Photo of Sagrada Familia

Visit Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is considered to be Gaudi's finest work and it is the iconic monument of Barcelona. The Sagrada Familia is on the eastern part of the Eixample district, about a 20 minute walk from most of the other main sights of the district.

Explore the Sagrada Familia

Construction of the Sagrada Familia was begun in 1883 under the direction of the architect Francisco de Paula del Villar. When he resigned Anton Gaudi took over and the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia became his all consuming project for the rest of his life.

Gaudi moved in to the basilica and lived here in his workshop until his death in 1926 after he was run over by a tram. Gaudi's design for the basilica incorporates Gothic and Art Deco styles and the result is really quite extraordinary and quite breathtaking.

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

When Gaudi died in 1926 less than a quarter of the building was finished. Unfortunately in 1936 following the Spanish Civil War anarchists partially destroyed many of Gaudi's plans and models and these have had to be painstakingly reconstructed.

Work continues to this day using Gaudi's models as well as input from other architects. Modern construction techniques and the use of computers in the design process has sped up work consistently and it is currently estimated that the Sagrada Familia will finally be complete in 2026.

There are 18 spires in Gaudi's original plan for the basilica. Twelve represent the twelve Apostles, four represent the four Evangelists and the remaining two represent the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ.

The spires are topped with Venetian mosaics and those of the Evangelists will have their traditional symbols: an eagle for Saint John, a winged bull for Saint Luke, a winged lion for Saint Mark and a winged man for Saint Matthew.

There are three main facades: the Passion Facade, the Nativity Facade and the Glory Facade.


The Nativity Facade is decorated with scenes of the Nativity and Christ's childhood. There are many symbols from nature and it was originally intended to be painted. This facade was the first to be completed as it was designed to be pleasing and accessible to the public and Gaudi did not want to put people off finishing his work after his death.

The Passion facade by contrast is more sinister. It is designed to represent the Passion of Christ, his suffering at his Crucifixion. He wanted to strike fear into those entering the church. The bone-like structure and gaunt figures certainly do have a chilling aspect. This facade was completed by Josep Maria Subirachs.

The Glory Facade will be the largest of the facades and will represent death, the Final Judgement and Heaven (Glory) and Hell.

The interior of the Sagrada Familia is laid out as a Latin Cross with five aisles. The central vault is sixty meters high and throughout is an incredible feeling of space and light!

The columns have a branching design created by Gaudi and the organic shapes, beautiful stained glass windows and the sculptural details are unlike anything you will see elsewhere.

A lift and a spiral staircase allow access to the upper galleries for a different perspective on the beautiful interior of the church.

There is a crypt where Gaudi is buried and also a small museum giving information about the design of the building.

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

The Sagrada Familia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, part of a classification of six Gaudi buildings in Barcelona. It is the most visited attraction in Spain with around three million visitors each year. It is quite expensive to visit but the money is being used to complete the construction of this magnificent building.

More attractions to see in Barcelona

More of Gaudi's buildings can be seen in the Eixample district including the Casa Batllo building and Casa Mila.

The Gothic old town of Barcelona is a pleasure to explore and is home to Palau Guell another Gaudi building.

Garden fans will love Parc Guell which is a stunning garden designed by Gaudi with lots of Gaudi's mosaic covered buildings to admire.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Barcelona guide and the Catalonia guide.

See also: 

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Map of Sagrada Familia and places to visit


Sagrada Familia places to visit

Casa Batllo

Casa Batllo

The Casa Batllo building in Barcelona is one of the iconic works of Anton Gaudi and is open for visits.

Casa Batllo guide
Gothic Quarter of Barcelona

Gothic Quarter of Barcelona

The Gothic Quarter of Barcelona is at the heart of this beautiful city and has many historic buildings and a great atmosphere.

Gothic Quarter of Barcelona guide


Barcelona is a city with fabulous art museums, Gaudi architecture and lots more. It is one of our favourite cities.

Barcelona guide
Eixample, Barcelona

Eixample, Barcelona

The Eixample district of Barcelona is home to the largest number of Art Nouveau buildings in Spain with many examples by Gaudi.

Eixample, Barcelona guide
Montjuic, Barcelona

Montjuic, Barcelona

From the Montjuic district of Barcelona you can get some great views over the city and also see some great sights.

Montjuic, Barcelona guide
Monestir de Montserrat

Monestir de Montserrat

The Monestir de Montserrat has a beautiful mountain setting close to Barcelona.It is one of the most famous Catholic pilgrim sites.

Monestir de Montserrat guide

...or see all our recommended places to visit in Catalonia