Up on the El Carmel hill, high above Barcelona, is Park Güell–one of the biggest architectural sites in southern Europe.
Originally meant to be a housing complex for the wealthy when it was designed in the early 1900s, it was instead made into a public park, free to enjoy even today.
Only two houses were ever built, so the garden dominates, with greenery and wildlife alongside incredibly detailed statues and architecture.
The park was designed to have a relaxing, natural atmosphere, with terraces and shaded walkways, pillars that look like trees, and a long bench shaped to look like a snake.
But the park also stimulates the imagination with stunning Art Nouveau structures and colorful mosaics made from broken tile.
You can just wander the paths and relax, or go on a hunt for all the park’s delightful oddities. The welcome center has suggested routes for getting the most out of the park.
While you’re there, visit the Gaudi House Museum, where the celebrated Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi, who designed the park, once lived.
Though Gaudi didn’t design this house, he did design the furniture inside it, as well as many of the decorations and drawings on display.
Whatever course you take, be sure to spend a few hours in Park Güell.