The Sagrada Familia is Gaudi's masterpiece and the most recognizable element of the Barcelona skyline. It is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world and it is a must-see on your trip to Barcelona.
1. How to visit the Sagrada Familia
It is very easy to visit the Sagrada Familia as a tourist, but to visit it as a local you will need some hacks that I am going to detail you in the following paragraphs. Read on and make a note of my recommendations, you'll thank me later!
2. Sagrada Familia tour in small group
This tour will give you access and guided tour of the Sagrada Familia without waiting in line in a small group and inside you will enjoy narration from an expert guide on this iconic Basilica. You will learn about the architectural genius of Gaudí and the deep religious passion behind each piece that makes up the temple.
The great advantage of this tour is that your group is a maximum of 15 people, which makes the tour more enjoyable and allows you to be closer to your guide. Of course, it includes the entrance tickets to the Sagrada Familia.
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Recommended: If you want to skip the queue for the Sagrada Familia and visit the highlights inside
3. Tour of the Sagrada Familia with access to the tower
If you want to extend your visit to the Sagrada Familia with access to the tower, this is the tour for you. You will be able to visit the all the accessible places inside the temple, and enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of Barcelona from the top of one of the towers open to the public of the Sagrada Familia.
On the other hand, the tour group is a bit larger, of maximum 30 people, although luckily the visiting hours are specially chosen to access the Sagrada Familia when there are fewer tourists, around lunchtime.
As in the previous experience, you will have the narration of a guide who knows the Sagrada Familia from top to bottom and can tell you in detail the history of this impressive church. Tickets are included.
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Recommended: If you have already visited the Sagrada Familia on another occasion and want to extend the typical tour
4. Tour of Barcelona by electric bike with entrance to the Sagrada Familia
The combination of activities of this bike tour is perfect for when you have just arrived in Barcelona and want to get your bearings around the city. You will be taken on an electric bike to visit the main sights of Barcelona and then discover the Sagrada Familia in the company of an expert guide with tickets included.
This has the great advantage of giving you a general overview of Barcelona, so that later you can explore it at your own pace through the areas you are already familiar with.
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
Recommended: If you are going to be in Barcelona for a short period of time or if you want to visit Barcelona in a comfortable way.
What you will see
- Gothic Quarter
- Barcelona Cathedral
- Santa Caterina Market
- El Born
- Center of Culture and Memory of El Born
- Citadel Park
- Triumphal Arch
- Monumental Bullring of Barcelona
- Sagrada Familia
- La Pedrera
- Block of Discord
- Batlló House
- Amatller House
- Lleó Morera House
5. Private tour of Barcelona with entrance to Sagrada Familia and Park Güell
This is the most complete tour of Barcelona as it includes entrance to the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. You will pass through all the most interesting areas of the city, including Park Güell, along with a visit to its most important building, the Sagrada Familia.
In addition to the full attention of a local guide of Barcelona for you and your group, this tour includes a coffee at one of Picasso's favorite cafes, tapas at a restaurant on La Rambla, and transfer by private vehicle to Park Güell and Sagrada Familia. Entrance fees to both places are included.
Duration: 6 hours
Recommended: If you are visiting Barcelona in a group or if you can't stand crowded tourist tours
What you will see
- Güell Palace
- Plaza Real
- Boqueria Market
- Basilica of Santa Maria del Pi
- Els 4Gats
- Passeig de Gracia
- Batlló House
- Rambla de Catalunya
- La Pedrera
- Park Güell
- Sagrada Familia
6. Details of interest about the Sagrada Familia entrances
The Sagrada Familia receives more than 4 million visitors a year, so it's important to know a few things about its entrances so that your experience is as good as possible.
Types of tickets
To avoid crowds, all entrances have a fixed time, with a 15-minute interval between each ticket distributed. Once inside, you can stay in the Sagrada Familia for as long as you like.
- Basic entrance: With it you can access the interior of the Sagrada Familia and tour its floor. It is only available during the last two opening hours of the basilica, so if you visit at any other time of the day you will have to choose one of the other tickets.
- Combined ticket: You can combine the entrance to the Sagrada Familia with an entrance to Park Güell, as you can do in one of the tours I have recommended before.
- Entrance with access to the tower: It allows you to enter the Sagrada Familia and access one of the towers of the church, which you can climb up to a small viewpoint from which you can see part of Barcelona.
- Free entrance: There is no free entrance to the Sagrada Familia as such, but going to mass in the church does not require an entrance fee. It starts around 9 am on Sundays. Seats are limited and entry is on a first-come, first-served basis. If you want to attend mass I recommend waiting at the entrance near the Nativity façade before 8:30 am for the Sunday service.
The line to buy tickets to the Sagrada Familia at the ticket office is one of the most impressive I've ever seen at a tourist attraction. Admittedly, the last time I went to Barcelona it was in the middle of July and I went there at midday, but even so, the queues that form at almost any time of day can easily wear on your patience.
Access to the Sagrada Familia is through the fachada del Nacimiento, on Carrer de la Marina. A small crowd forms to enter the temple, but it is not comparable to the queue to buy tickets.
Is it better to buy tickets to the Sagrada Familia in advance?
No way you should wait to buy tickets to the Sagrada Familia at the ticket office: the queues are interminable and being subject to a fixed time it is possible that once you go to buy them you will find that there are no slots for the time you want and you will have to buy them for the next day.
