Best Way to Visit Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
The majesty that is the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s ever-pending legacy, is a must visit for any newcomers to Barcelona city.
Comparable in size, popularity and history to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, there are tricks and tips available to those wishing to make their visit a more pain-free experience. Read on!
Buy Your Tickets in Advance… Seriously!
Seriously! If there is one way to avoid repetitive disappointment while in Barcelona, it’s to buy tickets to all of Gaudi’s architectural works as in advance as possible.
Entrance into the Sagrada Familia works in slots. Arriving ticketless on the day you intend to enter means once you finally make it to the front of the queue, you’ll be allocated a 15 minute slot sometime during that day. You could be told to come back in 2, 4 or even 6 hours time, depending on the daily traffic.
Buying your tickets online, a day or two before visiting, means you’ll know your slot well in advance and can arrive only for your visit — and not to stand in a ticket line first!
A regular ticket into the basilica costs €14.80, however there is a combo option that gets you into Gaudi’s Park Güell as well. This costs €18.30 and is recommended.
What if it is Sold Out?
Sometimes you’ll get to the official Sagrada Familia website or ticket office only to find that your visiting day is completely sold out.
While this does mean you won’t be able to buy first-party tickets directly, it doesn’t mean you can’t still have your day! Third-party ticket sellers are ready and waiting the minute Sagrada Familia’s slots sell out. They book hundreds of tickets months in advance in order to resell during these very instances.
In order to find third-party vendors, simply do a general Google search on the subject. You’ll also need to prepare to pay slightly more for your tickets/ the stipulated admin fee of the vendor in question. Worth it!
Walk to Sagrada Familia From the Metro
Barcelona is small enough, and the Sagrada Familia central enough, that one can walk to it from just about anywhere in the city center.
If you would prefer to arrive using transport, the metro is the most efficient way to do so. The Sagrada Familia has its very own metro stop, right outside the entrance into the basilica.
Catch the number 2 or number 5 trains from anywhere in the city and look out for “Sagrada Familia” stop.
Upon arrival, you can use the access point on Carrer de la Marina provided you have pre-booked tickets.
Always Join a Guided Tour
Guided tours have a negative rep in contemporary travel culture. People often assume they are for more seasoned travelers, or serious historians. This is rarely the case, and I remain a solid advocate for all informative tour opportunities while visiting historic monuments.
The English guided tours in the Sagrada Familia take place at 11am, 12pm and 1pm daily. Booking one will increase the price of your ticket to €16.50, but it’s well worth it.
Trust me, the mass of fascinating information available surrounding the history and construction of the basilica is out of your wildest dreams. Leave the explaining to the professionals.
Visit the Towers if You Can Afford It
Ah, the towers. What a experience that is.
The towers of the Sagrada Familia feel not only impossible, but like something forbidden; almost sacred. It was Gaudi’s intention that the basilica’s towers defy gravity and take people right up into the clouds.
The catch? Visiting the towers while inside of the basilica takes your ticket to almost double the price. It’s a hefty bill to foot if you’re on a tight travelers budget, but those who can spare the extra euros should jump at the chance.
The Nativity Facade tower is the only one that Gaudi actually lived to contribute work on, so it’s the most popular and definitely the most majestic. From the towers you can marvel over the entire city skyline, as well as the interior of the church from a bird’s eye view — quite something!
Observe the Dress Code
One needs to keep in mind that the Sagrada Familia is still a church at the end of the day, not just a tourist attraction.
European churches usually come with a dress code, and it is in good taste to honor them.
At the basilica they ask that all hats, caps and beanies be removed upon entering. Religious headdresses, like hijabs, are allowed inside. Shoulders should be covered, this goes for both men and women; don’t come to the Sagrada Familia straight from the beach in your tank top.
Similarly, low plunging necklines are not permitted into the church — for both men and women! Sheer clothing is also a no-go.
How to Visit the Crypt
The Crypt is one of the most alluring parts of Gaudi’s creation. A lot of people are disappointed to find, on arrival, that it doesn’t form part of the general access.
There are two times during weekdays when one can enter the Crypt: 9 am and 8:15 pm. This is when public mass is held, and all are welcome to join in on the service.
You will, however, need to battle some crowds to gain access. It is recommended that one arrive at the church at least 45 minutes before the service is intended to start, in order to guarantee a spot. Entrance to the Crypt is found by the Nativity Facade on Carrer de la Marina.
In addition to mass services, the Crypt does offer some visitation slots during the week. For exact times (they tend to change) simply email: email@example.com.