If you are heading to Barcelona, chances are that visiting the La Sagrada Familia is at the top of your agenda. A quick google search will tell you that Sagrada Familia is visited by over 3 million people every year, and on any day, queueing up for a ticket to enter this UNESCO World Heritage Site may take hours of your time. Imagine if there was a way to skip the line, wouldn’t you go for it and save on some time to soak up more of Barcelona’s charms? Read on to find out how you can experience the magical interiors of Sagrada Familia by booking Skip the Line Sagrada Familia tickets even two months in advance. The guide has all you need to know before you visit Sagrada Familia - Spain's most visited landmark.
La Sagrada Familia Barcelona in a Nutshell
No visit to Barcelona is complete without visiting this iconic monument. At first glance itself, it becomes easy to see why there is no building like the Sagrada Familia anywhere in the world. The heavily ornate exterior walls, the eye-catching and complex designs, the play of light and shadow on the wall reliefs and the magnitude of the construction is enough to overwhelm even the most ardent of architecture and design aficionados.
- Nativity Facade
- Passion Facade
- The Towers
- Sagrada Familia Ceiling
- Beautiful stained-glass windows
Skip the line Sagrada Familia Tickets
Sagrada Familia is the most visited attraction in all of Spain. Subsequently, getting tickets on-site and beating the queue that forms through the day is not a wonderful experience, especially under the Spanish sun. Your best bet to skip the queue is purchasing tickets online.
Individual Skip the Line Tickets ✪
Skip the ticket line Sagrada Familia tickets and audioguide option as well.
Guided Tour of Sagrada Familia with Skip the Line Access ✪
Official tour guide, priority access to the Sagrada Familia and access to the Sagrada Familia Museum
Sagrada Familia Skip the Line Tickets with Tower Access and Audio Guide
Priority access to the Sagrada Familia, audio guide and access to the Towers of the Nativity/Passion Facade
Quick Jumplinks to Navigate the Guide
Why Visit Sagrada Familia?
Quick Facts About Sagrada Familia
• Also Known As: Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (Catalan) and Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia (Spanish)
• Construction began: 1882
• Estimated date of completion: 2026
• Architect: Antoni Gaudi
• Architectural style: Modernisme
• Number of visitors per year: 2.5 million
What makes the Sagrada Familia Church special?
Sagrada Familia, is an architectural gem in Barcelona’s sprawling skyline, a reflection of the prodigal Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi’s distinct imagination and style. The sublime beauty of Sagrada Familia transcends the layers of Catalonia’s rich cultural history and in the words of Gaudi himself, “The temple as a whole, as well being a place for divine worship, will artistically represent the truths of religion and the glorification of God and His Saints.”
The ornamental beauty of this towering structure originates from the striking synergy between Christian iconography and Gaudi’s unique form that is inspired by the patterns he found in nature. The colourful stained glass panes that run in harmony with the delicate carvings which adorn the Church’s façade, are a fine example of Art Nouveau and Catalan Noucentisme architecture.
Inspired by the mores of Gothic and Byzantine cathedrals, the foundation stone for Sagrada Familia was laid over a century ago in 1882, and 135 years later, this iconic monument is still a decade away from completion. The complexity of this massive structure lies in its design, and creating this masterpiece to its last detail requires enormous funding, the lack of which, has slowed the realisation of this dream-like structure.
La Sagrada Familia Tickets - Beat The Queue
The perpetual queue of people waiting to buy a ticket to experience La Sagrada Familia Barcelona is a testimony to the structure’s popularity among locals and tourists. We understand that waiting in line for buying tickets to experience the phenomena that is Sagrada Familia, can put a damper on your spirits.
You can save yourself hours of standing in these endless lines by either booking a ticket in advance, or by opting for one of the guided tour options.
1. Buy skip the line Sagrada Familia tickets in advance
You can buy your Sagrada Familia online tickets, well before your trip to Barcelona. Once you confirm your booking with the date and time of your visit, you will receive an e-copy of your ticket which you can display at Sagrada Familia to gain priority access.
2. Skip the line by booking a guided tour
One of the best ways to explore any place, specially a historical monument like the Sagrada Familia, is to go with a trained guide. In this case, opting for this option not only opens up a mine of information, but also gives you priority access to the structure. Depending upon what you prefer, you can choose between three tour options: Self-guided tour, Tour with an audio-guide, or Sagrada familia guided tour with a trained official guide.
