If you’re visiting Barcelona, there’s a good chance you are planning on visiting the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, commonly referred to as just the Sagrada Familia.
This magnificent building is a must-see in our opinion, and is high on the to-do list of most visitors to the city.
Because it’s so popular, you do need to do a bit of planning prior to your visit. At busier times of year, tickets can sell out. There’s also a lot to see and do here, as well as some choices you have to make before you buy your Sagrada Familia ticket.
We would also like to preface this guide with a note that currently the Sagrada Familia is an active construction site. This means different areas of the building may close, timings may change and access may vary. We will endeavour to keep this page as up to date as possible, but please do check the official website as well for relevant information.
In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know to help you plan your visit to the Sagrada Familia.
This will include a brief history of the Sagrada Familia, tips on getting to the Sagrada Familia, where to buy tickets for the Sagrada Familia, and lots more! Let’s get started by learning a bit about the Sagrada Familia itself.
What is the Sagrada Familia?
The Sagrada Familia is a huge Roman Catholic church in Barcelona. It’s classified as a minor basilica in the Roman Catholic church, and was consecrated as such by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.
This unique building was the masterpiece of Antoni Gaudí, a Catalan architect responsible for a number of impressive buildings across Barcelona and the wider region. He was also a devout Catholic and was best known for his work in the Modernisme, or Catalan Modernism style.
Some of his other most popular works in Barcelona include La Pedrera, Casa Batlló, and Park Guell. You can see a full list of all his work in Barcelona in our guide to Gaudí sites in Barcelona
Construction of the Sagrada Familia started in 1882, and at the time of writing, is still ongoing. Gaudi died tragically in 1926, and work on the Basilica was interrupted by the Spanish Civil war in 1936. It resumed in 1940, and has been ongoing to this day.
Funding for the Sagrada Familia is entirely private, with no support from the government or Church. It was initially funded by private donors, but today much of the income is from visitor ticket sales. So when you visit, know that your money is going directly to helping finish this incredible building!
When Will the Sagrada Familia Be Finished?
Current estimates for the full completion of the Sagrada Familia are between 2030 and 2032.
The majority of the church structure and steeples were hoped to be complete by 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death, however this is looking unlikely at the present.
The fun thing about visiting a building that is under construction is that every time you visit it will look a bit different. The downside is that, well, it is an active building site. So expect to see workers, cranes, and all the other aspects that you might expect from a building site!
Where is the Sagrada Familia?
The official address for the Sagrada Familia is Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain. You can see it here on Google Maps.
The Sagrada Familia basically takes up a whole block to the north west of the city centre. It’s sandwiched between two small parks, Plaça de Gaudí to the northeast and Plaça de la Sagrada Família to the southwest.
How to Get to the Sagrada Familia
The Sagrada Familia is a little north east of the city centre, and you have a number of options for getting here.
First, you can walk. From Plaça de Catalunya it’s approximately a 2.4km / 1.5 mile walk, which should take around half an hour.
The next option is public transport. There’s a metro station right next to the church, and the stop name is Sagrada Familia. This services subway lines L2 and L5, and you can get to the Sagrada Familia in around 15-20 minutes from most stops in central Barcelona.
You can also take the public bus, although depending on traffic this will likely take a little longer than the subway, on average around 30 minutes.
Taxis are also widely available in Barcelona. The taxi fare from central Barcelona to the Sagrada Familia will vary, but expect to pay between €6 and €10 depending on where you ride from. Make sure you hail only a licensed cab, these are yellow and black. Free taxis will have green lights in the windows which you can hail, or you can find a taxi stand.
Finally, the Barcelona Bus Turístic (Hop on Hop off bus) has a stop directly outside the Sagrada Familia. This bus route also includes sites like Sant Pau Recinte de la Moderniste and Park Guell, and is a great way to see the city.
You can either buy the Barcelona Bus Turistic ticket directly here, or purchase it as part of a sightseeing pass for Barcelona. For example, it’s included on the Barcelona City Pass and the Go Barcelona Pass.
These passes have a variety of includes and benefits, which you can read more about in our guide to the various Barcelona City Passes here.
Sagrada Familia Opening Times
The Sagrada Familia is usually open every day of the year, including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Dates and times vary depending on the time of year, and are currently as follows:
- January to February – 9 am to 6 pm
- March – 9am to 7pm
- April to September – 9am to 8pm
- October – 9am to 7pm
- November to December – 9 am to 6 pm
Exceptions to the above are December 25th and December 26th, and January 1st and January 6th. On these days the opening time is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Note that the ticket office stops selling same day tickets 30 minutes prior to closing time each day.
Very occasionally, the Sagrada Familia closes due to exceptional circumstances. It’s always best to check the official website here for the latest information prior to planning your visit.
Can You Attend Mass at the Sagrada Familia?
Yes, you can attend mass at the Sagrada Familia. It’s an active place of worship, and a number of masses are held throughout the week.
As an international visitor, you will likely want to attend mass in the main area of the church. These are held in multiple languages at least twice a week, to the following schedule:
- Every Saturday and on the eve of holy days of obligation at 8 pm.
- Every Sunday and on holy days of obligation at 9 am
In addition, the Sagrada Familia hosts extraordinary Masses at different times throughout the year. These usually require an invitation and are very popular.
