SAGRADA FAMILIA: PHOTO, ENTRANCE, TICKETS, OPENING HOURS
If you ask Catalans what monument to visit in Barcelona, the first thing most people will say is the Sagrada Familia. The Basilica is visited by almost 5 million people a year and regularly ranks among the top ten most visited monuments in Europe and the top twenty in the world. In this guide, we’ll cover more information about the Basilica – attractions, entrance and tickets to the Sagrada Familia, opening times, how to get here, why visit the Sagrada Familia and other useful tips.
- SAGRADA FAMILIA: PHOTO, ENTRANCE, TICKETS, OPENING HOURS
- Sagrada Familia – basic information
- Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona
- Sagrada Familia attractions
- What to see in the Sagrada Família?
- Attractions of the Sagrada Família
- When to visit the Sagrada Familia?
- How to get to the Sagrada Familia?
- Entrance to the Sagrada Familia
- Tickets to the Sagrada Familia
- How to skip the queues for the Sagrada Familia?
- Opening hours Sagrada Familia
- Access to the towers of La Sagrada Familia
- Accommodation near La Sagrada Familia
- Map of Barcelona
- Tips on how to enjoy Barcelona
- Related articles
- Sagrada Familia FAQ
Sagrada Familia – basic information
Admission to the Sagrada Familia:
Adults €32.50, children 11-17 and students €31.20, seniors over 65 €27.30, children under 11 free. There may be queues for the Sagrada Familia, so it’s best to book in advance. Get your tickets here
Opening hours: November-February 9:00-18:00, March and October 9:00-19:00, April-September 9:00-20:00, Sundays throughout the year opening hours until 10:30
Address: C/ de Mallorca, 401
How to get to the Sagrada Familia: Sagrada Familia station – metro lines L2 and L5
Most famous cities have an icon for which tourists from all over the world flock. London has Big Ben, Milan has the Duomo, Amsterdam has the canals, Pisa has the Leaning Tower and Barcelona has the Sagrada Família.
Sagrada Família means the Holy Family. The official name of the basilica is Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, or the Temple of Reconciliation, dedicated to the Holy Family.
The Sagrada Família Basilica in Barcelona is monumental, unique and controversial at the same time. Few monuments evoke such strong emotions. The English writer George Orwell described it as “hideous”, Salvador Dali as “a terrifying and poisonous beauty”. The crypt and the facade of the Nativity of the Lord are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The basilica was originally just a church, but in 2010, after the completion of the roof, the church was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI. and at the same time the Sagrada Família conferred the title of Basilica minor. It translates as minor basilica and is awarded by the Pope to major churches.
The Sagrada Familia is not the seat of a bishop. This is the Barcelona Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter, which is the only cathedral in Barcelona.
Sagrada Familia attractions
When did the construction of the Sagrada Família begin?
The construction of the Sagrada Família began in 1882, when it was 19. March, the first stone was ceremoniously laid. It was originally intended to be a copy of the important church in the Italian village of Loreto(Santuario della Santa Casa), inside which stands the Holy Hut. According to the legend, it was the house of the Virgin Mary brought from Nazareth.
José Maria Bocabella, the founder of the local organization of the Association of Devotees of San José, came up with the idea of building a church and decided to promote the values of the Christian family.
Who built the Sagrada Familia?
The commission for the Sagrada Família was awarded to the Spanish architect Francisco de Paula del Villar. He planned to build a church in the Neo-Gothic style, but after disagreements with one of the consulting architects he resigned in 1883. Only the crypt, where Bocabella was later buried, has survived from his design.
The Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí then took over the commission and completely redesigned the project. His intention was to create a building that no one in the world had ever seen. Thanks to the unique style of Catalan modernism, he succeeded.
The project ran for 43 years until his death at 74, when he fell down a tram and succumbed to his injuries from the fall a few days later. He was then buried in the crypt of the basilica.
The basilica was to be completed in 2026 by 100. the anniversary of Gaudí’s death. By that time, it would have been an incredible 144 years, on and off, since its construction began. To give you an idea – the Basilica of St. St. Peter’s Cathedral in the Vatican took 121 years to build.
