Sagrada Familia

Gaudí’s basilica in the center of Barcelona is an architectural marvel and offers views across the city from eight towering spires.

The Sagrada Familia is Barcelona’s most famous landmark. The huge basilica was designed by architect Antoni Gaudí. Its eight distinctive towers can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. Thousands of visitors come here daily to admire the architecture and to take in views of the city from the top of the towers.

Because of the ambitious nature of the design, the basilica is still under construction and isn’t expected to be finished until at least the late 2020s. The project began in 1882 and Gaudí took over in 1883. Gaudí devoted the last years of his life to the building but died before it could be finished. Today it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Gaudí’s design combines art nouveau and gothic styles of architecture. The outside of the church is made up of towers, spires and detailed façades. Many compare it to an intricate sand castle. Inside, colorful columns branch out like tree canopies.

Take your time walking through the nave to appreciate the tree-like columns, natural light and details on the ceiling.

It is worth spending a few extra dollars on an audio guide, which runs one hour and 45 minutes. Learn about the history of the building and facts about Gaudí. A special audio guide for children is fun and easy to follow, and lasts for about 40 minutes.

Watch a 20-minute film on the history of the church in the audiovisual room or browse the museum in the basement.

Join the line for the elevators to the top of the towers. Children under six, pregnant women and anyone with reduced mobility are not allowed up. There’s a steep and winding staircase back down.

Pick up souvenirs related to Gaudí’s work from two gift shops inside the church. Daily mass is conducted in Catalan and Spanish. Check the schedule for specific times and language.The church is open every day. Catch the bus or metro to get there.

It is best to buy tickets in advance online as lines can be long. Children younger than ten get in for free.

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