6 Curious Facts about the History of the Sagrada Família

Over the years, Barcelona has become synonymous with Gaudí’s Sagrada Família: its magnificent yet unfinished towers, its captivating sculpted exterior, its light-filled interior…

The Sagrada Família has been bringing people from far and wide to Barcelona for decades, yet what is it that fascinates visitors so?

Have you ever wondered why Gaudí built the Sagrada Familia? And when, after over 100 years, it will eventually be finished?

In this article we explain these six curious facts about the history and the construction of the Sagrada Família that are sure to make you even more curious about it.

Gaudí did not lay the Sagrada Família’s first stone

It was in 1881 that the Saint John Devotee Association (Asociación de devots de Sant Josep) bought a plot of land measuring 12,800 m2 on which to build the temple. However, it wasn’t until 19 March, 1882 that the first stone was laid – not by Gaudí – but by the architect Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano. In fact, Gaudí inherited the project from said architect in 1883 with a much more aspiring outlook than his predecessor.

Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano - Sagrada Família

Gaudí dedicated 43 years of his life to the Sagrada Família

As we have mentioned, Gaudí’s plan for what would be the Sagrada Família was highly ambitious. His original plans were for a temple with 5 naves, 3 facades, 18 towers. This would be, by far, his most ambitious project to date, and also the one he sought the most perfection in. From the year 1914 onwards, Gaudí stopped all other work and focused exclusively on the Sagrada Família.


Gaudí lived only to see the construction of the Nativity Façade

The Sagrada Família boasts three façades, each dedicated to a moment in the life of Christ: his birth, his suffering and resurrection and his eternal glory. It was in 1925 that he managed to finish the bell tower of the Nativity Façade, a mere year before his tragic death.

Gaudí knew that he would never see the Sagrada Família finished, therefore he left dozens of plans, sketches and instructions so it could be finished exactly how he had imagined. However, this information was tragically lost and burnt during the Spanish Civil War.

Nativity façade, 1899. Author: Aleu

The temple represents the life of Jesus and will be the tallest building in Barcelona

With the construction of the Sagrada Família, Gaudí’s wish was to represent the life of Jesus. The soon-to-be 18 towers will be dedicated to his disciples, the four Evangelists and the Virgin Mary. The tallest tower of all, scheduled to be finished in 2022, will be dedicated to Jesus Christ and topped by an impressive cross. 

With this, it will reach a total height of 172.5 metres, becoming the tallest building in the city of Barcelona. What’s more, it will also take the title for the tallest church in the world.

There are no straight lines in its architecture

In the entirety of Gaudí’s magnificent temple there is not one straight line. This masterpiece is an imitation of nature at its purest – from columns that emulate trees to an abundance of diverse flora and fauna. It was Gaudí himself who said: “The straight line belongs to men, the curved one to God.”

It will be finished in 2026 to coincide with the centenary of Gaudí’s death

A mere 144 years since it was started, the Sagrada Família is scheduled to be finished in the year 2026, marking one hundred years after Gaudí’s death in 1926. However, just because the construction is finished doesn’t mean that the temple itself is finished. There is still many a decorative element to add!

This date will be considered even more special if Gaudí obtains sainthood from the Catholic Church, the proposal for which was initiated in 2000 by an association of his devotees.

So, whether your visiting the Sagrada Família for the first or umpteenth time, we hope these interesting facts will open your eyes to the history behind it. 

The Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Barcelona

Whether you’re a supporter of veganuary or a long-time vegan or vegetarian, or simply a lover of everything nutritious and green, Barcelona has a plethora of options for you.

We’ve compiled a list of Barcelona’s best veggie spots where you can care for your body inside and out. 

vegetarian restaurants in barcelona

The Green Spot – Carrer de la Reina Cristina, 12

Located in the neighbourhood of La Barceloneta, the interior design of this vegetarian restaurant is almost as beautiful as its imaginative dishes. Boasting creative and fusion cuisine that will make even a non-vegetarian’s mouth water, everything is made with fresh and natural ingredients. 

Teresa Carles – Carrer de Jovellanos, 2

It is no wonder that the Teresa Carles restaurant is one of the most popular veggie spots in the cultural hub that is Barcelona. Be prepared to be blown away by contemporary, innovative dishes that take inspiration from Catalan cuisine. We think it will completely change the way you think about the plant-based approach.

