló in Barcelona
In October 1904, a wealthy industrialist of the textile sector called Josep Batlló i Casanovas commissioned Antoni Gaudí to renovate a building located at number 43 of Passeig de Gràcia avenue in Barcelona. The project was joined by two other architects representative of Catalan Modernism: Josep Maria Jujol and Joan Rubió i Bellver.
The modernization of the Casa Batlló in Barcelona turned out to be one of Gaudí‘s most radical interventions. From the main façade to the owners’ noble floor – not forgetting the interior patios, attic, and roof – the extravagant details and “fanciful” elements of the Catalan master are multiplied.
Antoni Gaudí worked at Casa Batlló for three years, while carrying out other projects. For example, in 1904 he also started renovating the Cathedral of Palma de Mallorca and decorated the Sala Mercè in Barcelona. And the following year, he designed two works in La Pobla de Lillet (in the province of Barcelona): the Chalet of Catllaràs and the Artigas Gardens.
In addition, Gaudí maintained his activity as the main architect of the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, a position he held for twenty years! So it’s quite remarkable to think about the amount of creative and original ideas that he continued to develop. The Casa Batlló in Barcelona was completed in 1907 but – as happened with the Casa Milà in 1912 – the building was widely criticized by the locals, who called it “House of Bones” and “House of Yawns”.
Did you know that the Casa Batlló in Barcelona was part of Spain’s sixteenth set of inscriptions on the UNESCO World Heritage List? This 29th session of the World Heritage Committee took place in Durban (South Africa), between July 10th and 17th, 2005.
Only one other Spanish site was announced in the session: the Doñana National Park (extension from its original inscription in 1994). However, the Casa Batlló in Barcelona wasn’t the only work of Antoni Gaudí to be awarded in this session. In a total of four works by the architect, there were also the Casa Vicens, the Crypt of Colònia Güell, and the Nativity Façade and Crypt of the Sagrada Familia.
Nowadays, Spain is the fourth country in the world and the third country in Europe with the most UNESCO sites, right after Italy and Germany, and tied with France. It has forty-nine heritage assets (both cultural and natural) inscribed on the world list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization!
In the meantime, I’ve already had the opportunity to visit ten of them:
- Alhambra, Generalife, and Albayzín, Granada (1984, 1994)
- Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida (1993)
- Archaeological Ensemble of Tarraco (2000)
- Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville (1987)
- Historic Centre of Cordoba (1984)
- Old City of Salamanca (1988)
- Old Town of Santiago de Compostela (1985)
- Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona (1997)
- Paseo del Prado and Buen Retiro, a landscape of Arts and Sciences (2021)
- Works of Antoni Gaudí (1984, 2005) – Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, Casa Vicens, Crypt of Colònia Güell, Nativity Façade and Crypt of the Sagrada Familia, Palau Güell, and Park Güell
How to Get to the Casa Batlló in Barcelona
The Casa Batlló in Barcelona first opened to the public in 2002, when the Catalan city organized the Gaudí International Year. This year marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of Antoni Gaudí and the capital of Catalonia decided to promote various activities to celebrate the life and work of the architect.
During his intervention at the Casa Batlló, Gaudí decided to add two floors to the upper part of the original building, which now has a total of eight floors (excluding the roof terrace):
- Entrance (on the ground floor) – with access to the elevator and the residents’ staircase (the main floor has its own staircase)
- Batlló family apartment (on the first floor)
- Four floors of apartments for rent
- Laundry and storage area (on the loft)
Opening Hours & Ticket Prices
The Casa Batlló in Barcelona is less than 500 meters from another work by Antoni Gaudí: the Casa Milà, located at number 92 of Passeig de Gràcia. Since this is one of Barcelona’s central avenues, access to the Casa Batlló couldn’t be easier. You can arrive by metro (lines 2, 3 and 4, Passeig de Gràcia station), by bus (lines H10, V15, 7, 22 and 24), or by train (Renfe, Passeig de Gràcia station or FGC, Provença station).
The monument is open every day of the year, from 9 am to 8:15 pm, the last entry being at 7:15 pm. At Casa Batlló, it’s possible to stroll through the noble floor, the attic, and the terrace. The visit lasts approximately 1h-1h30, but you can stay as long as you want.
The general entrance to the Casa Batlló in Barcelona costs €39 (adults), €36 (seniors over 65), or €33 (students and young people aged 13 to 17). But on Casa Batlló‘s official website, you can consult the different types of tickets and discover the activities promoted by the monument.
What to See at the Casa Batlló in Barcelona
The Main Façade of the Casa Batlló in Barcelona faces the Passeig de Gràcia avenue. And despite being made up of three distinct parts, they are integrated in a balanced way, creating an atmosphere of marine, naturalistic and fanciful inspiration.
The first of the three corresponds to the Batlló family’s noble floor, which features a Montjuïc sandstone balcony in the shape of a gallery. This is formed by exterior stone columns that imitate bones and flowers, as well as large sash windows that illuminate the entire space.
