The Sagrada Familia is an architectural monument that needs little introduction, its famous towers dominate the Barcelona skyline and attract millions of visitors every year. Yet few visitors realise that this monument also gives its name to the part of the Eixample in Barcelona where it is located and that this is an interesting area to explore once they have seen the basilica itself.
If you are planning a visit to the Sagrada Familia it is worth arriving early as long queues are common; opening time is 9am.
Once you have seen the the basilica you may well leave a little awe struck, we recommend you explore the surrounding are a little. On exiting, turn right and walk around the the basilica towards Plaça Gaudí untill you come to the start of the magnificent Avinguda Gaudí, leading away to the left uphill.
Avinguda Gaudí is a long Rambla that links the Sagrada Familia with another great Catalan Modernista architectural monument – the Hospital Sant Pau. Designed by Gaudí’s contemporary Lluís Domènech i Montaner, the hospital is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It operated as a hospital until 2009, it has now been closed fo renovations though tours run several times a day.
Between these two monuments Avinguda Gaudí provides a dlightful place to stroll. Typical Rambla features include a very wide central pavement with plane trees creating shade in the summer, benches and street furniture, and numerous bars, restaurants, terraces and ice cream parlours. Unlike the more famous Ramblas in the centre, Aviguda Gadí retains more of a traditional neighbourhod feel, and slower pace with less traffic.
If the Sagrada Familia is high up on your ‘must see’ list in Barcelona then why not look for a rental apartment in the Sagrada Familia area. With two metro lines taking you to the centre in 5 or ten minutes (blue line and purple line respectively) and numerous bus lines all over the city and direct to the beach (number 10, from calle Sicilia with Calle mallorca), transport connections are excellent. Sagrada Familia is a delightful residential area with none of the noise of the centre, with an excelent food market and more bakers, supermarkets and grocers than anywhere in Barcelona. The excellent Aviguda Gaudí provides a great space to relax in, plus all the bars and restaurants you will need.
Where to Stay
The Valencia apartment building is in excellent position just 10 minutes walk from the Sagrada Familia in one direction, and the centre and Passeig de Gracia in the other. There are some 13 Sagrada Familia apartments in the Valencia building.
Another option in the Sagrada Familia neighbourhood is the Sicilia apartment building with some 16 Sagrada Familia apartments under one roof. The building is some ten minutes from the temple, or 2 minutes by metro. If you want tobe near to the Hospital Sant Pau, try the Santa Pau apartment, which offers a roof terrace with views over the former hopsital.