Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site: El Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau

The main entrance to the old Hospital de Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site in Barcelona.
Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site

A Short walk from the Sagrada Familia, the Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau is one of Barcelona’s most interesting architectural and historical attractions.

Built at the start of the 20th century, the site comprises twenty-seven Art Nouveau buildings and was a working hospital as recently as 2009.

In 2014, after almost five years of extensive restoration, the former hospital re-opened as an open-air museum where visitors can wander freely and enjoy the unique architecture and tranquil surroundings.

A stone bust of Pau Gil on a tall stone base. In front of the statue sit three figures. In the background you can see the decorative arches leading into the hospital.
Statue of Pau Gil

History of the Hospital de Sant Pau

The Hospital de la Santa Creu was founded in 1401 by merging six smaller medieval hospitals.

When wealthy banker Pau Gil Sarra died in 1896, he left 3,060,000 pesetas (approximately 19,000€) to construct a new public hospital.

In 1902, work began on a state-of-the-art new hospital complex designed by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. In 1916 the Hospital de la Santa Creu, now renamed as L’Hospital de la Santa Creu I Sant Pau, transferred to the new location which was finally inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII in 1930.

The revolutionary new hospital comprised of twenty-seven pavilions surrounded by gardens and interconnected by a system of tunnels that were used to transfer patients from operating rooms to the wards.

Eighty years later, a new modern hospital was built on the north side of the grounds. When the new facilities were inaugurated in 2009, the old hospital closed and underwent extensive renovation. Currently, twelve of the pavilions have been painstakingly restored.

Art nouveau styled stone arches, pillars and pink tiled ceilings in the Sant Pau Art Nouveau site
Main entrance hall in the Administration Pavilion

About the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site

In 2014, the complex reopened as the Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau, or Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site in English.

Currently, six of the restored pavilions, including the Administration Building, Sant Rafael Pavilion, Sant Jordi Pavilion and Operations Pavilion, are open to the public.

Other buildings are used by organizations such as the World Health Organisation, Casa Asia, the United Nations and the European Forest Institute.

A decorated stone cross in front of the operations building at the Sant Pau Art Nouveau site Barcelona.
The Operations building

Visiting the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site

The visit begins in the underground tunnel system that connects the buildings above. Ghostly black and white images projected on the white tiled walls portray how the passages were used to transport patients between the wards and the operating theatre.

Leaving the tunnels, we enter the St. Salvador Pavilion, which contains a series of display boards explaining the history of the hospital and the work of Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

Throughout the visit, you should make sure you look up frequently so as not to miss the decorated ceilings.

The highly decorative ceiling with glass dome above the staircase of the administration building of the Sant Pau Art Nouveau site in Barcelona
Ceiling above the main staircase, administration building.

Although not all of the pavilions are open to the public, you are free to explore the grounds and admire the exteriors, which are decorated with statues and mosaics recounting the hospital’s history. The letters PG appear frequently, a tribute to the hospital’s main benefactor, Pau Gil.

One of the most impressive buildings is the central Operations Pavilion, which includes an operating theatre with large windows and a glass roof to maximise available light.

You should also make sure you take a look inside the Sant Rafael Pavilion, which has been restored and furnished as it would have been during the 1920s, complete with hospital beds and antique cast iron radiators.

The outside of the Sant Salvador pavilion complete with a yellow tiled dome and blue and white tiled turret and a stone statue of the saint.
Sant Salvador Pavilion

Finally, the jewel in the crown is the elegant Administration Pavilion, which is the largest and most highly decorated of the buildings. Tiles and mosaics feature prominently in Catalan Modernism, and Lluís Domènech i Montaner was a leading exponent. Even so, the variety of designs in the Administration Pavilion is extraordinary.

The hospital grounds and some of the pavilions are occasionally used for private events, most of which take place in the evenings.


When this happens, some areas close earlier than normal.

If visiting during the afternoon, I recommend that you check with staff at the ticket desk on arrival to see whether any buildings will be closing early.

This Wikipedia page gives an introduction to the mosaics which can be seen throughout the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site.

Highly decorated partly tiled walls inside the administration building of the Hospital de Sant Pau Art Nouveau site
Administration Building


Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Claret 167, Barcelona

How to get there

The nearest metro stop is Sant Pau I Dos de Maig on the L5 blue line. Take the Cartagena exit from the metro station then walk 1 block uphill to the entrance.

The Barcelona City Tour bus stops by the main entrance. Stop number 12 on the grey line.

Opening hours

April – October:
Mon – Sat 09:30 – 18:30
Sundays and public holidays, 09:30 – 14:30
November – March:
Mon – Sat 09:30 – 16:30
Sundays and public holidays, 09:30 – 14:30

Photo of statues and other decorative features above one of the entrances to the old Hospital de Sant Pau Art Nouveau site in Barcelona.
Decorative elements. Sant Pau Art Nouveaux Site

Entry fee

Adults (30 and over) €17 (Guided tour €21.00)
Teens and young adults (12 – 29) €11.90 (Guided tour €14.70)
Children under 12 years FREE
Audio guide €4

Buy tickets online here>>


The Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site is one of the ten attractions covered by the Barcelona Card Modernista.

20% discount with the Barcelona Card and Barcelona Card Express.

The site can be visited free of charge on the first Sunday of every month plus the following dates: Feb 12th, April 23rd, May 8th and Sept 24th. More information.

Information in English

Yes, there are display boards and leaflets in English as well as an English language audio guide.

Time needed to visit

You should allow approximately an hour and a half to visit the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site. The guided tour lasts an hour and a quarter.

Iron gates in front of the main entrance to the Hospital de Sant Pau art nouveau site, Barcelona
Iron gates in front of the main entrance

Other attractions nearby


Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Claret 167, Barcelona

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *