By Marta Laurent Veciana
Passionate Tour Guide & Founder of ForeverBarcelona
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our sagrada familia guide
If there is one MUST-SEE place in town, that’s definitely the Sagrada Familia church. Started in 1882 by the architect Francesc de Paula i Villar, Gaudi took over the project a year later and transformed it into his masterpiece, his passion and obsession. It won’t be finished until 2026-30 (approx), but the inside was finally completed, freed of scaffolding and consecrated by Pope Benedict in 2010.
It’s a pretty impressive building that attracts over 3 million visitors every year, so when planning your visit check out first our Sagrada Familia visit tips to avoid lines. And next, make sure you know exactly what to see in Sagrada Familia so you don’t miss anything.
But unless you are taking a Sagrada Familia tour, you might not know what to see in Sagrada Familia… But don’t worry: we get you covered: As experienced private tour guides, we know what are everyone’s favorites, and today we are sharing them with you!
Things that make the visit of the Sagrada Familia inside unique:
The hanging model
The soldier with 6 toes
This detail is something most visitors miss unless someone tells them it exists… The waiter who posed for the soldier of Herod killing the babies was born with six toes, and that’s how Gaudi decided to represent him in stone. It’s hard to see the sixth toe, but you can make it out in the Façade of the Nativity. Or in a good guidebook…
The stain-glass colors reflecting on the columns
Once you enter the main nave, you’ll be at awe: it’s so out of this world! My favorite time is in autumn and spring, when the sunlight reflects the stain-glass colors in the columns and makes you feel you are inside a magical forest of stone.
More of our Sagrada Familia visit tips: we prefer the lights during autumn and winter, when the sun is lower and the colors are brighter (if it’s sunny outside).
The cryptogram that adds up to 33
What to see in Sagrada Familia if you are a mathematician: Subirachs, the artist who made the sculptures in the Passion Façade decided to hide there a few secret symbols. This cryptogram or magical square adds up to the age of Jesus when he died.
You don’t need to pay to see this one, as the crypt is open for prayers and services and it’s free of charge (however, it only opens for mass). You can also see it from inside the basilica (corridor behind the altar) and the museum.
Not being recognized as the great master he was when he was run over by a tram, he died in a hospital for poor people. But then, over 100,000 people came to pay their respects in his funeral. Sad end for an incredible man.
AND BONUS! Should you also go up the towers?
Sagrada Família Towers
There are currently two elevators: one in each façade. While the one in the Nativity side is only way-up, then you must walk down, in the one at the Passion side you are also given the possibility to take the elevator down again – bear this in mind if you are scared of heights or have weak knees!
BTW, did you know that an electrifying chapter of Dan Brown’s Origin novel happened here?
I recommend you get your elevator tickets online when you get your Sagrada Familia tickets online, as they sell out quickly. But are they really worth it? Well, that depends on what are your goals: if you are expecting great city views, there are other sites that will serve you better (Montjuic Hill and La Pedrera being our favorite).
The windows were designed to send the sound of the bells down to the ground, not to show people’s the views, so in most cases the views aren’t that great. Instead, if you love the sense of adventure of climbing steep spiral stairs, or if you’d love to get a sneak peak at the construction works, then taking the elevator is well worth it!
What are your Sagrada Familia visit tips and must-sees?
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