Read in Catalan

Park Güell is one of the architectural works by Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona that holds the category of a UNESCO world heritage site. That is why it is part of the basic circuit of every tourist who visits the Catalan capital. However, unlike other Gaudí works, such as the Casa Batlló and Casa Milà houses, or the Sagrada Família, which have Metro stops close by, in the case of Park Güell access is more complicated. The nearest Metro stops, Lesseps and Vallcarca, are at least a quarter of an hour's walk from the park entrances. In addition, to get there you have to face steep gradients and narrow streets. In short, reaching Park Güell is a bit of a hike, and getting there to find that there are no tickets left is a disappointment.

All of this means that La Salut, the neighbourhood at the uptown end of the district of Gràcia which includes the park, receives numbers of visitors and vehicles so overwhelming that the municipal government has been forced to makes some changes. First, it took the unusual step of removing from Google Maps all information regarding the neighbourhood bus line; and secondly, in a more structural way, it has come up with an action plan that includes changes to taxi ranks, extra bus services, tougher action against antisocial behaviour on public transport, an increase in the area where vehicle access is restricted to residents only, and one major measure that will directly affect tourists and visitors: from July 1st, the only way to get tickets to Park Güell will be by buying them in advance on the Internet.

park guell accessos mobilitat barcelona foto jordi palmer (2)
The ticket office at Park Güell will no longer sell tickets after July 1st, 2024 / Photo: Jordi Palmer

The measure, which is already used in other city visitor attractions such as the Sagrada Família and has been shown to be effective in reducing queues on public streets, has until now been combined with ticket sales at the gate, but that possibility will disappear on July 1st, 2024. The 2023 data shows that online sales accounted for 83% of tickets issued, and thus the change to 'online-only' will prevent the other 17% of visitors from both filling up access areas and filling in time until their allocated hour of entry. It should also reduce the number of visitors who walk up to the park only to discover to their unhappiness that there are no tickets left for that day.

Publicity campaign on the changes

The Barcelona City Council, owner of the park, considers that the exclusivity of online ticket sales "will encourage scheduled visits, generate staggered and fluid access to the park and avoid unnecessary travel and dissatisfaction when tickets are unavailable". For this reason, with the application of the new measure, a publicity campaign will be launched aimed at visitors both at their points of origin and upon arrival in Barcelona.

Congestion and queuing at the Park Güell entrances, as the Park announces its new measures.

In addition, it is worth noting that Park Güell informs of ticket availability in real time through its official channels and has collaborations activated with bodies such as the TMB public transport body, Barcelona Turisme and the Barcelona Hoteliers' Guild, who will notify visitors when tickets are not available and encourage online pre-purchase. The system of exclusive online sales will make it possible to redefine and evolve the role of the current Park Güell ticket offices, so that they take on other functions such as information services, group management, resolution of incidents and refunds, among others. The measure has been welcomed with satisfaction by local residents' group Recuperem la Salut - whose double-meaning name refers on the one hand to the name of the neighbourhood, but on the other, can be read literally as "Let's recover our health".