The ‘Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família’, more commonly know as the Sagrada Família (meaning ‘Holy family’) is by far Barcelona’s most iconic landmark, attracting an estimated 3 million visitors a year. Although construction began in 1882, by 2015 this mind-blowing building was estimated to be only about 70% complete. Rumors have it that construction may be completed in 2026, a year that will also mark the centenary of the death of architect Antoni Gaudí, the mastermind behind the Sagrada Família’s iconic design.
The Sagrada Família is a world-famous basilica located in Barcelona, Spain. It is an iconic symbol of the city and one of the most recognized architectural masterpieces in the world. The basilica was designed by the renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, who devoted the last years of his life to its construction.
Origins – Josep Maria Bocabella i Verdaguer
The origins of the Sagrada Família date back to 1866 when a devout bookseller named Josep Maria Bocabella i Verdaguer founded the Spiritual Association of Devotees of Saint Joseph. The association aimed to construct an expiatory temple dedicated to the Holy Family, based on a vision Bocabella had during a trip to Italy. The initial architect of the project, Francisco de Paula del Villar, began the construction in 1882 but resigned a year later due to disagreements with the project’s direction.
In 1883, Antoni Gaudí, then a young and relatively unknown architect, took over the project and transformed it into his life’s work. Gaudí envisioned a grand and unique structure that would blend various architectural styles, including Gothic, Art Nouveau, and his own distinctive style inspired by nature. He drew inspiration from natural forms, incorporating organic shapes, intricate details, and symbolism into the design.
Construction progressed slowly due to financial difficulties and various interruptions, including the Spanish Civil War and Gaudí’s own death in 1926. At the time of Gaudí’s passing, only a small portion of the basilica was completed. Despite this, Gaudí left behind detailed plans and models, which became the foundation for continuing the construction in the following decades.
Work on the Sagrada Família has been ongoing ever since, relying solely on private donations and revenue generated from tourism. Different architects and craftsmen have carried on Gaudí’s vision, interpreting his designs and incorporating modern techniques and materials. The construction process has been complex and time-consuming, with periods of slow progress and bursts of accelerated advancement.
Today, the Sagrada Família remains unfinished but continues to attract millions of visitors from around the world. The construction work focuses on completing the central nave and the impressive towers that will form the basilica’s skyline. The estimated completion date is projected to be in the first third of the 21st century, around 2026, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death.
Despite its incomplete state, the Sagrada Família is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site and stands as a testament to Gaudí’s genius and vision. Its striking facades, intricate sculptures, and breathtaking stained glass windows continue to inspire awe and admiration, making it a must-visit landmark for architecture enthusiasts and tourists in Barcelona.
By Tara Jessop
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.