Barcelona is often known for its beautiful architecture, football team, food and beaches. However, what you might not associate with Barcelona is its tiles.
Yes, we mean the tiles you see on the street. The ones that you walk on.
With so much to admire in the city, tiles might not be the first thing you notice. Nonetheless, such a seemingly simple aspect as Barcelona’s tiles has become a historic masterpiece of design and has become the symbol of the city. Each region within the city has its own tile. Originally, each property owner was responsible for paving the 2,5 metres of land in front of their building themselves. However, this led to the nickname of ‘Can Fanga’ (‘The Mud House’) since pavements were unorganised and caused chaotic and mud-filled streets.
The tiles, also called panots in Catalan, come in different shapes, but all in the same sizes (of 20 square centimetres). We will share the three most popular examples with you, so you can be on the lookout while exploring the city.
The Tiles of Barcelona
Tiles of Barcelona
Flor de Barcelona
This is probably the most famous and most used tile that can be found in the city. So much so that it has become the urban symbol of the city. It was introduced in 1926 and seen as the main tile in the neighbourhood L’Eixample.
This pattern is famous amongst tourists as well as locals and can be seen printed on everything from bags, clothing, chocolate bars, purses and jewellery to local company’s logos.
La Ruta del Modernisme
Translated: The Modernism Rout. This tile might be the most noticeable, since it has a red circle in the middle. It is a round shaped Flor de Barcelona tile that marks all the important modernist buildings or symbols in Barcelona. In total, there are 115 of these tiles spread around the city. So when you ever see one, make sure to look up as well and find what this tile is representing!
The Pedrera Tile
This is considered to be the second, most famous tile in the city and is designed by the well known Antoni Gaudí. Initially, this tile was only meant for la Pedrera. This is another name for one of Gaudi’s famous buildings in Barcelona, also called Casa Mila.
Where to go tile spotting?
Passeig de Gràcia
The luxury shopping street of Barcelona. On the right side of the street (going uptown) between Gran Via and Diputació, you can find some of the last original Gaudí street tiles.
Passeig de Gràcia 41
Here you will be able to see the original Flor de Barcelona tiles in the entryway of Casa Amatller.
Here you will be able to find almost all of the principle tile patterns. If you start at Passeig de Gràcia and continue walking on Diputació towards Plaç d’Espanya you can find even the oldest ones!