Barcelona Cathedral vs Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia and Barcelona Cathedral are two monumental structures that dominate Barcelona’s skyline and capture the hearts of tourists and locals alike. 

In this guide, we’ll delve into these architectural wonders’ extraordinary beauty and historical significance. 

Whether you’re seeking a glimpse into the past or an encounter with visionary design, Barcelona Cathedral and Sagrada Familia have something extraordinary to offer. 

Join us as we compare and contrast these iconic landmarks and help you decide which one is a must-visit during your time in Barcelona.

Sagrada Familia: Gaudi’s Masterpiece

Antoni Gaudi, the visionary architect who left his indelible mark on Barcelona, poured his heart and soul into the creation of Sagrada Familia. 

This extraordinary basilica, still unfinished after over a century, showcases Gaudi’s genius and serves as his final masterpiece.

Barcelona Cathedral: A Glimpse into History

Barcelona Cathedral, officially known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, stands proudly in the heart of the city’s Gothic Quarter. 

With its roots dating back to the 13th century, this magnificent cathedral holds an infinitely historical and religious significance. 

Barcelona Cathedral vs Sagrada Familia: Our Recommendation 

Barcelona Cathedral vs Sagrada Familia
Image: Maxim Morales/ Getty Images, dem10/Getty Images Signature

The Sagrada Familia is Antoni Gaudí’s masterwork. 

Though still under construction, this towering basilica’s magnificent facades, intricate detailing, and avant-garde architecture captivate millions of visitors annually.

Sagrada Familia is more than just a cathedral; it symbolizes Barcelona and Gaudí’s artistic talent.

It has been under construction since 1882 and is expected to be finished in 2026.

The magnificent Barcelona Cathedral stands in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. 

This centuries-old cathedral combines Neo-Gothic and Gothic architectural elements and is an absolute masterpiece. 

On May 1, 1298, during the reign of James II the Just, King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona, the first stone for the Barcelona Cathedral was laid. 

We suggest you visit both of these monuments if time and budget allow, but if you can only visit one, pick Sagrada Familia.

If you’re planning a trip to Barcelona or already are there but haven’t seen Sagrada Familia, you’re missing out.

Comparing the Architecture

Barcelona Cathedral and Sagrada Familia exhibit distinct architectural styles that clearly reflect the eras in which they were conceived. 

Let’s explore these two landmarks’ breathtaking architecture and discover many mesmerizing details that set them apart.

Modernist Marvel of Sagrada Familia

Modernist Marvel of Sagrada Familia
Image: Andrey Khrobostov

Sagrada Familia’s architecture is a departure from the traditional and is known for its unique architectural style, which combines various influences. 

The architecture of the Sagrada Familia is a blend of Spanish Late Gothic, Catalan Modernism, and Art Nouveau styles.

This combination of styles gives the building its distinctive and unconventional appearance, making it a significant example of modernist architecture. 

Antoni Gaudi’s visionary approach and commitment to organic design principles shaped this modernist marvel. 

When you explore Sagrada Familia, you’ll uncover Gaudi’s unconventional techniques, innovative use of materials, and inspiring vision for this religious edifice.

Gothic Splendor at Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona Cathedral
Image: Unsplash.com

The Barcelona Cathedral is primarily built in the Gothic style, with some elements of Catalan Gothic and Gothic Revival. 

The cathedral’s architecture is characterized by its Gothic design, including features such as pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and large stained-glass windows, typical of the Gothic style. 

The facade also incorporates neo-Gothic design elements added during a late 19th-century renovation. 

From its grandeur to its meticulous detailing, this architectural gem bewitches visitors with its divine aura. 

Opening Hours of Sagrada Familia and Barcelona Cathedral 

The Sagrada Familia is open Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm and Sunday from 10.30 am to 6 pm from November to February. 

From March to October, the church is open between 9 am and 7 pm, Monday to Friday.  

On Saturdays, it is open from 9 am to 6 pm. It opens at 10.30 am and closes at 7 pm on Sundays Timings for Sundays are from 10.30 am to 7 pm. 

The opening hours of the Barcelona Cathedral are as follows:

  • Monday to Friday: 8.30 am to 12.30 pm and 5.45 pm to 7.30 pm
  • Saturday: 8.30 am to 12.30 pm and 5.15 pm to 8 pm
  • Sunday: 8.30 am to 1.45 pm and 5.15 pm to 8 pm

Ticket for Barcelona Cathedral and Sagrada Familia 

The tickets for Barcelona Cathedral are cheaper because it is a relatively smaller attraction than Sagrada Familia. 

