Inside the Most Famous Barcelona Church
The most famous Barcelona church to visit is Sagrada Familia and if you are headed to Barcelona, you won’t want to miss seeing it.
Designed by Antoni Gaudí, this Gothic Basilica is one of the most beautiful churches in the world.
While the exterior of the basilica is quite striking, the Sagrada Familia inside will take your breath away.
About Antoni Gaudi & Sagrada Familia
Antoni Gaudi, the pioneer of Catalan Modernism, began working on the design for the Sagrada Família after the original architect, Francisco de Paula del Villar, was let go.
Unhappy with de Paula del Villar’s vision, Gaudi took it upon himself to create a church that would outshine all others, filled with the modernist whimsical designs that he is noted for.
Gaudi spent years perfecting his model for the Sagrada Familia with hundreds of sketches, models, and drawings of what he envisioned for the future Basilica.
Unfortunately, the pinnacle of Gaudi’s achievement is one that he never got to see completed, in fact, it still isn’t complete.
Completion is set for 2026.
When he died, his apprentice, Domènec Sugranyes, takes over the project until the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, when most of Gaudi’s original sketches and models were destroyed.
With Gaudi’s design sketches that could be reconstructed, new site managers and architects continued the work and are still working to this day.
Tour of Sagrada Familia: Inside & Outside the Basilica
Outside Façade of Sagrada Familia
Carved into the exterior Façade of Sagrada Familia is divided into three sections that tell the story of Jesus from birth to resurrection.
The Façade of Birth focuses on the birth of Christ and is very ornate with realistic details and images of Jesus as a baby.
It contains four bell towers and three major doors (hope, mercy & faith) on which are intricately designed patterns of human, plant, and animal figures representing growth.
The Façade of Passion is based on the crucifixion of Christ. It is far more barren than the other facades and lacks detail.
It has skeletal pillars with sculptures of Biblical figures and a cryptogram that represents the age of Jesus at his death (33).
The Façade of Bliss represents life everlasting and features scenes of Judgment, Hell, and Heaven.
With 7 entrances on this side of the church, clearly, Gaudi was using the number 7 to mark the completion of this set of façades.
Eventually, there will be 18 towers: one for Jesus, one for Mary, one for each of the Evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) and one for each of the 12 apostles.
Sagrada Familia: Inside Barcelona’s Most Beautiful Cathedral
The interior of Sagrada Familia is awe-inspiring and right away you will notice how much effort Gaudi put into creating the most beautiful church in Barcelona.
Built to look like you are standing below a forest of trees, the vaulted ceiling and pillars are magnificent and make you feel quite small (which is the point).
You can’t help but be overwhelmed by the amount of stained glass and the rainbow of colors that illuminate the basilica.
It gives so much natural light, that there is no real need for anything artificial.
The details that Gaudi incorporated in his design of Sagrada Familia’s interior are intentional and draw your focus clearly on the reason for the basilica, to make Jesus the focal point.
The High Altar seems simple enough until you look up.
The canopy of trees appears to converge into an opening at the top of the basilica through which it can be imagined that Jesus is ascending to heaven.
Admission for Sagrada Familia
Open Monday-Thursday from 9am to 3pm and Friday-Sunday from 9am to 6pm.
Sagrada Familia is on the Barcelona Card which allows you to skip lines & free entrance, otherwise, we suggest that you buy your Sagrada Familia tickets in advance as the lines can be up to 2 hours long!
Location of Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
Carrer Mallorca, 401
08013 Barcelona, España.
Want a guided tour of Sagrada Familia?
Take a look at the Sagrada Familia Guided Tour. It allows you to skip the line and you will have a knowledgeable person to explain all the details of this amazing basilica.
While there is an audio tour that you can use, I found the Sagrada Familia Visual Guide book to be an amazing tool to help with understanding the different aspects of this symbolic basilica.
Look for it in the gift shop as it is ridiculously priced on Amazon.
Have you visited Sagrada Familia? Which did you prefer, the Sagrada Familia inside or outside?
TOP 5 Churches in Barcelona
Discover the greatest churches in Barcelona!
Top 5 Churches in Barcelona
Discover the greatest churches in Barcelona!
Wondering what churches in Barcelona are most important to visit?
Have you ever wondered which are the most beautiful churches in Barcelona? There are so many! And you probably won’t have the time to see them all. That is why we have made a list with the TOP 5 churches you cannot miss in your visit to Barcelona.
La Sagrada Familia is definitely a must-see for anyone who is spending time in Barcelona. La Sagrada Familia is definitely the most famous church in Barcelona but once you see it for yourself you will understand why. This truly an amazing piece of art that you must see in person because pictures truly do not give it justice.