For full details of these masses and how to get invitations for the extraordinary Masses, see the official calendar of masses here.
Attending a mass is free, and is on a first come first served basis. Please be aware that a mass is a sacred affair, and as such appropriate attire and behaviour is expected. Photography is not permitted during the mass, and attendees must be silent and not leave their seat area.
If you wish to attend one of the above masses, you will enter the Basilica on the Nativity façade (Carrer de la Marina). The entrance is open from 8:30 am for morning masses and from 7:30 pm for evening masses, until capacity is reached. We would advise coming earlier than this so as not to miss out. Masses are held in a number of languages.
As well as the above mass, a there are multiple daily masses held in the Sagrada Familia Crypt. These are held in Catalan and Spanish only. See the section on the Crypt for more details on these masses.
What Can You See at the Sagrada Familia?
There is a lot to see and do at the Sagrada Familia, so expect to spend between 90 minutes and 3 hours on site. Here’s an overview of what you can expect to see. All of the below is included on the standard entry tickets, with the exception of the tower climb, which requires a special ticket.
Exterior of the Sagrada Familia
The Sagrada Familia is an impressive sight – whether you glimpse it from afar, or if your first sight of it is as you emerge from the metro station nearby.
Combining all the styles that Gaudi worked with (Gothic, Catalan Modernism, and Art Nouveau), and featuring his signature architectural elements like hyperboloid and paraboloid structures, the building is a visual feast.
Some of the most popular exterior design sections are the detailed facades. There are currently two of these – the Nativity and the Passion Facade. The third facade, the Glory facade, is under construction. When finished this will be the largest and most spectacular of the facades, and will serve as the main entrance to the church.
Each of these facades tells the story of a different part of the life of Jesus Christ. The Nativity Facade tells the story of the birth of Christ, the Passion Facade focuses on the crucifiction of Christ, whilst the Glory Facade represents the road to God and Glory.
In terms of construction, the oldest facade is the organic looking Nativity Facade, which was the first facade to be completed. This was the one that Gaudi had the most control over. You will get an up close view of this as you enter the church today, as this is where the main visitor entrance currently is.
The Passion Facade is much more austere, with lots of angles, and has a completely different look and feel to the Nativity Facade. You will get a close up view of this as you leave the church, as this is where the visitor exit currently is.
As well as the facades, there are a number of design elements all over the church, and of course, the immense towers, of which there will be eighteen when the construction is finally completed.
Basically, don’t rush straight in to the church. We recommend arriving a little earlier than your scheduled visit, so you can appreciate the exterior of the building before heading inside. Then head to the line a couple of minutes before the timeslot.
Nave and Main Interior of the Sagrada Familia
If you thought the outside of the Sagrada Familia was impressive, just wait until you walk inside. You’re going to be greeted by a huge five-aisled nave, with the roof far overhead supported by giant tree like columns. Colorful light, filtered through the stained glass windows, illuminates this area.
It’s kind of life walking into some sort of surreal dream forest, which was kind of the look Gaudi was going for. He definitely succeeded.
Once you have gotten over this impressive spectacle, managed to close your mouth, and take some photos, you’ll want to explore what else is on offer. There’s lots to see, including the nave, transept, and the apse where you’ll find seven chapels.
If you book a ticket with an audioguide or tour, which we highly recommend, this will give you all the detail you need to help you understand what you are seeing.
Sagrada Familia Crypt
The Crypt of the Sagrada Familia lies underneath the main apse of the church. It is the place where Gaudi himself is buried.
The Crypt was was completed during Gaudi’s lifetime, and as such is one of the few areas of the church he saw completed.
The Crypt is also a parish church, and mass is held here daily in Catalan and Spanish. The crypt is only open around mass hours, and can be visited at the following times:
- Monday – Friday: 9:00 am – 10:00 am and 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
- Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Note that as a visitor not wishing to attend mass, you will want to visit the crypt outside of the actual mass itself. Mass is held at the following times:
- Monday to Friday – 8.15pm (Catalan) and 9am (Spanish)
- Saturday – 7.30pm (Catalan) and 9am (Spanish)
- Sunday – 10.30am, 1pm, 6.30pm (Catalan) and 11.45am & 8.15pm (Spanish)
If you compare mass times with the opening times of the crypt, I would suggest the best time to visit the Sagrada Familia crypt would be between 6pm and 8pm Mondays to Fridays, 10am – 2pm or 6pm – 7.15pm on Saturdays and 9am – 10.15am on Sundays.
Along with the Nativity Facade, the Crypt is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, part of the works of Antoni Gaudi world heritage site, which includes seven locations in Barcelona.
Sagrada Familia Museum
A highlight of any visit to the Sagrada Familia, the museum is on the ground floor underneath the main church.
Here, you will learn more about Gaudi, the man behind the church, as well as the history of the construction and design of the building itself.
There’s a lot to see here, so don’t feel rushed. It’s a great place to really get a feel for what goes into creating such a monumental work of art.
Sagrada Família Schools
On the Passion Facade side of the Sagrada Familia, tucked away in the southern corner, you will see a small building with an organic looking design.
This is the Sagrada Familia Schools building. In 1909, Gaudi has this building constructed on site to serve as a school for the children of the construction workers. It was originally in a different location on the site, but was moved during the construction. It may of course move again, although current plans do not show this as happening.
