La Sagrada Familia. I don’t think it even needs an introduction.
It has a reputation as a must see in Barcelona, and could even be considered one of the great masterpieces of Europe, though it remains unfinished. It was designed by Antoni Gaudi, a famous Catalan designer, who in Barcelona is almost on the level of saint.
Gaudi took over the project in 1883 after the original architect resigned after one year, and he made it according to his own style and vision. The church relied entirely on private donations for its construction, and it was considered only 15-25% complete at the time of Gaudi’s death in 1926. The work continued under another architect but was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. The project’s halt lasted until the 1950s when the work was carried on by different architects. The church is predicted to be finished by 2026, a century after the death of Gaudi, and 143 years after the start of the building.
The building as is, even unfinished, is magnificent, but the main spire (seen above in the photo, behind the front towers) is the most majestic in the models of the finished product. This spire is dedicated to Jesus, whereas the shorter spires are dedicated to other important New Testament figures, like the Virgin Mary, the Twelve Apostles, and the Four Evangelists. The front facade represents the Nativity, while the Passion Facade (pictured below) represents Jesus’ death by crucifixion.
The details around the church are astonishing.
The ticket cost for the Sagrada Famila is pretty steep (though standard for Barcelona) at 29 euros including the audio guide and entrance into the towers. I would recommend buying in advance to avoid the line. We didn’t buy in advance, but for us the line wasn’t that bad since we went in the winter.
However, it is totally worth it to go inside.
I do wish I had a better camera with me to do it more justice, though really nothing can replace the experience of actually seeing it.
The tour of the tower involves going up an elevator, and then going down hundreds of stairs. (I think it was around 400 or 500). The tour guide assured us that it went fast, which it did, but it also felt like a workout. Going down a spiral staircase for that many steps also made me pretty dizzy but I was quite tired that day, not really having recovered from not sleeping at all during the flight.
This probably goes without saying but I would totally recommend going to see La Sagrada Familia while in Barcelona, indeed in Europe in general. It’s definitely a “bucket list” monument, and I hope to visit again after 2026 when hopefully construction is finished.
The Sagrada Familia is extremely easy to get to, just take the Barcelona Metro to the Sagrada Familia station on lines 2 and 5. The church is a step away from the exit and can’t be missed.
The church also has a gift shop which seemed to me to be decently priced (by gift shop standards) and had some nice items to buy friends and family.