3. Go early
La Sagrada Familia opens at 9:00 AM everyday and this is when the crowd is at its least. It's not absent, since many people do get there before the gates have opened. However, you do get to enjoy the basilica with a comparatively lesser crowd around.
Sagrada Familia Tickets - Skip The Line, Tower Access, Guide Tours & More
Inside Sagrada Familia - What to Expect
The Nativity Facade
The foundation for the Nativity façade was laid in 1892. It was Gaudi’s decision to first build this part of the Church. In his words, “If, instead of building this decorated, richly ornamented facade, we had started with the hard, bare and skeletal Passion facade, people would have rejected it.”
If you are an architecture fanatic or just a curious traveller, witnessing the beauty of this part of the Church will transport you back in history. Don’t miss the Rosary portal which is part of this façade, and is one of the entrances to the Basilica. The first of the four bell towers on this side of the structure was dedicated to Saint Barnabus, and is 100 meters tall. Its construction was finished on 30th November, 1925. For any Gaudi fan, this is an important piece of architecture as this was the only tower he saw getting completed before he died. The mosaics that spell out ‘Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Hosanna in Excelsis, Amen, Alleluia’, decorate the tops of these towers. Just remember to look up when you are there.
The Passion Facade
The Passion facade is strikingly different in form when compared to the Nativity Facade. Contrasting the smooth classical curves of the statues on the Nativity Facade are bare stone statues on the Passion Facade that have been carved with straight lines - representing the passion and suffering of Jesus Christ. The statues on this facade have been made to resemble the bones of a skeleton and also hint at the sins of man.
The Passion Façade faces west and and is symbolic of the death of Jesus. Supported by six large columns, the pyramidal pediment of the facade culminates into a large cross with a crown of thorns. The Passion Façade also has four spires, dedicate to apostles James, Philip, Thomas and Judas. The building of Passion façade started back in 1954, and later, a crypt was built here inside which a Museum was set up in 1961. It provides a wealth of information about the history of the temple, and contains details about its artistic, symbolic and technical aspects.
The towers of the Sagrada Familia Basilica are a formidable sight. Of the 18 towers that Gaudi envisioned, 8 have been completed - 4 towers on the Nativity Facade and 4 towers on the Passion Facade. You can access these towers if you have a ticket with tower admission enabled. The towers on the Nativity Facade look over the east of Barcelona while the towers of the Passion Facade face the city centre. You can use an elevator to go up the tower, however, one must take the stairs down from the towers.
Sagrada Familia Interior
The floorplan of the Sagrada Familia is that of a Latin cross with five aisles. The central nave is significantly higher than the 4 side naves. The central nave vaults are 150 feet tall while the side nave vaults are 100 feet in height. The original plan was similar to that of a Gothic church but the need for external support and flying buttresses pushed Gaudí into coming up with an ingenious structure using pillars and columns that branch out like trees into the vault.
The materials used to make these columns vary. The longest and thickest columns are made of red porphyry, a very hard volcanic rock. Basalt and granite has been used to make the dark, somewhat smaller pillars while the outermost row of pillars in the church use a relatively soft rock from Montjuic, the mountain of Barcelona.
In architecture, one half of a dome roofed area is called an Apse. In a church, the Apse is usually the structure that houses the altar. The Sagrada Familia’s Apse was built by Gaudí in 1894, immediately after the construction of the crypt was completed. The open structure of the apse, with its beautiful windows, floods the apse with light during the day. The raised altar lies in the center of the apse and is crowned by the Latin cross with a canopy decorated with grapevines. The organ pipes are placed behind the altar.
The inside walls of the apse are decorated with angels’ heads and tears. The apse is surrounded by seven chapels and has side stairs to its left and right. These stairs lead to spiral staircases from the crypt and continue up into their respective façades. Two big stone snails crawling down the walls of the apse act as an indication for this spiral staircase.
Stained Glass Windows
Gaudi's love for colour is well-known and the no other work of his showcases this more than the beautiful and vibrant stained glass windows of the Sagrada Familia - painting the interiors with beautiful hues of red, green, blue and yellow. In order to achieve a harmony of colour and light, the windows have been arranged in a particular manner. The windows of the lower part are brightly coloured while those on the upper half are almost translucent, thus lighting up the interior and making the vaulted ceilings stand out.