The second section of the Façade of the Casa Batlló in Barcelona is marked by eight balcony railings, that resemble masks or skulls. Made of cast iron, they were later painted in ivory and gold, to blend better with the building’s aesthetics.
Last but not least: the roof. Here, Antoni Gaudí intensified the wavy and fluid forms of the building by creating what appears to be the backbone of an animal. Many believe that it’s a dragon, because of the legend of Saint George, the patron saint of Catalonia.
According to this legend, Saint George saved a princess and her people by killing a dragon with his own sword. Another highlight of the roof is the four-armed cross that rises from a tower and which the same legend associates with the saint’s sword.
Did you know that the various ceramic discs and pieces of colored glass scattered around the Façade of the Casa Batlló in Barcelona were prepared using traditional techniques? From baked clay, enamel, and glass, Gaudí created a texture and harmony that recalls the impressionist paintings by Claude Monet (in particular, the “Water Lilies”)!
The visit to the Noble Floor of the Casa Batlló in Barcelona begins in the family’s private entrance hall, which resembles an underwater cave. In addition, the handrail of the oak staircase was sculpted to imitate the vertebrae of a giant animal!
Once in the apartment itself, it’s easy to see its monumental dimensions: after all, there’s more than 700 m² of space! It’s possible to visit several divisions, such as the foyer, the main room, the lunchroom, the sewing room, or Josep Batlló‘s office, with a mushroom-shaped fireplace.
On the Noble Floor of the Casa Batlló in Barcelona, the architect paid special attention to the lighting and ventilation of all spaces. For this, Antoni Gaudí designed unusual walls and ceilings, like the famous swirling ceiling in the main room.
Finally, it’s important to note that Gaudí also designed the private chapel of the Batlló family, as well as the entire furniture in the house. The tables, chairs, armchairs, and lamps you find during the visit – in addition to the windows, doors, handles, handles, etc. – were made by him!
Patio of Lights
The interior patios of the old building were also modified by Antoni Gaudí, who started by expanding them to facilitate the circulation of air and natural light. Therefore, a large skylight was built to illuminate all floors. However, the architect’s most brilliant idea for the Patio of Lights was the gradation of colors on the walls to create a kind of chromatic play.
At the top, he uses cobalt blue tiles, whose color loses intensity on the lower floors until it becomes white. To this effect, Gaudí also added larger windows on the lower floors, which decrease in size on the top floors. And these first windows have wooden slits, which can be opened or closed to control the ventilation.
All these ingenious techniques that the Catalan master incorporated into the Patio of Lights of the Casa Batlló in Barcelona serve the same purpose: to ensure a uniform distribution of light and air. In the center of this space, you’ll also find the original elevator that Gaudí designed and which still works today. Interestingly, its traditional numbering was replaced by a letter system from A to I, so notice the special spelling of the letter G!
Antoni Gaudí also decided to renovate the Rear Façade of the Casa Batlló in Barcelona and added wavy balconies and iron railings. Around each floor, the architect applied the trencadís technique, which became one of his trademarks.
But these fragments of colored glass and ceramic are used much more extensively in the Indoor Garden, that is, the terrace of the Noble Floor. This backyard – for the exclusive use of the Batlló family – was easily accessed through their dining room.
Here, you can admire the various plant pots and flower beds decorated with the same ceramic discs as the Main Façade and trencadís motifs. And at the back, a wall of sinuous shapes and inlaid vases (reminiscent of a hanging garden) gives more privacy to the terrace.
The Loft of the Casa Batlló in Barcelona was created around the Patio of Lights and served simultaneously as a laundry and storage area for the tenants of the various apartments. Built applying simple shapes, Mediterranean influences (in the use of the color white), excellent ventilation, and natural lighting, it’s the perfect combination of aesthetics with functionality.
Considered one of the most unusual spaces in the building, this floor incorporates a series of sixty catenary arches, which Gaudí would later replicate in the Attic of the Casa Milà. Again, many people interpret these arches as an animal’s rib cage. In fact, the room facing the Main Façade was even dubbed the “Dragon’s Womb”!
The Roof Terrace of the Casa Batlló in Barcelona is what in Spain is called Azotea, that is, a “flat roof”. Here, it’s possible to admire up close the cross that is part of the Main Façade and understand some of its details. For example, the cross is supported on a bulbous ceramic base, almost as if it was a dome. And in the tower that supports it, Gaudí included the monograms of the Holy Family: Joseph (JHP), Mary (M), and Jesus (JHS).
From this same perspective, it’s also easier to observe the tiles that make up the small roof, in the upper section of the Main Façade. Arranged in a gradient, they were the great contribution of Josep Maria Jujol and Joan Rubió i Bellver and resemble the scales of the dragon.
In total, the Terrace of the Casa Batlló in Barcelona has 36 chimneys distributed in four groups, over six meters high. And these chimneys are decorated with pieces of colored ceramic and glass, forming various patterns. Its unusual shapes were a functional choice to favor air circulation.
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