Head to the Güell Colony in Santa Coloma de Cervelló, only 15 minutes from Barcelona. It hosts Gaudís Crypt, a World Heritage Site well worth the detour. Book your tickets on Divento!
The Güell Colony is one of Gaudí’s least known (and least visited) works. It’s only a 15-minute train ride away from Barcelona, in natural surroundings in the village of Santa Coloma de Cervelló. The Colony, which dates back over 120 years, will take you back to the 19th century to explore the buildings constructed by some of the best Modernist architects of the time.
The colony is known as the site of the Gaudí Crypt, designed by the Catalan genius Antoni Gaudí, but the experience certainly doesn’t end there. It owes its name and origin to Eusebi Güell, a textile businessman who built an industrial facility that included housing for the factory workers. The colony quickly became an urban microcosm complete with school, theatre, chapel, cooperative, athenaeum, shops and houses. Some of the most representative buildings were commissioned to important artists such as Francesc Berenguer, Joan Rubió and Josep Canaleta.
Güell asked the prolific Antoni Gaudí to build the church, and he gave him carte blanche to design the building as he pleased. Gaudí made the most of the opportunity and came up with a large-scale project. However, in 1914, six years after the construction had begun, Güell’s heirs stopped financing the works, when only the crypt had been finished.. Nevertheless, you can appreciate some of the most remarkable elements that characterised Gaudí’s work in the unfinished building, such as hyperbolic arches, voluptuous shapes and the harmony of the building with its natural surroundings. The details in trencadís, the colorful stained windows and the benches in wood and wrought iron are sure to please the Modernist genius’s fans and anyone who has a good eye for art and architecture.
After a series of changes during the Spanish Civil War and postwar period, in 1973 the colony put an end to its industrial activity and the buildings were bought by different people and organisations. In 1990 it was declared a Site of Cultural Interest and, after a series of refurbishments, it finally opened to the public in 2002. Three years later, the crypt was granted World Heritage status by UNESCO.
Making the visit an opportunity to buy fresh produce at the local farmers’ market that takes place at the colony every Saturday.
The route begins at the information centre. After picking up your map and audioguide, you can go to the permanent exhibition, which explains how the colony was built. Then you just have to follow the itinerary suggested on the map to see all the emblematic buildings and locations of the Güell Colony.
From 1st November until 30th April: Monday-Friday, 10.00-17.00; Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays, 10.00-15.00.
From 1st May until 31st October: Monday-Friday, 10.00-19.00; Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays, 10.00-15.00.
November to April)Closed: January 1st & 6th, March 29th, April 3rd, December 25th & 26th
Concessions: seniors (+65) and students.
The entrance for children under 10 years old is free (audioguide not provided).
Thanks fpr the great advice!
We decided to go on Saturday, as advised here, and it was great! We got great local produce (and inexpensive, too!). Plus Gaudi's crypt make it totally worth the detour. Easy to get there by train.