The multi-spired Basilica of the Sagrada Família – an iconic feature on the Barcelona skyline just north of the Barri Gótic – is one of the city’s major attractions.
Not to be confused with Barcelona’s medieval cathedral, construction of the Sagrada Familia began in 1882, and is the master work – and burial site – of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, who dedicated over 40 years of his life to this project. Funded solely by ticket sales and private donations, the basilica remains a work in progress; the final phase, the Glory Façade, is scheduled to be completed sometime within the next few decades. And, if all goes according to plan, we hope to see it finished during our lifetime.
In keeping with Gaudi’s unique flare for organic architecture and symbolism, the building’s design and decoration – though perhaps not to everyone’s liking – are impressive. Several features (specifically the Nativity Façade and Crypt) are listed jointly with a few of his other works as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Basilica’s almost overwhelmingly busy exterior features numerous skinny spires; berry-topped towers; oval windows framed with writing;
small round windows in grape-like clusters (like those on the cloister walls); rope-like arches; and several carvings and reliefs of fruit, foliage,
and biblical scenes. To get a close-up view of the architectural and decorative aspects of the exterior, take the elevator up to the top of the tower (Top Views ticket required) and descend via the stairs. Windows in the stairwell provide viewpoints along the way.
The building’s equally impressive interior
a vast and airy space
brightly lit by natural and colorful light features a virtual forest of tree-like columns,
some of which are adorned with the symbols (angel, bull, eagle, and lion) of the Four Evangelists;
long stained glass windows and
a vibrant rose window;
colorful ceiling medallions;
and – above the altar – a floating crucifix suspended beneath a haloed canopy.
La Sagrada Familia is located at Carrer de la Marina, in the Eixample neighborhood. Get there by Metro (L2 and L5: Sagrada Familia).
Adult Admission = 15.00€, access to Basilica + Basilica Museum + Schoolhouse + Cloister
Top Views Combo Ticket = 29.00€, includes audioguide and access to Basilica + Basilica Museum + Schoolhouse + Cloister + Tower
Child Admission (Ages 10 & Under) = Free
For information on additional combo tickets and discounts, such as the Gaudí’s Work & Life Combo Ticket, which includes admission to the Gaudí House Museum in Park Güell, visit the Sagrada Familia website.
To avoid the really long line and even longer wait to purchase tickets at the ticket office, buy your tickets in advance, online. You will be required to select the date and time you wish to visit, and if purchasing the Top Views combo ticket, you’ll get to choose which tower you want to visit (Nativity Façade or Passion Façade).
The entrance for individual ticket holders is located on Carrer Sardenya. If you’ve purchased your ticket online, Metro exit Sardenya will get you closer to the main entrance. If you haven’t purchased your ticket in advance, Metro exit Mallorca may get you closer to the end of the ticket line.
Also, be mindful that this is a construction site and access to some areas may be restricted at the time of your visit.