Whether it’s your first time in Barcelona or your 100th, the sight of the majestic Sagrada Familia never gets old. The enormity of the incomplete structure will blow you away, so of course visiting the Sagrada Familia isn’t just an absolute must-do in Barcelona, but it’s something to tick off the ultimate travel bucket list. There are a few things to know before you visit the world famous basilica from how to get there to a little background on its intriguing history. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is Barcelona’s pride and joy, so here’s a fool-proof guide to the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
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A little history of the Sagrada Familia and Antoni Gaudi
After 137 years of construction, La Sagrada Familia made a name for itself as being the building that never seems to end. The first stone was laid all the way back in 1882 but the end is in sight! With it all set to be done by 2026.
One year after construction began, Antoni Gaudi was brought on board the project and became project director another year later in 1884. And it’s all thanks to Gaudi that the Sagrada Familia has become the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site it is today. The architect built the structure using nature as his inspiration, and keeping to his unique Art Nouveau and Spanish Gothic style in what he never knew would be his most famous architectural masterpiece.
Gaudi took on the project knowing that during his lifetime he would never see the end. So when he died in 1926, Gaudi was buried in a tomb in the Sagrada Familia which you can now visit today.
When it’s finally complete, the basilica will be the tallest religious structure in Europe standing at 170 metres high. Gaudi made clear that nothing can be built my man to be taller than God’s creation, and so it was purposely designed to stand at just 1 metre short of the tallest point in Barcelona, Montjuic - a mountain!
Just a matter of weeks ago in June 2019, La Sagrada Familia was issued a building licence… 137 years after construction started… It’s not very clear why one was never issued at the start, but the mistake cost the site $41million to the city authorities!
How to get to the Sagrada Familia
Getting to the Sagrada Familia is a seriously simple trip. If you’re based at our St Christopher’s Inns Barcelona hostel, you can even walk there in just over half an hour, taking in more of the city on your stroll. But the Metro is a really easy option as the UNESCO site has its own dedicated station ‘Sagrada Familia’.
The Barcelona hostel is ideally located right by Plaça Catalunya, where you can hop on the L3 metro to Diagonal for 2 stops and change to the L5 line for 2 stops to La Sagrada Familia.
Plaça Catalunya - L3 (green) - change at Diagonal - L5 (blue) - Sagrada Familia
Worth going inside?
To marvel at the Sagrada Familia from the outside won’t cost you a penny, however if you’re curious to see how it looks on the inside then you’ll need to buy a ticket - and well in advance!
A basic ticket starts at €17, but for access to the towers or a guided tour it will of course cost a few euro more. Buy your tickets before you arrive in Barcelona to make sure you bag yourself a good time slot, but the bit of extra preparation is well worth it. No one ever regrets spending the money on seeing the world famous Gaudi design from the inside. The intricate stained glass windows creating a crazy rainbow effect, the attention to detail in every nook and cranny, the whole thing from top to bottom is jaw-droppingly beautiful.
Where to get the best photos of the Sagrada Familia
The Sagrada Familia is photogenic at all angles whether you’re near, far, high, low, inside, or outside. One of the most photo-worthy spots to capture the basilica is outside the front and in the little park across the pond. With it reflecting in the water through the trees, the Sagrada Familia never looked so good!
If you make it inside, be sure to look up at the crazy ceiling - another of the best photo opportunities in the Sagrada Familia.
One of the best views of Barcelona is from the Carmel Bunkers. From here, you don’t just get incredible views over the entire city and sea, but you can see just how enormous the Sagrada Familia really is.