The Sagrada Familia is the awe-inspiring basilica and poster child of Barcelona. If you’ve only got enough time to visit one thing in Barcelona, this is it. Born from the quirky mind of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, every inch of the building inside and out is loaded with symbolism, creativity, and beauty. Construction began way back in 1882 and is optimistically forecast for completion in 2026, the centenary of Gaudi’s death.
The embodiment of the Catalan Modernist architectural movement, Antoni Gaudí has played an undeniable role in creating the vibrant Barcelona that stands today. From street lights to fountains, museums, homes, public parks, and, of course, La Sagrada Familia, his most famous beloved pride and joy, Gaudi’s Barcelona collection is not only impressive, but also quite extensive. The quirky, colorful, and flamboyant style defined a generation of Catalan art and architecture in history, and inspired countless others in the process. View from the street or private plane for an unforgettable birds eye view.
The first glimpse I had of La Sagrada Familia caused my heart to skip a beat. I was two blocks away when the spires came into view above the grand buildings of Carrer de Mallorca, and they still managed to stop me dead in my tracks. Up close, this incredible architectural marvel is nothing short of jaw-dropping and, trust me, I’ve certainly seen my fair share of architectural treasures all over the world. In fact, I was a little skeptical of the Gaudi-hype before starting this walking tour around Barcelona, but, at the end of my day’s walk, had a sense that this would be an overwhelming experience. And it sure was. Everything about La Sagrada Familia is breathtaking — aside from the fact that it is incredibly imposing, its details are truly astonishing, and knowing this is one of the world’s top 20 structures that took the longest to complete simply adds to the appeal. The fact that the city is scrambling to have La Sagrada Familia completed by 2026 (to mark a century since Gaudi’s tragic passing) is testament to the dedication, and some would say lunacy of its intricate design. You’ll want at least 2 hours here, as a minimum, and some would say you could visit the now sanctified Roman Catholic Basilica many times and still discover new details. This is one of the craziest, yet most beautiful, man-made structures I’ve ever seen. The crowds are the only truly sobering aspect of a visit, but with a full-access ticket, you’ll soon learn to look beyond them and enjoy the multisensory experience. A true work of art, and the most beloved creation of a devoted and very religious man, La Sagrada Familia isn’t just a must-see in Barcelona, this is a bucket-list treasure everyone should see at least once in life.