And even though tickets for Sagrada Familia cost more, you get your money’s worth when you visit because the experience is never disappointing. 

Sagrada Familia Ticket Price 

  • Adult ticket (18 to 64 years): € 34
  • Senior ticket (65 years and above): € 27
  • Student ticket (with ID): € 31
  • Youth ticket (11 to 15 years): € 31
  • Child ticket (10 years and younger): Free entry 

Barcelona Cathedral Ticket Price

  • Adult ticket (13 years and above): € 17
  • Youth ticket (4 to 12 years): € 8
  • Infant ticket (3 years and younger): Free entry 

Artistic Features and Symbolism

Both Barcelona Cathedral and Sagrada Familia boast remarkable artistic features that add depth and beauty to their structures. 

These landmarks are filled with artistic treasures, from intricate carvings to symbolic representations.

Sagrada Familia’s Symbolic and Artisitic Facades

The Sagrada Familia is renowned for its rich artistic and symbolic features, reflecting a blend of religious, natural, and historical elements. Some of its key features include:

Symbolism of the Facades: The Sagrada Familia’s facades, namely the Nativity, Passion, and Glory facades, are packed with symbolism and hidden meanings. Each facade represents a different aspect of Jesus’ life, such as his birth, suffering, and teachings.

Towers and Characters: The 18 towers of the Sagrada Familia, representing different characters from the Bible, have specific symbolic meanings. For instance, 12 towers stand for Jesus’ apostles, four for the Evangelists, one for the Virgin Mary, and the tallest for Jesus Christ.

Nature and Inspiration: The design of the Sagrada Familia is inspired by nature, with numerous details of plants, animals, and natural elements incorporated into the architecture. For example, the facade generally celebrates life, featuring intricate details of plants and animals.

Interior Symbolism: The interior of the Sagrada Familia is also rich in symbolism, with elements such as vibrant stained glass windows, columns representing saints and angels, and the High Altar, which is made from a giant block of porphyry and features a bronze Crucifixion of Christ descending from the ceiling.

Fruit and Eucharist Symbolism: The facade of the Sagrada Familia features colorful rounded designs, which are symbolic of fruits representing the fruits of the spirit and the Eucharist, the body and blood of Christ.

Barcelona Cathedral’s Artistic and Symbolic Treasures

The Barcelona Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, is a 14th-century Gothic cathedral with many artistic and symbolic features. Some of its key features include:

Gothic Architecture: The Barcelona Cathedral is renowned for its Gothic architectural style, with pointed archways, ribbed vaults, and gargoyles visible from inside the cathedral.

Symbolism of the Custody: The Custody, made entirely of gold and silver and adorned with jewels, is a significant feature of the cathedral. It rests on the throne of King Martin, which serves as its base and is believed to have been donated by King Martin himself in the 14th century. The Custody symbolizes devotion and has been donated with jewels over the years.

Paintings and Altarpieces: The chapels of the Barcelona Cathedral house many Gothic paintings that form altarpieces. Some noteworthy artists involved were Guerau Gener, Gabriel Alemany, Bernat Martorell, and Lluis Borrassà, to name a few. The Museum of the Cathedral also houses an exquisite collection of paintings by artists like Jaume Huguet, Pere Des Torrents, and Bartolomé Bermejo.

Choir and Pulpit: The chairs or the choir are located in the heart of the Cathedral and date back to the 14th and 15th centuries. The pulpit or high chair was created between 1394 and 1499 by Pere Canglada, Maties Bonafė, John Lambert, and Anthony Claperós. Kassel and Michael Lochner, both commendable artists from their time, created the pinnacle canopies around the choir.

Stained Glass Windows: The stained-glass windows in the cathedral have three panels, where the central panel displays an image of one main character, while the side panels contain geometric designs symbolizing royal families of the city, angels, etc. The windows can be divided into four periods, with the earliest from the years 1317 to 1334.

Views from the Cathedrals

Viewing Barcelona from above offers a unique experience, especially from the Sagrada Familia.

Visitors can enjoy sweeping views across the city from the top of the towers.

