At the top of nearly everyone’s list of places to visit in Barcelona is La Sagrada Familia. It’s impossible to not have heard or read about it if you’ve done even just a small amount of research on things to do in Barcelona Spain. But just in case you haven’t heard about it then keep reading. This is Barcelona’s most visited site and it should be at the top of your must-see list. Keep reading and I’ll tell you everything you need to know to visit La Sagrada Familia.
About La Sagrada Familia
What exactly is La Sagrada Familia?
La Sagrada Familia is a Roman Catholic Church, a Minor Basilica, that has been under construction for over 141 years. Yes, you read that correctly. Construction on the Barcelona Church began in March 19, 1882 and as of 2023, it is still ongoing.
The project began under architect Francisco de Paula del Villar but he soon resigned the following year and architect Antoni Gaudi took over. Gaudi would then change the design to reflect his own personal style and he oversaw the project until his death in 1926.
Along with six other Works of Antoni Gaudi in/near Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Why is it taking so long to complete Sagrada Familia?
There are several things that slowed the progress of building and in some cases construction completely stopped. From 1936-1939 the Spanish Civil War stopped construction and militants actually set fire to the crypt in the church and some of Gaudi’s plans were destroyed. Thankfully, there was enough material to reconstruct his plans and construction continued.
Another issue has been money. Several times funding for the project dried up so construction was halted. Things like war and the COVID-19 pandemic slowed or stopped the flow of money. Today, the building of the church is funded through donations as well as ticket sales.
With construction taking so long, you can imagine that over those 141 years changes in design has happened as well. While much of the building is still in Gaudi’s style and has largely stuck to his vision, those architects that took over since his death have also made some changes to the design.
Gaudi knew the construction would take a long time and that he would never see the final product saying that “the temple’s owner (God) was not in a hurry”.
Construction is now estimated to be completed by 2026.
Where is La Sagrada Familia?
The Gothic Church is located in the center of Barcelona in the Eixample Dret district. The address is Carrer Mallorca, 401 Barcelona 08013.
How to get to La Sagrada Familia
Since the church is centrally located in Barcelona it’s fairly easy to reach and you have several options to get there.
While Barcelona is a large city you do have the option of walking. From Las Ramblas, it is about a 40 minute walk. Of course the amount of time to walk depends on your starting location so that could be shorter or longer.
Another option is taking a taxi. This will be the most expensive way to get there since taxi’s are generally expensive but if you left from Las Ramblas it would take about 10 minutes depending on traffic. You can expect to pay around €10-15. If you have several people in your group then this would be a good way to go.
The closest subway station is the “Sagrada Familia” Station. It’s just a 1 minute walk from the church. Your starting location will determine which subway line you start with but you’re going to end up on either the L2 (purple line) OR the L5 (blue line) which will take you to Sagrada Familia.
A single ticket that goes one-way will cost €2.40. You can buy a ticket at any of the metro stations.
Another option is to buy a Public Transportation Card that is good for use on the Metro (subway), Public Bus (TMB), the TRAM, and the urban & regional railway in Zone 1. You pick your starting date, the number of days you want to use the card (between 2-5 days) and then you’ll receive your voucher code on your phone immediately. You can even use it to get from the airport to the city and back.
When you arrive at the airport or at any subway station you’ll go to the vending machines, enter your voucher code, and the Hola Barcelona Travel Card will pop out. The card is activated the very first time you use it. You’ll have unlimited use on those days that you picked. It’s a really easy way to not have to deal with trying to pay for transportation everytime you go to travel in Barcelona.
You can catch a bus from Las Ramblas by heading to the stop in front of El Corte Ingles Shopping Center in Placa Catalunya (1257). You’ll take the D50 bus for 8 stops to Valencia-Lepant (784). You’ll be 1 block from Sagrada Familia so you’ll have a 4 minute walk from the bus stop. The whole trip will take about 20-25 minutes.
There are 103 bus lines in Barcelona so depending on where you’re starting from will determine which bus(es) to take. Other bus lines that go to Sagrada Familia are Lines 19, 33, 34, H10, and B24. You can plan your bus or metro journey at the Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) website.
Again, puchasing a Public Transportation Card is an easy way to use the Public Bus system and not have to fumble with getting cash out to pay for it.
Which way is the best way to get there?
If you’re looking to save money then walking is the best way. If you aren’t in a hurry and want to see things along the way you can stop to see some of Gaudi’s other famous sites like Casa Mila and Casa Batllo.
Taking the metro or bus will only cost €2.40 for a single one way journey. You will have a combination of riding and walking a short distance and will likely reach your destination in 10-20 minutes depending on how far away you are. Public Transportation is fast and inexpensive.
A taxi will cost the most money but if you have several people it could come out to less than taking public transportation. It will also be the easiest way to travel and involves almost no thinking. You’ll find cabs everywhere.
You might want to consider getting around Barcelona by purchasing a Hop-On-Hop-Off pass. With this pass you can choose either a 24 or 48 hour pass which gives you the ability to get on a double-decker bus that travels on two separate routes. You’ll receive a map of each route and can get on and off whenever you want to visit a site along that route. It’s a good way of getting around the city and to all the major sites.
