Sagrada Familia vs Cologne Cathedral

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Is it hard to decide between the Sagrada Familia and the Cologne Cathedral? It’s pretty simple!

Do you enjoy history and stained glass? Head to Cologne. 

Do you want a one-of-a-kind architectural marvel with constantly changing views? Sagrada Familia awaits!

If you are still contemplating between the two attractions, look at the breakdown of the distinct characteristics of each attraction.

Our Recommendation

Torn between the Sagrada Familia and the Cologne Cathedral? Consider your preferences! 

Cologne Cathedral is the best choice if you like Gothic grandeur, soaring spires, and stained glass. 

The Sagrada Familia is a must-see if you look for contemporary architecture that emphasizes light and symbolism. 

Both have breathtaking city vistas, but the Sagrada Familia’s facade is still under construction, providing an intriguing peek into the continuing artistic process. 

Finally, the ideal option depends on whether you want inspiring history or ground-breaking innovation.

A Quick Overview

Sagrada Familia, Tallest Tower, under construction

Sagrada Familia

Tallest Building in Barcelona, under construction

Location: Carrer de Mallorca, Eixample district, north of central Barcelona

Crowds: 4 Million per annum

Number of Towers: 18 Towers 

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

Timings: 9 am to 8 pm

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

Ticket Price: €34 

Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral

One of the Tallest Building in the World

Location: Domkloster 4, Koln, Germany

Crowds: 6 Million per annum

Number of Towers: 2

Height: Spire: 513.1 ft (156.08 m), Towers: 492.1 ft (150.0 m)

Timings: 10 am to 5 pm daily

Views from the Tower: Hohenzollern Bridge, the Old Town, and Rhine River

Ticket Price: €23

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 bare minimum of €27 for seniors aged 65 years and above. 

Children below ten years old have free entry. 

Cologne Cathedral Tickets cost €23 for visitors aged seven years and above.

Height of Towers

These renowned European landmarks reach incredible heights, but which one reigns supreme?

Cologne Cathedral is Germany’s highest church building, with twin spires that rise 515 feet (157 meters).

Sagrada Familia, which is still under construction, wants to be the world’s tallest church building when completed. Currently, its highest finished skyscraper stands at 405 feet (123 meters).

Views From the Tower

Views From the Tower

Choosing between Sagrada Familia and Cologne Cathedral for the finest tower views comes down to whether you value panoramic views or architectural intricacies.

Sagrada Familia views of Barcelona from the Nativity Facade and Passion Facade.

You can see the metropolis, Eixample district and the Mediterranean Sea in the distance.

But, due to the construction and central location, the views are limited compared to Cologne Cathedral.

Cologne Cathedral’s South Tower boasts an unobstructed view of Cologne. 

You’ll see the Rhine River winding through the city, historical landmarks like the Hohenzollern Bridge, and the sprawling cityscape stretching towards the horizon.

General Features

The following table is the comparison table highlighting the key features of two iconic cathedrals:

Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia is a modernist masterpiece influenced by both Gothic and Art Nouveau styles. 

Antoni Gaudí, the architect, began construction in 1882, and it’s still ongoing! 

The unique design features intricate stained glass windows throughout the interior, with organic shapes and columns creating a truly stunning space. 

The exterior facades depict significant chapters in Christ’s life – the Nativity, the Passion, and the Glory. 

For an unforgettable experience, you can take elevators to the towers for breathtaking panoramic views. 

Multimedia exhibits further enhance your understanding of the basilica. 

Every detail, from the construction materials of stone and reinforced concrete to the symbolic elements, reflects the life of Christ, the beauty of nature, and the enduring presence of the Church.

Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral, a marvel of High Gothic architecture, took centuries to complete – construction began in 1248 and wasn’t finished until 1880! 

Several architects, including Gerhard von Rile and Master Gerhard, contributed to its grandeur. 

Step inside to be awestruck by the ornate vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows depicting biblical stories, and sculptures. 

The exterior is equally impressive, featuring twin spires reaching for the sky and intricate stone carvings that tell their own stories. 

Enhance your visit by attending an organ concert or climbing to the top for breathtaking panoramic views. 

Cologne Cathedral is more than just a structure; it’s a symbol of the city’s spiritual and cultural significance, built with sandstone and brick.

Interior Features

The interiors of these two attractions will give different experiences:

Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia boasts unique, twisting columns that resemble organic shapes, unlike the typical straight columns found in most churches. 

