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Sagrada Familia Barcelona

Top Guide to Sagrada Familia: The Never-Ending Masterpiece That’s Worth the Wait

by Christian Petzold - updated August 2, 2021

The Sagrada Familia is the masterpiece of Barcelona! One of the most original, extravagant and beautiful churches you will find around the world. The jewel in the crown of Spanish modernism!

It is a catholic basilica known as the most important project of Antoni Gaudí (1852 – 1926) and one of the most representative works of Catalan Modernism. It is located in the centre of Barcelona, ​​on a 12,800 m2 plot limited by Marina, Provence, Mallorca and Sardeña streets.

The works started in 1882, and it is still under construction. A never-ending project! Do you feel curious about it? The Sagrada Familia is a wonderful and unique masterpiece you can not miss. It is the most visited monument in the city. Its magical appearance will introduce you to Gaudí´s peculiar world.

Sagrada Familia

Francisco de Paula Villar was the architect who started the design, but in 1883 Gaudí took over the project. He changed the idea completely.

Gaudí was 31 years old when he started working for the Sagrada Familia. He died at the age of 74, and he had only been able to complete a small part of the work. It took a while!

Most of Gaudí’s drawings and ideas for the Sagrada Familia project were destroyed during the Spanish civil war in 1936. After that, knowing his wishes to continue with the design became quite difficult for future generations. Also, he used to change the design and details at every moment during the works. No one knew his next step or new crazy idea for a project.

The Sagrada Familia is full of presumptions following his teachings and style. Do you think it makes it even more interesting?

The budget for the basilica was mainly financed with the contributions of charity, so not a very big budget. Due to the lack of funds, the works had to stop several times. It became a really slow process. Nowadays, the situation is much better.

Thanks to technological innovations for the construction and several important donations, The Sagrada Familia could be finished sooner than expected. Maybe in 2026, the magnificent project of Antoni Gaudí will culminate. Exactly 100 years after his death. Is that a coincidence?

The Sagrada Familia is a perfect reflection of Gaudí´s artistic fulfillment. He worked on this project for plenty of years, but it was especially during the last period of his career when he reached the culmination of his naturalistic style. You can easily appreciate it in The Sagrada Familia.

Gaudí reached perfect harmony in the interrelation between structural and ornamental elements, between plastic and aesthetic, between function and form, between content and continent, achieving the integration of all the arts in a structured and logical language.

The part that Gaudí carried out before his death, the Natividad facade and the crypt, were included in 2005 by Unesco in the World Heritage Site ¨Works of Antoni Gaudí¨. It is also one of the 12 Treasures of Spain since 2007.

What Can You Expect At the Sagrada Familia?

Gaudí designed a basilica-type floor plan following the Latin cross disposition. The main altar is above the crypt, and it is surrounded by seven apse chapels. In front of the altar, there is a transept with three naves and with the portals of the Natividad and the Pasión. Longitudinally, the central body has five naves and the Portal of la Gloria, which is considered the main entrance.

The Sagrada Familia is still under construction, and when completed, it will have 18 towers. There will be four on each portal, so a total of twelve, like the number of apostles. The basilica will have four towers on the transept, like the number of evangelists and one on the apse dedicated to the Virgin.

The main one will be a central tower-dome in honour of Jesus, which will reach 172.5 meters high. The whole project is full of symbolism! Very typical in Gaudí´s designs.

Under Construction Sagrada Familia

Gaudí estimated that the construction would last centuries. For this reason, he proposed to the construction team to build vertically instead of horizontally. So they raised and finished the facade of the apse first and of the Natividad later. The generation that had started the work would, at least, see something finished. Simultaneously, this finished facade could serve as a stimulus for future generations to continue the temple.

The Natividad Facade. The Nativity of Jesus.

Gaudí decided to start the construction with this facade. He knew the works would take years, so he wanted to start with the most impressive part, The Nativity of Jesus. It is the only fraction where he worked before his death.

