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Casa Vicens in Barcelona

Casa Vicens is known as Gaudí’s first house, but it wasn’t until 2017 that it opened to the public for the first time. As one of the city’s newest attractions, it’s becoming more popular by the day. The beautiful and unique design of the house, with Gaudí’s typical features, makes it a very interesting place to visit. Not surprisingly, Casa Vicens has won several architecture awards and is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

What to See and Do at Casa Vicens

Gaudí’s Casa Vicens was until recently a relatively unknown place. Due to its secluded location and private ownership, it remained off the radar for most tourists. But that changed in 2017, when Casa Vicens opened as a museum to the general public. Since then, the popularity of Casa Vicens has only increased, and rightfully so, as what is known as “Gaudí’s first house” is very special to see!

Although the house has been restored several times and some parts, such as the original garden, have been lost, plenty of original details have been preserved and you can learn a lot about Gaudí and Modernism during your visit.

The House

Casa Vicens was built between 1883 and 1885 as a summer house for the Vicens family and is considered one of the first works of Catalan Modernism. A freshly graduated Antoni Gaudí distinguished himself from his contemporaries and built this unique colorful house, based on red bricks and natural stones, painted tiles, beautiful decorative elements, and Eastern influences (especially Mudejar, Persian, and Byzantine).

Originally, the house had only three facades and was oriented southwest to ensure sufficient sunlight. The garden was much larger at the time and included a beautiful waterfall and many Mediterranean plants. Gaudí also succeeded in bringing nature into the house by applying natural elements to the decoration of the house. For example, we see palm tree leaves in the wrought iron gate and yellow painted flowers in the house’s tiles.

Museum Casa Vicens
Museum Casa Vicens

Gaudí divided the summer house into four floors: the basement for storage and the kitchen; the ground floor for the living room, dining room, smoking room, and veranda; the first floor for the bedrooms and bathroom; and the second for the household staff.

During the visit, you are allowed in all the rooms, although not all of them are fully restored or furnished. For example, the kitchen and the staff’s rooms are missing. There are also few pieces of furniture. However, the most beautiful and important rooms have been restored to their original state. With a little imagination, you can envision what it was like back then.

The Veranda

The semi-open veranda on the ground floor was one of the most important spaces in the construction and is still one of the biggest attractions during a visit to Casa Vicens. This veranda was intended as a semi-open space to connect the inside of the house with the garden. The Vicens family spent their summers here.

The Veranda Casa Vicens
The Veranda Casa Vicens

The Smoking Room

Another impressive space in the house is the blue smoking room, where Gaudí was clearly inspired by the Mudejar style. This room was where the men of the house gathered. There was also a ladies’ room, the tocador, located directly above the smoking room and notable for the beautiful painting on the ceiling.

The Smoking Room of Casa Vicens
The Smoking Room of Casa Vicens

The Bathroom

During a visit to Casa Vicens, you can catch a glimpse of the bathroom and toilet. Perhaps commonplace for us, but having a bathroom with its own water system in the house was very innovative at the time. In this way, Casa Vicens was a real pioneer. Presumably, the house was supplied with water from underground mines.

The Roof Terrace

The roof terrace of Casa Vicens is also a very photogenic spot. Decorated with various turrets, now so typical of Gaudí’s houses, the roof terrace of Casa Vicens offers a beautiful view of the street and the neighborhood where the house is located.

The Roof Terrace of Casa Vicens
The Roof Terrace of Casa Vicens

Exhibition Spaces

Spread over the first and second floors is an exhibition space. It shows, among other things, the history of Casa Vicens, its residents, and the architectural value of this house. You will find small replicas of the house, original drawings and documents, old photos, and videos that tell the story of Casa Vicens.

Also interesting to see is the exhibition with scale models of houses by Gaudí’s contemporaries: from Victor Horta to Joseph Maria Olbrich.

Exhibition Space in Casa Vicens
Exhibition Space in Casa Vicens

In het Casa Vicens worden daarnaast regelmatig activiteiten en workshops georganiseerd, sommige daarvan gericht op het jonge publiek. Raadpleeg hiervoor hun agenda.