Today the school can be visited as part of your Sagrada Familia visit, and is home to a number of models used as part of the construction of the Sagrada Familia. There’s also a room set up as a school room from the time, to give you an idea of how it might have looked.
The building is also used for school groups and programs so is sometimes closed to the public when these are happening. It’s also worth noting that the building was badly damaged in a fire, so most of it is not original, however it has been rebuilt as closely to the original design as possible.
Sagrada Familia Gift Shop
The Sagrada Familia is a major tourist attraction, and as you might imagine, there’s an extensive gift shop on site.
There are in fact two gift shops. There’s one in the museum, and then another on the Nativity Facade side of the building near the group entrance.
The gift shop in the museum can only be visited by ticket holders; however, the ticket office on the Nativity Facade side of the basilica can be visited by anyone. So if you don’t want to go inside and buy a ticket, you can still check out this gift shop if you are hunting for some souvenirs.
However, be aware that when you enter this gift shop you are leaving the ticketed area. Only do this when you are ready to leave, as you will not be able to return to the church once you have left the ticketed area without getting a new ticket.
Climb Inside the Passion and Nativity Towers
If all goes as planned, when the Sagrada Familia is complete, it will have 18 towers in total. There are 12 towers to represent each apostle, one for the Virgin Mary, four for the Evangelists, and then the huge central tower to represent Jesus Christ.
The main tower will be an impressive 566ft / 172.5 metres in height when completed, making it the tallest church building in the world.
In the future you will likely be able to visit more of the towers, but currently you can only visit two of the towers, the Passion Tower and the Nativity Tower. These towers require a special ticket, but visitors who opt to visit them will be rewarded with great views over the city, as well as an up close view of elements of the church that cannot be seen from anywhere else.
See more on visiting the towers in the section below about which tower to visit, and whether the towers are worth visiting.
Do You Need a Ticket to Visit the Sagrada Familia?
Yes, you need a ticket for the Sagrada Familia. In addition, tickets are timed, so when you book a ticket it will be for a specific time slot. See more on where to buy Sagrada Familia tickets and ticket pricing further on in this guide.
The only time you don’t need a ticket for the Sagrada Familia is if you are attending mass. See the section on attending mass in this guide for more information on this.
How Much Does it Cost to Visit the Sagrada Familia in 2020?
Pricing for the Sagrada Familia varies depending on a number of factors, including what time you visit and what inclusions you want on your ticket.
Here’s an overview of the prices if you buy from the official website as of the time of writing. We’ll do our best to keep this updated, but do check the official website for latest prices.
- Sagrada Familia Basic Ticket – €20 (only available for the last two hours each day)
- Sagrada Familia – €26 (includes audioguide, available all day)
- Sagrada Familia with guided tour – €27
- Sagrada Familia + Gaudi House Museum – €28
- Sagrada Familia with Towers – €33 (also includes audioguide)
Some notes on the above tickets.
First, the prices above are when purchased from the official website. There is a ticket office on site for same day tickets, but prices are higher. The price difference varies by ticket, but expect to pay around €4 – €6 more per ticket in person.
The cheapest ticket is the €20 ticket. This doesn’t include any extras like an audioguide, and is only available for the last two hours each day. It can only be bought online, not in person.
The next ticket is the most widely available, which is the Sagrada Familia with audioguide. This is available in 16 languages, and the audioguide tour lasts for around 45 minutes. There’s also an express version which lasts for 25 minutes. Once you have completed the audioguide you are free to continue your tour.
Then there’s the option to visit with an official guided tour. Tours are available in five languages, and last around 50 minutes. Groups are limited to 30 people per group. Once the tour is over you can continue to explore on your own.
You can also buy a joint ticket for the Sagrada Familia and the Gaudi House Museum (his final residence), which is located in the unticketed part of Park Guell. This ticket includes an audioguide for the Sagrada Familia. The combined individual price of these tickets is €32.50, so this ticket is a good saving if you plan on visiting both locations.
Finally, you can buy a Sagrada Familia ticket with towers. This ticket includes an audioguide tour of the Sagrada Familia, as well as access to one of the towers. You have to choose which tower you want to visit when you purchase the ticket. See the section below on which tower to choose.
Of all the above options, the cheapest way to visit the Sagrada Familia is with the basic ticket. Just be aware these have limited availability, as you can only buy them for the last two hours of each day. They are also only available online.
Also, all tickets have a timeslot. You are only permitted to join the entry line for the timeslot marked on your ticket. If you miss your timeslot, you will generally need to buy a new ticket, unless the reason for missing the ticket was as a result of construction work at the Sagrada Familia.
Are there Concessions for the Sagrada Familia?
Yes, there are concessions available for the Sagrada Familia.
Children under 11 can visit the basilica free of charge with an adult. A ticket is still required.
If you are under 30 or a student, you will pay €2 less per ticket. Students will need to bring a student card to show on entry, those under 30 should bring proof of age like an ID or passport.
In addition, on Wednesdays through Fridays, visitors under 30 are able to purchase tickets for 50% off the normal price for the last two hours of the day.
