"Here in Barcelona, it's the architects who built the buildings that made the city iconic who are the objects of admiration — not a bunch of half-witted monarchs." — Julie Burchill, "Patriotism is for Reactionaries," The Guardian, 2012

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4) Delight in Discord

Passeig de Gràcia Modernisme: The Block of Discord & La Pedrera


2023 Travel Update: As of 2023, Spain essentially is open for tourism by both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers without Covid-specific documentation or testing. However, be sure to double check the official government site for up-to-the minute details.

Barcelona's most famous shopping street — the Catalan equivalent of the Champs-Élysées in Paris — is Passeig de Gràcia. Although it began as little more than a country road between what was a much smaller Barcelona near the sea — now Ciutat Vella — and the village of Gràcia toward the mountains, it was transformed into a grand boulevard in 1852 with the creation of the massive L'Eixample addition to the city. Passeig de Gràcia soon became a street for well-to-do residents, shoppers, and tourists. It still is today.

As far as is concerned, Passeig de Gràcia is far too wide — poorly scaled in architectural parlance — but at least the sidewalks also are wide, so those on foot commonly can be far away from vehicles and their fumes. Just about any self-respecting European architect these days would prefer a narrower street, but as big streets go, Passeig de Gràcia is not an unpleasant stroll. In Barcelona, of course, there are many better streets, but Passeig de Gràcia is home to one famous block that definitely is a must-see even if you have no interest in high-end shopping or luxury hotels.

The Block of Discord

The buildings on the left side of Passeig de Gràcia — when facing away from the sea — between Carrer del Consell de Cent and Carrer d'Aragó — each were purchased by wealthy industrialists in the early 1900s. These owners hired some of the best-known architects of the day to remodel what originally were basic buildings into elaborate showpieces in an effort to outshine one another.

At the time, these renovated buildings were viewed as "overelaborate and contrived" and the block was soon dubbed the "Block of Discord" — Illa de la Discòrdia in Catalan or Mansana de la Discòrdia in Spanish — because the designs were considered to clash with one another. Of course, visitors the world over now commonly view this block as one of the most beautiful examples of Catalan Modernisme architecture, and perhaps even as a symbol of Barcelona itself. Many Parisians disliked the Eiffel Tower when it was built, as well, so the Block of Discord is in good company.

All six of the buildings on the Block of Discord have ground floor retail and are at least partially accessible to the public, but the two most famous ones — both available for complete tours — are Casa Amatller by Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudí. Another equally famous building — Casa Milà (La Pedrera) — also by Gaudí, is three blocks toward the mountains on the other side of Passeig de Gràcia. Because Casa Milà is so much larger and was built from the ground up as a Gaudí original, it arguably even is more impressive than the buildings on the Block of Discord.

The queues to tour these buildings often are extremely long, and it costs less to book tickets in advance, so you should buy tickets before visiting the area to save time and money alike. There are no free general admission days.

We have summarized the opening and closing details and advance ticket options for Casa Amatller, Casa Batlló, and Casa Milà below:

  Casa Amatller Casa Batlló Casa Milà
Regular Hours 10 AM-6 PM 9 AM-9 PM 9 AM-8:30 PM
Open Late No No 9 PM-11 PM
Nearest Metro Passeig de Gràcia (L3) Passeig de Gràcia (L3) Diagonal (L3)
Full Hours Amatller Hours Batlló Hours Milà Hours
Reserved Tickets Amatller Tickets Batlló Tickets Milà Tickets
Tickets & Tour Guide Amatller Tour Guide Batlló Tour Guide Milà Tour Guide

You also might want to consider buying The Barcelona Card. It provides "up to 50% off" Casa Batlló and Casa Milà as well as free access to the Picasso Museum; The National Art Museum of Catalonia; unlimited trips on the Metro, tram, and bus; and much more.

Eat on Rambla de Catalunya

Because Passeig de Gràcia is so popular with tourists, it's not the best area in Barcelona for food. If you don't have time to make it to a more local neighborhood, though, the beautiful, people-priority Rambla de Catalunya — one street behind the Block of Discord — likely would receive a stamp of approval from even the most selective of architecture critics. Rambla de Catalunya is such a lovely stroll and is embraced by such attractive buildings that even an average meal can seem espectacular.

On one visit to the area, we enjoyed Honest Greens for a reasonably priced, high-quality salad. If you want to stick with more Catalan options, you might enjoy Ciudad Condal or Vinitus. Both are well regarded for tapas, but Ciudad Condal offers a classic old-world ambiance; whereas, Vinitus sports a more modern vibe.

Below, we have mapped out the shortest walks from Passeig de Gràcia Station to the Block of Discord and Rambla de Catalunya. We also have noted an alternate arrival or departure at Diagonal Station, which is closest to Casa Milà (La Pedrera).

How to Get Here: For Casa Amatller and Casa Batlló, it is best to take Line 3 (Green) to Passeig de Gràcia Station and use the Aragó / Rambla Catalunya Exit. Line 2 (Purple) and Line 4 (Yellow) also connect to this portion of Passeig de Gràcia Station, but via an awkward and ugly two-block long tunnel. If it is more convenient to arrive using Line 2 or Line 4, we suggest using the Passeig de Gràcia / Gran Via Exit and walking at street level. Casa Milà (La Pedrera) is closest to Diagonal Station, Line 3 (Green), Passeig de Gràcia / Pau Claris Exit. Our preferred walk arrives at Passeig de Gràcia and departs at Diagonal.'s Passeig de Gracia & Rambla de Catalunya Map (Full Screen)

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Like Casa Batlló, Casa Amatller, or Casa Milà (La Pedrera)? Like Passeig de Gràcia or Rambla de Catalunya? Tell your friends and frenemies on social media that you discovered them first:

All 7 Things Tourists Do in Barcelona That You Should Do Also:

  • 4) Block of Discord
  • 5) Sagrada Família
  • 6) Park Güell
  • 7) Vila de Gràcia
  • 1) La Rambla
  • 2) Barri Gòtic
  • 3) La Barceloneta

Be sure to see our 7 Things Tourists Don't Do in Barcelona, but You Should, too.

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  • Writing & Photos By Brock Kyle. All Rights Reserved. Revision Published 6 January 2023. Feedback.