The former hospital Sant Pau is Barcelona’s window to art nouveau. The moment you enter the gate, you know you’re inside a place that would take you to bygone times. You’d never even know that in the past, these buildings were used as hospitals. From outside, the pointed spires and well-decorated walls and windows give you a Gothic feel but wait until you see its interior.
Where is it. I’m not really good at remembering address but it’s less than 10 minutes walk from Sagrada de Familia. My google map led me there. If you ask a local who lives around Sagrada, there’s no way he won’t know. If you find a gas station at the corner, and facing it, follow the street on its left lined with cafes. The closest subway/metro is Sant Pau or Dos de Main.
What is art nouveau? As far as I know, it’s simply a style of decorative art in architecture. Europe has a lot of these. Sant Pau Hospital is one of Europe’s well-preserved art nouveau establishments.
Heritage Site. Due to its historical, artistic and cultural significance, UNESCO declared the complex as a heritage site.
What’s inside. There are gardens and buildings that used to be hospitals. However, many of these structures aren’t open when I was there. The main building (the one you see at the entrance) was the only one where visitors were allowed to get in. The rest were closed or were under renovation. There was an exhibition in one of the buildings but the doors were closed. Nowadays, it houses the Catalan Library.
Look up and down. Whether you’re admiring its exterior or interior, the decorative details will leave you breathless. Scan every facade, domes, tiles, walls, sculptures, frescoes, stained-glass windows, doors and buttresses. The incredible patterns all harmonize to create a space that could, perhaps, heal wounded patients.
Tour. They have tours but only at certain times of the day. Or do it on your own.
Saving Tips in Barcelona
With so many things to do and places to see, Barcelona can be overwhelming for a visitors. If you’re a kind of traveler who doesn’t like taking public transport and long queues at the ticket booth, I’d recommend you buy Barcelona Pass. This pass will take you to places that you shouldn’t miss in the city. Click here and see how much you can save.
I stayed in these two hostels in Barcelona: Urbany Hostel BCN Go and TOC Hostel Barcelona. I’d recommend both. They’re in good location and very accessible to the metro. There are also shops and restaurants all around the area. However, when it comes to comfort and amenities, I’d prefer TOC Hostel because the rooms are spacious and beds are sturdy. They have nice cafe and swimming pool, too!