Cloister of Dolours and Sacristy
The Cloister of Our Lady of Dolours is connected to the sacristy on the west side of the Sagrada Familia. The “Way of the Liturgy”, an exhibition of pieces Antoni Gaudí designed for the Catholic liturgy, is located in the cloister. The exhibition includes wrought iron candlestick, a cross with candles and a lectern three sacral.
The sacristy to which the cloister connects is a bright, open space where priests get ready before mass. The sacristy has two closets – one to store the liturgical vestments worn by the priests and another to store liturgical objects such as chalices and patens. Each part of the cloister and the sacristy has been designed by Antoni Gaudí himself.
Crypt of the Expiatory Temple
The Crypt at Sagrada Familia is the oldest part of the Church and is said to have been under works even before Gaudi was commissioned to design and build the rest of Sagrada Familia. Unlike the rest of Sagrada Familia, the Crypt is constructed in Neo-Renaissance style with mosaic floors depicting luscious vines, columns that are richly decorated with roots, leaves and branches; all of which served as a precursor to the fantastic concepts that were to become Gaudi's intrepid designs. Antoni Gaudi is buried in the Crypt ( to the left of the main altar) and there are frequent masses held in Crypt.
The Sagrada Familia Museum is an underground exhibition that houses Gaudi’s construction models, drawings, contemporary photographs and liturgical furnishings. In the fire of 1936, many of Gaudi’s designs and plaster models were destroyed. After a painstaking process of collecting the destroyed models and restoring them, the Sagrada Familia Museum was opened in the semi-basement under the Passion façade.
Today, visitors can look at these models to get an understanding of the scale of the construction that Gaudi initiated. The complexity of it all is not lost when one goes through his models and drawings. The exhibitions are part of the new “Inspired by nature” section and feature a 102-m² space with large-format photos and 20 plaster models. The museum aims at helping visitors understand the role nature played in Gaudi’s designs.
Know Before You Visit Sagrada Familia
How to get to La Sagrada Familia
Metro: The best way to reach the Sagrada Familia is to take the metro. The metro station right across the street from the Basilica has stops for Line 2 (purple) and Line 5 (blue) metro lines.
Bus: You can also take bus, and depending on your place of stay, catch any of the following buses all of which halt at Sagrada Familia- 19, 33, 34, 43, 44, 50, 51, B20 and B24.
Location: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain - Get Directions
Sagrada Familia Entrance
Buying tickets online means you can enter the Sagrada Familia through the reserved entrance of the Nativity façade on C/Marina. The metro station closest to the Basilica is also on C/Marina. This side of the Church faces the park which has a pond, and you can identify the gate by the black umbrellas in front of them.
Sagrada Familia Opening Hours
The opening and closing timings of the Basilica differ throughout the year, and you should check for it in advance.
November to February | 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
March | 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
April to September | 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
October | 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
December 25, 26 and January 1, 6 | 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
The management can sometimes alter these timings if any special event is to take place inside the Basilica La Sagrada Familia.
Best Time to Visit Sagrada Familia
The best time to visit Sagrada Familia would be early in the morning between 9 AM and 10 AM. The lines for the elevators are shorter in the morning, crowds are sparse and climbing the towers will be easier with lesser crowds. The stained glass windows are it's best at noon, when the afternoon sun pours in through the colourful fragments of glass.
If you can't make it in the morning, avoid going between 12 PM - 3 PM as these tend to be the most crowded hours. Everyone flocks in to watch the stained glass phenomenon and tourist groups have maximum guided tours during these hours, hence avoid these 3 hours at all costs
The second best time to visit Sagrada Familia would be post 4 PM. Start with the Towers first, then tour the Church and finally visit the Crypt as it opens around 6 PM for mass. These hours have considerable crowds too. Once the night falls, watching Sagrada Familia lit up is a sight behold too.
Rules and Regulations
- As visitors, your bags, luggage, and other personal belongings will be screened at the entrance.
- If you are planning to go on top of either of the towers, keep in mind that children who are less than 6 years of age are not allowed to go up. Also, children who are less than 16 years old can go up provided they are accompanied by an adult.