Those with a proven disability can visit the basilica free of charge in the last two hours prior to closing each day. They may bring one companion who can also enter free of charge. Additional services like audioguides must be paid for. A ticket is still required as you need to book a timeslot.
Seniors (those 65 and over) are also eligible for concessions. This varies by ticket type but is in the region of €4 – €6 discount per ticket.
You can see more on current concessions and amounts on the website here. All of the above concessionary ticket types, including disabled access and child tickets are available on the official website.
Where to Buy Sagrada Familia Tickets
There are a number of options for purchasing Sagrada Familia tickets, which we will go through so you know all your options, and which is best.
1 – Official Website
The first place we recommend you look is the official Sagrada Familia website here. This has real-time availability, and tickets can be purchased for both same-day visits, as well as up to two months in advance. You can also buy concession tickets here.
2 – On-site Ticket Office
If you are already at the Sagrada Familia, there is a ticket office on site. Note that this ticket office can only sell tickets for the same-day, and prices are higher than the website prices. There can also be long lines here, so honestly, we’d advise buying online if you can.
The on site ticket office is by the exit to the Sagrada Familia, on the Nativity Facade side by Carrer de Sardenya. Large screens outside the ticket office show what timeslots are available for the day.
Our suggestion for the best place to buy Sagrada Familia tickets is the official website which at the time of writing does not charge any booking fees.
3 – Third Party Booking Sites
There are also a number of third party websites where you can buy tickets for the Sagrada Familia. Obviously these sites need to make a revenue, and so usually charge some kind of booking fee or other commission. For this reason the official site would be our preference.
Our recommended option is this website. They provide real time availability of tickets, as well as all the ticket types and concessions available.
You can also find Sagrada Familia tickets online here with GetYourGuide, and here with Viator. Again, these will usually be more expensive than the official site, but are worth checking when the Sagrada Familia is sold out just in case.
4 – Tour Companies
Another option is to either book a tour with a third party company like this, or to buy an attraction pass like this which includes Sagrada Familia entry as well as other discounts. More on these options further on in the guide.
Sagrada Familia Sold Out? Your Options.
As mentioned in this guide a few times, the Sagrada Familia is a very popular attraction in Barcelona, and tickets to the attraction do sell out. This happens in particular around religious holidays such as Easter, as well as during the peak tourism season in Barcelona, usually over the summer months.
This is why it’s always best to buy tickets in advance. Tickets on the official Sagrada Familia website are usually available around 2 months in advance.
Of course, we appreciate not everyone can plan this far in advance. Maybe you have a last minute trip to Barcelona planned. Maybe you’re not a detailed planner. Whatever the reason, if there are no tickets available for the Sagrada Familia, you will likely still have some options to be able to visit.
1 – Check Other Days
First, check the official website of the Sagrada Familia to see if other days are available. It might be that by just juggling your itinerary slightly, you can visit on another day of your trip.
2 – Check Other Ticket Types
Second, check to see if other ticket types are available on the official site. There are a range of different ticket types to choose from for your visit, and it might be that one of these has availability, such as a guided tour or a tower ticket.
3 – Check Third Party Ticket Sites
Next, check to see if any of the third party sites have availability. In our experience, if the Sagrada Familia website is sold out, then standard tickets on third party sites will also be sold out. However, you can try. We suggest trying Ticketbar here, GetYourGuide here and Viator here.
4 – Book a Tour (most likely to succeed)
We think your best option for visiting the Sagrada Familia when it is sold out is to book a tour of the Sagrada Familia with a tour company.
These tours will be more expensive than a standard ticket, but because group tickets come out of a different allocation to individual tickets they are often available even when the Sagrada Familia is “sold out”.
You also get the advantage of a guided tour, which we think is well worth it for learning about what you are seeing.
You can either take a tour which includes the Sagrada Familia as part of a wider tour of the city, or one which just focuses on the Sagrada Familia. Here are some options to consider.
- Barcelona in a Day: This full day tour of Barcelona has you visiting La Sagrada Família, Casa Milà, the historic city center and even taking a sailboat cruise. An excellent introduction to the city.
- Skip the Line Express Sagrada Família Tour & Tickets – If you want a guided tour of the Sagrada Familia and are struggling to get official tickets, this is a great option with one of our favourite walking tour companies
- Complete Gaudí Tour: Interested in learning more about Gaudi and seeing several of his most famous works? This tour features some of the architects highlights, including Casa Batlló, Park Guell, and of course the Sagrada Família. It even includes a Tower Climb of the Sagrada Familia.
- Sagrada Familia Escorted Entry – This is more of an option for getting in rather than a complete guided tour. You will meet a guide and get a brief introduction and then be left to explore as you wish. I include it here as it’s one of the cheaper tours available for entry.
- Sagrada Familia Guided Tour – This is a 1.5 hour long guided tour of the Sagrada Familia with a relatively small group
- Sagrada Familia Guided tour – Another 1.5 hour guided tour of the Sagrada Familia. It’s always worth checking different tours, as if one is sold another company might have availability.
- Sagrada Familia Small Group Guided tour – This is a 1.5 hour tour with no more than 15 people
5 – Attend Mass
Another option for visiting the Sagrada Familia if it is sold out is by attending a mass in main Basilica. These are free and on a first come, first serve basis, usually held on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings. See the section on mass in the Sagrada Familia in this guide for more information.
