Tourists visit the park when there is no one controlling access in order to save money on entry!
A few minutes after six p.m. the security bands limiting access to the monumental part of the Park Güell are untied, allowing the entry of dozens of tourists who were previously waiting without tickets but with plenty of patience. The visiting hours are gone, but these folks know that is not properly like that. They know the trick: from 6:15 p.m. you no longer need to pay 8 euros to be photographed next to the salamander or to visit the pillared hall.
It is the “happy hour” of Park Güell, during which no one needs to pay and everything is allowed. At the main staircase, there are no security guards or personnel to guide tourists. Above, in the Plaza de la Natura, tourists flock to the wavy portico. They jump on the trencadís and do everything necessary to take the most original picture of their trip. This would be impossible during the rest of the day, as a watchman would ask them in a more or less friendly way to respect the heritage of the park. But at this time there is no one left with a yellow vest on, and the park becomes a place without any kind of control.
This image of complete lack of control is perfectly completed by the manteros (people who sell things illegally on the street). During regular opening hours, they spend the day on the roads of the park with the connivance of the local police. But… where there are tourists they also appear, and they also know the trick. So shortly after six o’clock in the afternoon, before the park staff has even finished removing the access bands, they are already situated on the main staircase. They sell fans, key chains, and refrigerator magnets. They place themselves strategically, opposite the salamander, where each and every one of the tourists takes a photo, and they offer selfie sticks.
The situation repeats itself every evening from mid-February to late March. When winter gradually ends and the days become longer, the end of the scheduled visiting hours in the monumental part of the park does not match the times at which tourists visit the city. Until March 25th, the official park access hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (*from 1st to 25th of March the opening hours are extended till 7:00 pm) As the sun sets later, tourists take advantage of the inconsistency with the scheduled visiting hours of the park.
The Terrace Gaudí’s House Detail of a Modernist Roof
This trick is not listed in any tourist guide, but it is starting to spread over the Internet. On the website Tripadvisor, where tourists share their assessments and recommendations on the sites they visit, many make mention of the trick to save eight euros on entry, and the most informed tourists plan their visit according to this advice in order to save money on tickets. Others discover the trick by chance and seize the opportunity.
The same phenomenon, conversely, occurs early in the morning. The sun rises before the access controls are installed and when the early-bird tourists arrive they find the park wide open. “Go to the door and enter through the payment area, there is no regulation of access until 8 am. It is the time to take all the photos you want because “there is no crowd around the dragon”, advises a Japanese user of TripAdvisor. “If you are an early bird, admission is free before 8 a.m.“ says another. Asian tourists are those who arrive earliest.
To be fair guys, we have to tell you that now is no more as 3 years ago: Barcelona Serveis Municipals (BSM), the company that is in charge of the management of the park, start thinking about a better regulation of the visiting hours to the monumental area. The current management thought that if people go at that hour, the tourist pressure can be distributed in a better visiting time schedule.
Related to that, one of the last comment in Tripadvisor coming straight from ParkGuellOfficial said: “…we inform you that this area of the park is regulated between 8:00 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. during the summer months. Before and after this time the entrance is free. However, it is necessary to take into account that due to the cataloging of Park Güell as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, artificial light elements are not allowed to be installed, so that once the sun goes down there is no illumination.”
And another visitor comment that in winter time due to the extension of the visiting hours the BSM made, the lack of light prevented them from enjoying a free visit to the park.
The opening hours of the Park are now these:
- Low season (winter-autumn):
From January 1 to March 25 (*): From 8.30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (last hour at 5.30 p.m.).
From 1 to 25 March hours extended until 7:00 p.m. (last access time at 6:00 p.m.)
From October 29 to December 31: From 08:30 AM to 6:30 PM (last access time at 5:30 PM)
- Mid season (spring):
From March 26 to April 30: From 08:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (last access time at 7:30 p.m.)
- High season (spring-summer):
From May 1 to August 27: From 08:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (last hour of access at 8:30 p.m.).
- Mid season (summer-autumn):
From August 28 to October 28: From 08:00 a.m. to 08:30 p.m. (last access time at 7:30 p.m.).
This dysfunction seems to be solved in the afternoon stage – the most uncontrolled stage – when from March 25th, the official paid visiting hours will be till 8:30 p.m. to coincide with the hour with which the clocks are delayed. From May 1 the hours are lengthened to 9:30 p.m. and in autumn it is reduced again to adjust to daylight hours.
However, in the morning, the savviest may continue taking advantage of the sunrise throughout the year and visit the park without paying.
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Source: David Guerrero, La Vanguardia
Photo Credit: globo-rojo.com
Featured Photo Credit: getyourguide.com