Barcelona Cathedral vs Sagrada Familia

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Barcelona boasts two architectural wonders: Sagrada Familia and Barcelona Cathedral. Both offer stunning views, rich history, and unique features.

But which should you visit? Buckle up!

This guide will break down the must-knows of each landmark, from sky-high panoramas to architectural marvels.

It even reveals colorful light shows and hidden symbolisms! Let’s find the perfect Barcelona cathedral for you!

Our Recommendation

Which attraction to visit? Sagrada Familia or Barcelona Cathedral?

We recommend you visit both the attractions as they offer different views of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea.

But, if you are tight on schedule and want to visit only one, then the choice depends on what you are interested in.

If you want to see the colorful lights and experience the golden glow, then pick Sagrada Familia.   

However, if you are more interested in seeing the views of the harbor area standing on the observation deck visit Barcelona Cathedral.

Sagrada Familia vs Barcelona Cathedral – A Quick Review

Sagrada Familia, Tallest Tower, under construction

Sagrada Familia, Tallest Tower, under construction

Location: Eixample district, north of central Barcelona

Number of Towers: 18 Towers 

Height: 117m., planning to reach 172m (560 feet)

Timings: 9 am to 8 pm

Views from the Tower: Cityscape, Montjuïc hill, and the Mediterranean Sea

Ticket Price: €34 

Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona Cathedral

Location:  In the heart of the Gothic Quarter, central Barcelona 

Number of Towers: One main central bell tower 

Height: 70 m. (230 feet) 

Timings: 8:30 am to 12:30 pm and 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Views from the Tower:  Bird’s-eye view of the labyrinthine streets, cityscape, a glimpse of the sea.

Ticket Price: €35

Ticket Prices

Sagrada Familia Entry Tickets cost €34 for adults aged 18 to 64. 

The youth (11 to 17 years) and students with ID tickets price decreases to €31. It reaches a minimum of €27 for seniors aged 65 years and above. 

Children below the age of ten years have free entry. 

Barcelona Cathedral Tickets cost €35 for adults aged 18 years and above.

The youth of age 13 to 17 years will get a huge discount of €25 and children aged 12 years and below can enter for free.

Where Do You Get the Best Views?

When it comes to the ultimate panorama, where should you look? Let’s compare the viewing experiences in each area.

Two of the towers in the Sagrada Familia are accessible: the Nativity Façade and the Passion Façade.

The Nativity Façade provides a broader view, including the metropolis and the Mediterranean Sea in the distance.

The Passion Façade offers a more centered view of the Eixample district.

Climbing the towers provides a close-up look at the Sagrada Familia’s exquisite construction, which is a distinct advantage.

The Barcelona Cathedral features a special observation deck that is accessible by elevator.

The views are broad and include the Gothic Quarter, the harbor area, and even the Montjuïc summit.

Which Has Better Features?

Sagrada Familia and Barcelona Cathedral both offer different features which are unique.

The Sagrada Familia has a modern and Art Nouveau architectural style, designed by Antoni Gaudí. 

In contrast, the Barcelona Cathedral boasts a Gothic style built by various architects over a longer period.

Highlights of the Sagrada Familia include its unique facades, towering spires, and an interior designed with forest-like columns.

The Barcelona Cathedral is known for its gargoyles, stained glass windows, peaceful cloister, and rooftop observation deck with expansive views.

Expect large crowds, especially during peak season, at the Sagrada Familia.

The Barcelona Cathedral tends to be less crowded than Sagrada, particularly during its observation deck hours.

You can access the Sagrada Familia’s towers by climbing narrow staircases, which may not be suitable for everyone. The Barcelona Cathedral offers a more accessible experience with elevator access to its observation deck.

While the Sagrada Familia offers a more modern and unique atmosphere, the Barcelona Cathedral provides a more traditional and historic feel.

Which Has Better Architecture?

Both structures hold prestigious titles. The Sagrada Familia is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Barcelona Cathedral is an iconic symbol of Barcelona.

The Sagrada Familia’s uniqueness lies in its highly distinctive, organic forms and abundant symbolism, whereas the Barcelona Cathedral’s beauty lies in its adherence to the classic Gothic style, intricate details, and presence of gargoyles.

The Sagrada Familia boasts facades depicting scenes from Christ’s life, compared to the Barcelona Cathedral’s single main facade with elaborate sculptures and portals. 

Branching, tree-like columns mimicking nature stand out within the Sagrada Familia. At the same time, the Barcelona Cathedral features soaring, clustered columns that support the high ceilings.

