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La Sagrada Familia is the most important work of the architect Antoni Gaudi and is the most visited attraction in Barcelona. Barcelona architecture doesn’t get much more inspiring than this incredible work by Gaudi. The project began in 1882. A year later, famed architect Antoni Gaudi came on board, and the project went in an entirely new and historically significant direction.


Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia
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La Sagrada Familia is a Masterpiece of Antoni Gaudi

This Catholic church ranks at the top of Barcelona attractions with over 4.5 million visitors marveling at the basilica every year. Perhaps just amazing is the fact that the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia is not yet complete. That's right, this impressive structure has been under construction for over 100 years, and the end isn’t even in sight.

When will the Sagrada Familia be finished? The completion date for the structure is expected to be 2026! All of this underscores the amazing fact that at the time of Antoni Gaudi’s death in 1926 only a mere 25% of the Sagrada Familia was actually complete. So, if you want to see this Best of Barcelona attraction before it is complete, you still have some time!

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La Sagrada Familia - This marvelous temple is full of details (upper part of the Charity Portal)

This marvelous temple is full of details (upper part of the Charity Portal)

The “Gaudi Church” - A Recognized Masterpiece of Barcelona Architecture

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sagrada Familia was an obsession for architect Antoni Gaudi who dedicated many years of his life to the project.

His goal was to combine Gothic, and Art Nouveau forms into something entirely new and unforgettable. In this regard, there is no doubt that his labor and efforts were a tremendous success!

Currently, the Sagrada Familia is funded strictly through private donations and money from tourists. Considering the scope of the work, this is an astonishing fact and another good reason to put this destination on your list of Barcelona attractions that you just must visit while in town.

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La Sagrada Familia - The Nativity façade, built between 1891-1930, with the Portal of Charity (center), the Portal of Faith (left) and the Portal of Hope (right)

The Nativity façade, built between 1891-1930, with the Portal of Charity (center), the Portal of Faith (left) and the Portal of Hope (right)

The Famous Facades by Gaudi

There are four main facades in the Sagrada Familia; the Abse Façade, the Glory Facade, the Passion Facade and the Nativity Facade. Each is unique and impressive in a different way. The Passion Facade focuses on Christ’s final days on earth and his death and is based on drawings made by Gaudi.

The Basilica will have 18 towers when complete; 12 dedicated to the apostles, four devoted to the evangelists, and two devoted to Maria and Jesus. The one dedicated to Jesus will be the highest at 170m. Luckily, the towers on both of the facades can be visited by elevator.

Please note that children under six are not allowed, and children between 6-14 must be accompanied by an adult.

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La Sagrada Familia - Indoors, showing the columns and the central dome

Sagrada Familia interior, showing the columns and the central dome

Fascinating Use of New Materials and Technology

Most people who visit the Sagrada Familia are impressed on many levels. The vision of the architect, the breakthrough nature of the design, the scale and scope of the project all come together to create a lasting and profound impression on visitors.

There has been some controversy as many feel that technologies and materials that are being incorporated into the design are ones that Gaudi would himself not have selected. Current construction involves new building materials and computer aided design that would not have been available to Gaudi at the time of his death in 1926.

While purists are most definitely correct in their assertion that new materials and technology are being employed in the design, there is another side to the argument as well. Without the adoption of new technology and new building materials, this wonder of Barcelona architecture could have taken several more centuries, not decades, to complete!

Ultimately, Gaudi’s precise vision may not materialize in its purists state; however, countless millions of additional visitors will be able to appreciate the vast majority of his vision.

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La Sagrada Familia - The Passion façade of the Basilica

The Passion façade of the Basilica

A 2026 Completion Date Would Mark the 100 Year Anniversary of Antoni Gaudi’s Death

If the 2026 completion date is indeed reached, it will be a real milestone and tribute to Antoni Gaudi. A 2026 completion date would mean that La Sagrada Familia was completed 100 years after his death.

There is no doubt this incredible project could have been finished even sooner, but issues such a slowing of construction during the Spanish Civil War have impeded progress over the years.

The vision of Antoni Gaudi is a breathtaking one. No visit to Barcelona is complete without a trip to see the Sagrada Familia. Of course, Barcelona is brimming with activities, but this one easily makes the top of any Best of Barcelona list.

As you might imagine, there is a long line to get into this attraction. However, Barcelona Budget can help you with Sagrada Familia skip the line tickets and guided tours. For example, our Best of Barcelona tour includes the Sagrada Familia church, and you not only will save money, but you will also be able to skip the lines. Don't miss taking advantage of some savings and it will make your experience even better.

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