La Sagrada Familia started its construction back in 1852 and is still in the process of being built which may seem crazy to think about but once you see the enormous size of this giant Roman Catholic Basilica you will understand why it has taken so long to build. This massive architectural work of art was created by Barcelona’s most famous architect Antoni Gaudi who is known for his absolutely breathtaking works of art that also include Casa Batlló, Casa Milà and Park Güell. Gaudi passed away back in 1926 but his dream of finishing La Sagrada Familia has kept moving forward and is expected to be completed in between 2026 and 2028. This will be over 144 years of dedication to this beautiful church in Barcelona.
The Roman Catholic Basilica in Barcelona is open to the public for mass every Saturday at 8 pm and every Sunday at 9 am and also on the Eve and day of all holidays. These worships are all international masses that will be spoken in multiple languages so make sure you plan your day around it because it will take longer than your average mass. These masses are all free but you must plan to get there early because there is limited seating.
If you plan on going to La Sagrada Familia any other time of the week, do not plan on getting in for free. Tours for the Basilica range from 20€ to 33€ but make sure you buy them in advance because they will sell out fast if you try to buy them when you get to the site. You can find tickets here and with many other options including tours to Antoni Gaudi’s house.
You can find La Sagrada Familia here, only a ten minute walk away from Sant Jordi Hostels Sagrada Familia.
Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona
Cathedral of Barcelona
Located in the heart of the Gothic Quarters of Barcelona, this beautiful Cathedral is home to the Archbishop of Barcelona and one of the most unique Cathedrals for its location and age.This Cathedral is must see for anyone who his interested in Cathedrals, the gothic period, medieval times and the Crusades.
The Cathedral of Barcelona dates back to the beginning of its construction in 1292, making it one of the oldest churches in Barcelona. The Barcelona church was built on top of previous churches that dated back to 1058. The Cathedral of Barcelona was being built during the time of Bishop Bernardo Pelegrí but was not complete for over 150 years and was now meant for Bishop Francisco Clemente Sapera. The Barcelona church was constructed during the reign of multiple kings starting with King James II of Aragon and ending with King Alfonso V of Aragon and to this day you can still see slices in the stone of where knights used to sharpen their swords.
It is a Roman Catholic church in Barcelona that is still open to the public. Masses are consistent through the week from 9 am to 7 pm but make sure you look up on the website what type of masses are going on during the weekend because services can change do to holidays. If you plan on visiting this church, make sure you come prepared and understand that they only do mass in Spanish and Catalan.
If you want to take a tour of the Cathedral of Barcelona you will want to plan on going on Sunday, it may be a little busier but it is cheaper than the rest of the week. If you choose to go during the week it will be 7€ but no matter when you go it is definitely worth it and I recommend you take the elevator up to the roof for an incredible view.
You can find Cathedral of Barcelona in the heart of the Gothic Quarters. make sure you take the time to look around the outside of the church where you will see the gargoyles that are portrayed as animals and mythical creatures around the whole church and don’t forget to walk around the rest of the gothic quarters, there is so much to see!
Address: Pla de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
The Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor
If you love churches, mountains, and amusement parks the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor is a must see for you. And yes, I said amusement parks! The Located on top of Mount Tibidabo and shares the summit of the mountain with the Tibidabo Amusement Park, this is one of the most beautiful places in Barcelona for its beautiful view and the architecture of the minor Basilica with the statue of Jesus on the top of the steeple overlooking all of Barcelona. So, If you want a fun day trip I recommend you hike to the top of the mountain, hang out at the amusement park and finish off the day looking over the city from the church. Did I mention this is the highest point in Barcelona? At the tip of the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor you are standing at an astounding 564 meters above sea level.
Out of all the churches we have talked about so far the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor is the most modern church we have looked at with a more neo gothic to modern architectural design. The Barcelona church began building in 1902 and was finished in 1961. After completion of the church, Pope John XXlll gave it the title of minor Basilica.
Just like the rest of the churches in Barcelona that we have talked about, the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor was also Roman Catholic. This is a great place to go to church in Barcelona for multiple reasons. It will be less packed then the la Sagrada Familia and the Cathedral of Barcelona and the mass times are vert consistent. You can go to mass during the week from 8 am to 7 pm with four masses through the day and every sunday from 8 am to 7 pm with six masses throughout the day.