Above, intricate vaulted ceilings are adorned with colorful decorations, further enhancing the visual feast. 

Sunlight streams through extensive stained glass windows depicting various scenes, bathing the interior in a kaleidoscope of colors. 

The altar features a modern, minimalist design that incorporates symbolic elements. 

Chapels are limited in number and maintain a minimalist aesthetic, free from excessive decoration. 

Sculptures throughout the basilica are also minimalist, seamlessly integrated into the architecture. 

Natural light is the primary source of illumination, flooding the space through the stained glass windows and creating a light and airy atmosphere. 

The Sagrada Familia is a vast structure with multiple levels and an expansive nave, offering a sense of spaciousness. 

Accessibility is a priority, with ramps and elevators ensuring everyone can experience this architectural marvel.

Cologne Cathedral

Step inside this architectural wonder and be greeted by elegant, slender columns that reach towards the heavens. 

Overhead, intricate ribbed vaulting creates a stunning ceiling masterpiece. 

Lavish stained glass windows depict scenes from the Bible and bathe the interior in a warm, colorful glow. 

The focal point is the elaborate altar adorned with religious sculptures that inspire reverence. 

Unlike the Sagrada Familia, this cathedral boasts numerous chapels, each a unique gem with its own distinctive decor. 

Elaborate stone carvings and sculptures are woven throughout the structure, adding another layer of visual interest. 

While natural light plays a role, the atmosphere is further enhanced by strategically placed electric lighting. 

The overall feeling is one of grandeur and majesty, a space designed to evoke a sense of awe and reverence. 

The impressive size, with a large nave and transept, adds to the feeling of monumentality. 

However, it is important to note that due to the historical nature of the architecture, accessibility might be limited in some areas.Size

The Sagrada Familia and Cologne Cathedral compete not just in architectural design but also in sheer size. Let us see who reigns supreme.

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) to date

Cologne Cathedral

Area: 8,662 square meters (93,290 square feet)

Length and Width: 144.5 meters (474 feet) long and 86.25 meters (283 feet) wide

Tower Height: 157.3 meters (516 feet)

Height of High Nave: 43.58 meters (143 feet)


Depending on your trip intentions, the location of the Sagrada Familia and the Cologne Cathedral may be a decisive factor.

The Sagrada Familia is conveniently located in the center of the Eixample neighborhood, with easy access to public transit, including metro lines and buses. 

The surrounding area combines modern buildings, fashionable boutiques, and beautiful cafés to provide a sense of contemporary Barcelona.

Cologne Cathedral is a Gothic masterpiece in the Altstadt (Old Town) region, towering among antique buildings, tiny alleyways, and lovely squares. 

The Rhine River flows nearby, providing picturesque riverside walks and boat trips. 

Opening Hours

Planning a trip to these architectural marvels? Here’s a short overview of their operating hours to help you pick which one best matches your schedule.

Family with Young Children

Sagrada Familia Timings

April to September: Monday to Saturday – 9 am to 8 pm; Sundays – 10:30 am to 8 pm

March and October: Monday to Saturday – 9 am to 7 pm; Sundays – 10:30 am to 7 pm

November to February: Monday to Saturday – 9 am to 6 pm; Sundays – 10:30 am to 6 pm

Cologne Cathedral Timings

Cologne Cathedral Timings

Daily: 9 am to 6 pm

Sightseeing Hours: 10 am to 5 pm

Final Verdict

Sagrada Familia and Cologne Cathedral offer scenic vistas but with a twist. 

If you have time and budget, visit both Cologne Cathedral and Sagrada Familia, as you won’t lose out on views.

Cologne Cathedral has typical panoramic vistas, while Sagrada Familia’s distinctive facade construction provides insight into the artistic process.

Whichever you visit, you will have the best experience with their distinct features.


1. How does the architectural style of Sagrada Familia compare to Cologne Cathedral?

2. How do the visitor experiences at Sagrada Familia and Cologne Cathedral compare?

3. Which cathedral is more accessible in terms of location, Sagrada Familia or Cologne Cathedral?

4. Which cathedral has a longer history, Sagrada Familia or Cologne Cathedral?

5. How does the lighting inside Sagrada Familia compare to that of Cologne Cathedral?

Featured image : Tomas Sereda from Getty , Canva

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