Nothing quite prepares you for the impact of the Sagrada Família up close. A fantastical tour de force of the imagination, Antoni Gaudí’s ambitious church has provoked endless controversy. After a lifetime of dedication, the church was only partially complete when Gaudí died in 1926 and, as a work in progress, it offers the unique chance to watch the eighth wonder of the world in the making. During the last 80 years and at incalculable cost, sculptors and architects have added their own touches to Gaudí’s dream. Now financed by over a million visitors each year, it is estimated the project will be complete by 2030.

  • Entrances: C/Marina & C/Sardenya

  • 93 207 30 31


  • Metro: Sagrada Família

  • Open Oct–Mar 9am–6pm daily; Apr–Sep 9am–8pm daily

  • Adm €11

  • Guided tours: May–Oct 11am, 1pm, 3pm & 5pm daily; Nov–Apr 11am & 1pm daily

  • Limited DA

Sight Guide

The entrances to the Sagrada Família are on C/Sardenya (along with the gift shop and one of the bell tower lifts) and C/Marina. On the C/Marina side, there are stairs (and another lift) to the other bell towers, and stairs to the museum below. If you don’t want to pay the charge to use the lifts (€2), be warned – it’s quite a climb.

Sagrada Família Floor Plan

Try sitting in a terrace bar on nearby Avinguda Gaudí and drinking in the view of Gaudí’s masterpiece illuminated at night.

For the best photos, get to the temple before 8am: the light on the Nativity Façade is excellent and the tour buses haven’t yet arrived.

Look out for the cryptogram on the Passion Façade, where all the numbers add up to the age of Christ at the time of his death.

Top 10 Features
  1. Nativity Façade

    Gaudí’s love of nature is visible in this façade. Up to a hundred plant and animal species are sculpted into the stone, and the two main columns are supported by turtles.

  2. Passion Façade

    Started in 1978 and completed in 2002, this façade by Josep Subirachs represents the pain and sacrifice of Jesus. The difference between the Gothic feel of Subirachs’ style and the intricacy of Gaudí’s original work has not been without polemic.

    Passion Façade
  3. Spiral Staircases

    These helicoidal stone stairways, which wind up the bell towers, look like snail shells. They allow access to the towers.

  4. Spires

    For a close-up look at the gargoyles and mosaic tiling on the spires, scale the bell tower stairs – or ride up in a lift. The views are equally spectacular . Not for sufferers of vertigo.

  5. Hanging Model

    This bizarre contraption in the crypt museum is testimony to Gaudí’s ingenuity. Gaudí created this 3D construction – made of chains and small weighted sacks of sand – as a model for the arches and vaulted ceilings of the Colonia Güell crypt. Noone, in the history of architecture, had ever designed a building like this.

  6. Nave

    The immense central body of the temple, still in progress, is made up of leaning, tree-like columns with branches spreading out across the ceiling. Inspired by towering redwood trees, the overall effect is that of a stone forest.

  7. Rosedoor Cloister

    In the only cloister to be finished by Gaudí, the imagery is surprisingly modern. Thought to be inspired by the anarchist riots that began in 1909, the devil’s temptation of man is represented by the sculpture of a serpent wound around a bomb-throwing rebel.

  8. Crypt Museum

    Gaudí now lies in the crypt and his tomb is visible from the museum. Renovated to include audio-visual exhibits, the museum offers information about the temple’s construction. The highlight is the maquette workshop, producing scale plaster and stone models for the ongoing work.

  9. Apse

    Adorned with lizards, serpents and two gigantic snails, the apse was the first section of the temple to be completed by Gaudí.

  10. Unfinished Business

    The church buzzes with activity: sculptors dangle from spires; stone masons carve huge slabs of stone; and cranes and scaffolding litter the site. Observing the construction in progress enables visitors to grasp the monumental scale of the project.

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