Few landmarks are more associated with Barcelona than la Sagrada Familia. The immense and incredibly eye-catching basilica, with its unique towers and striking geometric architecture, was designed by Antoni Gaudí in the 1880s. It’s probably the most famous of his works and easily the most visited attraction in the city!

Getting to la Sagrada Familia

Getting to la Sagrada Familia couldn’t be simpler. It’s a bit of a walk from the heart of the Gothic Quarter (approximately 40 minutes), so you’re better off using Barcelona’s efficient TMB public transport system.

La Sagrada Familia has its own metro stop serviced by line five (blue) and line 2 (violet). Reach the world-famous church from Paral-lel in 10 minutes via line 2. Travelling from Barcelona-Sants train station? Journey times on line 2 take under 15 minutes.

Barcelona’s metro has services every few minutes, meaning you don’t need to rely on a specific timetable. Simply turn up at the station and hop on the next train.

Services run seven days a week between the following times:

  • Monday to Thursday: 05:00 until midnight
  • Friday: 05:00 to 02:00
  • Saturday: 05:00 until Sunday
  • Sunday: 00:00 to midnight

You can purchase tickets from any station, online or via the TMB app. There are a few different options, from single journey tickets for €2.40 to ten-trip travel cards priced at €11.35. You’ll have access to any TMB service, including the metro, buses and trams.

What to see at la Sagrada Familia

The first thing to know about la Sagrada Familia is that it’s still not finished. In fact, the building has been under construction for over 140 years! The reason for this is its complex design and the fact it relies entirely on private donations. When it’s finished, it’ll hold the record for the tallest church on the planet.

Height and history aside, there are many components to look forward to at this magnificent attraction! First time visiting la Sagrada Familia? Make sure you do the following.

Stroll around the exterior

Before heading inside, it’s worth spending 15 minutes or so viewing this iconic landmark from its grounds. The design is genuinely extraordinary and combines several of Gaudí’s signature architectural styles, including Catalan Modernism.

The most striking feature has to be la Sagrada Familia’s spires. Gaudí’s original plan was to build 18 to represent the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, the Twelve Apostles and the four Evangelists. Only nine have been completed so far, with the Virgin Mary finished in 2021.

Take a good look at the basilica’s façades, too. Nature and religion are their main design influences, with each telling a different story from the bible. So far, only two are complete: the Nativity Façade and the Passion Façade.

You’ll also spot construction going on above the main entrance to the building. This is set to be the Glory Façade, the largest and most elaborate of the three.

Check out the roof

The church’s interiors are equally, if not more impressive, than the outside! La Sagrada Familia’s nave has a series of enormous branching columns that support the roof 45 metres above. The design on the ceiling features dozens of small stain-glassed windows, all of which filter light through below.

The overall feeling you’ll get as you wander through la Sagrada Familia’s nave is the same as you might walking beneath a canopy of trees. This magical ambience is matched by considerable detail, from geometric carvings and cornices to the vibrant coloured glass in the basilica’s windows.

Go underground

Situated directly below the apse, la Sagrada Familia’s crypt is not only the final resting place of many of the city’s inhabitants but also a parish church. It’s only possible to visit if you’re attending mass or just before or after a service. Mass times are as follows:

  • Monday to Friday: 09:00 (Spanish service) or 20:15 (Catalan service)
  • Saturday: 09:00 (Spanish service) or 19:30 (Catalan service)
  • Sunday: 11:45 and 20:15 (Spanish service) or 10:30, 13:00 or 18:30 (Catalan service)

It’s definitely a good idea to go – not least because it’s where Antoni Gaudí is buried. The peaceful section of la Sagrada Familia is also home to the crypt of Josep Maria Bocabella, the man who first came up with the idea to build the basilica way back in 1872.

Did you know? La Sagrada Familia’s crypt and Nativity Façade are the only parts with UNESCO World Heritage status!

Climb inside

Did you know it’s possible to go inside the basilica’s towers? La Sagrada Familia’s spires are its most recognisable feature, and you’ll spot eight of the finished Apostles spires on the Nativity and Passion Façades. Two of these are currently open to the public.

It costs a little more to climb up into the towers, but it’s well worth it for the views and to see more of Gaudí’s incredible work. The Nativity Tower is a popular pick. It was built during Gaudí’s lifetime, allowing you to really walk in his footsteps. The Passion Tower is no less beautiful in its design, with superb vistas all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

La Sagrada Familia history and facts

La Sagrada Familia was the brainchild of a local bookseller and philanthropist named Josep Maria Bocabella, who was inspired to build it after a trip to Italy. Curious as to why la Sagrada Familia has taken quite so long to complete? Let’s have a look at its lengthy history.