From this elevated perspective, Barcelona’s iconic landmarks, such as Park Güell, Casa Batlló, and the Mediterranean coastline, appear simply breathtaking.

It’s important to note that reaching the towers requires climbing a long flight of stairs.

However, the effort is well worth it for the breathtaking panoramas and the opportunity to witness Gaudí’s architectural genius up close.

Similarly, visitors who make their way to the rooftop of Barcelona Cathedral are rewarded with amazing views.

From this vantage point, you can admire the stunning architecture of nearby buildings, the Mediterranean Sea, and the winding alleyways of the Gothic Quarter.

The rooftop also looks closer at the cathedral’s ornate spires and gargoyles.

Experience and Atmosphere

Immersive in their own respective ways, Barcelona Cathedral and Sagrada Familia offer different experiences to visitors.

Transcendent Ambience of Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia captivates visitors with its outer-worldly transcendent atmosphere, blending spirituality, innovation, and natural beauty in an incredibly remarkable harmony. 

Stepping into this architectural marvel, one is immediately engulfed in an almost tangible sense of awe and wonder. 

Traditional Beauty at Barcelona Cathedral

When you step into Barcelona Cathedral, you are transported back a long time ago. 

The hushed serenity, the flickering candlelight, and the nearly deafening echoes of centuries past create a reverential and enchanting ambiance. 

Size and Construction

When comparing Barcelona Cathedral and Sagrada Familia, their sheer size and massive construction add another totally unexpected layer of intrigue. 

Let’s delve into the dimensions, construction techniques, and notable features that set these landmarks apart.

Sagrada Familia: A Long-Standing Work in Progress

The Sagrada has a ground coverage of around 440,000 square feet (41,000 square meters). 

The length of the basilica is 90 meters (300 feet), the width is 60 meters (200 feet), and the width of the nave is 45 meters (150 feet). 

The basilica has 18 towers, with the tallest tower representing Jesus Christ. 

It will stand 170 meters (560 feet) tall when completed, making it the tallest church building in the world. 

The central nave soars to astonishing heights and the interior columns resemble tree trunks branching into intricate vaults.

Barcelona Cathedral: Heritage and Grandeur

Barcelona Cathedral inside
Image: Wikipedia.org

The external measurements of the Barcelona Cathedral are 93 meters long (305 feet), 40 meters wide (131 feet), and 28 meters high (92 feet) at the central nave. 

The bell towers reach a height of 54 meters (177 feet). The Cathedral has three naves but just a single apse and ambulatory. 

The naves have five sections, with two chapels in each section of the naves, encircling the entire basilica. 

The central nave is 13 meters wide (43 feet) and 26 meters high (85 feet), while the lateral naves are 6 meters wide (20 feet) and 21 meters high (69 feet). 

The pillars measure 15 meters (49 feet) from their bases to the beginning of the arches. 

The Cathedral’s chapels hold Gothic altarpieces painted by Guerau Gener, Lluís Borrassà, Gabriel Alemany, and Bernat Martorell, among others. 

The Cathedral Museum houses Gothic paintings by artists such as Pere Des Torrents, Jaume Huguet, and Bartolomé Bermejo. 

The Cathedral also has many Gothic and modern stained-glass windows, the earliest dating from 1317 to 1334. 

It features a lot of medieval symbolism, including a sculpture of Jesus in the middle of the central door, flanked by the 12 apostles.

Barcelona Cathedral vs Sagrada Familia– Which Cathedral To Visit?

In the eternal battle of Barcelona Cathedral vs Sagrada Familia, both landmarks emerge as champions in their own right. 

Barcelona Cathedral offers a glimpse into the city’s medieval past, with its Gothic architecture and mesmerizing artistic treasures. 

On the other hand, Sagrada Familia is the world’s largest unfinished church and the most popular attraction in Barcelona.

If you get the chance, visit both, but if you only have the time or resources to visit one, pick Sagrada Familia without a doubt. 

A trip to Barcelona is incomplete without visiting the Sagrada Familia. 

Planning a trip to Sagrada Familia? Read our comprehensive guides and plan your trip with ease! 

Planning a trip to Sagrada Familia? Read our comprehensive guides and plan your trip with ease! 

Don’t forget to check out our handpicked selection of Sagrada Familia tickets to book in advance and save your spot!

Featured Image: Wikipedia.org

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