Flax & Kale – Carrer dels Tallers, 74b

Just around the corner from Teresa Carles is its sister restaurant, Flax & Kale. Created with the same innovative spirit, this flexitarian restaurant offers something for everyone. Think raw food, super food, gluten-free and vegan. Drop in for breakfast, lunch or dinner or grab a freshly squeezed juice to take away – you won’t regret it.

Sésamo  – Carrer de Sant Antoni Abat, 52

This quaint and cosy vegetarian restaurant is located in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Sant Antoni. Although the menu is not that extensive, you’ll find roasted vegetables, stuffed pasta and homemade desserts. We’d recommend booking a table to avoid disappointment.

Veggie Garden – Carrer dels Àngels, 3 and Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 60

This vibrant and colourful space is perfect for those on a budget and with a hearty appetite. The daily set menu is extremely affordable and boasts delicious Indian- and Nepalese-inspired options, including dahl, thalis, curries and spiced vegetable dishes. Tuck in!

L’Hortet – Carrer del Pintor Fortuny, 32

A family-run restaurant located in the area of Raval, l’Hortet offers a feast for body and soul. The restaurant opens only at lunchtime during the week and for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays. Get there early to enjoy their delicious daily three-course set menu, with hearty vegetarian creations–from veggie meatballs, soups and stews–and a colourful salad bar. What’s not to love?

Café Camelia – Carrer de Verdi, 79

This light-filled café-come-restaurant serves vegetarian and vegan delights all day long. Choose from curries, burgers, a range of tasty snacks and sweet treats. Located in the quaint neighbourhood of Gracia, Café Camelia is a cosy spot to enjoy a peaceful coffee or tasty meal after a long day sightseeing. 

We hope you enjoy this selection of colourful, innovative plant-based alternatives.

6 parks in Barcelona to reconnect with nature in the city

The holidays have been and gone and what better way to kick-start the year than reconnecting with nature.

If you’re anything like us, your New Year’s resolutions will be to stay in shape, get fit and spend more time in the great outdoors. Yet it’s often hard to take time out of our busy schedules to get out of the city and head to the mountains or the beach.

Lucky for you, we’ve put together a list of six parks in the heart of Barcelona where you can reconnect with yourself and nature without leaving the city.

When it comes to parks and Barcelona, many of us immediately think of Parc Güell, however, Barcelona has much more to offer. From secret mazes to charming parks with sea views, keeping your New Year’s resolutions has never been so easy!

Laberint d’Horta

This historical garden is perfect for young and old alike. Get lost in its enchanting cypress-tree maze or wander its romantic gardens with hidden ponds, pavilions and sculptures. The oldest park in Barcelona can be visited at any time of year, but is especially magical in the autumn.

Passeig dels Castanyers, 1

Parc de la Creueta del Coll

This expansive park offers three hectares of green space, flora and fauna to explore. Located in Gràcia, it is particularly popular in the summer thanks to its large family-friendly outdoor swimming pool. What’s more, with picnic areas, play parks, toilets and locker rooms, it makes for the perfect family day out.

Passeig de la Mare de Déu del Coll, 77

Turó Park

One of Barcelona’s most emblematic parks, discover art, architecture and nature all in one place. Unwind and relax on a Sunday afternoon with a book under one of its shady trees or go for a stroll around its many peaceful trails and paths.

Avinguda de Pau Casals, 19

Jardins de Joan Brossa

Named after the renowned Catalan Poet, Joan Brossa, this park was once home to the Montjüic theme park. This now expansive green area boasts beautiful gardens that bloom in spring and summer and three play areas for children. Don’t miss the fantastic views over Barcelona and its coastline.

Plaça Dante – Avinguda Miramar

Parc de la Ciutadella

Another of Barcelona’s most popular green spaces, the Ciutadella park is located in the old quarter of the city. To get there, take a walk through the magnificent Arc de Triomf and inside the park discover its cascading waterfall, artificial lake with rowing boats, the “Three-dragon” Castle, the city zoo and much more.

Passeig de Picasso 21

Parc de Cervantes

If you’re looking to escape the crowds and discover a side of Barcelona that even many locals don’t know about, head to Parc de Cervantes. You’ll fall in love with its over 2,000 kinds of roses scattered around the park and adorning trellises. It makes for the perfect plan on a lazy Sunday afternoon. 

Avinguda Diagonal, 706

What better way to welcome the New Year than with a breath of fresh air. Unwind, stroll, relax or play in the heart of the city. 