Unlike many religious buildings, the Sagrada Família is being built with donations and contributions. However, after the pandemic, the completion date is likely to be postponed because work has not been carried out for several months and there have been delays. The actual completion date is not yet known.
The facade of the Sagrada Familia is incredible. You’ll find plenty of Christian symbols here, as Gaudí’s intention was to build the last great shrine to Christianity. The basilica was to tell the story of Jesus and represent a huge bible.
To get a better idea of how impressive the Sagrada Família is, here are some numbers: the basilica is made up of 5 naves, 18 towers and 3 facades.
Attractions of the Sagrada Família
The basilica has 18 towers representing the 12 apostles, the 4 evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), the Virgin Mary and the highest one Jesus Christ. The Tower of Jesus Christ will be 172.5 metres high and topped with a large cross. Gaudí chose the height deliberately. He wanted the basilica to be the tallest building in Barcelona, but at the same time not higher than the Montjüic hill.
When completed, the Sagrada Familia will become the tallest church in the world. The second tallest tower is the tower of Our Lady with a height of 138 m, on top of which is a star (see picture).
The Sagrada Familia has 3 completely different and unique facades, each symbolizing a different stage in the life of Jesus Christ. On the east (by the park with the pond, where the main entrance is currently) is the facade of the Nativity of the Lord. It is the most ornate and the most representative of Gaudí. It was completed first and has 4 towers, which symbolize the apostles.
To the west (near the second park) is the facade of the Passion (in the opening picture), which is dedicated to the crucifixion of Jesus and human sin.
The third façade is called the Façade of Glory and tells of Jesus’ glory and journey to God. It’s not finished yet, but it should be most monumental. Having seen how breathtaking the completed facades are, we can’t imagine how monumental the facade of Glory can be when it is finished. Once the work is complete, the facade of the Glory will form the main frontage as it offers direct access to the central nave.
According to a city study, it was found that 80% of visitors do not enter the basilica at all. This is a great pity, because the interior of the basilica is as stunning as the exterior. The plan of the basilica consists of a Latin cross with 5 naves. As soon as you enter, you will feel like you are in a forest with many columns of different widths and heights.
All around are colourful stained glass windows in shades of red, blue, green and yellow, which, especially in the evening, let out a wonderful palette of colours. It’s like a rainbow almost at your fingertips. But glass mosaics have a function. Gaudí wanted them to function as lighthouses for sailors.
If you look up, you will see the apse, which passes into the nave and then the transept.
What is interesting about the Sagrada Familia?
Gaudi’s quote sums it up best:
“Nothing is art unless it comes from nature.”– Antoni Gaudí
And this is exactly what Gaudí followed in the design of his buildings. No line or angle is straight, because according to Gaudí there is nothing straight in nature. Gaudí was a masterful engineer who knew that it was impossible to compete with nature. It is necessary to be in harmony with it and he based his building designs on this.
Since the Spanish Civil War, the basilica has been under construction according to Gaudí’s reconstructions. During the war, the original designs were destroyed along with the workshop and part of the basilica.
Interestingly, Gaudí applied for permission to build in 1885, but there is no official record that permission was granted. The basilica was not granted a building permit until 2019 at a cost of €4.6 million.
The smallest queues are in the early morning. The best time to visit is at 9am, when the basilica opens to the public. This is also the time when the sun rises on the facade of the Nativity. If you don’t get a chance to visit the Basilica first thing in the morning, I recommend choosing a time to visit at a quarter or three – 10:15, 10:45, 1:15, etc., as most visitors intuitively choose whole times or half times (11:00, 11:30, 1:00). You also have a better chance of not being crowded inside.
But the most beautiful light is in the evening during the golden hour. The sunlight leans on the stained glass windows and beautifully illuminates the interior. It’s a wonderful spectacle and the best time for photography.
The Sagrada Família is located on Carrer de la Marina in the popular Eixample district and is within walking distance of the historic centre and other famous places in Barcelona . The Gothic Quarter with its cathedral, Arc de Triomphe, Sant Pau Hospital, Picasso Museum, La Pedrera and Casa Batlló are all within easy walking distance.
