Spain’s most visited attraction is worth a visit however long you stay in Barcelona.
The Sagrada Familia is an unfinished Catholic church designed by Antoni Gaudi. It’s been a work in progress since 1881 and Gaudi only ever saw a quarter of it completed in his lifetime.
I’m going to guide you through how to make the best of your visit, starting with a bit of background info.
Did you know?
- Gaudi is actually buried inside his masterpiece. He was hit by a tram and passed away in 1926 – even though it’s a sad story, I think he’d have approved of his resting place.
- Anarchists during the Spanish Civil War tried to burn the Sagrada down by breaking in and starting a fire. Some important documents were lost but luckily the damage wasn’t too great.
- When it’s complete it will be the tallest religious building in Europe. However, it will remain one metre shorter than Montjuïc mountain as Gaudi didn’t want compete with God’s work.
- It costs €25 million each year to support the building work. Now you see why the tickets are kinda pricey, right?
There’s loads of nature symbolism involved in the detail of the Sagrada. Before going inside, look out for the turtle and the tortoise both at the bottom of pillars. They represent the land and the sea, and (in my option) their position supporting the cathedral shows how our society balances upon them.
The nature theme continues inside where the pillars resemble trees and the light coming through the window acts like that filtering into a forest. Each column splits into branches which hold up the ceiling as a united effort.
The intricate detail is mind blowing and you’ll find a lot of colourful stained glass inside.
Depending on your ticket type, entrance is between €15 and €29 so it’s not the cheapest attraction but it’s definitely worthwhile. Your options include:
- Entry only – €15
- Entry with audioguide – €22
- Entry with a guided tour – €24
- Entrance, audioguide and Gaudi House Museum – €24
- Entrance, audioguide and top views – €29
Prebook on the website.
To audio guide or not to audio guide?
If you’re a very visual person and like to take pictures, you could get by with just seeing it. I have to admit it was so beautiful and overwhelming that I kept getting distracted from the tape. However, if you’re a history or architecture fan it’s a must for info.
Climbing the towers
The ‘top views’ ticket option allows you to climb one of the towers – I opted for the Nativity Facade.
Which to choose? They’re both pretty similar but the Nativity Facade looks out over the city and water and the Passion Facade looks out over Park Güell.
Is it worth the extra Euros? If you don’t have time to see another panoramic view during your trip, definitely. If you’re heading up to the bunkers or Montjuïc (read about these in my blog) you probably don’t NEED to climb the towers though I’m glad I did.
Best photo spot
Shhh, you don’t actually need to pay entrance to experience the best view of the Sagrada. At the far side of Placa de Gaudi (Park of Gaudi) you’ll find a set of benches and gorgeous reflections of the Sagrada in the pond.
Over all, I loved my visit and the main thing I would recommend is to visit early in an attempt to beat the crowds.
There’s something I like about the fact the Cathedral is unfinished. It makes me think of the creative projects I work on and makes me stress less if I don’t complete things right away (did I just try and compare my blog to Gaudi’s work? HAHA).
He himself said:
”It is not a disappointment that I will not be able to finish the temple. I will grow old, but others will come after me. What must be always preserved is the spirit of the work; its life will depend on the generations that transmit this spirit and bring it to life”.
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Travelling around Europe? Check out some of my other posts:
- The perfect Barcelona itinerary
- 10 things you must do in Dubrovnik
- How I made it around Bosnia and Herzegovina in a day
- A complete guide to Munich
- 8 reasons to visit Lokrum island, Croatia
- How I spent a weekend in Copenhagen
- 12 reasons to make Gdansk your next city break
See you next time for more adventures,
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