Yes, it is a hospital, but one that will make you rethink what hospitals should actually look like. Built in the early 1900s, Hospital de la Sant Pau is architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner’s most important work (though we love the Palau de la Música Catalana as well), and functioned as a hospital until as recently as 2009. What is now the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site is home to a number of workspaces for entities focused on social impact, as well as being a showcase for Montaner’s modernista vision. It’s well worth the visit, and pleasantly uncrowded compared to La Sagrada Familia, which you can see from its entrance.
Antoni Gaudí i Cornet’s first house was designed as a summer house for a wealthy stockbroker in what was then the outskirts of town. Unfortunately the town encroached, and the house’s gardens were sold off over the years. Still, the relatively compact house shows some of the young architect’s exuberant style and thoughtful design.
Carrer de les Carolines, 20-26
Of all of architect Antoni Gaudí’s works in Barcelona, La Sagrada Família has to be the most iconic.
Set to be the world’s tallest church when it is completed in 2026, La Sagrada Família sees more than 3m visitors annually. It is the sixth most reviewed attraction in the world on TripAdvisor, with mostly positive reviews. (Famously, George Orwell wasn’t a fan, saying it was “one of the most hideous buildings in the world” and that he hoped it would be destroyed during the Spanish Civil War).
Whether you consider it gaudy or a work of genius, it is difficult not to be impressed. You’re unlikely to have the place to yourself however, but the visitor numbers are managed reasonably well.