Barcelona is full of quirky, colourful architecture, from Gaudi’s fairytale spires to cutting-edge contemporary design. The city is like a living museum as each street boasts its own masterpieces.
Image by George M Groutas
From the rule-breaking and forward-thinking to the downright bizarre, here is a rundown of the ten quirkiest buildings the city has to offer, and where to find them.
1) The Indoor Forest
From the outside, El Bosc de les Fades might look like any other bar, but on entrance, a magical world awaits. Located in Barri Gotic, this one-of-a-kind watering hole has a full blown forest inside, giving you a Where the Wild Things Are experience. Sit between tree trunks and trailing leaves; sometimes you can even hear the odd thunder storm sounding overhead.
2) Candy and Gingerbread
Image by: Tiago Cata
The two Guadi buildings in Parque Guell are like something straight out of a fairytale. Remember the candy houses from Hansel and Gretel with ginger bread walls and icing roofs? That’s what these cute little buildings remind me of.
The Santa Caterina Market in the El Born neighbourhood is a spectacular feat of architecture, with a wavy roof making use of tessellated ceramic designs. The brain child of Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue, the design is utterly unique and makes the market a fun place to shop.
The Never Ending Cathedral
Never ending in the sense that it was never officially completed, the Sagrada Familia is said to be Gaudi’s masterpiece and is surely the most unusual cathedral in Europe. Patterns and forms range from intricately crafted saints to modernist turtles, making each section a work of art in its own right.
Out on a Limb
Glass shapes seem to defy gravity on the Torre Mare Nostrum building by sticking out on a limb from the glittering central tower. The quirky concept was drawn up by Enric Miralles, and the building currently serves as the Gas Natural HQ.
Image by: Jen Gutmann
He’s done it again! Gaudi’s Casa Batilo is a crazy curvaceous casa with a dazzling facade decorated in rainbows of colour. Gaudi created the seemingly impossible with his designs, and there is something truly wonderful about this quirky house which defies all traditional conventions.
The Camp Nou FC Barcelona stadium is the largest in Europe, and has been redesigned to incorporate a brightly coloured, glowing mosaic all the way around it. Causing it to light up at night like a futuristic Christmas tree, this new design for the stadium is certainly a spectacle whether you love it or hate it.
Magical Music Hall
Decedent, elegant sophisticated and magical, the Palau de la Música concert hall was built in 1905 and is exquisite, from its decorative ticket box to its heavenly stained-glass skylight.
The Leaning Tower
On Barcelona’s urban beach you can’t help but notice the industrial leaning tower that is a sculpture designed by installation artist Rebecca Horn.
Quirky Quarry House
Image by: Gustavo Maximo
Casa Mila is another of Gaudi’s houses, completed in 1912. Stone, wrought-iron and statues give it a magnificent, noble appearance. The best bit is the roof, where stone shapes and statues snake across the Barcelona skyline.
Next time you’re in Barcelona, don’t forget to look up as you stroll along the streets, what can you see?
Do you have any more weird and wonderful buildings to add to my list?
Sophie McGovern writes for Hotelopia, a website that allows you to book hotels online and pay at the hotel. If you’re heading to the architecturally quirky capital of Spain, Hotelopia can find great Barcelona hotels to host you. You might even find Sophie there, travelling the streets and searching for inspiration, stories and new adventures.