The Incredible Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain
Sagrada Familia is on many people’s lists as a must-see for a very good reason. Sagrada Familia has very unique and intricate architecture and will knock your socks off. This unique basilica began construction in 1882 and is still undergoing construction today. The famous local architect, Antoni Gaudi, is the primary designer of Sagrada Familia’s unique architecture. Although Sagrada Familia isn’t finished, it’s still worth your effort to plan a visit to marvel at this amazing basilica. This location is a very high-traffic destination for tourists, therefore it is crucial to plan ahead to ensure a smooth travel itinerary.
History of the Construction & Antoni Gaudi
Sagrada Familia began construction in 1882 under architect Francisco Paula de Villar, who resigned only one year later. Antoni Gaudi, a local architect from the Catalan region, took over as principle architect soon thereafter. Gaudi spent the majority of his life working on this amazing basilica, which became his passion project. His design combines both Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudi passed away in 1926, leaving behind a Sagrada Familia that was only 15-25% finished. The construction continued on until it was interrupted in 1936 by the Spanish Civil War. Many of the original plans and models were destroyed by the Catalan Anarchists during that time.
Once the project restarted, the residents of Barcelona demanded that the original Gaudi vision and designs were prioritized as the project continued, therefore subsequent architects have made an effort to remain faithful to the original designs while including modern adaptations. A large effort was made to recreate the historic plans from the surviving remnants of Gaudi’s plans that were found after the war. With a long list of architects and artists that have contributed to the creation of this magnificent church, Sagrada Familia is truly a collaboration of many amazing & creative artists.
Art in Every Nook and Cranny
The outside of this enormous church is covered in intricately designed sculptures that decorate the fantastical façades. These sculptures reflect a more modern perspective and were created by J. Busquets, Etsuro Sotoo, and the controversial Josep Maria Subirachs. These sculptures can be found EVERYWHERE throughout the church. It is important to allow yourself enough time to adequately appreciate all the details. Be sure to look at all the doors, walls, ceiling, and floors. There isn’t a dull surface in the entire structure. The fact that it still remains unfinished after 136 years doesn’t seem unreasonable after you relish in all the details that it has to offer.
Although modern technology has enabled quicker planning, design renderings, and computations, progress is quite slow due to funding. Sagrada Familia doesn’t receive any funding from the government or any official church resources. Funding for this project is completely private and comes from ticket sales and donations, which is the leading cause for its slow progress. It is anticipated that the building will be completed by 2026—the centenary of Gaudí’s death. Someday, I hope to return after its completion to experience the finished product.
Plan a Stress-free Visit to Sagrada Familia
This location is a busy tourist attraction. People come from far and wide to marvel at this historic building for its unique architecture and art. Due to the high foot traffic, it’s crucial to plan ahead. There are lots of people, long lines, and limited space, which is why I would encourage you to purchase your tickets in advance to cut down on the waiting time. You should purchase your ticket from the official website directly as soon as you plan your Barcelona itinerary.
Important & Helpful Information:
Purchase your ticket online at the official website at least 24 hours before your planned visit.
- Here is a link to where you can buy your tickets.
- Ticket prices range from 15-29 Euros, depending on what package you decide on.
- General admission only includes the main areas of the church.
- You will need to purchase an upgraded ticket to go into the spires.
- They offer 2 types of guided tours:
- Audio-guided tour
- About 45 minutes long
- Guide attended tour
- About 50 minutes long
- Audio-guided tour
- More people means it will be more difficult to avoid photobombers in your photographs.
- Here is a link to the hours of operation. Keep in mind that the hours vary depending on the time of year.
- Sale of tickets finishes 30 minutes before closing time.
- Special event accommodations can change their normal hours of operation. Make sure to plan ahead and confirm that they are operating on normal business hours before arriving.
Allow yourself about 2-3 hours for the visit.
- The tours last close to an hour, but you want to account for time wandering around on your own to take pictures and take in all the small details. This will also help account for any waiting time for the lines and bathroom breaks.
Know the Rules! Make sure you are allowed inside.
- Here is a list of the most important rules to make note of, but here is a link to a list of their posted rules.
- It’s important to remember that this is a religious place of worship and therefore it’s important to be as respectful as possible.
- No tripods or professional photography equipment is allowed without prior consent from their press department.
- They will check your bags during their security screening process, so try to avoid packing items that could raise red flags.
- Keep your ticket on you at all times as any of the staff can ask to see it at anytime
- No food or drink is allowed inside the building
- There are no photos allowed in any of their services
- No hats are allowed inside the nave or the museum except for religious, health or belief-related reasons.
- As it is a Catholic church, visitors must dress appropriately, following these restrictions:
- Shoes are mandatory
- No see-through clothing
- Tops must cover the shoulders
- No plunging necklines or exposed backs or bellies
- Shorts and skirts must come down to at least mid-thigh
Unused tickets are refundable
- As long as you purchased the ticket directly from the authorized dealer or Sagrada Familia, you are protected by their refund policy.
- You have up to 30 days to request a refund on unused tickets via email (found on their website). This will protect you from any unforeseen schedule conflicts.
Overall Experience & Recommendations
We really enjoyed our visit at Sagrada Familia! I would recommend this activity to anyone traveling to Barcelona. It’s an experience that stands out from our other visits to other cathedrals and churches in Europe. You will never see anything quite like it and it truly lives up to the hype.
My Clothing Choice
I wore a sleeveless shirt during our visit, but brought a shawl to cover my shoulders just in case. My bare shoulders didn’t seem to offend anyone. They didn’t seem too strict in comparison to some other cathedrals we have visited… BUT it’s important that you know that they could prevent you from entering if you are showing too much skin. What can I say… I’m a rule breaker at times, but I’m always prepared to comply if necessary. I get it, the warm weather can make it uncomfortable to dress like a nun, so the key is to always be prepared. Bring a light shawl or sweater to avoid any mishaps with entry or sudden weather changes. There is no point in jeopardizing your fun adventure just to break a few rules.
We were not able to visit the spires because we were running on a tight schedule that day and I really feel like we missed out on some incredible views from above. I totally recommend you do the upgrade for the spires, so please learn from our mistake, BUT a general admission ticket is still worth it if you are on a budget or if you don’t have a ton of time.
Check Out the Basement
The main level has a ton to explore, but be sure to check out the lower levels of the church. This is where you will find all the juicy details about the history of the church, its creator, and the designs/inspirations. If you enjoy museums and learning, then you will enjoy the curated exhibits found in this area.
We took the metro to the Sagrada Familia station to get there and I think it’s the best way to get there. The metro is quite convenient and the stop is close to the basilica. Sagrada Familia is located in the heart of Barcelona where it is very busy and difficult to find parking, therefore it’s best to avoid driving there if possible.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate my readers and their support! I do my best to provide useful and informative content and I didn’t receive any kick-backs for this article. Hopefully sharing my fun adventure with you was informative and helps some of you plan your own adventure to visit this awesome place. I hope you choose to return to my blog and read about some other fun topics. I’d love for us to connect, so please feel free to contact me, comment below, and please subscribe to get the latest updates from yours truly.
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