I agree with Nuria that the best way to understand Modernisme movement is to go on a walking tour. There are many Modernisme walking tours, but the one offered by Barcelona Tourism is the best. The English tour is at 15:30 hours and costs 14.40 € [when booked online].
The Modernisme tour is for two hours.
- The walking tour does not entail a visit to the interior of any Modernisme building. The tour will take you thru several buildings where you can only see the external façades.
- Tour includes discount in entry fee for some of Modernisme buildings (but does not include popular building like Sagrada Familia for instance)
- Tour includes a discount for the purchase of Modernisme Trail pack. If you are a serious student of Modernisme architecture, you should buy the trial pack [Modernisme Route Pack].
- The Barcelona Modernisme Route detailed in the Modernisme Route Pack
kit is a do-it-yourself itinerary that takes you through the Barcelona of Gaudí, Domènech i Montaner and Puig i Cadafalch. A total of 120 modernisme wonders which includes buildings and items such as chemists’, shops, lampposts, and benches have been discussed. The kit also includes discount coupons to many of the Modernisme buildings.
Once you get an overview of Modernisme from the walking tour, you can plan a more detailed itinerary covering other Modernisme monuments.
Video - Barcelona: Architectural Modernisme Showcase
Best way to understand Modernisme movement in Barcelona is to go on a walking tour. The recommended one is that conducted by Barcelona Tourism Office. The 2 hour tour starts from Turisme de Barcelona Tourist Information Point at pl. de Catalunya 17. The tour is an excellent way to get introduced to concepts of Modernisme, its impact on Barcelona and influence of Catalonia culture on Modernisme.
Post the walking tour, you can purchase Modernisme Trail pack. The €12 guidebook Ruta del Modernisme available at Modernisme Museum is very handy for DIY Modernisme tours.
Modernisme movement is the greatest contribution of Barcelona to the field of art and architecture. Modernisme movement imbibed the broader Art Nouveau trend that was prevalent in Europe and fused it with Catalan spirit.
Just like Art Nouveau, Modernisme influenced all spheres of activity. However, it was in architecture, especially in Passeig de Gràcia Avenue of Barcelona, that Modernisme reached its true pinnacle.
Modernisme Walking Tour
This tour organized by Barcelona Turisme comes highly recommended. For one, it is well organized but still short – just 2 hours. English tours are normally scheduled in the evening [6PM in peak season and 3:30 PM in other months].
The Modernism walking tour highlights origins and history of the Modernisme movement, and contributions of architects beyond Gaudi, to the Modernisme movement. For instance, the work of Domènech i Montaner, who played a key role in the definition of “Architectural Modernism” and designed Palau de la Música Catalana.
The Modernisme walking tour is around Quadrat d'Or [Golden Square], the central part of Eixample district. Quadrat d'Or located around Paseo de Gracia, between Carrer Aribau and Passeig de Sant Joan, the Gran Via and Diagonal houses most Modernisme buildings.
It is two hours well spent. You also get a complementary pass to the Modernisme museum. Online booking for Modernisme tour
Modernisme Tourism Desk
There is a special desk in the Barcelona Tourism Information counter in Plaça de Catalunya. They have a detailed map and an interesting printed guide of Barcelona’s art nouveau buildings called Modernista Barcelona. A visit to the tourism office is recommended, if you are planning to do a DIY walking tour of Modernisme buildings of Barcelona.
The tourism office ( Plaça de Catalunya, +34 932 85 38 34) did tell me that they are in the process of developing an app on Modernisme buildings of Barcelona, that will have a useful walking trail of all Modernisme buildings of Barcelona
This small museum located off Passeig de Gracia, near Casa Batllo, gives an overview of Modernisme movement, influence to and from European Art Nouveau movement, especially in the area of painting and interior design.
Unfortunately, Modernisme influence on architecture is not well represented in this museum of Modernisme.
Modernisme is more than Gaudi
See a selection of Modernista buildings in Barcelona. It is easy to be focused on Gaudi, but Modernista Architecture is more than Gaudi.
Besides Gaudi, two of the important Modernisme Architects in Barcelona were Lluís Domènech i Montaner and Josep Puig i Cadafalch.
Important Lluís Domènech i Montaner buildings in Barcelona:
- Palau de la Música Catalana, a concert hall in Gracia district
- Casa Lleó Morera, on Passeig de Gràcia
- Hospital de Sant Pau, on Carrer de St. Antoni. It is now a museum and cultural center with fantastic views of Sagrada Familia.
Important Josep Puig i Cadafalch buildings in Barcelona:
- Casa Amatller, on Passeig de Gràcia next to Casa Batllo, built for chocolatier Antoni Amatller.
- Casa Martí on Carrer de Montsió, where you will also find the famous café and restaurant Els Quatre Gats.
- Castell dels Tres Dragons on Passeig de Picasso, a cafe-restaurant dating back to 1888, and now Barcelona's Zoology Museum.
Other important Modernisme Architects and their architecture in Barcelona:
- Enric Sagnier i Villavecchia - Church of the Sacred Heart in Tibidabo and The Palau de La Justicia.
- Josep Maria Jujol i Gibert (partner of Gaudi) - Fountain of Plaça Espanya in Barcelona, Casa Planells, Torre Sansalvador.
- Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas - Arc de Triomf and Casa Pia Batlló in Rambla Catalunya.
The Modernism Tour is something I highly recommend for learning about the experts beyond Gaudi who of course became the most famous.
You will learn about Lluís Domènech i Montaner, professor of architecture. He created the Hospital de Sant Pau, his most important work, along with Palau de la Música. You must visit the Palau de La Musica interior if you can, the main hall is amazing especially the ceiling of the place. You can see here the decoration "trencadís", the traditional modernist mosaics.
La Casa Martí and Casa Amatller by Josep Puig are very close to Gaudi’s Casa Batllo. Puig was the pupil of Domènech. While you are at Casa Amatller, buy the famous Amatller chocolates, which are very good souvenirs.
The Pastelería Escribà is located in a beautiful modernist building, formerly called Casa Figueras. It is located on the Ramblas. Their sweets are very rich.