Nearly everyone’s “Must See” list in Barcelona includes a visit to the Antoni Gaudi apartment building Casa Milà (commonly called La Pedrera). It’s widely considered a modernist masterpiece and WELL worth a trip.
But when you go to buy your tickets, you’ll be faced with a tough choice. You can tour La Pedrera by day OR by night. My husband and I chose to do BOTH (you can purchase a ticket that allows you entry to both tours), but for those who don’t have as much time and must choose just ONE of the two experiences, I wanted to give you the inside scoop between day and night so you can make the best decision for your trip.
La Pedrera by Day
I’m starting with this because it’s the more popular option.
- The Apartment!! This is the primary reason to choose the day tour over the night tour. At night, you miss out on seeing an actual apartment in Casa Milà, decorated with furnishings and art from the early 1900s. During the day, you get to wander through one of these apartments (there were four on each floor) and get a glimpse at Gaudi’s interior architecture and the lives of the bourgeois residents. It’s interesting as an example of early 20th century bourgeois lifestyle–even if it is a subdued example of interior architecture by Gaudi–but it’s not the best nor most stunning part of the building.
The best parts of La Pedrera are the two interior courtyards and the roof, which you experience on both tours. You’ll also see the attic on both tours (which houses some fascinating material in a little museum).
- Cheaper: The day tour is 23 Euro (if you pre-order online) as opposed to 34 Euro at night
- Flexibility. You can either pre-order your day tickets online and choose what time you want to arrive or you can just head on down to La Pedrera every day from 9 AM to 6 PM, stand in line like at any museum, buy a ticket and walk right in. You also get to spend as much time inside as you’d like. (It’s a self-guided audio tour, so go as fast or as slow as you want).
- On the other hand, nighttime tickets are limited. Pre-order your tickets and admission time in advance for an evening tour. You’re also with a guide at night, so your time inside of La Pedrera is limited to about an hour.
Gaudi’s Pedrera: The Origins
Title of the nighttime tour
- Small group, no crowds. There were only 10 of us on our evening tour. We had the whole place to ourselves (except for the residents of the four apartments that are STILL OCCUPIED!). You have a private guide taking you around (the personal guide was, OF COURSE, far superior to the audio guide during the day). It’s a personalized, private experience. At the end of the night, my husband and I were the last two up on the roof (we were taking our time)… You’ll never get that whole roof to yourself during the day.
- More beautiful. The building was simply more beautiful at night. At night, the building comes alive — under the lights and the moon — as though it can relive its glory days 100 years ago. The colors, curves, and strangeness all seem more distinct. During the day, you’ll spot some dirt and cracks (natural with age). Plus, the protective fences on the roof are much more visible during the bright of day, but at night… all of these elements fade into the darkness. The building itself seems to shine brighter and it’s easier to imagine it as it once was.
- The light show. At the end of the tour, you end up on the roof where you’ll experience a 20-minute light and music show (it’s impossible to explain or capture in pictures). Lights — images of nature and history — are projected onto Gaudi’s distinctive architectural roof elements for an experience not likely forgotten. It’s strange, immersive, and stunning… Plus, you’re overlooking Barcelona with the moon shining down overhead. This light show makes you see the building, not as it is today 100 years after it was built, but as it must’ve existed in Gaudi’ imagination.
- Glass of Cava. To top it all off, you’ll enjoy a glass of Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) before you set back off into Barcelona. It’s not a major reason to pick the night version, but a nice surprise waiting in the final courtyard of your tour.
All in all, I’d try to do both. If you DO visit both, see the night version FIRST, and the day second. Go into the night version unprepared for what you are about to experience… it will only make it better.
If you can only see one: You may have a strong reason for wanting to visit an apartment (you’re an absolute Gaudi fanatic OR you’re obsessed with how the bourgeois lived in early 20th century Barcelona)… If you feel emotionally compelled to see a replica of an apartment, you obviously have to choose the day tour. But if you want to EXPERIENCE La Pedrera as I believe Gaudi wanted it to be experienced, I’d go with the night tour. You won’t be sorry.
If you’ve visited La Pedrera, I’d love to hear your opinions and impressions!