Sagrada Familia

Just amazing. Cathedrals are amazing anyway but to see a modern cathedral like this with all the symbolism explained is fabulous. Get the audio guide.

The way the light from the windows on the east and the west side reflect cool versus warm light into the interior. The contrast between the façade on the Nativity side versus the Passion side. The dog to signify loyalty. The colorful fruits on the roof. So many details. So much symbolism. How in the hell did he keep it all straight? If you have time to see only one thing in Barcelona, I would make it this.

The main entry is on the Nativity façade, the first to be completed. (The Sagrada Familia is very much a work in progress and will be for years.) 

The interior feels airy, open, and spacious. 

The pillars are designed to resemble trees. 

The attention to detail is amazing. Even functional elements like stairways blend with the whole.

Don’t forget to look up! Although they helpfully provided a mirror so you can view the ceiling through that rather than cranking your head back.

I particularly enjoyed the stained glass. The east wall is in cool colors and the west wall in warm.

The windows themselves are beautiful and so is the colored light they reflect onto the interior. The air appears to glow. 

The Passion façade is a stark, angular contrast to the Nativity façade. You visit this by passing through the main building and out the opposite side. 

The same level of detail and symbolism carries through.

The Sacristy is more modern and contains examples of furniture and fixtures.

You then wrap around end of the building, which is not an afterthought. More incredible detail.

Barcelona Pass

We bought the Barcelona Pass and most of our tickets for Barcelona sights before we left home. The Barcelona Pass includes the Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and the hop-on hop-off bus, plus a 10% discount on additional sights and features such as the Aerobus, Casas Battlo and Mila, the Hola BCN Travel Card, and more. You select a specific time slot for the Gaudi sights when you buy your tickets. We bought ours through Barcelona Hacks. The site was super helpful in planning our trip.