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Sagrada Familia Gaudi temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site

Partially completed, Antoni Gaudi designed, modernist gothic art nouveau cathedral. UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Updated: Sep 14, 2021

by: Barcelona Travel Hacks

Views: 2k

About Sagrada Familia Gaudi temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site

Probably the most famous tourist attraction and monument in Barcelona and the most visited in Spain. It is currently under construction with an estimated completion date of 2026 (pre covid estimation!). A full history of the various phases of construction is on the official website so I will only give a summary below.

Brief History

Construction began in 1882 under architect Francisco de Paula del Villar as a standard Gothic revival church but he resigned in 1883.

Antonio Gaudi, who was a junior architect working under Francisco de Paula del Villar on various projects like the montserrat monastery then assumed lead architect responsabilities and changed the direction of the project from traditional gothic to modernist gothic.

Gaudi died in 1926 after being run over by a tram. Gaudi hated trams. At the time of his death the basilica was about 15 to 25 percent complete comprising of the passion and Nativity Facade plus four towers, two on each facade. When you visit you will se instantly what was done under Gaudi because it is the darker coloured stone. The basilica had no roof or connecting walls between the two facades.

After Gaudi's death, work continued under the direction of Domenec Sugranes i Gras until interrupted by the Spanish Civil War in 1936. during the civil war parts of the unfinished basilica and Gaudi's models and workshop were destroyed during the war by Catalan anarchists with his plans being burnt.

The civil war ended in 1939 and construction resumed under a team of architects in 1940 who are interpreting Gaudi's plans from what models remain. Jordi Fauli took over as chief architect in 2012.

Recent and future milestones

Jordi Fauli announced in late 2015 that construction is 70 percent complete and has entered its final phase of raising six huge steeples

The central nave vaulting was completed in 2000

The aim is still to have the huge steaples and most of the church's structure completed by 2026 to mark the centennial of Gaudi's death

Decorative elements should be finalised sometime between 2030 and 2032.

Controversy surrounding use of modern materials

Not mentioned on the official Sagrada Familia website is the controversy about the materials and construction methods being used to finish his masterpiece and about how faithful to his original vision the finished temple will be. This is due to Antonio Guidi's untimely death and the lack of surviving original plans. Today construction is being sped up by the use of computer CAD programs and the use of CNC milling machines to carve stone rather than traditional stone masons with hand tools. The Guardian Newspaper have written an Article (English) about this.

My Opinion

I have been to the Sagrada Familia multiple times since 2005 and the parts that are getting finished are truly spectacular. Therefore, it is well worth the visit. When I first visited in 2005, the inside was scaffolding poles spaced half a metre apart and partially open to the sky. At that time the only noteworthy parts were the exterior passion and nativity facade and the tower visit. In 2005 I paid 8 euros!. I have since visited La Sagrada Familia in 2012 and 2020.

Unmissable attraction to see in Barcelona and you will be in awe from the moment you set eyes on the basilica.

2 Attractions Nearby

Visiting Sagrada Familia Gaudi temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site

There are two types of tour, a basic tour of the basilica ground floor and a basilica plus tower visit.

basic basilica tour includes the passion and nativity facade from outside at ground level followed by a tour inside the basilica and access to the crypt where Gaudi is entombed. The tour starts in C/marina at the nativity Facade then proceeds through the basilica to the Passion facade in Carrer de Cerdanya. Near to the exit via the Nativity facade is a side chamber with some Gaudi furniture exhibits.

The tower visit is a route up the passion or nativity facade towers in an elevator then across a sky bridge between two towers and down stairs back into tha basilica. The tower visit gives views of the roof construction and views over barcelona. Although the passion facade towers are slightly higer at 75m with the nativity facade towers being 55m the sky bridge between the two towers on each facade is at the same height so there is not really any difference between the two options.

Currently, due to covid, the tower visits are suspended. This also leaves the roof space free of tourists so the construction teams can go full speed on raising the remaining towers and make up lost construction time when the construction was closed during the 2020 covid home confinement. construction was suspended March 2020 and only resumed in September 2020. When I visited in summer 2020 the Gaudi furniture exhibit and crypt was also closed.

Tickets can only be purchased on the official La Sagrada Familia website. Be wary of other websites selling tickets promising discounts or faster access as it may be a scam. I have only ever purchased tickets from the official website, link on the summary tab of this page or google it.

Access is via carrer de Marina. you pass through an airport style security. When you purchase the ticket you specify the date and time. Be punctual. It is very well organised and I was less than 5 minutes from joining the queue at the time stated on my ticket and entering the Basilica.

When you purchase the ticket you get a link to an app that you can download on your phone which serves as the audio guide so do not forget to take headphones for your mobile and have the app pre-downloaded.

Regarding covid, check out the Covid-19 safety rules on the official website ticket section.

Please also be aware that booking well in advance especially in the summer months is essential to get the date and time that you want. Covid has also reduced the number of permitted visitors at any one time.

La Sagrada Familia is a consecrated basilica so there is a dress code for visits. See the terms in the tickets section of the website for specific rules.

There is no time restriction for the visits. I recommend allowing 1 to 2 hours for the visit.

The whole neighbourhood is full of bars and restaurants. Below are some links to my favourites. I also recommend seeing Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau which is at the end of a nice walk along Avenida Gaudi.

Accessibility, mobility & Clothing for La Sagrada Familia

Large rucksacks, suicases and large bags are not permitted inside and there are no lockers. Pushchairs are permitted.

Disabled access is from Carrer de Marina. The Basilica provides wheelchairs for users. To request one, contact us on 935 132 060 or at The wheelchair will be delivered at the entrance for people with disabilities.

The visit is on one level with the crypt being exclusively accessed by stairs. The tower visits are only via stairs and a narrow air bridge so not adapt for wheelchairs or push chairs.

Don't forget headphones for the audio guide phone app that you can download with the link in the online ticket purchase.

Bicycle anchorage points outside la Sagrada Familia in Carrer de mallorca with Carrer de Marina next to the metro station exit.

Summary of Prices

Train/Bus Fare Entry Ticket Additional Information Train/Bus Fare Entry Ticket Additional Information Adult Zone 1 T-casual € 26.00 Seniors and students 2 euros discount Child T-familiar FREE for Under 11 years. Group/Family Ticket? 10+ People - See Website for group booking.Notes Under 16 Years must be accompanied by adult

Weather for Barcelona

Getting to Sagrada Familia Gaudi temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site

Address: Carrer de Mallorca 401, Barcelona. 08013

Nearest TMB METRO is Sagrada Familia which is on the Blue (L5) and Purple (L2) lines.

Public Transport Guide

Documents for Sagrada Familia Gaudi temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site

Click on any one of the 2 PDFs to view in full screen and download.


La Sagrada Familia area map

Author: Barcelona Travel Hacks


Metro map Sagrada Familia area


Wikiloc Trail for Sagrada Familia Gaudi temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site

BCN09. Sagrada Familia - Aveninda Gaudi - Recinte Modernista Sant Pau

A city walk in the Sagrada Familia area of Barcelona via La Sagrada Familia, Avenida Guidi and Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau.

Distance: 2.46 Km

Difficulty: Easy

Return Travel Fare: T-Casual Zone 1

Transport Network: Barcelona Metro

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