What the Eiffel Tower is for Paris is the Sagrada Familia for Barcelona: a famous monument, designed by architect Antoni Gaudí. Millions of tourists visit this temple dedicated to the Holy Family each year. The first stone of this masterpiece was set in the year in 1882 and Antoni Gaudí joined the project as its architect in 1883. Until his death in 1926, he would dedicate all his energy into this Temple of Faith.
I am not going to repeat all the information you can find in guide books or on the homepage of the Sagrada Familia, because I prefer to share with you the most useful information for your visit:
BUY TICKETS IN ADVANCE!!!
Every time I walk by the Sagrada Familia I see long lines of tourists, waiting patiently for hours to get in. What surprises me most is that in times of internet, none of these persons seemed to have done any investigation beforehand.
If you buy your tickets beforehand you don’t have to get in line!
The system works like this and it is very reliable, I have used it for myself, friends and family members several times. You buy the tickets online (will indicate the official homepage here below) and you choose the time.
Plan at least 1,5 hours for the visit of the cathedral itself.
You have several options for your visit: you can visit just the cathedral, or the cathedral and one of the towers. There is the option to choose a guide or audio-guide. I personally prefer the audio-guides (it also gives you flexibility, you can go at your own pace). It is definitely worth it visiting the towers! Amazing views! Which tower to choose? Depending on the time of the day, I choose the morning hours to visit the Passion facade (facing towards the West) and in the afternoon I choose the Nativity facade (facing towards the East, where the sun rises). For a simple reason: picture taking is better if you are not facing the sun (am I smart?) 🙂
If you visit the towers aswell, choose the visit of the tower 1 hour or 1,5 hours after the entrance to the cathedral.
For example: You choose Sagrada Familia and visit to the towers with audioguide. If you choose the entrance to the cathedral at, let’s say, 2 PM, I would book the towers for 3:30 PM.
Take your time for the visit. It is a place you need to assimilate. Don’t plan other major sights that day, it will only stress you out.
Combine it with a walk in the park or at the beach. But if you have time, don’t necessarily combine it with another Gaudí monument, since you might be Gaudi-ed out 😉
If you have an entrance at 2 PM, you will be able to access the Cathedral as of 1:45PM (it will show on your ticket). Trying to get in 5 minutes earlier will not be possible, you really have to stick to the time slot shown on your ticket and most of all, don’t forget your tickets!
The entrance for pre-paid tickets is at the Nativity side (2015). If you have the souvenir shop to your left, you see the entrance for groups and next to it is the entrance for the pre-paid tickets. Once inside, you can pick up your audio-guides at a small booth at the top of the stairs to your right.
You could technically visit the Cathedral without guide and without audio-guide, because there are some interactive information points inside, but believe me: it would not be the same experience. It is the background information on Gaudí’s works that will make you wonder in awe.
This is the link to the official webpage of the Sagrada Familia, where you can buy your tickets, check opening hours and also remember to check out the Do’s and Don’ts section (remember it is a CHURCH you are visiting), like dress code etc.
The towers are NOT wheelchair-accessible and not recommended for persons suffering vertigo
Although an elevator takes you up to the tower, it is not wheelchair-accessible for one reason: you have to make your way down taking the steps. Sometimes you will pass small “bridges” and you can access balconies which can be challenging for persons suffering vertigo. Wear comfortable walking shoes!
Tickets to Sagrada Familia online: http://visit.sagradafamilia.cat/#tickets