The design is based on natural shapes, and it is full of religious symbolism. Like the whole project! This facade faces the east, where the sun rises, and it tells about the nativity of Jesus, the Virgin, hope, faith, charity, etc. You will find plenty of details and very original and vibrant shapes.

Here, Gaudí showed all his fantasy, one more time. The design is full of extravagant shapes, from rounded rocks to human figures and plant themes. It has four towers and three portals. The sculptures go from the bottom to the start of the bell towers. The sky is the limit!

The Pasión Facade. The Passion and Death of Jesus.

This facade represents the passion and death of Jesus. Following the idea of showing these episodes, the design has an extraordinarily bare and austere appearance. It is full of geometric shapes, and it has not so many ornaments and decorations as the Natividad facade.

The sobriety of the design is also manifested by the presence of bone-shaped columns and sober sculptures. They have been made by Josep Maria Subirachs, and they add drama to Gaudí’s already deliberately sad design. You will see two ways of designing the facades here, and how by using different elements and languages, the feeling is different.

Walk around and take your impressions. Which one do you like more?

The Gloria Facade. The Glory of Jesus.

This facade is still under construction. It will be the largest and most monumental of all, as it is the main entrance to the basilica.

Gaudí wanted to dedicate this part to the Glory of Jesus and his ascension path to Heaven. He knew he would not be able to build it, so he left some sketches and ideas for the next generations.

It will have eight columns, and the towers will rise on top. These columns will allow seven accesses dedicated to the seven sacraments.

At the access of this great portico, there will be a staircase and a monument dedicated to the main elements, like water or fire.

The Interiors

The basilica does not have straight lines, and everything has been built to imitate nature. With the different columns and stained glass windows, Gaudí tried to make the interior of the Sagrada Familia resemble a magical forest. The apse is located inside the crypt, which was built as the first part of the Sagrada Familia. The apse consists of seven chapels. On both sides of the apse, we find beautiful stairs which lead to ¨heaven¨.

The interior of the apse is decorated with the heads of angels. In the middle of the altar, on a throne, Jesus is hanging on the cross. This throne is decorated with vines and grapes and Jesus looks up asking for God’s support. It is an impressive image! The interior is full of originality and wonderful details.

Altar Sagrada Familia

Gaudí created a marvelous and vibrant masterpiece. He was so focused on his design and ideas for the Sagrada Familia, that he lived on-site during his last years. The Sagrada Familia seems to be more natural than artificial. An alive project which is changing with years, situations, styles, etc. It is not a static rock in the middle of the city. It is a growing mechanism that shows the world the magnificent mind of Antoni Gaudí, his teachings and his immortal way of looking at the world.

Are you ready to enter this spectacular symbolic forest?

Guided Tours

The Sagrada Familia is the most special and detailed project of Gaudí. If you really want to discover, learn and not miss any of the secrets of this genius, the best is to take a guided tour. You will appreciate more the story of the building and all the theories behind it. The Sagrada Familia can be considered as one of the most interesting and original basilicas in the world. So do not miss the chance, and enjoy the experience as best you can.

The visit will be made with a small group and with a knowledgeable guide. The guided tour lasts approximately one or two hours. Your visit will be unforgettable!

Inside Sagrada Familia

Visit on Your Own

You can visit the Sagrada Familia on your own and decide which parts you want to explore more. The Sagrada Familia is one of the most popular monuments in the city, so it is going to be very busy there.

It is possible to buy the tickets at the entrance, but only for that day. If you want to buy the tickets for another day, you must do it online.

Another problem can be the waiting time. Due to its popularity, the Sagrada Familia is going to be crowded, so you might be waiting for hours till you can finally enter.

If you want to use your time smartly, buy your tickets in front. Avoiding long lines, you will have more time to enjoy the visit. And better memories!

If you want to take nice pictures, it is better to go early in the morning or later in the evening. You will find fewer people and your pictures will be nicer. If you know how to catch the lights through the stained glass windows, your pics will be stunning! You would need approximately one or two hours for this visit. The opening times change depending on the season, so check our FAQs below and decide what is best for you.

