A monumental work in progress of the grandest proportions, Barcelona’s Roman Catholic basilica Sagrada Familia draws millions of awe-inspired visitors every year who come to marvel at the strange and fascinating fusion of textures, intricate details, towering spires and geometrical forms that can only be attributed to one amazing architect – the remarkable Antoni Gaudi.
Construction of the enormous temple first began in 1882 and continues to this day. At the time of Gaudi’s tragic passing in 1926, only a few parts of the temple, including just one tower, had been completed. The sacred monument was considered his life’s sole passion in his later years and he was buried in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia where he rests to this very day. Over the years since, a number of architects have worked on carrying out Gaudi’s original plans, though progress has been slow and not without controversy.
Today visitors can experience the completed parts of this iconic basilica through general admission tickets or guided and audio tours. For the ultimate experience, the ‘Top Views’ ticket sees you whisked up by elevator into one of the towers where you can then bask in panoramic views of the city. Gaudi relished in expression through colour, which you will see marvellously reflected in the use of various types of coloured stone, tiles and enamelled ceramic as well as the stained-glass windows that dazzle in the sunlight.
Main access to the basilica is on Carrer de la Marina. If coming by metro, take either Line 2 or Line 5 to Sagrada Familia. You can also enjoy sampling the array of cafes, restaurants, delis and chocolatiers while in the Sagrada Familia district, or take a stroll down the elegant Avinguda de Gaudi – a pedestrian street that links the basilica to the stunning Art Nouveau attraction, the Sant Pau Recinte Modernista.