The Unique Gaudi Cathedral in Barcelona

Anyone who has traveled outside the US has probably stood in a church that is over a century old. But have you ever visited a church that has been under construction for over 131 years and most likely will need another century before it’s completed? Barcelona is home to such a church. The Gaudi cathedral is one of his ultimate masterpieces—La Basilica de la Sagrada Familia.

I had heard from many people how incredible the cathedral is and that it was a must-see in Barcelona. Being a fan of old religious buildings, I was quite eager to visit it. That is until I saw the ridiculous €14.80 admission price (about $20.53 USD per adult). Children 11 and over don’t get much of a price break, so I had to really think hard about spending around $40 to visit a church.

In the end, I decided that seeing something that won’t be found anywhere else in the world was worth it. Tigger has expressed many times how he is “over” visiting churches. When I explained there is no other church on earth like this place, he agreed to go.

As we entered the basilica, I heard him say, “Okay, I’m impressed.” I have rarely ever heard those words uttered by him, and they have never been used to describe a church or temple. When we were done with our visit, I asked him to rate the experience, and he gave it a 10/10, which was another shock for me.

If you can handle larger groups, it is recommended to do the visit with a tour guide. We chose to do it with an audio guide instead (it’s the same price, €19.30). While you will learn some interesting things, I think the guide is much more informative. You get a lot more detail from them than from the audio guides. Although, kids are probably more apt to use the audio guide and would probably tune out a human.

Tips for visiting the Gaudi Cathedral

  • If you don’t buy your ticket(s) online, you’re a fool. Seriously. We heard from people who had been standing in line for over an hour. If you get your tickets online, you may wait for about 15 minutes. You also get a tiny discount with online tickets. Save yourself a major hassle and buy them online. Note the entrance for people with online tickets is on the side of the church with the more ancient-appearing facade, on the other side from the park. If you chose the audio guide, turn to your right at the top of the stairs to pick them up.
  • The website can be confusing about whether or not photos will be allowed. You can take photos of almost all of the cathedral’s interior (and, of course, all the exterior is fair game).
  • As it is an active worship center, they are fairly picky about dress. Women will probably be asked to cover their shoulders, and men should plan on wearing pants/trousers. Neither gender should plan on wearing anything that doesn’t at least cover their knees. Hats are not allowed to be worn indoors, and there are staff who will make sure you remove them.
  • There is a museum beneath the basilica which is fairly interesting. Plan on spending at least 1-1/2 hours at the basilica.
  • If you are arriving via the Verdaguer metro station (lines L5 and L4), take the Sant Joan exit. As you come up the stairs make a U-turn and take the street toward your right. This will lead you to the basilica.

Is it worth the price?

That’s a tough one for me. It’s really expensive for a church. On the other hand, it is incredibly unique. While I didn’t appreciate spending almost $40 USD to enter, I am very glad I went. It’s really quite the experience.


Here are just some of the 100 photos I took while at the basilica.Gaudi cathedral, Sagrada Familia, BarcelonaGaudi cathedral, Sagrada Familia, BarcelonaDSC_0021Gaudi cathedral, Sagrada Familia, BarcelonaDSC_0023DSC_0025Gaudi cathedral, Sagrada Familia, BarcelonaGaudi cathedral, Sagrada Familia, BarcelonaDSC_0034DSC_0051Gaudi cathedral, Sagrada Familia, BarcelonaDSC_0066DSC_0069DSC_0075DSC_0079DSC_0084DSC_0089Gaudi cathedral, Sagrada Familia, BarcelonaDSC_0093DSC_0094DSC_0095DSC_0096DSC_0097DSC_0100

Have you visited the Gaudi Cathedral? What did you think of it?

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  1. I’m in Barcelona in June and this is a definite place I will be going. I just wondered the tour guide that you mentioned was that a staff member from the venue? But confused to hit the guide thing works

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  2. Hmm, the prices at the religious buildings are about the same everywhere. At St. Paul’s Cathedral in London the ticket is 16.5 Pounds, St Marks Basilica in Venice is 18 Euros. The only one that is cheaper is the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris which is around 8.5 Euros but if you are lucky to visit it on Sunday you can enter for free.

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    • No, not everywhere. There are plenty of places where church admission is much cheaper, even in Europe. And 8 EUR is WAY better than 15! But plenty of places charge much less (and many don’t charge at all).

      In London, fees suck period. LOL Westminster is even more than St. Paul’s I believe. It’s just crazy.

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  3. That looks pretty awesome! I love those audio recorded thingos. But not when they are rubbish quality – that really ruins them! I would have had a hard time parting with $40 for this too!

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  4. Fabulous photos Talon. Sagrada Familia is one of my very favorite buildings in the world. Even for atheists (and kids!) I think it is well worth the price of admission, but agree wholeheartedly with you about buying your ticket for timed entry to basilica. There is also a museum about the building of the basilica with Gaudi’s original design drawings and models – fascinating to compare with finished product.

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  5. I’m a huge fan of Guadi’s work, I personally admire him a lot and think he is a genius. When I went to Barcelona on my own years ago I visited almost every building designed by him. From your photos I can tell that they have progressed quite a bit with the work of the Sagrada Familia since I went. When I went I remember being a little disappointed because loads of areas were closed to the visitors due to work in progress, I thought it wasn’t fair to pay such high fee and not being able to see it all.

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    • No, that would not be fair at all! It will be interesting to see what the final product looks like. If we’re still alive. 😉

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  6. I was not willing to wait in the forever wye but now that tigger has given it a 10/10 I will check it out on my next visit to Bcn 🙂

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  7. We decided not to go inside the cathedral so it’s interesting to read your thoughts on the interior and if it was worth it for the price. The stained glass looks beautiful and the columns are very-much Gaudi.

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  8. Great photos, Mr. Talon!!! According to some estimates, the Cathedral will be completed in 2040. Maybe by then people will be allowed to enter without paying 😮

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  9. I am SO glad you went in! It is one of this places that sticks in my mind and makes the top if the list of all the places I’ve been! Amazing. I’m also doing my “Will and Grace” “told ya so” dance re Tigger 🙂

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    • Don’t hurt yourself dancing! lol Usually if I even mention going to a church, his eyes glaze over. He’s over castles and churches.

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  10. We saw a news segment about the cathedral, 60 minutes, I think it was. Fascinating story. We are hoping to make it to Spain in 2015 and if we make it to Barcelona, we will definitely visit the cathedral. It’s hard when traveling on a budget – even when you’re not – to cough up such an admission price because you never know what you’re walking into. But this cathedral seems like a safe bet and I’m glad you found it worth the price. Love the photos. I’d have to stay on the ground floor, but I’m sure I’d love it just the same. Seems like one of those places you could sit and stare for an hour and not take it all in.

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    • There is a ton of significance and symbolism to a lot of the work, so you could easily spend a LOT of time there. We didn’t go up any of the towers.

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