Local buses and the metro stop right outside the basilica. Read more transport in Barcelona in a separate article. You can get here by metro or bus:
- Metro: purple line L2 or blue line L5 – Sagrada Familia station
- Buses: 19, 33, 34, D50, H10, B24
They’re stopping right by the basilica too Hop On, Hop Off tourist buses . At the same time, you will then take the next connection at the same place once you have seen the basilica.
The entrance to the basilica is from the east through the facade of the Nativity of the Lord – by the park with a small lake. Once the facade of Glory to the south is completed in the next few years, the main entrance will be relocated here.
They won’t let you in with food, drink and a hat on your head. Since you will be going through security, don’t bring large luggage either (there are no storage compartments on site, only at the towers). You must then keep your shoulders and knees covered during Mass.
You can stay inside the basilica as long as you want. Walk around and admire the interior. Or you can just sit and soak up the atmosphere of the church.
Wondering how much time to set aside to visit the Sagrada Familia? It depends on what you want to see. If you want to see the basilica, including the towers, take 2 hours. The exterior and interior have a lot of details and a visit to the tower takes about 30 minutes.
Admission to the Sagrada Familia: adults €32.50, children 11-17 and students €31.20, seniors over 65 €27.30, children under 11 get in for free. Get your tickets here
The ticket also includes an audio guide, which you can download simply via the link in the email. Don’t forget to bring your own headphones. The audio guide is available in 15 languages, including English, Spanish, German or French (not Czech).
I recommend booking tickets online. The queues can be two hours long and it happens that tickets are sold out several hours in advance. Tickets will simply arrive in your email and you just scan them at the door. If you end up not being able to visit the Sagrada Familia on your chosen date, you can cancel your tickets up to 24 hours in advance for free.
TIP: In season book a few days in advance and even more in advance of weekends and holidays.
When you book your ticket (or buy it on the spot), you choose a specific time to visit. It is important to keep to the time or your ticket will be forfeited (staff will tolerate a quarter of an hour delay). Arrive about 15 minutes early or even earlier if you want to see the exterior first.
If you are a senior citizen, student or child, you automatically receive a discount on admission to the Basilica. Do not forget to bring the necessary documents to confirm your entitlement to the discount. Children under 11 and people with disabilities are admitted free of charge. Except for the access to the towers, the basilica is wheelchair accessible.
When to visit the Sagrada Familia for free? You can visit the basilica for free every Sunday or on holidays during the 9am international masses. Capacity is limited. The condition is that you must not disturb others, i.e. you can’t take pictures or walk around inside.
The second requirement is appropriate clothing that meets church standards – shorts or skirts at least to the knee, covered shoulders and no hats.
Sagrada Familia is included in the tourist card Barcelona Pass which I wrote more about in the article, how to save in Barcelona . The advantage of the card is that for one price you get access to more than 35 sights in Barcelona. It all depends on what you plan to visit in Barcelona. If only 1-2 sights, the card is not worth it. However, with a busier programme, you can save money with the card.
In high season, there is literally a queue around the basilica. And the high season in Barcelona is long – lasting from around May to October. If you can make it, come early in the morning when the basilica opens. In the morning there are not so many tourists.
The best tip to skip the queues for the Sagrada Família is order tickets in advance . Tickets will then be emailed to you. You scan them on the spot for entry and after a short security check you can go right in. Booking in advance will save you a lot of time, as queues in summer can be as long as two hours. In sunny and hot Barcelona, the wait seems even longer.
Another advantage of booking in advance is the certainty of getting in at the time you choose. Tickets may sell out on site several hours in advance. If necessary, you can cancel your tickets 24 hours in advance free of charge.
Opening hours vary according to the season:
- November-February 9:00-18:00 (NO until 10:30)
- March and October 9:00-19:00 (NO until 10:30)
- April-September 9:00-20:00 (NO until 10:30)
- 25. and 26 December and 1. a 6. January 9:00-14:00
The last time you’ll be let in is 30 minutes before closing time, but I’d definitely recommend getting there early. You won’t have time to see all the details in half an hour.
