La Sagrada Familia, a UNESCO World Heritage site and Antoni Gaudi’s magnum opus, is undoubtedly the most iconic structure in Barcelona (and the most popular, with nearly 3 million visitors per year). Construction has been ongoing for more than 135 years, and the surreal structure, with its rainbow-hued stained glass windows, is slated for completion in 2026. Even in its unfinished state, it remains an absolute must-see for every visitor to the Catalan capital.
While the Sagrada Familia looms large over Barcelona—it’s visible from many parts of the city—the cathedral should be seen up close and from within to truly be appreciated. Visitors can tour the interior on their own, on a guided tour, or with an audio guide. It’s also possible to take an elevator up one of the towers for sweeping views over the city.
Just about every sightseeing tour in Barcelona includes a stop here, as do hop-on hop-off bus tours, which also stop at Park Güell, Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, and Plaça de Catalunya. It’s possible to combine a visit to the Sagrada Familia with a half-day trip to the nearby mountain abbey of Montserrat or the medieval city of Girona.
Things to Know Before You Go
- This site is a must-see for first-time visitors.
- Ticket lines can get long, so it’s a good idea to book in advance and consider skip-the-line admission.
- Eating, drinking, and smoking are prohibited on the basilica grounds.
- While photography is permitted, the use of a tripod is not without prior permission.
- Much of the basilica and museum are wheelchair accessible, but the towers are not.
How to Get There
The Sagrada Familia is centrally located near the Sagrada Familia metro stop on lines 2 and 5. It’s also easy to reach on foot from just about anywhere in the old city. The main entrance sits along Carrer Marina in front of the basilica’s nativity facade.
When to Get There
The Sagrada Familia is open throughout the year but can be extremely busy in summer, so a skip-the-line ticket is recommended. The facade looks markedly different when illuminated at night than it does during the day, so plan for at least a short visit during both periods. Note that the basilica holds an international mass each Sunday morning in several languages; entrance is free, but space is limited.
Visiting the Sagrada Familia Museum
The basement beneath the passion façade houses a museum covering the temple's construction through drawings, photographs, and plaster models. Entry to the museum is included in basilica admission, and visitors can see the working modeling studio where Gaudi’s restored maquettes are reproduced to aid in the structure’s ongoing construction.