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Top sights in Barcelona
Antoni Gaudí's most ambitious project is still unfinished almost a century after his death. Only 2 of the stunning Sagrada Família's trinity of towers are complete and open to the public─the Nativity façade and Passion façade. Which is most worth the visit?
Gaudí fans will find his influence most striking in the vibrant Nativity tower. The Passion tower is less ornate, possessing a more earnest Gothic charm.
As the names suggest, each tower is religiously symbolic. The joyous Nativity faces the sunrise away from the Passion's starving, skeletal form.
The Passion tower is the taller of the two. Unfortunately the Nativity tower opens too late to catch the sunrise, but its view is more diverse, if less spectacular.
Both towers have elevators to the top, if you don't have the legs for stairs, but be warned - only the Passion tower has an elevator back down again!
The Nativity tower is generally less busy as no groups are allowed up. However, if you really don't like crowds, stay outside and see the building illuminated at night instead!
The simplest way to get to the Sagrada Família is by metro. Hop off at the conveniently named Sagrada Família metro stop!
The Sagrada Família is always crowded, but the queues will be at their shortest in the early morning or late afternoon, when the sunlight's at its most magical anyway!
If you're not buying tickets in advance, then prepare to queue for hours! They're easily available online and prices differ depending on which parts you want to access and whether or not you want to include an audio guide or tour. Tickets have a 1-hour admission window, but once inside you can stay until closing time.
You could easily while away 3 or 4 hours at the Sagrada Família, although you can do it in half that if you have a busy itinerary. Just make sure you book tickets in advance!
- When to visitOpen at 9:00AM. Closing times are: November to February 6:00PM, April to September 8:00PM, March and October 7:00PM.
- What is the price?Free to see from the outside, prices for a visit inside start at 15€, with options to add guides or tower visits.
- Will I need a guide?It will definitely help. Guides and audio guides are available for an added cost when you buy your entrance ticket.
- How to get thereTake the metro to the Sagrada Familia stop!
- Additional tips
- Please remember that this is a basilica, and polite behavior and quiet voices are expected.
- Bags, backpacks and suitcases will be checked upon entering the basilica. *Visitors under 16 must be accompanied by an adult
What People Are Saying About Sagrada Familia
This is a must... take your time. we went around 11am and by midday the grey columns were ablaze with colours reflected from the stain glass windows... was like being in an underwater cave (and nothing like it but impossible to describe)... the audio tour was ok, I found I wasnt listening as I just wanted to gaze and take pics... instead of trying to capture the enormity I just took bits and the photos are amazing... well worth it.. Barcelona an incredible city!!
I have only positives to say about the Sagrada Familia (an absolute must see in Barcelona) or our guide Jordi. Be sure to go up the tower for a wonderful view of Barcelona and close ups of the outside of the cathedral. The only tip I will give is to try to take a single language tour. Our group had mostly English speakers, but the guide had to give the whole tour in both English and Spanish for the few people in our group who did not speak English. I would not do a bilingual tour again unless it was the only option.
The guide was really informative and interesting and kept a good pace - giving us an extra 20 mins of your time over and above what had been paid for. I was very appreciative as she also kindly waited an extra 5 mins for me as I'd got stuck in extremely heavy Barcelona 'strike day' traffic. Very enjoyable visit which is fully recommended.
Although the building is interesting and our guide (Santi) was good there were too many people booked for this tour (33) and it was also delivered in both Spanish and English. We wasted a tremendous amount of time sorting out audio guides, waiting for people to finish the Passion Tower tour (only 8 people go up at a time) and then having a description in English followed by Spanish. A smaller group of one language only could have been done in half the time with much less frustration.
The inside of this church is phenomenal! Gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my ears! Try go on a sunny day either early morning or late afternoon to emphasize the effect of the lights!