The basilica has 18 towers. There are 9 more to be completed in 2022. Nevertheless, you can enter the two towers now. These are the Tower of Bethlehem on the facade of the Nativity overlooking the sea and the Tower of the Passion on the facade of the Passion, from where you will have Barcelona in the palm of your hand.
Depending on what you want to see more of, but the view from the Nativity Facade (pictured here is the view from the Passion Facade) is a bit better.
The facades and therefore the towers are not connected. You must choose one of the towers and pay a special admission fee to enter the tower. The price of admission will include entry to the basilica and entry to one of the towers (you choose the specific tower when you buy your ticket). Combination ticket you book in advance.
The towers can be reached by a glass elevator that can only accommodate 6 people. You can then descend back down a narrow spiral staircase of 300 steps. Small children under 6 years of age are not allowed on the towers.
- Motel One Barcelona-Ciutadella – one of the best hotels in Barcelona and at a good price; strategic location near the Arc de Triomphe and Ciutadella Park
- Hotel Medicis – cosy hotel next to the Art Nouveau Sant Pau Hospital and 5 minutes from the Sagrada Familia
- Hotel ibis Styles great value for money; ideal accommodation for couples and families with children (family rooms and children’s play area)
Map of Barcelona
To help you plan your itinerary in Barcelona, I have attached a map with the sights marked:
HOW TO USE THIS MAP: Above you will find a detailed map of museums, monuments and attractions to visit and see in Barcelona. Click at the top left of the map to see separate layers with highlighted locations. You can hide and show the different layers or click on the icons on the map to see the names of the places I mention in the guide to where to go in Barcelona. If you want to save the map, star it. For a larger version, click on the icon in the upper right corner.
Tips on how to enjoy Barcelona
- Book your tickets for the most visited places. Lines can be really long in Barcelona (even for the cable car from the port you can wait over an hour) and some places can sell out in advance. For example, at Park Güell you can see tourists turning around and not getting in.
- Barcelona Card – Barcelona’s official card, which gives you unlimited travel around Barcelona, free visits to museums and discounts to most sights. You can choose the length of validity (3, 4 or 5 days).
- Barcelona Pass – A tourist card that gives you unlimited access to more than 35 sites in Barcelona. You choose the number of days or the number of attractions.
- Unlimited travel around Barcelona – Barcelona is a big city and it’s hard to take in all the sites on foot. Transportation here is efficient and gets you everywhere you need to go. Ticket includes unlimited transportation including airport transfers.
- Sightseeing bus – A simple and convenient way to get to the most popular places in Barcelona. The bus operates on 2 routes, allowing you to reach places further afield, such as Camp Nou and Park Güell.
- Barcelona Admission and Opening Hours
- Barcelona accommodation
- What to Visit in Barcelona
- How to Save in Barcelona
- Barcelona with children
- Barcelona in 3 days
- Barcelona Guide
Sagrada Familia FAQ
The Basilica of La Sagrada Família in Barcelona began construction in 1882. Its construction is still incomplete. It is tentatively planned to reach 100 in 2026. the anniversary of the architect Gaudí. However, after the pandemic, the completion date is likely to be postponed because work has not been carried out for several months and there have been delays. The actual completion date is not yet known.
Sagrada Família means the Holy Family. The official name of the basilica is Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, i.e. in Czech, the Temple of Reconciliation, dedicated to the Holy Family.
The Sagrada Familia was originally designed by Spanish architect Francisco de Paula del Villar, who resigned a year after construction began due to disagreements. The project was then entrusted to the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, who led the construction of the basilica for 43 years until his death.
Admission varies by age. Children, seniors and students are entitled to a discount. The current admission fee and when you can visit the basilica for free can be found in the article.
The Basilica is located in the Eixample district and is easily accessible in 20-30 minutes on foot from the historic centre. The L2 and L5 metro lines and several bus lines stop right next to the basilica.