Be aware that visiting for mass time is not a good time for getting photos or wandering around, as both these activities are forbidden during mass. Instead, it’s a good time to see the church in use for its intended purpose.
Tours of the Sagrada Familia
We can very much taking some kind of tour of the Sagrada Familia. There is a huge amount to see here, with fascinating architecture and symbolism, and a tour is one of the best way to truly understand what you are seeing.
When you take a tour, a knowledgeable guide will tell you everything you need to know about the building. You’ll also be able to ask any questions you have, and get pointers on what to focus on when the tour is finished.
If you want to take a guided tour of the Sagrada Familia, you have a few options.
The best value tours are offered by the Sagrada Familia itself, and can be booked directly on the official website. These last approximately 50 minutes and have a maximum group size of 30 people.
However, we actually recommend considering one of the tours below. These tend to be longer, more comprehensive tours with fewer people, and are generally specifically geared towards English speaking visitors.
Here are some options to consider. All of these tours include entrance to the Basilica – something you will want to check before you book a tour with any company. Some also include tower access, so when comparing prices do check what is and what isn’t included, tour length and tour size.
- Barcelona in a Day: This full day tour of Barcelona has you visiting La Sagrada Família, Casa Milà, the historic city center and even taking a sailboat cruise. An excellent introduction to the city.
- Skip the Line Express Sagrada Família Tour & Tickets – If you want a guided tour of the Sagrada Familia and are struggling to get official tickets, this is a great option with one of our favourite walking tour companies
- Complete Gaudí Tour: Interested in learning more about Gaudi and his works? This tour features some of the architects highlights, including Casa Batlló, Park Guell and of course the Sagrada Família. It even includes a Tower Climb of the Sagrada Familia.
- Sagrada Familia Escorted Entry – this is more of an option for getting in rather than a complete guided tour. You will meet a guide and get a brief introduction. I include it here as it’s one of the cheaper tours available for entry.
- Sagrada Familia Guided Tour – this is a 1.5 hour long guided tour of the Sagrada Familia with a relatively small group
- Sagrada Familia Guided tour – another 1.5 hour guided tour of the Sagrada Familia. It’s always worth checking different tours, as if one is sold another company might have availability.
- Sagrada Familia Small Group Guided tour – this is a 1.5 hour tour with no more than 15 people
There are lots more guided tours to choose from of course. See Ticketbar here, GetYourGuide here and Viator here for more options. We always recommend reading recent reviews and comparing prices and inclusions before booking.
Also, every tour (other than those with multiple stops) will usually end inside the Sagrada Familia, so you have time to explore and take photos at your own pace once the tour is complete.
Do we Recommend an Audioguide or Guided tour?
To make the most of your visit to the Sagrada Familia we definitely recommend you use an audioguide, a guidebook, or join a guided tour.
There isn’t much signage in the building, so you will miss out on a lot of information without any sort of information or context.
You can purchase a ticket from the official site which includes an audioguide or guided tour. Alternatively, we recommend this guided tour by one of our favorite walking tour companies Take Walks.
Where is the Entrance to the Sagrada Familia?
The general and group entrances to the Sagrada Familia are under the Nativity Facade on Carrer de la Marina. As you face the church, the general entrance is currently to your right, and the group entrance is to your left. There is also an accessible entrance to the left, by the main gift shop.
If you have booked an individual ticket on the official website, even one which includes a tour, you will enter via the general entrance. You will join the tour once you have passed through security. Only groups can use the group entrance.
The entrances are very well marked, and on-site staff will check your ticket before you join any line, so we don’t think you’ll have any trouble getting into the correct line.
It is important to realise that all tickets to the Sagrada Familia operate on a timed entry basis. You need to be in line to enter the Sagrada Familia during the time market on your ticket. You will not be allowed to join the line or enter the building except during the time on your ticket.
If you book a tour with a third party website, they will give you instructions as to where to meet outside the Sagrada Familia. Pay careful attention to these instructions, as there are a lot of guides and people, so you want to be sure you know what to look for.
School groups are typically asked to enter on the other side of the church, on Carrer de la Sardenya.
Can you Skip the Lines at the Sagrada Familia?
Yes and no. If you buy your ticket online or via a third party website, either for individual access or as part of a tour, then you can skip the ticket line.
Instead, you can go straight to the main entrance. The Sagrada Familia like many popular attractions operates airport style security with bag and body scanners. So you will need to queue a short while for this.
The line for these is never very long, as you can only join the line when your timeslot for entering opens. On site ticket officers check tickets before you enter the line, so you will only be in line with others who are entering at the same time as you.
In my experience, the security line moves quickly and efficiently, so you shouldn’t need to worry about losing much time here.
When you see tickets advertising skip the line access at the Sagrada Familia, they are referring to the ticket line. All ticket holders, including individual and group tickets, have to go through the same security line.
Is it worth visiting one of the Sagrada Familia towers?
There are currently two Sagrada Familia towers that you can visit, the Passion Tower and the Nativity Tower. Visiting a tower requires a special ticket, and these are some of the more expensive tickets available for a visit from the official website. Visits to the towers are self-guided.
You definitely don’t need to visit a tower to enjoy your time at the Sagrada Familia, although it does reward you with both nice views of the city and a unique viewpoint on areas of the building that are otherwise impossible to view.
