Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia is famous for its idiosyncratic form, richly carved Nativity Facade and, of course, its lengthy construction.
With the recent news that the Gaudí designed church will be completed in 2026, travel booking company Omio has done the math to find out which European landmarks took the longest to build.
The Sagrada Familia came in 6th place, with building predicted to take 140 years. Here are the top five sights.
1.Buckingham Palace, London
Buckingham Palace is one of London’s most visited landmarks for its iconic guards and the chance for a glimpse of royalty. The regal residence took around 150 years to construct, beginning as a townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703. During the 19th century, it was enlarged by architects John Nash and Edward Blore. The famous balcony from which the royal family waves to the crowds on important occasions was one of the final additions in the mid-19th century.
4.Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa
Ranking number 4 on the list is Italy’s iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa. It took approximately 200 years to build, with construction starting in 1173 and declared finished in 1372. A must-see if visiting the city of Pisa, the tower measures just over 56.6 meters on its highest side and 55.8 meters on its lowest.
The slanting architectural masterpiece is the third oldest building built in Pisa’s Cathedral Square. This structure is also one of the most photographed landmarks on social media, with the hashtag #leaningtowerofpisa accumulating 328K posts of creative perspective snapshots with the tilted building.
3.Cologne Cathedral, Cologne
Renowned for being the largest twin-spired Gothic church in Northern Europe, this 157m tall building ranks next on the list. Construction began in 1214 and was completed by 1880—taking 632 years to complete. The cathedral’s design was influenced by avant-garde structures like the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, which pushed the boundaries of architecture at the time. Flooded with 2,000 visitors daily, Cologne’s church offers guided tours with a chance to visit the soaring south tower and treasury.
2.Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy
The captivating island of Mont Saint Michel is one of the most famous landmarks in France and ranks second on Omio’s list, taking 1,300 years to build.
With the first bricks being laid in the 8th century by St.Aubert, bishop of Avranches, the now hotspot landmark offers a mesmerizing view of the tides and is steeped in medieval history. Tourists can enjoy different cultural events and guided tours across the island.
Built in several stages over many years, Stonehenge stands as one of England’s most historic monuments dating back as early as 3000BC. It is also the European landmark that took the longest to build—around 1,500 years.
With the hashtag #stonehenge accumulating 906K posts on Instagram alone, this monument of mysterious origins now draws nearly one million visitors a year.