What’s your favourite park in Barcelona to relax and reconnect with nature? Let us know!

8 Best viewpoints in Barcelona

Barcelona is a beautiful city that is full of many interesting and peculiar sights, but one of the best ways to see Barcelona and truly be able to appreciate it is from above. Here we’ve compiled a list of the eight best viewpoints in Barcelona, so you can truly appreciate this wonderous and vibrant city in all its glory, taking in its unique skyline.

Mirador d’Horta

On the road from Cerdanyola to Horta, you will find this little observation deck with a sweeping view of the city to the left, and the district of Horta right in front spreading all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. One of the quirkiest features of this dazzling spot, and one of the best viewpoints in Barcelona, is a little wooden swing – if you get the angle just right you can take an original looking picture where it looks like you’re swinging out over the whole city.

Mirador de Colom

You may have seen the giant Columbus Monument that stands proudly at the end of La Rambla, but did you know you can actually go up it? Built in 1888 in tribute to Christopher Columbus, the column houses a lift that will take you up 51 metres to the top for just €5.40. Based on the columns positioning, you will get a unique view of the city, with the mountain of Montjuïc to one side, the Olympic Marina to the other, and the bustling craziness of La Rambla and the Gothic quarter behind you.

Mirador de Sarrià 

Collserolla park, the natural beautiful hilly park that surrounds Barcelona is an area you should visit if you want to get away from the city for a breath of fresh air. It is at the gateway to this park that you will find Mirador de Sarrià, for a spectacular view of the sprawling metropolis framed by nature. About 250 metres high, this viewpoint takes a little walking but there is also the option to take a cable car up to enjoy the view. Once you are up there it is worth exploring the rest of the natural park as well for a nice day trip without leaving the city.

Mirador Torre de Collserola

If you’ve ever looked up toward the magical site of the Cathedral that sits at the top of Tibidabo, there is no doubt you have also seen the telecommunications tower that stands just to the side of it. The tower stands at 288 metres tall, making it the highest structure in the city. That combined with the fact that it’s high up on a hill above Barcelona, you can just imagine the kind of views it provides. Climb to the tenth floor to reach the observation deck where you can enjoy these spectacular views for just €5.60. 

Mirador Turó de la Rovira

More commonly known as Bunkers del Carmel and known to be one of the best viewpoints in Barcelona, this is a fantastic viewpoint of the city to go and relax with some drinks and snacks. A beautiful vista of the city laid out in front of you, the relaxed atmosphere here, where you may find yourself surrounded by locals, is the perfect spot for a date – as long as they’re not put off by the short climb. Mirador Turó de la Rovira is also not a place short of history as it contains the remains of an anti-aircraft bunker that was used to defend Barcelona from air attacks during the Spanish Civil War, as well as the remains of a shantytown, that was closed in 1990.

Mirador from the Castle of Montjuïc

An old military fortress that stands atop Montjuïc mountain, with roots dating as far back as 1640, the view from the top is almost as spectacular as the location itself. Some 173 metres above sea level, from here you can see the city and sea stretching in front of you in all its glory. If you don’t fancy the climb up the hill, don’t worry as there are fun cable cars you can get to the top.

Mirador at Las Arenas

Located in Plaça Espanya, you will find Las Arenas shopping mall, its unique round structure because of its former incarnation as a bull fighting arena. Rather than just shopping here, the mall also has an option to take a lift up to the roof for an interesting 360-degree view of Barcelona. If you want a more relaxed visit you can visit the first floor of the viewpoint which hosts a number of bars and restaurants, which allow you to enjoy the view while having a drink or even dinner. 

Mirador at Jardins de Miramar

Another viewpoint that stands atop Montjuïc is the Jardins de Miramar. From here you can see all of the city sights starting with the neighborhood of Poble Sec located just below the mountain and then spreading all the way to the outer edges of the city. This spot can be especially nice at sunset on a clear day when the setting sun casts a golden hue over the city. If you’re looking for something a little more relaxed, why not stop off at Terraza Martínez, a trendy Mediterranean restaurant that’s the perfect location for lunch or a drink with a view. 

Whatever it is you’re looking for, be it a viewpoint set in a beautiful natural setting, or a place to relax with a drink and take in the beautiful city, with our list of the best viewpoints in Barcelona, you can be sure to have an amazing experience.