Of course, there are lots of other options for great views of the city – a favourite of ours being the view from Santa Maria del Pi in the Gothic Quarter. See more ideas in our guide to where to get a great view of Barcelona.
I think that seeing the inside and outside of the towers, as well as getting up close to the facades, is definitely a unique experience. If you climb the towers for this reason, it is definitely worth it. But some people don’t find visiting the towers worth the extra cost, and we would agree that it is definitely not required
Which Sagrada Familia Tower Should You Visit?
There are two Sagrada Familia towers you can visit – the Passion Tower and the Nativity Tower. If you decide to visit a tower, the next question you might have is which tower is the best to visit?
Honestly, the answer to this is not so simple, as both towers are worth visiting. In addition, you might find that when you come to book, only one of the two towers has availability, so your decision will be made for you! However, here’s a quick overview of the two towers you can currently climb to help you make a decision.
The Nativity Tower is the older of the two towers, and was completed during Gaudi’s lifetime. It’s on the Nativity Facade side of the building, which was also built during Gaudi’s lifetime. The Nativity Tower offers views across the east side of the city and the mountains, as well as up close viewing opportunities of the Nativity Facade.
The Passion Tower is one of the newer towers, and is on the Passion Facade side of the building. This Facade was only fully completed in 2018. Whilst this was designed by Gaudi, it still has a newer look and feel due to being more recent.
Views from this tower are across the city centre and out to sea. There is still quite a lot of construction work ongoing around this tower, and when I visited there was lots of evidence of this when looking out of the windows.
Both towers you can visit have a bridge which links the two main towers on each facade. Sometimes this bridge isn’t open, but when I visited the bridge in both the Nativity and Passion towers was open. This bridge is open air (but surrounded by safety wire) and offers a great view of the city and the outside of the towers.
Both towers have lift access to get up the towers, followed by a series of steps. They then both have steep spiral staircases, consisting of hundreds of steps, to get down. The exit stairs in the Nativity Tower are slightly wider, so are more popular with folks who suffer from claustrophobia.
There is no accessibility access to the towers, as even when you take the lift there are a number of stairs to climb. In addition, you can’t get the lift up and down, only up. As a result, anyone with physical mobility issues will likely want to skip the towers.
It is worth mentioning that there is no handrail in the centre of the staircase in either tower, and you can see straight down from the top to the bottom as there’s a small hole in the centre. This is too small to fall into, but vertigo sufferers might want to give this a miss as it can be a little disconcerting.
In our experience looking at the booking website and reading reviews from other visitors, the Nativity Tower tends to be more popular, and tickets for this tower tend to sell out first. However, we think if you want to visit a tower, then either tower will work.
If you want to visit a tower but tickets are sold out, again, there are third party tours which include tower access such as this one.
What is the Dress Code at the Sagrada Familia?
The Sagrada Familia is a place of religious worship, and as such, visitors are expected to wear appropriate attire. The following rules apply:
- Shoulders must be covered
- Shorts / skirts must come down to at least mid-thigh. We’d recommend knee length though to be on the safe side.
- Swimwear is not permitted
- Fancy dress or clothing to celebrate a festivity is not permitted. For example, a bachelor party all wearing similar outfits may be refused entry.
- See through clothing is not permitted
- Hats are not permitted with the exception of those required for religious or health related reasons
- Visitors must be wearing footwear, it is not permitted to enter barefoot.
Other Forbidden Items at the Sagrada Familia
As well as the dress code, there are other items that are not permitted in the Sagrada Familia. A summary of these is as follows:
- Food and drinks are not permitted, and must be consumed and disposed of prior to entering.
- Professional photography equipment, including tripods, is not permitted
- Smoking is not permitted anywhere on the grounds
- Dangerous items such as weapons, sharp objects, knives or similar are not permitted. These will be held at security and returned after the visit.
- Any sort of banner, sign or, flag intended as a protest
- Any chemical product that could harm other people or damage the monument.
- Animals are not allowed on site with the exception of service dogs for people with disabilities
As you can see, nothing particularly out of the ordinary here.
Can you Take Photos in the Sagrada Familia?
Yes, you are allowed to take photos in the Sagrada Familia. However, there are a number of rules to be aware of.
First, photography is not permitted during masses or holy day events.
Second, professional photography equipment, including tripods, is not permitted in the basilica.
If you wish to visit and take photos for commercial photography reasons, this needs to be authorised by the press department. In these instances, tripods may be authorised but you will want to get permission in writing before your visit.
As with most museums, churches, and other attractions, flash photography is also not permitted. Honestly, the church is so big that a flash probably won’t do much anyway! We have a guide to disabling the flash on a camera here if you need instructions for disabling the flash on your camera.
There is no specific guidance around videos, however the same rules likely apply regarding professional video equipment. If in doubt, contact the Press Department of the Sagrda Familia.
Are there Free Days at the Sagrada Familia?
There are no regular free days at the Sagrada Familia.
Barcelona Attraction Passes that Include the Sagrada Familia
If you plan on seeing a number of sights in Barcelona, and perhaps using the Hop on Hop off bus, then you might find that buying an attraction pass or some kind of combination ticket is more convenient than individual tickets.