What is there to see at Sagrada Familia?
There is SO much to see, both inside and outside. The church is built in several styles including Gothic, Modernism, and Art Nouveau and the details on the outside are remarkable. Every inch of this place has been carefully planned and you can easily spend an hour just on the outside looking at everything. I recommend arriving at least 1 hour before you’re to go in so you have time to walk around the entire outside.
The outside of La Sagrada Familia
There are three facades and eighteen towers making up the outside of the church and the detail on everything is stunning.
The Nativity Facade, the first to be built, represents the birth of Christ, his death, and his resurrection. This facade is where the main visitor entrance is. Gaudi was able to oversee most of the Nativity Facade and he left detailed instructions on how to complete it.
The second facade is the Passion Facade. It’s located at the exit side of the church. What you’ll notice is a completely different style than the Nativity Facade. Where the Nativity Facade is more of a celebration of life and hope, the Passion Facade is darker with harsh lines and a colder feel to it.
The third facade is the Glory Facade which is not yet complete. It will be the largest of the three and will represent ascension to God. There will also be scenes of Hell and Purgatory and seven large columns each one dedicated to gifts of the Holy Spirit. At the base of the columns will representations of the seven deadly sins and seven heavenly virtues.
There are eighteen towers, or spires, each representing an important figure in Christianity. Twelve of them represent the Twelve Apostles. One represents the Virgin Mary which has a large star at the top. There are four towers that represent the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And finally, the tallest of all the towers represents Jesus Christ. There are intentional specific heights to the towers which follows Gaudi’s design and instructions.
There is so much more, too much to write about here, about the outside that I urge you to read more about the design before visiting Sagrada Familia so that you will be familiar with what you are looking at.
The inside of La Sagrada Familia
The inside of Barcelona’s Basilica is just as impressive as the outside. What you’ll find is a massive open space but there are a lot of areas to explore. While there are many things to look at, the two things that standout the most is the ceiling and the stained glass.
The Ceiling of Sagrada Familia
One of the first things you’ll notice is these large columns extending from the ground to the ceiling. Gaudi is said to have designed them to be like trees and branches and you can definitely see that when you look at it.
The Stained Glass
Almost all churches have stained glass in them but the light that shines through the stained glass at La Sagrada Familia is like nothing I’ve ever seen in any other church. On one side the colors are shades of yellow, orange, red, and green that fill the space from the afternoon light. On the other side are different shades of blue where the morning light comes through. It’s truly beautiful.
Other parts to see inside the Basilica
Once you’ve gotten over the mesmerizing colors that light up the inside you’ll want to take some time exploring the rest of the church.
The apse, where the altar is, sits on the north side of the church and is where the highest point of the church, the outside tower that represents Jesus, rises. There is a main nave in front of the apse and two more naves on each side of the main one.
There’s a very large organ with almost 1500 pipes but there will be additional ones installed before construction is done, totaling 8000 pipes. Above the main interior of the church is where the choirs sit, holding over 1000 singers, where the sounds can fill the space below. But there are also areas for choirs of both adults and children in the apse.
Under the apse lies a crypt, where Antoni Gaudi is buried. It is one of the first parts of the church that was built and it was completed in 1889. It’s also where anarchists during the Spanish Civil War set a fire that destroyed some of Gaudi’s original plans. The ceiling of the crypt has openings where light shines through and views of the stained glass windows above can be seen. It’s a separate chapel for private ceremonies and mass is held there every Sunday.
How to buy Sagrada Familia Tickets
There are different types of entrance tickets and discounts for certain individuals. Some ticket discounts are limited so be prepared to pay the full price.
Individual Tickets 2023
The following prices are for an entry ticket to visit La Sagrada Familia. The first price includes an audioguide but not a tower visit. The second price is for adding an official Guide to your entrance ticket but still no tower visit. The third price is for an entrance ticket with an audioguide AND a tower visit. The fourth price is for an entrance ticket with an audioguide, a tower visit, and an official Guide.
- Base Price: 26€, 30€, 36€, 40€
- Seniors: 21€, 23€, 28€, 34€
- Under 30: 24€, 28€, 34€, 38€
- Student: 24€, 28€, 34€, 38€
- Under 11: 0
- Disabled: 0
- Companion: 0, 4€, 10€, 14€
There are a limited number of free tickets available for individuals who are unemployed (in Spain), religious figures, kids under the age of 11, and for people with disabilities and their companions. You have to request the free tickets no later than 48 hours before your visit. You can send your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to purchase your tickets
You can purchase your tickets on the official Sagrada Familia website. Individual tickets and tickets for groups up to 30 people are available.
You might want to condsider purchasing Fast Track Tickets when you visit La Sagrada Familia. These tickets allow you to enter right away and include an audioguide, entry to the museum as well as other ticket options.
The Fast Track Ticket: Includes your entrance to the church, the audioguide, and entry to the Sagrada Familia Museum.