To tour the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor it is much easier then any other churches we have discussed. The church is open Monday through Sunday 11 am to 5:45 pm and I recommend you take the opportunity and spend 4€ to take the elevator up to the top of the church and then walk up the stairs to the tip of the steeple. You will be standing directly under the statue of Jesus and overlooking all of Barcelona from the highest point you can access in Barcelona
To find the mountain you really don’t even need a map, basically from any location in Barcelona you can see the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor but the directions can only help because there are many ways to get up the mountain from hiking to taking the uphill metro so use this map to find the best way for you to get to the church in Barcelona.
Address: Ctra. de Vallvidrera al Tibidabo, 111, 08035 Barcelona
Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar
There are many churches in Barcelona and many of them are hidden away in less known areas. These small back roads that are less traveled and less touristy lead to some great areas with a lot of things to do. With many great restaurants and stores in the area to check out you will also be able to find Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar. This church is breathtaking for its massive size and its unbelievable location, tucked in the streets of Barcelona.
This beautiful Basilica started being built back in 1329 and was not complete until 1383. This church was built through the hard labor of the people with King Pere III’s permission to go up into the quarries around the mountain Montjuic to retrieve the stone they would use to build Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar. There have been a lot of issues surrounding this church since it has been built, mostly political acts that were against the church and that has caused the church to take on a lot of destruction and rebuilding. These political acts included the 11 day burn of the church that destroyed all of the priceless artwork and the altar of the church. Thankfully the people have taken care of this church and now today looks as if it was just built yesterday.
This Roman Catholic church has a rich history with the building and the destruction of the church but it also has had a strong religious past with ten saints actually going to church here including Josep Oriol who happened to grow up being an altar server at Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar. As well of the many saints who have gone to this church it has also had some very well known priests serve mass here including St. Anthony Ma Claret who was the Bishop of Santiago de Cuba and St. Francesc who founded The Dominican Sisters of the Annunciation. A great thing to remember about this church is they like to consider it an open house to all. Outside of touring times there are open hours where anyone can go in and pray, making this church feel more authentic and down to its religious core and not as much of a landmark or museum which many churches in Barcelona have become.
Access to the church is easy to come by whether you are just looking for a tour or to actually go to mass. Santa Maria del Mar is open from 9am to 1pm and 5pm to 8:30 pm Monday through Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 2pm and 5pm to 8pm. There is plenty of time to see the church and make sure if you have the chance you by a ticket for a tour of the church for 10€ and up to the roof top and towers for 8,50€ and don’t forget to bring your student ID for a discounted rate. If you are planning on catching a mass you’re in luck because they have a service everyday at 7:30pm and a 12am international mass every Sunday.
If you would like to check out this magnificent church in Barcelona please enjoy the walk through the small streets of Barcelona which will lead you to Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar.
Address: Plaça de Santa Maria, 1, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Sant Pau del Camp
This list would not be complete without the oldest church in Barcelona, that being Sant Pau del Camp. This church is a must see for anyone interest in history and monasteries.
Sant Pau del Camp was originally a monastery which is a home and workplace for monks or nuns. The church was built back in 977 and to this day no one knows who the specific architect was but we do know it was built in the Romanesque style. This monastery was later attacked in 985 by the Muslims who were lead by the ruler al-Mansur who was known by his people as Almanzor. The reconstruction of this monastery did not take place until 1096. Once reconstruction was completed it 1117 it remained a monastery until the 13th century when they officially added the church to the monastery and officially named it Sant Pau del Camp.
As the pattern continues, this church in Barcelona also happens to be roman catholic. Out of all the churches we have seen this one is by far the smallest but is still know for its extreme age and very interesting history.
If you want to see this church you can go for a small charge of 5€ and it is open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 1:30 pm and 4pm to 7:30 pm and Saturday from 10am to 1:30 pm and from 4pm to 7pm and on Sundays Sant Pau Camp is closed to the public.
Sant Pau del Camp is a very simple place to get to, only a few blocks from La Rambla and about a 10 minute walk from the famous Mirador de Colom.
Address: Carrer de Sant Pau, 99, 08001 Barcelona
Map to the Top 5 Churches in Barcelona
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Curious facts you didn’t know about the Cathedral of Barcelona
Facade of the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia in Barcelona
In addition to the Sagrada Familia, among the narrow streets is the Cathedral of Barcelona. Traveling to the Gothic Quarter is like traveling back in time. You leave behind Las Ramblas, walk through the narrow streets and enter the heart of the city. There are still remains of the ancient Barkino (Barcelona’s old Roman name), as well as symbols in the Jewish quarter, and you can walk in the footsteps of the most bohemian modernists. Without a doubt, this is one of the most picturesque areas, in the center of which is the Cathedral of Barcelona. Despite being one of the famous buildings Spain , it still holds a few secrets.
