Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia: 10 Things to Know Before You Go

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Top of every Barcelona itinerary, regardless of your religious following, is a trip to the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia. This Gaudi ‘builder of God’ sculpture, eccentrically designed with sprawling internal tree-like structures and dreamy stain glass windows is a must-see in Barcelona. Avoid making the most common mistakes by reading our guide on things to do know before you visit La Sagrada Familia.

» Don’t miss our 3-day Barcelona itinerary guide

1. Where is Sagrada Familia?

La Sagrada Familia is located at Carrer de Mallorca (401) in Barcelona which is a 40-minute walk from the tourist street, La Rambla and the popular Gothic Quarter.

It does, however, keep good company with many of Barcelona’s top attractions within walking distance.

For example:

  • Casa Mila is a 20-minute walk away
  • Casa Batlló is a 25-minute walk away
  • Park Güell is a 25-minute walk away

2. How to Get to the Sagrada Família

The Sagrada Família is best reached by foot, taking in the Barcelona streets along the way.

If you prefer to use the public transport system, there are two options.

1. L2 and L5 lines on the Metro

2. A variety of buses – 19, 33, 34, 43, 44, 50 (fast), 51, B20, B24. The stop is València – Lepant. From here, you are about 4 minutes walk away.

3. Use your hop on/off bus pass

Enter via the ‘general entrance’.

Sagrada Familia

3. La Sagrada Familia is Open All Year Round

The Church can be enjoyed all year, which is great for those visiting in low seasons to beat the crowds and the heat.

It’s even open on Christmas Day, which is an attractive option for Christians visiting in December.

However, the La Sagrada Familia opening times change with the seasons.

  • November through February: 9 am to 6 pm
  • March and October: 9 am to 7 pm
  • April through September: 9 am to 8 pm
  • 25/26 December, 1/6 January: 9 am to 2 pm

4. If you Must Purchase on Arrival…

You can buy an entry ticket at the Basilica but you must buy your ticket 30 minutes before closing or you won’t be granted entry.

I strongly advise that you book your ticket before you go.

You can choose your preferred timeslot by using the dropdown option when you choose your date. The ticket is sent to you electronically. 

A review on TripAdvisor recently said that the in-person ticket system is ‘quite difficult’ so ‘plan ahead’.

Another visited in June and could not reserve tickets as they were sold out for the next five days. 

→ Further reading: 5 ways to book Sagrada Familia tickets 

5. Skip the Line at Sagrada Familia

The first mistake visitors make when visiting the Sagrada Familia is not buying a ticket before they arrive. The second mistake is not opting for a ‘skip the line’ ticket so time is sucked up waiting in line.

It’s really easy to purchase a ticket before you go so there is no need to lose valuable sightseeing time.

For example, reserve your ‘skip the line ticket’ (separate entrance) with a GetYourGuide ‘Original’ tour (hosted by a local 5-star tour guide) or simply purchase an entry ticket in advance and do a self-guided tour. 

6. Audio Tours Are Available

Not only are audio tours available, but they are also recommended.

Even group tours use audio devices so they don’t have to shout at the group visitors.

Learn about the history, Nativity and Passion Facades, the bell towers and Gaudi as a religious architect, as strong through the Sagrada Familia, in awe. 

Sagrada Familia facade

7. La Sagrada Familia is Peaceful

Regardless of the numbers or tourists that walk through its doors and the busy design that fills every nook and cranny of the building, the Familia is surprisingly peaceful.

Visitors are so stunned by the architectural design and absorbed by their audio guides to think about talking.

The experience is a really nice contrast to the busy tourist areas like La Rambla.

8.  “Works of Antoni Gaudí” and UNESCO World Heritage

Many may already know this but La Sagrada Familia was built, in part, by the architect Antoni Gaudi.

I say ‘in part’ because the design isn’t actually finished yet, more than a century after his death.

It started in 1882 (Gaudi took over in 1883) and is hoped to be completed by 2026.

Sagrada Família was Gaudi’s last project, which he had been working on for the previous 12 years. His tragic death, by trolley car, happened in 1926.

Gaudi is responsible for a variety of landmarks in and near Barcelona, some of which are protected by the UNESCO World Heritage Site stamp.

Gaudi’s other work worth visiting includes:

  • Parque Güell
  • Palacio Güell
  • Casa Mila
  • Casa Vicens
  • Casa Batlló
  • Crypt in Colonia Güell

Gaudi’s designs are so prominent because he was not restrained by rules, unlike many other architects during the late 19th and 20th centuries.

» You may also like: how to find Barcelona’s best viewpoints for sunset

9. La Sagrada Familia is not a Cathedral

That doesn’t mean it is not special.

Although often referred to as a church, La Sagrada Familia is actually a Minor Basilica.

It was consecrated, which means ‘declared sacred’ by Pope Benedict XVI. 

The basilica title means the church has been awarded special privileges by the Pope.

People of all faiths are naturally welcome to La Sagrada Familia. There are areas set aside for prayer.

Every Sunday and during holy days of obligation, mass is held by the Archdiocese of Barcelona.

Regardless of religious belief, when visiting you have to dress appropriately, as you would entering any place of worship (no boob tube/belly tops/short skirts/shorts).

There is a cathedral in Barcelona. The Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia Cathedral is located at Pla de la Seu.

10. Go Early or Go Late

Gaudi really put a lot of focus on the use of light so morning or late afternoon visits will give you the best chance of catching the sun shining through the stain glass windows.  

This tour starts at 10 am or 4/5pm to accommodate the light.

Final Words

As the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia is still under construction, it is an attraction that you can visit time and time again to observe its progress. This is especially true as time draws closer to 2026, will it take the lead as the world’s tallest church as once thought?

» More time in Barcelona? Read about the best day trips from the city

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Gemma and Craig are full-time workers with a life-long travel habit. Flirting with 30 and let loose on the world! Gemma writes, Craig looks good in the photos.

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