Barcelona architecture photography tour
Our Barcelona Architecture Photography Tour will leave a lasting impression on your photography.
When most travellers think of iconic sites in Barcelona, the same name tends to be on everyone’s minds – Gaudi. But as much genius that is evident in his work and the legacy that remained, Barcelona has many other notable Catalan architects, resulting in a city with a unique combination of Romanic, Gothic, Medieval, Art Nouveau and Ultra-Modern architecture that have amalgamated harmoniously into the stunning beauty that is Barcelona.
With this in mind, we have put together a full day Barcelona Architecture Photography Tour for the avid photographer. As with our other photo day tours, this is a private tour for individuals, couples or small groups. And it is not just the magnificent palaces, churches, gardens, street lights, mechanical elevators, open plazas and other structures in their entirety that are so photogenic. From the smallest details found in Gaudi street tiles to brass Modernist door handles, you will find a diversity in Barcelona’s architecture like no where else. On arriving to Barcelona, it will be apparent why this city has the most UNESCO World Heritage sites within Europe. For further information on these sites, we have written an article on a Photographer’s Guide to Barcelona’s World Heritage Sites. For the photographer whose interest lies in the genre of architectural photography, Barcelona is hard to beat.
A tripod is necessary [preferably a travel tripod] so if you don’t plan on bringing one, please let us know and we will bring one for you. You would also need to bring a fully charged battery [preferably 2], and enough space on your camera’s memory card. The tour is designed for all skill levels, from beginners to semi-pro’s. The more advanced photographer may wish to bring solid and graduated neutral density filters to add artistic effects to skies, balance exposure levels or to remove people in scenes on long exposures. With some exceptions, the tour is designed to photograph the exterior of these sites, however they can be customised to include the interiors of specific locations on request. These could include works by Gaudi, such as the Sagrada Familia & Casa Batllo, or Domenich i Montaner’s Hospital de Sant Pau for example. The tour is designed to last for 7 hours and end at the last site 30 minutes after Blue Hour, therefore the start time changes each month according to the light. Likewise, for photographers that prefer to work a scene, and in a more relaxed pace, we recommend spreading the tour out over 2 days. A typical itinerary for this tour would run as follows:
We meet our guests at our usual meeting point in Plaza Catalunya. While walking to our first location, we will have some pleasant introductions, talk about your skill level, what you are trying to achieve in your photography, the stumbling blocks you encounter and how we can help you take control of your camera. We will also discuss technical and creative aspects unique to architectural photography.
Barcelona Architecture Photography Tour itinerary
Cathedral, Cloisters & Gothic quarter: The first location we arrive to is the Gothic quarter. Centred around the Cathedral that Dates back to the 13th century, the Gothic quarter is one of Barcelona’s most photogenic neighbourhoods. Through a massive restoration project, the narrow streets, open plazas and buildings have been renovated to their original glory, though still show testament to it’s turbulent history. Surrounding the oldest synagogue in Europe, the ancient Jewish quarter may very well be considered a photographer’s dream. At night, this area transforms into a labyrinth of photo opportunities at every turn. We also include a large part of our Night Photography Tour in the Gothic quarter.
Catalan Music Palace: Passing through the Gothic quarter, and crossing the old Roman road arrives to the Catalan Music Palace. Apart from being an exceptional music hall, it is the only music venue in the world in the Art Nouveau style listed as a World Heritage Site. As an important part of Catalan culture and identity, this crowning jewel of Modernism designed by Lluis Domenech i Montaner is created around a metal structure and maximises the use of natural light through its stained glass windows and stunning skylight. The ornate details that abound are predominantly created from iron, stone, ceramic and glass. If you have the time, viewing a performance at this venue will be a memorable event.
Block of Discord: From the Catalan Music Palace, we pass by Plaza Catalunya to arrive to the Paseo de Garcia. A beautiful wide open boulevard famous for it’s high-end stores and hotels, it also contains some of Barcelona’s best examples of Catalan Modernist architecture. Here we will photograph the exteriors of works by 4 of Barcelona’s most famous architects. Located on a unique block, and known as the Block of Discord, the architects literally competed against each other to see who would create the most spectacular building. These landmarks make up the Casa Batllo, Casa Amatller, Casa Lleo Morera & Casa Mulleras. The effort and thought that went into these buildings is truly astounding.
La Pedrera: While heading further up the Paseo de Gracia, we will pass by the beautifully ornate, wrought iron street lamps and public benches. Built by Gaudi, these light up the pavement tiles [also designed by Gaudi]. A few blocks up the road arrives to another Gaudi monument – La Pedrera. An apartment block that looks like a quarry, it is hard to find a single straight edge in this building. This continues to the interior doors, ceilings, walls and interior patio. The chimney stacks and ventilation ducts on the roof depict holy warriors, and are excellent photographic subjects in themselves, as is shooting directly up into the open patio from the ground floor.
MACBA & CCCB: Located in the Raval neighbourhood lies 2 adjacent museums [The Museum of Contemporary Art & The Centre of Contemporary Culture]. Stark modern architecture where shapes, forms and reflections are projected onto each other, and the buildings entirety can make for great backgrounds. Including people in your shots can add a sense of space and scale to the buildings. The plaza in front of the MACBA is a regular hangout for skateboarders, which can add an extra element to your images.
Hospital de Sant Pau: Yet another stunning building, this Modernist masterpiece is actually a series of pavilions, gardens and underground tunnels. Another of Lluis Domenech i Montaner’s works, it is also one of the city’s 9 World Heritage Sites. The architect had envisioned a tranquil place where patients can recover in surroundings found in nature, rather than sterile hospital wards. This is evident in the organic shapes and motifs in floral ceramics. Even the rooftops have been fashioned into beautifully ornate stained glass and tiles. The recent renovation work has been a massive undertaking, and the original hospital is now shown in it’s original glory.
Sagrada Familia: Located nearby to the Hospital de Sant Pau is Gaudi’s most impressive and important work. Gaudi died in an accident during it’s construction, and was never able to see this amazing structure finished. In fact, it is an ongoing process and is now expected to be completed more than 100 years after his death. On completion, it’s 18 towers will make the Sagrada Familia the tallest church in the world. Gaudi’s methods in architectural design are still considered to be revolutionary to this day. On first viewing, the traveller’s jaw is likely to drop upon viewing such a magnificent structure, even before completion. For guests that like to photograph the interior, we arrange to do this around 1 hour before sunset when the low-angled sunlight enters the stained glass to throw magical colours into the interior.
Magic Fountain & National Palace [or Torre Agbar and Diagonal Mar]: To end our Barcelona Architecture Photography Tour, we add either the Magic fountain at the base of the National Palace, or the Torre Agbar at the high-tech Diagonal Mar neighbourhood. In terms of architectural design, both sites could not be more different from each other. However shooting either one, which have a stunning range of colour against the deep blue sky during Blue Hour would make for an excellent ending to a memorable tour.
To see our full range of itineraries, you can return to the Barcelona Photography Tours page.