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Would you like to know interesting facts about the Cathedral of Barcelona ?- Its official name is the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, as it is dedicated to one of the patronesses of Barcelona; but everyone knows it by its abbreviated name, as the Cathedral of Barcelona. – It began to be built more than 720 years ago on the site of an old Romanesque church, on the site of which there was previously an early Christian church. Currently, their archaeological remains can be seen in the Museum of the History of the City of Barcelona. – The facade and dome of the Cathedral of Barcelona were erected only at the end of the 19th century – the beginning of the 20th century. Thus, his style is, in fact, neo-gothic.
Interior decoration of the Cathedral of Saint Eulalia in Barcelona
– In the inner courtyard of the cathedral, where the cloister is located, 13 white geese of Saint Eulalia live, one for each torture she endured (and for each year). – The cathedral has 21 bells, all of them bear female names. “Thomas” is the largest and sounds on the most special occasions, while “Honorata” is the most revolutionary: it was melted down in 1717, as it sounded during the uprisings against Philip V. – If you want to see how the egg dances , then here you are: in the Gothic cloister is the fountain of St. George, which is in the center of attention on the day of the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ during l’ou com balla (“dancing egg”) – one of the most curious traditions of Barcelona. This is just a preface to the whole history hidden in Barcelona Cathedral. If you want to know more interesting facts, be sure to visit the cathedral.
Geese in the cloister of Barcelona Cathedral
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Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
What can be built in 144 years? Much… But not the most unusual temple in Barcelona. With a tenacity that is simply extraordinary, the Catalans are building a church only on donations. Everything would be faster and easier if this long-term construction was not associated with the most fantastic and grandiose project of the great architect Antonio Gaudi.
For 43 years, Sagrada Familia was not just his job, it was his life. To date, the temple has not been completed to the end. According to preliminary estimates, the final work will be completed only by 2026. In 2010, the Pope consecrated Sagrada Familia , as it is customary to call the temple in all languages of the world, since then services have been regularly held here.
Visitors are allowed from 9 am to 6 pm. You can get into the towers of the cathedral for an additional fee (the elevators work in the absence of strong wind and rain), there is also the Gaudí house-museum, a school for the children of the builders of the temple. Ticket prices: church – 14.80 euros, church and towers – 19.30 euros, Gaudi’s house – 6.80 euros, church and Gaudi’s house – 18.30 Euros. If you want to use the audio guide, the ticket will cost 4-5 euros more. You will also have to pay extra for the services of a guide. According to statistics, this particular church is the most visited place in all of Spain by tourists, even the Prado Museum is inferior.
What do hundreds of thousands of tourists want to see here at any time of the year?
In Sagrada Familia there is a museum dedicated to the construction of the church, where you can get acquainted with all stages of the construction of the temple, get acquainted with projects, drawings, models. The church itself periodically hosts concerts and music festivals.
The temple has a school of architecture for schoolchildren. Different styles, cultural monuments of Catalonia, its artistic heritage are studied here. You can enroll children in lessons weekly, after selecting the program and the amount of training.
During the entire period of construction, a huge archive has been collected in the church, which is actively used not only by art historians, but also by students of architectural faculties.
The most important thing is the church itself . You won’t find anything like it anywhere in the world. Already the appearance is a revelation. The architect managed to create a design so bold, unusual, unexpected and complex that a careful study of all the facades, towers, porticos, sculptures can take several years. It is known that the author of the project and the construction manager was a perfectionist. It is worth paying attention to the sculptural group depicting the “Massacre of the Innocents”. For greater reality, the architect made casts of stillborn babies, for which he worked for many months in hospital morgues. The result exceeded the wildest expectations.
The structure of the church itself is filled with symbols, which are deciphered by numerous guides, guidebooks and accompanying texts. Tourists are better off using an audio guide, then the complex and ornate language of Gaudí will become understandable to everyone.
Temple towers – one of the components of the tour. You can climb them by stairs, you can take an old elevator. From the top of the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona opens up in all its ancient glory.
The modest school building at the main entrance is a marvel of architectural thought. Deprived of load-bearing walls, it stands firmly due to the original mathematical solutions of the architect.
The interior of the temple is just as unusual and complex. Stained-glass windows, intricate columns, reliefs, murals, altars – everything here is unusual, difficult, interesting. The acoustics are great, which is why concerts in this place are so popular.
Scaffolding and construction cranes surrounding the church are perceived as its continuation, an integral part of the author’s fantastic idea. Recently, various organizations have demanded the cessation of the construction of the Sagrada Familia. The arguments are as follows: modern architects are not geniuses at all, their additions to the Gaudi project only disfigure it.