Tickets for a specific date are available online two months before, so my recommendation is to book them as far in advance as possible. Since the only advantage of buying them on the spot would be the flexibility you would have to choose at the moment, but in this case, you lose all the guarantees of securing your ticket for the day and time you want, the advance purchase is the smarter option.
7. Organize your visit to the Sagrada Familia
How to get to the Sagrada Familia
The best way is to go by metro to the Sagrada Familia stop (L2), but you can also go by bus 50 if you are around Paseo de Gracia or by several buses from Plaza Cataluña.
Other buses that take you to the Sagrada Familia are lines 19, 33, 34, 43, 44, 51, B20, and B24. Not all of them leave you in a street adjacent to the temple, so check the route before you get on, look at Google Maps, or just ask the driver. In any case, most lines will get off at the Sagrada Familia stop, so you will know which one it is.
Days and opening hours of the Sagrada Familia
The Basilica is open to the public 365 days a year, but opening times vary depending on the time of year:
- March: 09:00 am - 7:00 pm
- April to September: 09:00 am - 8:00 pm
- October: 09:00 am - 7:00 pm
- November to February: 09:00 am - 6:00 pm
- December 25th and 26th and January 1st and 6th: 09:00 am - 2:00 pm
Duration of the visit
It usually takes between 45 minutes and one hour to visit the interior of the Sagrada Familia, if you only visit the basilica floor. If you go up to the tower, it will take longer because between the ascent, the descent, and the time you stay enjoying the views will make you at least one hour and a half in the basilica.
8. Where to eat near the Sagrada Familia
We start from the assumption that near the Sagrada Familia you will find mostly restaurants for tourists, but it is possible to find some gems where some will end up by chance, but you will be able to go because you know they are worth it. Here are three recommendations:
- Casa Angela - The tapas are really good and they have croquettes of various types, perfect for ordering a selection. The rice dishes are homemade and with good products, hence the paellas taste like paella and not frozen. In addition, you can eat on the terrace overlooking the Sagrada Familia which is a privilege.
- Can Pizza - Not everything in Barcelona is served in paella and although pizza is far from being a local dish, this restaurant prepares them in luxury and that is why I recommend you try them.
- Casa Mariol - Back to the product of the land in Casa Mariol, where you can get up to the top of typical tapas such as cocas, olives, anchovies, sausages... all accompanied by the best wines of the region.
As it is such a touristy area, there are fast-food restaurants of all kinds near the Sagrada Familia, so if you prefer them you also have this option (which is not the same as my approval, go and try the local food while on vacation in Barcelona!).
9. Tips for your visit to the Sagrada Familia
There is a dress code for access to the Sagrada Familia, which requires you to remove any head covering (except for religious or medical reasons) and wear clothing that covers the shoulders, back, and chest. Pants and skirts must cover up to the knee and no see-through clothing or cleavage is allowed, as well as no shoes.
Although dress codes are often not strictly enforced due to the high number of visitors to the Sagrada Familia, it is best to try to comply with etiquette so as not to risk being turned away.
You are allowed to enter the Sagrada Familia with camera and take pictures inside, so remember to take it with you if you want to have some souvenirs of the temple. And finally, my most important recommendation is that, although the interior is impressive and well worth staying a long time admiring, the exterior facades of the Sagrada Familia are simply nuts.
The temple has three facades and each one represents a stage in the life of Jesus: Birth, Passion, and Glory. The Nativity façade, in Catalan modernist style, has enough detail to get lost with your eyes for hours, while the Passion façade is almost the opposite, clean and minimalist but full of symbolism. The Glory façade is still unfinished, so it doesn't offer the same interest as the other two.
Alex's Traveller Tip
The Sagrada Familia has two towers that you can climb. If you have a choice, go up the Nativity Tower as from the top you can get a close view of the facade.
10. Other attractions that may interest you
If we talk about Barcelona, it is almost essential to immerse yourself in Gaudi's architecture and urbanism. One of his most outstanding works in the city is Park Güell, and to visit it I recommend you to read our Park Güell Tickets and Tours guide where I tell you all the tricks to visit it.
Likewise, you will not want to miss the most iconic buildings of the artist, so here you have my La Pedrera Tickets and Tours guide and my Casa Batlló Tickets and Tours guide, with the best tips to organize your visit.
For soccer fans, visiting the Camp Nou is an experience that can be very interesting because in the Camp Nou Experience you can explore the trophy gallery, a space dedicated to Messi, a very interesting audiovisual area and of course the stands, the locker rooms, and the press room. You have in this guide all the details: Camp Nou Experience Tickets.
And finally, you have my guide Museums Tickets that will help you to choose the most interesting collection and make sure you get the most out of your trip.
Frequently asked questions
Is there a dress code for the Sagrada Familia?
As it is a church, you are expected to dress appropriately, which in this case usually means tops that cover the shoulders, no plunging necklines, exposed backs or bellies. You're also expected to wear trousers or long skirts (at least mid-thigh).
How early can I book Sagrada Familia Tickets?
Officially, you can only purchase tickets as early as two months, however many Skip The Line tickets allow you to purchase tickets much earlier.
What is the difference between Sagrada Familia tours and Skip the line tickets?
In most cases Skip the Line tickets refer to being able "skip the line" when buying your tickets in the beginning (on some days, queues to buy the tickets can last as long as 2 hours). The wait is also much shorter as you're usually assigned, unless you've chosen, an allotted time to enter the Sagrada Familia.