19 April 2017: Day 5 – Casa Batlló
Built between 1904 and 1906, Casa Batllo is the most emblematic work of the brilliant Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí. A remodel of a previously built house, it was redesigned in 1904 by Gaudí and has been refurbished several times after that. Due to its visceral, skeletal organic quality, it was named by locals as Casa dels ossos (House of Bones). There are few straight lines, and much of the façade is decorated with a colorful mosaic made of broken ceramic tiles. The unique roof is arched and likened to the back of a dragon. I will not go into further detail so you can see the place for yourself.
Buy Your Tickets The Smart Way
Here I am not going to list a bunch of places to get your tickets. I am just going to tell you the best way I found. As of 19 April 2017, the adult ticket is priced at €23.50, making this one of the highest priced attractions I have ever been to. Due to the high price tag of entry, Casa Batllo was not as popular as Sagrada Familia. When we were there, there wasn’t an awfully long queue so it’s really up to you if you wish to buy it online or just wing it at the ticket counter. But summer might be tricky.
Prior to my trip, I had searched all over the internet and found 0 results for discounts, except if you had the Barcelona Card. But that card made no sense to me because transport is so cheap (T10); I did not visit a ton of museums; or need an hop-on-hop-off bus. So I found the next best thing: a website that (1) saved me €1 per ticket (2) time from queueing (3) it is open dated (for a period of time).
Yes you read it right. This option gave me an open dated ticket. I did not have to force myself to pick a date or time to buy the ticket unlike at the official website. The only setback was you’ll still have to go to a counter to collect your ticket but that queue was very short when we were there (barely a queue).
I’d admit I was a little paranoid about not buying it from the official site so I checked to verify it. Then I bought it in good faith (with Paypal as a backup plan if I needed to lodge a complaint). I verified it again in person on my first day in Barcelona and the staff said it works. So tried and tested – I just helped you save €1 (but bear in mind cross border charges and forex) but it saves you from queueing. Please note this website is a referral to Ticketbar and somehow she managed to offer it with the discount. So if you buy it from Ticketbar, you still pay the same price as the official site.
Best Time To Visit Casa Batllo Is In The Morning
I remembered checking the weather forecast for a sunny day to visit Casa Batllo. I even postponed this visit because of the forecast. We went in early at around 9.30am because we wanted to catch Casa Batllo in the best light. Casa Batllo looks best in the morning because the that is when the sun shines onto the front facade where the large windows are. We saw small clusters of people even though the place was not crowded. And because the space is a little tight, you will get people in every photo. You will need lots of patience and quick action to snap a photo without a person in it.
I think I was most annoyed with the SmartGuide that everyone was given. It came with huge blue earphones that just stood out in every photo. This is an audioguide combined with an augmented reality video display. Imagine yourself holding a smartphone with headphones. Then you walk all over and scan your surroundings to see how the rooms look like with furniture, etc. Everyone would be doing that and most of us would be so absorbed we wouldn’t realise we were in someone else’s shot. Hence the rare chance of getting a photo without people in it. And what’s worse is everyone is wearing bright blue headphones which really spoiled the photos.
Another Masterpiece by Antoni Gaudi
I will not go into the detail about this place. To some, they can skim through quite quickly and finish the tour in an hour. But we took our time, especially me, to go through every detail. I think we spent almost all morning there. I really was quite enamoured by the extreme detail of Gaudi’s works. Chris even pointed out an amazing feature of the faceted glass that we saw at the stairwell going up. You can only truly visualise this when you watch this video he shot. See this short clip to know what Gaudi may have wanted it to look like.
Casa Batllo is truly an amazing masterpiece. I cannot go into detail or it will just ruin your experience. Go with an open mind and explore the place on your own. Having seen both Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllo, I have to admit my experience at Sagrada Familia was more enjoyable. Perhaps I had already seen too many photos of Casa Batllo or maybe because it is much smaller. Or maybe the ticket price played a part. I’ve heard Casa Milà being a better option than Casa Batllo but I skipped it. If you’ve seen both, what did you think? Which would you have picked as a better attraction to visit if you could only choose one?