Park Guell No Longer Free
We'd been hearing rumours for a couple of years now, but we never quite believed it would happen. But is just has! Gaudi's wonderful Park Guell, one of the city's only major free attractions, is no longer gratis, as of 25th October 2013.
Instead those wishing to see these unique landscaped gardens, perched on the top of the city, above Gracia, will have to fork out 8 euros for the privilege. (At least if they wish to visit the so called "Monumental Area" of the park, where the famous trencadis lizard and viewing terraces lie, and where scenes from the movies Vicki Cristina Barcelona and L'Auberge Espagnole were shot).
Critics have said that this nothing more than the rampant commercialisation of another of Barcelona's crowning jewels, whilst the city has defended the move, by claiming that by allowing a limited number of paying visitors every half hour they will be enhancing the experience for all. In addition those residents lucky enough to be living in the neighbouring districts to the park will be entitled to a year round free visitor's card.
That hasn't appeased many of Barcelona's residents, around 200 of whom gathered at the park's entrance this month to protest the move. They have also started a petition to the Mayor demanding he reconsider the eddict, stating the following:
"At present, Park Güell is economically self-sufficient (its expenses are covered by two cafés, a museum and a souvenir shop). Closing Park Güell would create a precedent for privatizing an open green area that was originally intended for public use and the enjoyment of all citizens.
At the 'Plataforma Defensem el Park Güell' we insist that there are other ways to handle the deterioration (through the tourist tax which the city has already imposed) and overcrowding (by making arrangements for tour buses to visit in shifts) of the park that would allow this space, which belongs to all of Barcelona's residents, to continue to be enjoyed."
You can read more about the petition and sign it here if you are in agreement.