Sagrada Familia: the end of the works is near! #BagsFree #BarcelonaSants

Barcelona’s beloved architect Antoni Gaudí is synonymous with the Catalan capital, home to several of his modernist masterpieces. Even if you’re not familiar with Gaudí’s name, you can’t miss Sagrada Familia, his gigantic, unfinished Catholic church whose swirling, layered spires tower over the landscape. When Gaudí died in 1926, at 73, the project was far from complete. The race is on to finish the basilica, a UNESCO World Heritage site, by 2026, the centenary of the architect’s death — a benchmark that will no doubt lure more visitors to what is already the top tourist attraction in town. More than 4.5 million people a year tour the fantastical structure, which is adorned with ornate flourishes inside and out.

A few decades ago, a visit to Sagrada Familia felt reverential but today’s hordes of admirers dull that impact as they shuffle into the church and bump into each other while snapping selfies in front of panes of stunningly bright stained glass. If the crowds don’t deter you from visiting, try to purchase advance timed tickets online. Brace yourself for the frenzy.

Location: Carrer de Mallorca 401, Barcelona; 011-34-932-080-414;

(from Washington Post –