Barcelona is a fantastic showcase for Modernisme, also known as Art Nouveau, a style of architecture that was particularly popular as the city was extended in the period from 1880 to 1920. Barcelona was booming with all the building activity, the demand for textiles and the gradual return of those who had emigrated to the Americas, some returning with a considerable fortune as Spain lost its colonial territories. Wealthy industrialists commissioned new buildings and complete renovations of existing structures. Whilst the architects have received most of the attention, look out for the excellent sculptures, stained glass work and beautiful wrought iron that adorns many of the facades. The floor and wall tiles from this period also capture the colourful designs. Many older apartments still have original ceramic tiles often in great condition.
Many visitors are determined to see the famous Antonio Gaudi buildings on Passeig de Gracia (Casa Batllo and La Pedrera), La Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. Don’t limit yourselves to this however. Take a walk down Passeig de Gracia and back up Rambla de Catalunya or along some of the intersecting streets like Career Mallorca, Provenca or Rossellon and you will find modernist buildings all around.