Some of these attraction passes will also save you money, depending on which attractions and services you use.
If you decide to purchase an attraction pass, you will want to purchase these at least 48 to 72 hours before you would like to visit the Sagrada Familia. This is because you will need to confirm a time of visit and receive the tickets via email (or however each works). You can’t just book and turn up an hour later with these kinds of passes.
Barcelona has a number of attraction passes (see our guide to the Barcelona attraction passes here), however not all of them include the Sagrada Familia. Here are some that do.
Barcelona City Pass
The Barcelona City Pass. This pass includes the Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and airport bus transfer, as well as either a 1 day or 2 day Hop on Hop off bus ticket. It also includes an audioguide covering the city, as well as a further 20% discount on a wide range of attractions in Barcelona.
What we like about this pass is that it lets you book the specific ticket type you want for the Sagrada Familia, from basic through to the towers visit, and it also lets you book the timeslot for your visit for both the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell.
If you are planning on visiting the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell, using the Hop on off Hop bus to get around the city, and plan on booking some extra attractions with a 20% discount, this is definitely an easy all in one option.
Barcelona Day Pass from Port of BCN
If you are visiting Barcelona on a cruise ship, you might consider this specially designed Barcelona Day pass.
It includes a transfer to and from your cruise ship, timed entry to the Sagrada Familia, Hop on Hop off bus access, as well a a 20% discount for any other attractions such as Casa Batllo, Aquarium Barcelona, Casa Mila, Picasso Museum, Camp Nou, and Park Guell.
We have a detailed day itinerary for folks visiting Barcelona from a cruise ship, which should help you plan your visit.
The Gaudi Bundle
The Sagrada Familia is far from the only Gaudi attraction in Barcelona. Another very popular one is Park Guell. If you want to visit both of these, then you might consider the Gaudi Bundle ticket.
This includes Sagrada Familia tickets with the official audioguide, tickets for Park Guell with an audio guide, as well as an audioguide for the exterior of the Sagrada Familia and other Barcelona attractions.
This ticket is slightly more expensive than purchasing individual tickets for each attraction, however the included audioguides might make this a good option if those interest you.
The Gaudi Bundle is also available as a package with the Barcelona Card. This includes free public transport in the city as well as a huge range of discounts on attractions and other venues across the city.
Barcelona iVenture Card
This card, valid for 7 days, comes in two versions which include a guided tour of the Sagrada Familia. There’s a 3 attraction version and a 5 attraction version. With each card you can pick from a choice of almost 40 attractions in Barcelona.
This card makes sense if you intend to use it for the more expensive attractions in Barcelona, such as the Hop on Hop off Bus, Sagrada Familia, and Casa Batllo.
Note that this card includes a guided tour of the Sagrada Familia with a tour company. You need to book this at least 24 hours in advance, and instructions on the meeting point will be provided. You can buy this pass in 3 or 5 day versions here.
It’s also available in a version which includes all the attractions, but be aware this does not include the Sagrada Familia.
Where to Get a Good Photo of the Sagrada Familia
You’ll probably want to get a great photo of the Sagrada Familia to remember your visit! My favourite spot (and one of the most popular views in general) is from Plaça de Gaudí to the north east of the building.
This has a small pond in, which makes for some nice reflections. However, you will need quite a wide angle lens in order to get the whole church and its reflection in shot.
As the Sagrada Familia is an active construction site, you will obviously get photos of cranes, netting and workers – which you can see in my photos!
Being the tallest building in Barcelona, you can also see the Sagrada Familia from a number of other locations in the city, including from the roof tops of some of Gaudi’s other buildings. The closest is La Pedrera, however, you will need quite a long lens to get a good shot as the Sagrada Familia will be around a mile away.
Practicalities for Visiting the Sagrada Familia
Facilities at the Sagrada Familia
The Sagrada Familia has toilets on site.
Food and drink is not permitted on site, and as such there is nowhere to buy food or drink on site either. There are however lots of stalls serving snacks and drinks just outside the entrance and exit points. There are also a number of cafes and restaurants within walking distance of the basilica.
Security at the Sagrada Familia
The Sagrada Familia operates airport style security. Expect your bags and person to be scanned, and forbidden items to be either conficated or held onto until your visit is over.
Accessibility at the Sagrada Familia
All parts of the Sagrada Familia which are open to the public currently are fully accessible except for the two towers. Whilst these have a lift, this does not go all the way up, and there are additional stairs that must be climbed. As such, the towers are currently not accessible.
Adapted audioguides in sign language and audiodescription are also available in Catalan, Spanish and English. There are also accessible toilets on site.
The accessible entrance to the Sagrada Familia is near the gift shop on the Nativity Side.
Luggage Storage Near the Sagrada FAmilia
There is no luggage storage available at the Sagrada Familia. The only exception to this rule is for visitors to the towers, who can put small backpack sized bags in lockers by the tower lifts during their visit to the towers. Following the tower visit, the luggage must be immediately collected.
Currently, the rules for visiting the Sagrada Familia do not explicitly forbid bringing luggage inside. However, you should be aware that there is airport style security screening, so any bags you bring will be screened. We don’t recommend bringing any luggage or large bags with you to the basilica.
Instead, consider storing your luggage either at your hotel or finding luggage storage near the Sagrada Familia.
