This After-hours Tour of Barcelona's Sagrada Familia Lets You Watch the Sunset Through the Cathedral's Gorgeous Stained-glass Windows

The exclusive tour will be held on three summer dates as part of the newly launched Originals by GetYourGuide collection.

Aerial view of Sagrada Familia

Getty Images

In a city filled with Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí’s whimsical works, the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, which has been under construction for more than 140 years, remains one of the most famous sites in Barcelona. While the timeless beauty of the Catholic church is stunning, an unfortunate reality is that visits are also usually accompanied by large crowds. (Last year alone, Sagrada Familiar welcomed more than 3.7 million guests.)

Now, GetYourGuide is offering an exclusive opportunity to experience the Catalan landmark on a private tour at sunset with only 10 people per tour — a far cry from the nearly 300,000 people that visit daily. Not just that, visitors tour the site with the Sagrada Familia’s Grammy-nominated lead organist, Juan de la Rubia, for a rare opportunity to dive into the power of music in the space. 

“The Sagrada Familia is one of the world's grandest architectural marvels, and through this unique opportunity, visitors will experience this treasured landmark come to life,” said Jean-Gabriel Duveau, GetYourGuide’s vice president of brand and strategic partnerships, in an interview with Travel + Leisure. “Our tour not only unlocks private access after-hours for a small group, but it lets travelers learn directly from the revered resident organist about how color and sound work together inside the Basilica’s walls."

The tour will start with the small group meeting a Sagrada Familia expert outside of the church, to learn about the symbolism of the building. Once inside, “they will be greeted by the sounds of the organ playing and its empty, majestic interiors,” Duveau said.  

They’ll then meet de la Rubia, who will explain his role and how sounds spread within the landmark. He will also take them to the Cantorías balcony. This area, which can hold up to 1,000 singers, is normally reserved for the Basilica’s choir.

But the true highlight will come when the sunset becomes visible through the stained-glass windows, creating a spectacular show of colors. Visitors will experience this as de la Rubia plays a piece he composed specifically for the space and its acoustics. 

An interior view of the La Sagrada Familia Roman Catholic church on February 6, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. Construction of the Roman Catholic Church, which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

“Travelers will end the tour marveling at the symphony of sound and color, getting a new perspective on Gaudí’s vision guided by de la Rubia,” Duveau said. “With this unique experience, we hope visitors get to truly appreciate, understand, and experience the majesty of Gaudí’s vision for the Basilica after the crowds leave, and discover its intricate symbolism and learn of its many stories through an award-winning musician.”

While the tour isn’t bookable yet, it will be available on at least three dates in 2023: July 3, July 10, and Aug. 4.

The experience is just one of the exclusive tours in the newly launched Originals by GetYourGuide collection, which offers intimate and innovative ways to experience popular destinations in small groups and with experts with insider knowledge. Following the success of its pre-dawn Vatican keykeeper tour that launched last year (available to book here), the global experiences company was inspired to offer other similar experiences. 

Also among its initial offerings are a before-hours tour of New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) with an art historian (available to book now). Along with the Sagrada Familia experience launching this summer, there will also be a sailing experience with French champion sailor Tanguy le Turquais on his transatlantic solo racing yacht, as he prepares for the Vendée Globe race in France. There is also an experience that brings guests to search for the famed Alba white truffle in Piedmont, Italy, with a truffle-hunting expert.

“At GetYourGuide, our mission is to unlock moments that leave an imprint in travelers’ memories,” Duveau said. “That’s why we’re launching Originals by GetYourGuide, our collection of exclusive, one-of-a-kind experiences that allow travelers to discover the world in the truly deepest, most immersive, and memorable way. Together with the 75,000-plus experiences we offer, Originals by GetYourGuide will help us live up to our promise to unlock unforgettable travel experiences.”

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