The spectacular and ornate Sagrada Família is undoubtedly one of Barcelona’s most famous landmarks that draws crowds from all over. There are so many exciting and interesting things to do in the city, but no visit to Barcelona is complete without seeing this iconic monument.
The Sagrada Família, meaning Holy Family, is a Roman Catholic church that was consecrated in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. It is a mix of Gothic and Art Nouveau style and has been under construction for more than 130 years. When you see it, it will come as no surprise that it is a UNESCO world heritage site and a symbol of Barcelona. For your complete guide to everything you could need to know about it, just keep reading!
The Sagrada Família is set on the Carrer de Mallorca in the Eixample district in the centre of Barcelona. It’s really easy to access it via public transport and it’s nearby lots of other great attractions like the Design Museum of Barcelona, the Arco de Triunfo and La Monumental.
The closest metro station is: Sagrada Família, on lines 2 and 5.
The closest bus stop is: Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, loads of routes stop here.
The church is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Barcelona so it gets millions of visitors a year. Some people choose not to enter and just admire it from the outside but trust me, that would be a huge mistake! The inside of the Sagrada Família is breathtaking so I highly recommend getting a ticket and heading inside.
It costs €26 for a ticket for entry that includes an audio guide through the free app. Audio guides are available in 17 languages and can last for either 25 or 45 minutes. Why not pay for a ticket that includes a guided tour for only €1 more! For children under the age of 11 entry is free.
Queues can be incredibly long so I would recommend buying your tickets ahead of time to ensure the easiest visit possible. Why not check out the best tickets on offer that include queue jump and guided tours so you can have the ultimate experience!
Opening times and entry
The church is open every day of the week between 9:00 am — 8:00 pm. If you want to go to a service inside the church, Mass is held every Sunday at 9:00 am. Entry to Mass is free but capacity is limited so get there early to ensure your space.
Know before you go: As it is a Catholic church please remember to dress appropriately. Modest clothing and covered shoulders are a must.
Construction began on the church on the 19th of March 1882. At that time the original architect was Francisco de Paula del Villar. After only a year Antoni Gaudí took over as the lead architect who transformed the project into his own vision.
The project was funded by private donations, so the progress was incredibly slow. The Spanish Civil War of 1936- 1939 halted construction entirely. In 1936 revolutionaries broke in and destroyed all of Gaudí’s plans. Sixteen years were spent trying to piece back together his designs, so construction didn’t fully resume until the 1950s.
By 2015 an estimated 75% was completed. The building works have progressed much more quickly since the introduction of new technologies and computer design, but the completion of the church has been pushed back further from the proposed 2026 completion date. Entrance fees to the church now finance the project.
The Passion Façade
Antoni Gaudí was one of Spain’s most influential architects whose work is still renowned across the world. His life was totally dedicated to architecture and an astonishing 7 of his buildings are UNESCO world heritage sights.
After taking on the Sagrada Família project it took over his personal and professional life. It was a labour of love for him until his death in 1926. Did you know he was even buried in the church’s crypt? His plans were so extraordinary they still follow his construction vision to this day!
Although it was never meant to be a cathedral, it certainly has the proportions of one. Gaudí’s original plans laid out 18 spires to depict different religious figures. The figures represented in ascending order of height are the 12 Apostles, the Virgin Mary, the 4 Evangelists and Jesus Christ.
Why not climb one of the towers on the Nativity or Passion Façade and get the best view of the rest of the city or the sea. Standard admission tickets don’t entitle you to climb the towers but it’s relatively inexpensive and totally worth it!
The exterior of the Sagrada Família is decorated by hugely ornate and complex designs in the form of three façades.
The Nativity Façade is my personal favourite and the most elaborate of them all. It was constructed during Gaudi’s life so is one of the most popular parts of the church. The façade depicts the birth of Jesus Christ stunningly etched into the wall of the church. Seeing this is certainly a reason to visit the Sagrada Família in itself.
The Nativity Façade
The Passion Façade is dedicated to the Passion of Christ and is a stark contrast from the nativity scene. It is simple and bare to resemble the bones of a skeleton.
The Glory Façade is the largest of them all. Construction of it began in 2002 and is the only one yet to be completed. When it is finished it will depict Christ’s eternal glory.
There might be some temptation not to bother going inside as the exterior is so impressive, but I promise you would regret it. You really cannot imagine how beautiful the inside is without seeing it for yourself. The towering columns, high vaulted ceilings and incredibly impressive stained glass windows are magnificent.