La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona´s most important sight,  is an unfinished Catholic church which was designed by Antonio Gaudí after its construction had already begun. In this visitor’s guide to La Sagrada Familia you will learn about its history and anecdotes, and also get practical information to visit La Sagrada Familia in the best possible way.

 Nowadays it is one of the most visited monuments in Spain and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When you think about things to do in Barcelona, visiting the Sagrada Familia is indispensable because this church will take your breath away. Although the church was designed as neo-gothic in its initial first drawings, Gaudí, who was commissioned to complete the building, changed its design considerably. Today Sagrada Familia is a modern construction and its completion is planned for 2026 – the year marking the centenary of the death of Gaudí, who is buried in the crypt of the church.

Despite locals from Barcelona may have not visited La Sagrada Familia since their days at school! (this is something that happens with locals in most cities in the world when asked about the cities´s top attractions!) , most tourists that visit the city have la Sagrada Familia in their top priority list. Even visitors who repeat and come back to Barcelona visit the Sagrada Familia again. Do not forget that there is construction in progress and that the monument keeps growing and evolving!

Bear in mind that your visit will contribute to the completion of the Sagrada Familia, which work is being financed by donation and ticket sales.

Average customer review Score for Sagrada Familia

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La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona- Visitor guide

Gaudi and La Sagrada Familia

Gaudi is today one of the top magnets for visitors to Barcelona and one of Spain´s top tourist attractions. A very religious man, Gaudi started his studies in metalwork, and is his name is the icon behind the modernism movement in Spain, though his work shows clear examples of surreal and dreamlike qualities. Gaudi can be considered today as a one of Spain´s most famous people.

 

When did Gaudi start to work in La Sagrada Familia?

Gaudi dedicated lots of his energy to the Sagrada Familia, which was however only started after his death (only the apse and the Nativity façade were completed.  The original design is an enormous cathedral where 13,000 people could gather. Gaudi started to work on the project in 1882 but when he passed away in 1926 it was far from finished. In 1939 and 1940 architect Fransec de Paula Quintana I Vidal reassembled the old models from Gaudi and restored the crypt but the architects in charge of the project have interpreted some of the original ideas from Gaudi since they were not all fully described. There is no fixed date for the completion though 1926 is the desired date to make it coincide with the hundred anniversary of the death of Gaudi.

The best tours to enjoy la Sagrada Familia

Does it make sense to book a guided tour to La Sagrada Familia?


We believe it does make sense and in this attraction, our strong recommendation is that you book a tour to simplify your visit.  There are places which are best visited by yourself. We believe this is not the case for La Sagrada Familia. So many people visit it and there is so much information about it that we believe the most effective way to enjoy it is with a guided tour.


A quality tour to la Sagrada Familia is interesting and helps you with getting your day organized.

Make your visit to the Sagrada Familia unforgettable with a 1.5-hour guided tour of Gaudí’s magnum opus. See the Basilica’s surreal facade and interior in a small-group setting led by an expert guide. On a tour, you will learn about the reasons behind the ongoing construction, the current estimated completion date, and the generations of craftsmen, architects, and artists and how they learned to make Gaudi’s vision a reality.

Practical information to visit la Sagrada Familia

Opening hours of la Sagrada Familia


This is the standard timetable to visit la Sagrada Familia

November till February: From 9:00 till 18:00
March and October: From 9:00 till 19:00
From April till September 9 till 20:00
On December 25th and 26th and January 1st and 6th visiting, times are: 9:00 till 14:00

The Sagrada Familia is occasionally closed to the public. Check your dates well- in advance. If you book a guided tour you should not be concerned about this point.

How to avoid long queues at La Sagrada Familia?


There is only one way. Book a guided tour or your tickets in advance and with skip the line option. Bear in mind that despite you do this there is a security check which involves queuing.

What do I need to visit la Sagrada Familia?


Do I need to bring your passport? Yes, bring your Passport or ID card to your visit to La Sagrada Familia

Clothes to visit La Sagrada Familia


Are shorts allowed to visit la Sagrada Familia?  Shorts are Not allowed. and modest clothing is required: knees and shoulders must be covered at all times; no swimwear; no transparent clothing; no plunging necklines, exposed backs or stomachs. The monument cannot be entered barefoot either. Do not forget that besides being a top tourist attraction this is a religious building.


How much time to visit la Sagrada Familia?

Bear in mind that besides the visiting time (one to two hours if you opt to visit the tower) all visitors must go through a security check, which may take up to 25 minutes in high season


Are animals allowed at La Sagrada Familia?

Only guiding dogs can access la Sagrada Familia.

Is it safe to visit la Sagrada Familia?