- You should have your ticket at all times while you are in the Basilica’s premises.
- It is advised that you refrain from creating crowds or running in the premises.
- You can’t eat, drink or smoke on the site.
- You can't use tripods or professional camera equipment on the premises without prior permission.
- If you are opting for a tour with an audio guide, please return the audio guides and transmitters/receivers in the condition you received them.
- Being a religious monument, it is important to dress appropriately and keep in mind the following:
- Avoid clothing that may be see-through, and wear something that keeps your shoulders covered.
- Refrain from wearing clothes with plunging necklines, or show bellies or backs.
- If you are wearing shorts or skirts, make sure they reach mid-thigh.
Sagrada Familia Reviews
Easy and Smooth with HEADOUT - We just visited Sagrada Familia and were very happy we had booked our tickets online in advance b HEADOUT. We printed the tickets in advance and were allowed in directly and there was no need to line up. It is a very special and beautiful basilica, and is for sure worthwhile seeing.
Booked tickets with Audiotour using Headout - Beautiful tour of Sagrada Familia with an informative audio tour via Headout. Definitely worth the money if you appreciate this type of a interpretation of gothic architecture. I had a great time touring with my fiancé.
Read what others have to say about Sagrada Familia on TripAdvisor.
Visiting Sagrada Familia Tips
- It’s all about the timing!
Most of the tourist attractions in Barcelona are closed on a Monday, but the La Sagrada Familia is open throughout the week. Since not many people know this, you will find the monument less crowded on Mondays.
- The elevator ride
There is an elevator to reach the top of the towers, but while coming down, you will have to take the stairs.
- Ocean or the mountain peaks?
While buying a ticket to Sagrada Familia, you can choose between the Passion Towers which give you a better view of the ocean, and the Nativity Towers that will have you looking at the mountain peaks that surround Barcelona.
- Book in advance and be there on time
It is always advisable to book a visit to the Basilica well in advance- it will save you from long ticket queues. Don’t forget to carry a printout of the ticket. But more important is to reach there at least 15-30 minutes before the time you have booked.
Sagrada Familia Facts
- Josep Maria Bocabella, a Catalan publisher, visited Italy in 1872 and was highly inspired by the Vatican. Upon his return, he set in motion the plan for building Sagrada Familia. Facing disagreements with the first architect, Francisco del Villar, Bocabella hired Antoni Gaudi a year later as the project architect.
- Antoni Gaudi, who gave 43 years of his life to this iconic structure as the chief architect, was buried in the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Chapel, in the crypt of his masterpiece- Sagrada Familia.
- The construction of La Sagrada Familia, which started in 1882, is expected to be completed by Gaudi’s centennial in the year 2026. By then, its completion will have taken 144 years- which is much more than it took to build the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt and the Taj Mahal in India. Some also believe that the structure may take up to year 2040 to complete.
- La Sagrada Familia, once completed, will have a central tower which is 170 meters high (a representation of Jesus Christ), making the Basilica the tallest religious structure in Europe. But it will still be one meter below Barcelona’s highest point, Montjuïc hill. This is because for Gaudi, nature was supreme and it was his belief that no man-made object should reach higher than God’s creation.
- In 1936 when Spain was in the midst of a Civil War, some anarchists broke in and set fire to Sagrada Familia’s crypt. As a result, most of the construction drawings and materials were lost, leaving only enough for the designs to be remade.
- The Church, which is now a Basilica, is designed in a way that it can be viewed from all parts of Barcelona. At its highest points are glass panes, and the light reflected by these are indicators that guide the seafarers home.
- The Basilica has three facades-in the east is the Nativity façade, on the west side is the Passion façade, and in south is the Glory façade. Each of the facades represent important life events and teachings of Jesus Christ. Everything from his passion, death and resurrection, his present and future glory are all depicted here. The 18 towers that are part of the original plan, complete this equation with 12 of them representing the 12 Apostles, the one in the centre represents Jesus Christ-surrounded by four for the Gospels. The star crowned tower above the apse is dedicated to Virgin Mary.
- Gaudi built a school here in 1909 for the children whose parents were building the Church. It was removed recently in 2002 when the Church was expanded.