How and Where to Buy Tickets?

You can buy the tickets at the Sagrada Familia, but it can be a hard task. Probably you will have to wait, so the best idea is to buy tickets online. Avoid the queues! Receive them via email, SMS, or in our app and show them on your smartphone (no need to print), easy!

There are different options and times. Take a look and choose the best for you. Buying tickets was never so easy as it is now! Click here to purchase tickets online.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Sagrada Familia?

It is located in the centre of Barcelona, in the Eixample area. The general access is through the Nativity facade, in Marina street.

Opening times. What’s the best time to visit the Sagrada Familia?

  • November till February: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • March and October: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • April till September: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • December 25 and 26 and January 1 and 6: 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Take Note: No more tickets will be sold thirty minutes after the closing time.

The opening hours and days to the public can be modified exceptionally due to special events inside the Basilica. Visiting the Sagrada Familia early in the morning is the best choice.

Try to avoid peak hours and your visit will be nicer. This city is full of monuments and cozy streets with bars, cafes and shops. Organize your time and have a great and full experience!

How to get to the Sagrada Familia?

The Sagrada Familia is located in the centre. It is quite easy to reach.

The general access is located in Marina street, N 41º.

  • Bus: 19, 33, 34, 43, 44, 50, 51, B20 y B24.
  • Metro: Line 2 and Line 5. Sagrada Familia Station.

Accessibility for the disabled and people with reduced mobility.

The Sagrada Familia is accessible for visitors with diverse capacities and needs. Only the towers are not allowed for people with reduced mobility.

If you need a wheelchair during the visit, they will provide it for you.

If you have any questions, you can contact them via telephone: 935-132-060 or through the email address: informacio@sagradafamilia.org.

What is the average length of the Sagrada Familia visit?

The average length might be between one or two hours. It depends on how much time you want to spend here. It also depends on the waiting time or the type of visit you choose. Anyway, this place is so special that time will fly. Prepare your camera and get loose in this magical and vibrant masterpiece.

What are the rules when visiting the Sagrada Familia?

  • When you visit the towers, you can go up by elevator, but you have to go down by walking a narrow spiral staircase! Keep this in mind if you decide to go up.
  • Kids under six years old are not allowed to go up to the towers.
  • Kids under the age of sixteen are only allowed to enter the towers with their parents.
  • The use of caps or hats inside is not allowed. It will be allowed only because of religious, creed or health reasons.

As a Catholic church, proper dressing is required, and the following limitations are established:

  • Transparent clothing is not allowed.
  • Tops that do not cover the shoulders are not allowed.
  • Pants and skirts that do not cover, at least, half thigh are not allowed.
  • Swimwear is not allowed.
  • Clothing with ornaments designed to distract or attract attention for artistic, religious, promotional or any other gender purposes is not allowed.

How much do the tickets to the Sagrada Familia cost?

Online Ticket Purchase

  • General: 20.00€
  • Adults (under 30): 18.00€
  • Kids: (under 11): FREE
  • Students: 18.00€
  • Disabled: FREE
  • Seniors (+65): 16,00€

General ticket + Towers (Online Ticket Purchase)

  • General: 33.00€
  • Adults (under 30): 31.00€
  • Kids (under 11): FREE
  • Students: 31.00€
  • Disabled: FREE (Not possible to visit the towers)
  • Seniors (+65): 27,00€

Ticket at the Entrance

  • General: 39.00€
  • Adults (under 30): 37.00€
  • Kids (under 11): FREE
  • Students: 31.00€
  • Disabled: FREE (Not possible to visit the towers)
  • Seniors (+65): 32.00€

Sagrada Familia is an architectural icon, a true work of Gothic architecture and modernist design. There aren’t many churches that are as original, extravagant, and beautiful as this one. My hope for this blog post is that it provides an insight into what awaits the visitor at an iconic location. A visit to Barcelona would not be complete without a tour of this architectural masterpiece!

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