The queues at the security posts are meant to guarantee your safety. Some other measures are in place:

• For safety reasons, no hats are allowed inside the nave or the museum of La Sagrada Familia except for religious or health-related reasons
• Itinerary is subject to change in the case of special events at the attraction or big crowds
• At the Sagrada Familia it is not permitted to give headsets to children under the age of 12

Sagrada Family – Things to see

After you cross the security point you will learn about one of the church’s facades, the Nativity, which was the first to be completed and the one Gaudí personally worked on the most in his lifetime. You will enjoy trying to decode the many symbols that Gaudí left for the viewer to decipher.

Nature and architecture in La Sagrada Familia

Once inside the Sagrada Familia, marvel at the unique ambiance created by the intense colored lighting emanating from the stained glass windows and the branch-like columns extending across the ceiling. Gaudí wanted to make the interior look and feel like a walk through the woods. As you exit the Basilica you will learn about the Passion facade, which illustrates the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. During your visit we recommend you pay special attention to the following elements. Nature played a very important role in the design of La Sagrada Familia and you will notice columns with the shape of trees (palm trees were very important in Gaudi´s architecture). There is not a single totally straight line inside the building to emulate the way in which nature works.

Sagrada Familia Schools

The schools were designed for the children of the workers who built the Sagrada Familia. Hear how it was reconstructed more than once and even moved locations to make way for the Basilica.

Towers in La Sagrada Familia

Once finished there will 18 towers in place following the design by Gaudi. 12 of these towers are dedicated to the apostles, 4 towers are dedicated to the evangelists and the remaining two are dedicated to Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ tower, once finished, will be the highest of all.

The total height of the monument is a few meters lower than the Montjuic mountain. This was made to show respect to God´s creation.

Views from the towers in La Sagrada Familia

The visit to the towers is not included in the standard ticket. You will need to opt for views to the city (passion façade) or views to the sea (Nativity façade).

An elevator can be used to access the top of the towers but you will need to walk down the stairs in both cases.  There are over 500 stairs in a snail style stair. The design of the stairs is once more connected to nature, but it is also practical from the architectural viewpoint. If you suffer from physical disabilities you should refrain from visiting the towers. This is also the case if you suffer from claustrophobia or heart conditions. Last but not least, bear in mind that children below 6 are not allowed to visit the towers.

Which view is better, Passion tower or Nativity tower?

Since the Passion towers provide views over the Mediterranean sea most people would be tempted to opt for the passion towers. There are however a few things you should bear in mind before you make up your mind! The Nativity towers are the original work of Gaudi. Both towers are connected by a bridge which means you will be able to enjoy the views from different angles. The Passion towers are not yet connected and since there is construction going on the experience is a bit more chaotic. All in all, both views are simply breathtaking and no matter which is your final decision you will not regret it! And remeber that the best views of the Mediterranean are from La Barceloneta beach! or if you are looking for views from the distance the great views are also offered from from  Parc Güell

Crypt in La Sagrada Familia

Pay attention to the roman style mosaics on the floor of the crypt. The altar is also something not be missed. It is dedicated to the holy family and if you wonder where Gaudi is buried you have the answer now: in the altarpiece in the crypt.  

The crypt contains seven chapels and it was the first element of the Sagrada Familia that was finished and besides being the resting place for Gaudi, it is also the only part of the church he saw partially completed. The crypt was built following the neo-gothic style which was on fashion at the time La Sagrada Familia was started. When Gaudi took over the work from his predecessor Francisco de Paula del Villar, he decided to continue the outline designed by de Paula, though he introduced modifications in the altar, the trench, and the staircase. Gaudi would have preferred to build the façade facing the sunrise (the traditional way) and to have the suffering and death of Christ towards the sunset. But the construction of the crypt was advanced when he took over.



Sagrada Family – Anecdotes

Is la Sagrada Familia the largest cathedral in Spain?

The Sagrada Familia, once finshed, will be one of the largest Cathedrals in Spain but not the largest (the cathedral in Seville is the largest cathedral in Spain). It is expected to measure 172,5 meter height and to have 18 towers once finished.

 

What symbolises la Sagrada Familia?

La Sagrada Familia  is designed around three façades that symbolize the nativity of Christ (east), his passion (west) and his glory (south). Furthermore, the eighteen towers complete this unique structure: twelve represent the Apostles, four are dedicated to the Four Evangelists, one represents the Virgin Mary and one (the largest) that is dedicated to Christ. Although the church is unfinished, you can still go up some of the towers to discover the most spectacular views of Barcelona.  

Sagrada familia - evolution plan

Sagrada Familia evolution - Video

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