Things to do Near the Sagrada Familia
The Sagrada Familia may be the most popular attraction in Barcelona, but there’s plenty more to do in the city! Some of these options are relatively close to the Sagrada Familia, and make for a good next step.
- Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau – about a 10 minute walk north east of the Sagrada Familia, this collection of building was originally a hospital. Today it is one of the finest examples of Art Nouveau architecture in Europe
- Casa Milà – also known as La Pedrera, this is another of Gaudi’s works, famous for its rooftop chimneys. It is about a 20 minute walk from the Sagrada Familia
- Gaudí Experiència – an interactive exhibition next to Park Güell that will take you through the life and works of the architect responsible for so many of Barcelona’s sights. About a 30 minute walk from the Sagrada Familia, or a short ride by Hop on Hop off bus / public transport.
- Park Güell – another of Gaudí’s works. This is a large park area with a number of installations to explore and visit. This is also where you’ll find the Gaudi House Museum where Gaudi lived, which is well worth a visit. If you do decide to visit, don’t forget you can save a few euros by buying a combination ticket with the Sagrada Familia on the official site
Where to Stay Near the Sagrada Familia
If you would like to stay near the Sagrada Familia during your time in Barcelona, we have put together this list of hotels, guesthouses and hostels which are all within a five minute walk of the Sagrada Familia.
These properties are across a range of budgets, and are ordered approximately by price, from lower to higher. Pricing can of course changing depending on season and demand, so do always check prices for your dates.
- Barcelona & You Hostel Sagrada Familia – three minutes walk from the Sagrada Familia, this is a well reviewed hostel offering dormitory style accommodation. It’s a great value option and breakfast, coffee/tea and WiFi is included.
- Hostemplo Sagrada Familia – just 200 yards from the Sagrada Familia, this is a highly rated design guesthouse offering private en-suite rooms at a great price
- Ibis Barcelona Centro (Sagrada Familia) – just a few minutes walk from the Sagrada Familia, this 2* hotel offers comfortable en-suite air conditioned rooms with soundproofing
- Boutique Hostemplo Sagrada Familia – found on a pedestrian street just 100 yards from the Sagrada Familia, this 3* boutique hotel offers air-conditioned en-suite rooms
- Hotel Sagrada Familia – a 3* hotel a couple of blocks from the Sagrada Familia, offering private en-suite rooms with air conditioning.
- SM Hotel Sant Antoni – five minutes walk from the Sagrada Familia, this is a well rated 3* hotel with private en-suite rooms and air conditioning
- Hotel Barcelona 1882 – 450 yards from the Sagrada Familia, this is a very well reviewed 4* hotel with a pool, and air-conditioned en-suite rooms
- Ayre Hotel Rosellón – 200 yards from the Sagrada Familia, this 4* design hotel has a roof top terrace offering stunning views of the Sagrada Familia. It also has great reviews, an en-suite air conditioned rooms
Hopefully one of the above hotels will work for you when looking for somewhere to stay near the Sagrada Familia.
Further Reading for Visiting Barcelona
Hopefully this guide to visiting the Sagrada Familia has answered all your questions and given you plenty of ideas for your own trip.
As well as the Sagrada Familia, we’ve also explored Barcelona many times, as well as other parts of Spain’s Catalonia region. From our experiences, we have put together a number of posts to help you plan your own trip. Here are some we think you will find useful in planning your own trip.
- For Barcelona, check out our 3 day Barcelona itinerary, our guide to spending a day in Barcelona, our review of the Barcelona Pass, and our detailed guide to Gaudí sites in Barcelona to start you off.
- There are lots of great day trips from Barcelona. See our guides to visiting Besalu, Montserrat, and Girona as good starting points.
- Lovers of surrealist artist Salvador Dali will want to visit some of the many sites associated with the artist in the region. See our guide to Dali attractions in Costa Brava that lists all the attractions to help you put together your trip.
- A fantastic experience we can recommend to anyone visiting this region is to take a hot air balloon ride. We’ve done this twice, and you can see our guide to hot air ballooning in Costa Brava here.
- We have a guide to things to do in Palamós, one of our favourite fishing towns in the Costa Brava
- If you love mountains, you’re going to want to spend some time in the Spanish Pyrenees region of Catalonia. See our guide to the Spanish Pyrenees to start you off. If visiting in the winter, you might consider heading to one of the Girona region’s ski resorts, and you can take a look at our guide to skiing in the Spanish Pyrenees.
- We also have detailed guides to all the specific regions of the Girona Pyrenees of Catalonia, including La Garrotxa, El Ripollès and La Cerdanya.
- Another mountainous experience for lovers of nature or skiiers is the Vall de Nuria, which also makes a good day trip or overnight experience from Barcelona. See our guide to visiting the Vall de Nuria for more information
- If you would like a book about the Sagrada Familia, this is a detailed guide to the history, present and future of this building
- If you’re looking for a guidebook, take a look at this Costa Brava pocket guide and this DK Eyewitness guide to Barcelona and Catalonia
And that’s it for our detailed guide to visiting the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain! As always, we’re happy to answer your questions – just pop them in the comments below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
In addition, if you visit the Sagrada Familia and notice anything incorrect about this guide, do let us know in the comments section so we can correct it.