La Sagrada Familia

An Antipodean travel company serving World Travellers since 1983

La Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia, still under construction
The Sagrada Familia, still under construction

A small group guided tour of La Sagrada Familia, perhaps one of the world’s most iconic buildings, including the Basilicai Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia (otherwise known as the Sagrada Familia). This is a Roman Catholic church in Barcelona designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi (also known for famous architectural works in Barcelona city such as La Pedrera, Casa Batllo and Park Guell). This is Gaudi’s masterpiece and our tour of sagrada familia provides an understanding as to why. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this church almost 3 million visitors a year and has become an emblematic monument of the Spanish city, yet it remains an unfinished masterpiece.

The History of La Sagrada Familia

Details of the church
Details of the church

The foundation stone of the Sagrada Familia was laid in the entrance in 1882 but when the architect Antoni Gaudi became involved with the project the following year, he changed the original plans for a neo-Gothic church in order to create something much more visionary. He wanted to the inside of the cathedral to look like a forest and envisioned it being able to seat 13,000 people with a central tower 170 metres high above the transept. The tower would be surrounded by 17 smaller towers representing the apostles, Virgin Mary, the four evangelists and Jesus. Gaudi also imagined the facade to show scenes from the nativity and other biblical elements. The Sagrada Familia towers, along with Gaudi‘s other work in Barcelona , such as the casa batllo showcases his unique style that combines elements of Art Nouveau, Catalan Modernism and Spanish neo-Gothic design. The Sagrada Familia, along with Gaudi’s other work in Barcelona, showcases his unique style that combines elements of Art Nouveau, Catalan Modernism and Spanish neo-Gothic design.

Antoni Gaudi worked tirelessly on the project until his untimely death in 1926 but less than a quarter of the church had been completed. Finishing Gaudi’s architectural wonder has relied solely on private donations and as a result, the Sagrada Familia’s construction has progressed slowly, particularly following a hiatus during the Spanish Civil War. In July 1936, revolutionaries broke into the crypt (where Gaudi is buried) and set it on fire, destroying Gaudi’s original plans, models and drawings. It took almost two decades for those working on the project to put fragments of the master model back together and continue fulfilling Gaudi’s vision. In the last few years, technology advancements have allowed construction to progress at a quicker rate and Sagrada familia church will be finished by 2026, a century after Gaudi’s death. When the Sagrada Familia church is completed, it will be tallest religious building in all of Europe.

Visiting La Sagrada Familia

Inside La Sagrada Familia
Inside La Sagrada Familia

No trip to Barcelona is complete without a tour of Sagrada Familia. It is a unique experience reflective on its listing as a UNESCO world heritage site. Although the church remains a building site, the completed sections and the Sagrada familia museum can be explored. Guides join our small group tour of Sagrada familia The Sagrada familia tickets vary in price depending on which areas of the church you see and depending if you visit the highest part of the Basilica.

Articles about Spain published by Odyssey Traveller:

Questions about Spain.

Empires crossing the Mediterranean: 1130-1300. 

15 of the best places to visit in Spain.

Barcelona travel notes.

Pilgrimages of the World: Advice for mature and senior travellers.

Books to read on a trip to Spain.

Eight Amazing Rail Journeys.

Five Renaissance Women.

For all the articles Odyssey Traveller has published for mature aged and senior travellers, click through on this link.

External articles to assist you on your visit to Spain:

The spirit of southern Spain: Reasons to visit Andalucia.

Beyond Seville: Three ancient towns to visit in Andalucia.

Ten must see sights in Madrid.

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