My first visit to the Sagrada Familia, in 2009, left me… unimpressed.

Not because it’s not a special place. I could tell that it was. But it was under such heavy construction, scaffolds covering every wall, dust everywhere, that there wasn’t really anything to see back then.

Cue 2012.

sagrada familia

Uh, hello there sweet thang. Lookin’ good!

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The front facade, or the Passion Facade – love the squared shapes.

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It’s easy to forget that it’s a religious building and not just a work of art

The stained glass at the Sagrada Familia are particularly beautiful, for many reasons – the way the glass is cut, in a square way, the vibrant colors and the fact that the windows are one of the few that don’t depict biblical scenes makes the basilica all the more special.

Considering that I mostly visit churches around the world for architecture rather than religious reasons, and that I have a thing for stained glass windows, needless to say that these ones left me speechless.

sagrada familia

More stained glass. Because they’re just too pretty.

sagrada familia

A succession of windows

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The beautiful stained glass in the sunlight

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Beautiful details in the stained glass

The building and structure as such is also particularly interesting, from an artistic point of view.

Of course, Gaudi being Gaudi, nature was his main focus and inspiration, and it definitely shows. The way the columns are reminiscent of trees and branches is the most obvious comparison, yet the most striking, perhaps also because of the sheer size of it – 50 meters tall!

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The nave

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The famous ceiling of the Sagrada Familia

Last but not least – the view from the top of the spires isn’t too shabby. And for the sake of your calves, there’s an elevator that goes all the way up!

sagrada familia

Hello Mediterranean!

Fun facts about the Sagrada Familia:

  • The 18 spires represent the Twelve Apostles, the Four Evangelists, the Virgin Mary and the highest one of all, Jesus.
  • The basilica is set to be finished in 2026, just in time to celebrate the centennial of Gaudi’s death.
  • The three entrances and facades represent the Three Virtues – faith, hope and love.
  • The Sagrada Familia has been under construction for the past 130 years.

Disclaimer: I was a guest of EasyJet Holidays on this trip. As always, all opinions are my own.

Have you been to the Sagrada Familia? What were your impressions? Do you plan on visiting when it’s completely done?



  1. Comment by Jeff @ GoTravelzing

    Jeff @ GoTravelzing Reply November 6, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I was there in 2007 and 2010 and the interior was still under construction. I still loved it and will definitely go back.

  2. Comment by Laurence

    Laurence Reply November 6, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    I visited earlier this year, and it is by far the most impressive religious building I’ve ever been in. I loved it!

  3. Comment by Lisa

    Lisa Reply November 6, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    I’m glad that you had the opportunity to return to the Sagrada Familia. It seems wherever we go lately there is always scaffolding on the buildings and I always feel a bit disappointed in the appearance – particularly in my photos!

  4. Comment by Jade -

    Jade - Reply November 7, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Oh wow, it’s really coming along. I went there in 2006 and you still could not go inside… I still found it very very impressive though. Can’t wait to see it when it’s all complete

  5. Comment by Lizzie

    Lizzie Reply November 7, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I had heard from lots of people that the Sagrada Familia wasn’t as impressive as it was made out to be.. But they had only been when it was under construction. When I went earlier this year, I was completely blown away :)

  6. Comment by Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    Stephanie - The Travel Chica Reply November 10, 2012 at 3:55 am

    It was under a ton of scaffolding my first visit too. But it still had a profound impact on me, probably b/c it was my first trip to Europe. I cannot wait to visit again without all that scaffolding.

    • Comment by Marie-Eve Vallieres

      Marie-Eve Vallieres Reply December 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      It’s an entirely different experience – perhaps even more so if you’ve seen it under construction!

  7. Comment by cheryl

    cheryl Reply November 10, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    This is definitely one of the most unusual churches I’ve visited on my travels and have to admit I was taken in by those stained glass windows (even blogged about it … lol!).

    Not sure if I came away liking the church or not … still undecided! It’s very pretty, that’s for sure. And your photos are really nice. :)

    • Comment by Marie-Eve Vallieres

      Marie-Eve Vallieres Reply December 12, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      Well considering I’m Gothic-churched-out, this was a nice change!

  8. Comment by Ayngelina

    Ayngelina Reply November 14, 2012 at 4:04 am

    I do appreciate your honest view on even the most popular things, it is why I continue to read.

  9. Comment by Abby

    Abby Reply November 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Your captions are hilarious! WOW I can’t believe how much has been done. I haven’t been in so many years. I’d love to see it every few years until it’s complete.

  10. Comment by Reply November 27, 2012 at 6:10 am

    Visited Sagrada Familia last year November. Only get to see the exterior which is till under construction since 1882 (yes, no typo error). Didn’t get into the church as the crowd was overwhelming, so thanks for the photos particularly the beautiful stained glass.

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