Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Basilica has been on my wish list since I planned my first trip to Europe in 2000. Unfortunately I was lured to Eastern Europe and never made it to Spain. After all of these years, my dreams of visiting Sagrada Familia was finally realized on a family trip from Madrid to Barcelona. I couldn’t wait to finally see this magnificent uncompleted building in all of its glory!
Can you even imagine any building being under construction for over 130 years? It’s insane to think about, especially coming from the US where not much is even that old. But that is how many years work has been going on at the Sagrada Familia (with breaks due to Spain’s civil war).
The architecture, the detail work and the history that has gone into the Sagrada Familia Basilica is phenomenal. You can spend hours walking around and still find new details to gasp over. Read on for our Sagrada Familia tips to help make your visit amazing!
Visiting Sagrada Familia Tips
#1: Buy Tickets to Sagrada Familia Online
One of the biggest hassles of visiting the Sagrada Familia can be waiting in line to purchase tickets. Avoid this by purchasing your tickets to Sagrada Familia in advance. You will be provided with several options, some including a tour guide. You do not have to take a guided tour, but I imagine that you would get a ton more out of the visit with one than without. We were with our small child so did not do the tour, rather we opted for just the audio tour. The self-guided audio tour was fantastic and well worth the price. If you can’t keep up with an audio tour, there are various sign boards all over while visiting Sagrada Familia that will give you a great level of information on what you are seeing.
#2: Sagrada Familia Towers – Yay or Nay?
One of the main questions visitors have when purchasing tickets to Sagrada Familia online is whether they should include the towers with their visit or not. There is a lot of discussion about this online with some saying it’s not necessary, however, in my view, choose to visit one of the Sagrada Familia towers. This may be your only visit to Sagrada Familia, so why short change yourself from the full experience.
However, do note that if you are scared of heights, you might think twice about this. The catwalk connecting the two towers might be enough to send you over the edge, not to mention the walk back down the towers which can be quite claustrophobic for some.
If you do get the tower add on, the question becomes, but which tower? There are a 18 towers with 8 completed. The Nativity Tower (really the facade!) and the Passion Tower are the ones that you must really decide between. The Passion Tower gives you a view of the ocean, while the Nativity Towers provides views of the mountain range behind Barcelona. But really you are here for the up close view of the facades. You can’t go wrong with either one in my opinion.
#3: Arrive on Time When Visiting Sagrada Familia
Since you are purchasing your tickets online you are paying for a specific time slot. It is important that you arrive for your viewing at the appropriate time. We recommend arriving at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled time to give yourself ample opportunity to find the correct entrance, enjoy the outside and to just take it all in! Remember, you cannot enter more than 15 minutes before your ticket time. You also cannot enter more than 15 minutes after your entrance time, so don’t be late!
#4: Make Time for the Museum at Sagrada Familia
It is easy to spend all of your time visiting the interiors and the Sagrada Familia Towers, but try to also leave time to visit the amazing museum under the basilica with details, relics and plans for the project throughout the years.
Patience on behalf of our little one was wearing thin, so we zipped through quicker than we would have liked. Definitely give it time if you can. This is one amazing building, construction site and vision that is not to be missed if you are in Barcelona.
If you need a bribe for your children, there is an amazing playground located directly behind the Sagrada Familia that is perfect for the littles to get out all their energy!
I’m not an architecture student or an art historian, so what I can say about the Sagrada Familia is limited, but I do know that it was enormous, beautiful, intriguing and intense. You just have to see it for yourself in all of it’s beauty. That said, even having seen photos of it all these years, it was so much more in person.
Have you been to Sagrada Familia? Share your tips with us!
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