The district of Sagrada Família.

Vibe on the street: the area around the Sagrada Familia is very touristy.
Famous for: the name says it all. Gaudí's Sagrada Família needs no introduction.
The district of Sagrada Família.
  • It goes without saying that the reason most people come to this neighbourhood is to appreciate the spellbinding basilica that gives it its name. With 3 million visitors each year, the Sagrada Família is the most visited attraction in Spain and completes any trip to Barcelona.

    The most famous work-in-progress in the world, the ‘Holy Family’ began on a modest scale in 1882 before Gaudí took charge in 1884. The artist then devoted the rest of his life to the temple, right up to his death in 1926 when he was run over by a tram (the untimely event is still regarded as a national disaster). Work restarted after the Civil War in the 1950s using his original plans and is still ongoing today. Despite the cranes and scaffolding usually covering it, you can see that it is beginning to take shape and the project is expected to be completed in the next 20 years.

    Another must-see if you’re staying in this neighbourhood is the Hospital de la Santa Creu i de Sant Pau – a Modernista hospital designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner that has certainly earned its place next to the Sagrada Família. Bring a camera to take snaps of its whimsical pavilions, turrets and towers adorned with sculptures, mosaics, stained glass and ironwork.

    Eating out

    The Avinguda de Gaudí is a great little spot to grab a bite to eat throughout the day. Meandering down this semi-pedestrianised avenue is a pleasure and you’re spoilt for choice in terms of eateries. There are two little tapas restaurants that are particularly cosy and inviting - Tapas Gaudí and La Llesca. Another tempting option, albeit not typically Spanish, is a Lebanese restaurant called Aladdin. It serves a delectable selection including hummus and tagines, with a 3-course lunch menu for a very reasonable 10 euros.

    On the other end of the culinary scale, you have the upmarket and Michelin-starred Alkimia – the place that Catalan foodies rave about. The name means ‘alchemy’ and that’s exactly what renowned head chef Jordi Vilà delivers – think beef and gizzard with Campari sauce or pickled oysters with pork cheek and spinach. This place is not cheap (don’t expect to get much change from 100 euros per person) and booking ahead is a must.


    If raucous nights out are your thing then Sagrada Familia is probably not the barrio for you. It’s a peaceful area with a distinct lack of plaças (squares), meaning there are no natural focal points where people gather and socialise compared with Plaça del Sol in Gràcia and Plaça Reial in the Gótico. Getting an undisturbed night’s sleep is pretty much guaranteed, however. With the metro open 24 hours on Saturday, connecting with lines 5 and 2, it’s really easy to get home from a big night out in the old town.

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