The interiors of Sagrada Familia showcase forest-like columns and stained-glass windows designed to maximize natural light, while the Barcelona Cathedral boasts soaring ceilings and stained glass depicting religious narratives.

When it came to details of the building’s structure, Sagrada Familia used light and color, while Barcelona Cathedral used religious symbolism.

The Sagrada Familia reflects symbolism from nature, religion, and Catalan culture, and the Barcelona Cathedral features traditional Christian symbolism with biblical scenes.

The Sagrada Familia’s influence is in modernist and contemporary architecture. In contrast, the Barcelona Cathedral’s influence is significant in Gothic architecture, particularly in Catalonia.


Both Sagrada Familia and Barcelona Cathedral are located in the vibrant city of Barcelona, Spain, but they reside in distinct neighborhoods.

Sagrada Familia is located on the right side of the Eixample district and is visible from many parts of the city.

Barcelona Cathedral is located in the Gothic Quarter district, in the heart of the historic city center.

Barcelona Cathedral is surrounded by narrow streets, charming plazas, and historical buildings like the Santa Maria del Mar church.

The distance between the two attractions is 3.6 km (2.23 miles).

Expected Crowd 

Crowd Sagrada Familia news

Sagrada Familia and Barcelona Cathedral are two popular attractions in Barcelona. 

Every year at least four million people visit Sagrada while three million people visit the Cathedral.

During the Peak Season Basilica attracts more crowds than Cathedral.

Opening Hours 

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

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 Artistic 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 three facades represent Jesus’ life, such as his birth, suffering, and teachings.

Towers and Characters: Amongthe 18 towers, 12 towers for Jesus’ apostles, four for the Evangelists, one for the Virgin Mary, and the tallest for Jesus Christ.

Nature and Inspiration: The design is inspired by nature, such as plants, animals, and natural elements. 

Interior Symbolism: The interior columns representing saints and angels, and the High Altar features a bronze Crucifixion of Christ descending from the ceiling.

Fruit and Eucharist Symbolism: Represents 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, has many artistic and symbolic features. Some of its key features include:

Symbolism of the Custody: Made entirely of gold and silver and adorned with jewels symbolizes devotion. 

Choir and Pulpit: The carvings on choir depict scenes from the Passion and Death of Christ. The Pulpit symbolizes the power of the spoken word in spreading religious teachings.  

Stained Glass Windows: The windows depict scenes from the Bible, the lives of saints, and allegorical motifs.

The Chapel of the Holy Sacrament: Depicts scenes from the Bible and the lives of saints. 

The Gargoyles: Represent evil spirits that are being driven away from the sacred space.


When comparing Barcelona Cathedral and Sagrada Familia, their sheer size adds an unexpected layer of intrigue. 

Let’s go deep into the dimensions that set these landmarks apart.

Sagrada Familia

Area: 440,000 square feet (41,000 square meters) 

Length and Width: 90 meters (300 feet) and 60 meters (200 feet) respectively

Width of the Nave: 45 meters (150 feet)

Tower Height: 170 meters (560 feet) till date

Barcelona Cathedral

Area: 93 meters long (305 feet), 40 meters wide (131 feet), and 28 meters high (92 feet) 

Tower height: 54 meters (177 feet)

Central Nave Measurements: 13 meters wide (43 feet) and 26 meters high (85 feet)

Lateral Naves Measurements: 6 meters wide (20 feet) and 21 meters high (69 feet)

Pillars Measurements: 15 meters (49 feet) 

Sagrada Familia vs Barcelona Cathedral – Final Verdict

Sagrada Familia and Barcelona Cathedral each offer unique experiences. 

If you have time and budget, both are worth visiting. However, if you’re short on time, choose based on preference. 

Sagrada Familia offers a modern, awe-inspiring experience, while Barcelona Cathedral provides a traditional, historical atmosphere. 

Ultimately, both attractions promise a memorable visit, ensuring your time in Barcelona is unforgettable.


1. How does the architectural style of Sagrada Familia differ from that of Barcelona Cathedral?

2. Which cathedral is taller, Sagrada Familia or Barcelona Cathedral?

3. Which cathedral has more intricate exterior decorations, Sagrada Familia or Barcelona Cathedral? 

4. Which cathedral attracts more visitors annually, Sagrada Familia or Barcelona Cathedral? 

5. In terms of cultural significance, which cathedral holds more importance to Barcelona, Sagrada Familia or Barcelona Cathedral? 

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