La Sagrada Família attracts 3.2 million visitors every year. Evidently, it is Spain’s most visited monument (surpassing El Prado with 2.9 million and La Alhambra with 2.3 million).

According to Lonely Planet, the Sagrada Família and the Alhambra in Granada are among the twenty most impressive sites in the world. TripAdvisor also named it the planet’s most beautiful building based on user reviews from over 130 countries.

The Sagrada Família welcomes visitors of all backgrounds, religious or not. Ticket prices range from 15 to 24 euros. Guided tours, audio guides, and access to the basilica and towers are available during opening hours, typically from 9 am to 6 pm or 8 pm, depending on the season.

Join our guided tour of the Sagrada Familia without queues, or book a private tour.

la sagrada familia en sus primeros años

1. A religious temple inspired by nature

UNESCO named the Sagrada Familia a World Heritage Site in 2005. It became a basilica of worship when Pope Benedict XVI led a mass in 2010.

Gaudí tried to recreate a forest within the basilica’s design. For this reason, its interior layout resembles a  Latin cross measuring 90 meters from entrance to apse. Nature’s geometric shapes are present in every detail. The basilica’s five naves are held by 36 tree-shaped columns. It’s interior walls have large, colourful stained glass windows.

The towering space reaches 75 meters at the apse with Gaudí’s tomb below.

The central nave’s tree-like columns are constructed from up to 22 types of stone. Natural light filters through dozens of stained glass windows. Sunlight illuminates the temple in different shades of blues, reds and greens.

interior sagrada familila de barcelona

2. Completion set for 2026

Construction of the Sagrada Familia is ongoing, with unfinished elements. This includes the Glory facade, serving as the main entrance, and the central tower of Jesus featuring a glass elevator.

The goal is to finish the temple by 2026, 100 years after the architect’s death. Once completed, it will be the world’s tallest church, standing at 172.5 meters.

However, the 2020 lockdown affected the construction timelines.

3. The Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Familia

The term “Expiatory” is used for a reason. The temple’s construction relies solely on funds from private donations and ticket sales.

4. Gaudí’s role in the project

Architect Francesc de Paula Villar was first in charge of the project. Later, Antoni Gaudí became the  responsible architect. From there on, Gaudí’s vision transformed the Neo-gothic design into an ambitious proposal for a futuristic church.

On March 19, 1882, Bishop Urquinaona laid the temple’s cornerstone.

Gaudí left behind plans and instructions for his successors. He knew that he wouldn’t live to see the project’s completion.

During the Civil War, the Sagrada Familia suffered damage. This included a fire in the crypt, which destroyed valuable information left by Gaudí.

5. Depicting the life of Christ

Gaudí’s three facades symbolize different stages of Jesus’s life: birth, death, and glory. The inside represents heavenly spirituality.

Each facade was built differently to reflect various architectural styles.

The Nativity facade, completed during Gaudí’s lifetime, represents Jesus’s birth and features symbols of Jesus’s life and family.

The Passion facade, completed by sculptor Josep M. Subirachs, shows Jesus’s death.

The Glory facade, the main entrance, represents the path to God through death, final judgment, and glory. It is still under construction.

torre central y torres apostoles sagrada familia barcelona

6. La Sagrada Familia has 18 towers

Gaudí wanted the Sagrada Familia to be Barcelona’s tallest building. Yet, he designed it to be less than Montjuïc’s height out of respect for God.

The temple will feature 18 towers representing Jesus, the Virgin, the four evangelists, and the twelve apostles.

Some towers serve as belfries or domes, while others are simple watchtowers.

The tallest tower, dedicated to Jesus Christ, will stand at 172 meters, crowned with a three-dimensional cross.

You can visit the completed towers with an elevator for panoramic views of Barcelona. Additionally,  you can walk down by foot to appreciate Gaudí’s spiral staircase design.

7. Built without straight lines

The Sagrada Familia’s design mimics nature. Therefore, Gaudí did not like straight lines. He believed they belonged to man, while curves belonged to God.

 

8. The tragic end of an architectural genius

In 1926, Gaudí was struck by a tram and injured while walking home. Mistaken for a homeless person, he was taken to a hospital, where he died at age 73.

About 5,000 people attended his funeral, mourning the loss of an architectural genius.

Gaudí’s remains rest in the Sagrada Familia’s Crypt of the Virgin of Carmen.

We hope that this information will enhance your visit to Barcelona and the Sagrada Familia. It is a unique masterpiece that captivates millions of visitors each year with its beauty. Join us on a guided tour of La Sagrada Familia, and consider combining your visit with a tour of Park Güell here.

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Since 2015 we organize guided tours in Barcelona, in small groups and private tours to visit without queues or wasting time the most important places of Barcelona.

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