Souvenir Shop

In the old cellars of Casa Vicens, you will find a projection room and a souvenir shop with various design items, books about Gaudí and Modernism, and nice objects inspired by Casa Vicens to give as gifts or to buy as souvenirs.

The Garden and Café

In my opinion, the garden of Casa Vicens is one of the highlights of the house. Not only do you enjoy a beautiful view of the house from the garden, but with its many beautiful plants and palm trees, the garden is also worth a visit in itself. A true green oasis in the middle of the city.

The terrace of the adjacent Cafetería Hofmann of Casa Vicens also offers some seating in the garden where you can sit and enjoy this whole experience in peace. Order something delicious (the food comes from the famous Hofmann hospitality school) and your visit will be complete.

History of Casa Vicens

Casa Vicens was built between 1883 and 1885 in the then isolated village of Gràcia as a summer house for stockbroker Manuel Vicens. It was the first major work of a newly graduated Antoni Gaudí and now symbolizes one of the first buildings in Modernista style. Gaudí broke with the prevailing architectural historicism and eclecticism and anticipated this entirely new architectural style in a pure and intuitive way. According to sources, Barcelonans enthusiastically responded to the exoticism of Casa Vicens.

The summer house remained in the family’s possession until Manel Vicens’ widow, Dolors Giralt, sold the house to Antoni Jover i Puig in 1899. The Jover family made quite a few changes, such as dividing the property into three homes (one per floor) and adding a chapel in the garden, all under the leadership of architect J. B. Serra Martínez, who ensured that Gaudí’s spirit was not lost during the work. With this, Casa Vicens won the prize for the best building in Barcelona in 1927.

In 1969, Casa Vicens was declared a historic monument of national cultural importance and later, in 2005, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Casa Vicens, which was for sale for seven years, was bought in 2014 by the Andorran bank MoraBanc. A team of professionals led by José Antonio Martínez Lapeña, Elías Torres, and David García restored the property and the garden as far as possible to its original design. On November 16, 2017, Casa Vicens opened its doors as a museum for the first time and the hard work of the restoration team was rewarded with a position in the finals of the prestigious FAD Awards of 2018.

Casa Vicens Tickets

Tickets for Casa Vicens are only available online. This reduces queues and allows you to go straight to the house upon showing your online purchased ticket (printed or on a smartphone).

Online tickets for Casa Vicens are available with or without a time slot. Once inside, you can walk around as long as you like and see everything. For extra advantage, you can also choose to order a ticket combination for Casa Vicens online.

Note: children up to and including 10 years old are admitted free of charge. Reduced rates for students (ages 12 to 25), retirees (+65), and people with disabilities. Free for members of ‘ICOM’, ‘Club Super3’, and companions of people with disabilities. Discount for members of ‘Carnet Jove’ and ‘Red Bibliotecas’.

Casa Vicens Tour

For just a few euros extra per person, you can also join a guided tour at Casa Vicens. During the 75 to 90-minute tour, the guide tells you all the ins and outs about Casa Vicens, its residents, Gaudí’s work, and the architectural value of the building, and there is room for all your questions. The tours are offered several times a day in different languages. Languages: Catalan, Spanish, English, and French.

Free Visit to Casa Vicens

The Casa Vicens museum is free to visit on May 22, the day of Saint Rita, and also during the European Museum Night.

How to Get to Casa Vicens

Casa Vicens is located in the Gràcia district, just outside the center of Barcelona. To get there, it is best to take the green metro line to Fontana (L3) or Lesseps (L3) and then walk to Casa Vicens.

Useful information

Price: Normal €16 (€12 for visitors aged 12 to 25, and €14 for visitors over 65 and people with disabilities). Children up to 11 years old are admitted free.

The guided tour costs an additional €3.50 per person.

Tip: Free entry during Museum Night and on Saint Rita’s Day (May 22).

Opening Hours: Open daily from April to mid-October from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

From mid-October to March from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM (on Mondays from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM).

On December 31st open until 5:00 PM. Closed on December 25, January 1, and January 6.

Address: Carrer de les Carolines, 20-26 08012 Barcelona

Public Transport:

Metro: Fontana (L3), Lesseps (L3), Pl. Molina (L7)

Bus: 22, 24, 27, 87, D40, N4, V17

Train: Sant Gervasi (S5, S5S, S6)