Barcelona – Sagrada Familia


Visiting the Sagrada Familia was a magical experience, light white walls with light beaming through the windows. Sunrays picking up every colour of the rainbow.

I get asked whether visiting the Sagrada Familia was worth it? YES, it was the highlight of our Barcelona trip. It is a definite must visit.

This church is different, it feels light and happy like a place where I would actually want to attend a service. Gaudi really brought in Biblical scenes, which is fabulous as this IS a church, so if you don’t agree with it don’t visit it. I loved the fact that it did not show monsters and gargoyles.

What you should know about the tickets: Buy it online from their site. We heard that it is really nice to go late in the afternoon and see the sun set through the stained glass windows. We visited in August and took the first time slot which was 9am. As the sun rose, the sun beamed through the stained glass windows. It was marvellous. So make sure of the timeslot you book. The later it got in the day the busier it got, it was nice being there early before the rush. When you get to the church you stand in quite a queue so it is nice to be extra early, if you want audio guides you need to go through the gate, then to your right there are little offices where you need to fall into a new queue to get the earphones. Take that into consideration, if you are late and way back in the line you will have to fall way back into yet another line. Are the guides worth it? Yes, they give a lot of detail, however for this one I would consider a real live person as a guide. We have only heard positive things about them. I will not do it in a big group, get a guide for only you and whoever you are traveling with.

Please do take note the Sagrade Familia is still under construction, they will be busy working when you visit, you will see scaffolding and will hear machinery drilling away. Also take note Gaudi designed the church, but different people worked on it through the ages. He also told the people that worked on different parts of the building they can leave their mark; it is a church for the people. So yes, some parts look a bit different from the rest. I have seen people posting they hated the whole concoction thrown together. They are missing the point of his heart behind it then. But yes, it is A LOT to take in. As some parts of the building are much older it darkens in colour and the newer parts are lighter and whiter, this also adds to what can be seen as a chaotic view. The best description I have heard is ‘the sand castle’ it really has that look about it, but force yourself to look beyond what you see at first.

There are toilets to use – make sure you make use of the opportunity as there are not a lot of public restrooms around the city.

Read up on the Sagrada Familia before you go so that you have a good idea of the history and the various themes. It is amazing. Just as an example, Gaudi studied nature, how a twig would carry a leave and he would use the maths behind that to construct the pillars etc. in his building.

Pillars of Sagrada Familia

Pillars of Sagrada Familia

Apparently you can go up in one of the towers, we did not buy tickets for this, so I cannot comment on it.

Make sure to walk around the church and view it from all sides. When we walked around they rang the bells, it was really special to hear them bang away. Hearing the sound of a church’s bells just add to the experience.

The light inside the building is amazing, it isn’t as gloomy as many old churches, there are massive stained glass windows, light holes in the roof that looks like a constellation of stars, it is beautiful. I could not stop looking at the roof, the pillars that look like trees, the glass windows, all the detail on the outside of the church, it really is something spectacular.

Also note, once you are in the church, take your time to look around – make sure you have enough time as you can easily spend two to three hours here.

It is so sad, in Gaudi’s last days he basically lived and worked in the church. The one day he got hit by a tram. The people did not recognize him and took him to a hospital for the poor at that stage. When he got recognized he told the people to leave him there as that is where he belongs. He then passed away. Such a sad and lonely death for such a marvellous man. He was also known as the architect of God – quite a special nickname won’t you say? Then last interesting fact, when Gaudi graduated someone said of him he will either be a fool or a master. You have to see his work for yourself and make your own decision.

I think it will be wonderful if my husband and I could visit the church again once it is completed to just really take it all in again and then realise even more than we probably could now, what this man envisioned.

I hope this post was of benefit to you.


Other posts on Barcelona:

  1. Basic travel tips
  2. Casa Battlo – Antoni Gaudi

Stained glass windows – Sagrada Familia