The Fast Track Ticket and Tower Entrance: Includes entrance to the church, the audioguide, entry to the museum, and entry to the towers.
You can see both of Antoni Gaudi’s most visited works with one ticket: Sagrada Familia AND Parc Guell with the Parc Guell + Sagrada Familia Ticket.
You might want to consider visiting with a tour group. Visiting Sagrada Familia with a guide that is knowledgable is invaluable as there is so much to see. As you can imagine there are numerous tours that you can choose from that include different things.
With the Sagrada Familia: First Access Guided Tour you get a 1.5 hour tour with an official guide, entry to the museum, and the option to add the tower entrance as well.
Sagrada Familia Dress Code
It’s imporatnt to remember that while it’s a tourist site, when you visit Sagrada Familia you are also visiting a church. There is a dress code and you don’t want to risk not being allowed in.
- No see-through clothing allowed
- No swimwear
- No hats are allowed except for religious and health reasons
- No bare shoulders
- Shorts, pants, and skirts must come down at least mid-thigh
- No special clothing like costumes or promotional items can be worn
These are some rules that may seem obvious but it doesn’t hurt to list them here. When you arrive you will put your belongings through a security machine so don’t bring anything that you wouldn’t want taken away.
- No food or drink is allowed inside the church
- No smoking inside or on the grounds
- Leave your sharp or dangerous items at home
- Only service animals are allowed but no others
Best time to visit Sagrada Familia
If you book a ticket for the first time slot of the day, you get the advantage of walking in with the least amount of people inside. You’ll also have the least amount of people outside so you can *maybe* get some photos without crowds. Trust me, the crowds of people are a LOT.
Also, if it’s possible for you to visit La Sagrada Familia on a weekday, you’ll have fewer crowds. If you can, avoid visiting in July and August. It’s extremely hot and VERY crowded no matter what day of the week it is.
The advantage of waiting until the afternoon is the lighting that comes through the stained glass is beautiful. The yellow, orange, and green colors fill the space and it’s amazing.
It’s a tough call and one that you have to make yourself. We went in the afternoon and I’m so glad I got to see the colors through the stained glass. Yes, there were a lot of people but I will definitely go back one day and chose the first time slot of the day.
Sagrada Familia Hours
If you’re wondering when you can visit Sagrada Familia, here is all the information about their opening hours. Times vary at different times of the year and on special occasions.
One piece of important information you need to visit is that you MUST purchase your entrance tickets in advance. Tickets sell out sometimes months in advance so be sure to purchase early.
Opening Hours to visit La Sagrada Familia
Hours change slightly at different times of the year so be sure to take note of that when planning your trip to Barcelona. Also, there are special times for visiting Sagrada Familia Crypt.
November to February: Mon – Sat from 9am to 6pm, Sundays from 10:30am to 6pm
March: Mon – Fri from 9am to 7pm, Saturdays from 9am to 6pm, Sundays from 10:30am to 7pm
April to September: Mon – Fri from 9am to 8pm, Saturdays from 9am to 6pm, Sundays from 10:30am to 8pm
October: Mon – Fri from 9am to 7pm, Saturdays from 9am to 6pm, Sundays from 10:30am to 7pm
Special Opening Hours
December 25th and 26th: 9am to 2pm
January 1st and 6th: 9am to 2pm
Visiting the Sagrada Familia Crypt
Monday – Friday from 9:00am to 10:00am and 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Saturdays – Sundays and Holidays from 9:00am to 2:00pm and 6:00pm to 9:00pm
A visit to La Sagrada Familia is a must on your trip to Barcelona. Gaudi devoted over 40 years of his life to building the Basilica and it’s truly a masterpiece. Even though it’s still under construction it’s absolutey worth a visit.
Heading to Barcelona? Take a look at my list of 35 places in Barcelona to see.
Do I need to buy my ticket in advance?
Yes, you should buy your ticket in advance if you have your heart set on visiting Sagrada Familia. There are options to purchase at the Basilica but that’s ONLY if tickets are available. If there aren’t any then you won’t get in.
Can I take photos and video inside?
Yes, you can take personal photos and videos as long as it’s not disruptive. You can not have professional equipment or any type of broadcasting equipment. No drones or tripods are allowed and flash photography is discouraged. This includes drones and tripods outside on the grounds as well.
What happens if I miss my time slot?
If you miss your time slot then you won’t be allowed to enter. Definitely show up early to give yourself enough time to find the correct entrance.
Are there any refunds on the La Sagrada Familia tickets?
You can request a refund or exchange of tickets no less than 48 hours from your scheduled entry. You must provide proof of why you cannot come at your scheduled time.
How early can I purchase my ticket?
Tickets are available for purchase about 2 months before the visit. It’s recommended you buy them as soon as possible.
Is there any storage available for my luggage or bags?
No, there is no storage for luggage. The only storage is for bags for those going up a tower as bags are not allowed. You will retrieve your item when you come back down.
Where is the entrance to La Sagrada Familia?
The main entrance is on the east side in front of the park with the small pond.