Designing – and redesigning – la Sagrada Familia

The building may be known as one of Gaudí’s most significant works, but the initial design was actually completed by someone else! His name was Francisco de Paula del Villar. He originally planned for the basilica to have a more neo-Gothic look.

Nevertheless, the first stone had barely been laid on the 19th of March 1883 before Villar resigned from his post. He was replaced by Gaudí in 1883, whose vision for la Sagrada Familia was vastly different. The highly technical, inspired design took many years to make progress.

Construction and Gaudí’s death

Gaudí oversaw the construction of la Sagrada Familia for 23 years until he died in 1926. A quarter of the church was complete by this time, including the crypt and the Nativity Façade. After Gaudí passed away, Domènec Sugranyes took over the role.

The Spanish Civil War

The Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936 and saw la Sagrada Familia sadly vandalised by revolutionaries. Many documents – including Gaudí’s original building plans and photographs – were destroyed in a fire. Some of the plaster moulds for the spires and façades were smashed.

When the war ended in 1939, Francesc de Paula Quintana began overseeing the construction. Luckily, some materials were salvaged, and many of the original plans were re-imagined using publicly published documents.


Over the next couple of decades, building works continued on la Sagrada Familia. In 1952, the Nativity Façade’s steps were finally completed, and the entire section was illuminated. By 1954, work had begun on the Passion Façade. In 1961, the basilica museum was opened, providing the public with more insight into construction, design and symbolism.

Consecration and opening

In 2010, just five years after the Nativity Façade and the crypt were given UNESCO World Heritage status, la Sagrada Familia was finally consecrated. This was done by Pope Benedict XVI on the 7th of November.

Today, la Sagrada Familia is a popular place of worship for Barcelona’s residents and its many visitors. It’s also a fascinating structure to visit in its own right, thanks to Gaudí’s unrivalled vision and design skills.

Restaurants, bars and shops near la Sagrada Familia

Like any good attraction, la Sagrada Familia has a range of excellent facilities for visitors. This includes a fantastic gift shop and a museum, showcasing the building’s long – and often tumultuous – history.

There are no restaurants within la Sagrada Familia itself. However, you will find plenty of options for snacks and meals close by. Place de la Sagrada Familia is surrounded by eating and dining venues, while Carrer de la Marina (where the main visitors' entrance is located) features tapas restaurants and global chains.


Want to get to grips with the building’s history? Visit la Sagrada Familia Museum. It was first opened in 1961 on the ground floor, just below the basilica.

While small, the museum is brimming with intriguing displays that paint a vivid story of the building’s past. Original drawings by Gaudí are undoubtedly the stars of the show. You’ll also spot numerous photographs showing the various stages of construction over the years. Have a close look at plaster moulds of the basilica and gain an idea of what the building will look like once it’s finally completed.

Gift shop

No trip to la Sagrada Familia is complete without popping into the gift shop! The building is actually home to two different stores. One is situated in the museum and can only be accessed by ticket holders. At the same time, the other is found near the Nativity Façade and is open to everyone.

The basilica’s shops are the ideal places to pick up souvenirs from your visit. You’ll find a range of art prints, homeware, clothing and other memorabilia relating to the building itself, in addition to items crafted by local artisans.

Visiting la Sagrada Familia with kids? The shops have great children’s sections, offering T-shirts, backpacks and toys inspired by the world-renowned attraction.

La Sagrada Familia opening times and prices

La Sagrada Familia is open seven days a week from 09:00 to 18:00. This makes it a great attraction to visit, no matter what days you plan to be in Barcelona. There may sometimes be special events that alter the building’s opening times; find this information on la Sagrada Familia’s official website.

Ticket prices

La Sagrada Familia tickets must be purchased in advance online or through the venue’s official app. They can then be uploaded to the app, downloaded to your smartphone or printed. Prices vary depending on whether you want to join a guided tour (in Spanish, Catalan, English or French).


Standard Ticket

& Guided Tour




Children (under 11)






Under 30s



Disabled (& companion)




Prices correct as of January 2022


Note that you should book separately if you’re visiting in a group of 30 or more people. Tickets are the same price, but you’ll enter via a separate entrance and receive your own official guide for the duration of your visit.

Travelling to Barcelona by train?

You can easily reach Barcelona by train from within Spain, as well as other major European cities, thanks to the many high-speed rail connections available.

If you're already in Spain and heading into Barcelona, Renfe trains offer high-speed routes from Madrid to Barcelona (2h 30m), Valencia to Barcelona (2h 40m), Alicante to Barcelona (4h 25m), Malaga to Barcelona (5h 32m) and Seville to Barcelona (5h 37m). Some of the most popular international train routes include Paris to Barcelona (6h 40m), Amsterdam to Barcelona (13h 17m), and Toulouse to Barcelona (3h 51m).

Need more information about travelling to Barcelona by train? Check out our expert guide to trains to Barcelona.