Sagrada Familia: Tips for Visiting Gaudi’s Masterpiece

Antoni Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, is one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions. In this post, we answer some common questions and share tips to help you make the most of your visit, including how to avoid the queues.

The Sagrada Familia receives approximately 4.5 million visitors each year. The number of tickets is limited to avoid overcrowding at peak times, and they have fixed entry times.

To prevent long queues from forming outside the Sagrada Familia, in 2021, the ticket office was closed, and tickets are now only sold online.

If you arrive at the Sagrada Familia without a valid ticket, there’s a panel with a QR code near the exit on Carrer de Sardenya, which you can scan to purchase tickets. However, in most cases, tickets won’t be available for the same day, and you’ll have to book for a later date.

Tourists inside the Sagrada Familia, light passing through the stained glass windows on the left bathes the columns on the right hand side of the photo with a rainbow of clours
Mid-afternoon sunlight bathes the nave with colour

How can I avoid the queues at the Sagrada Familia?

To prevent queues from forming, tickets are available online up to 2 months in advance. Alternatively, you can purchase the Gaudí Bundle, which also includes entrance to Park Güell, allowing you to book timeslots for both attractions during the booking process.

Tickets are allocated based on a system of 15-minute time slots. Due to the popularity of the site and the high number of people who visit every day, you must arrive on time.

I recommend you arrive 15 minutes before your chosen time slot. This will allow plenty of time to find the entrance and take photos before entering the building and going through security.

Once inside the Basilica, you can stay as long as you like. You should allow approximately 2 hours to visit the basilica, including the small museum in the basement.

What is the best time of day to visit the Sagrada Familia?

One of the most beautiful features of the Sagrada Familia is Gaudi’s use of light. The church has large stained-glass windows which bathe the naves with colour. The effect is most striking mid-morning and mid to late afternoon when sunlight strikes the windows directly.

Close up of the bell towers of the nativity façade of the Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona. Tou can see the Christmas tree with 12 doves as well as part of 4 bell towers.
Bell towers and part of the nativity façade

How far in advance should I purchase tickets for the Sagrada Familia?

Tickets are available online up to 2 months in advance. To ensure you can visit at your preferred time of day, I recommend purchasing your tickets at least five days before you plan to visit. Generally, there is more availability in the afternoon because most tours visit in the morning.

Check availability

Help! All tickets are sold out; what can I do?

If you are flexible and aren’t bothered about visiting the Sagrada Familia at a particular time of day, it’s often possible to purchase tickets online twenty-four hours in advance or even on the day.

If there are no tickets available, it’s still worthwhile visiting the Sagrada Familia from the outside without going in. You can get good photos from the small parks on either side of the Basilica. I also recommend visiting the Sant Pau Art Nouveau site, a 10-minute walk from the Sagrada Familia and where you don’t usually need to pre-book tickets.

Is it worth paying extra to visit the towers?

The most memorable part of visiting the Sagrada Familia is, without a doubt, the view inside the naves. Looking up at the 45m high vaulted ceiling, surrounded by slender tree-like columns bathed in coloured light from the Basilica’s stained glass windows.

Having said that, the towers ticket lets you see parts of the church that aren’t visible from ground level and the ongoing construction work.

The ceiling of the Sagrada Familia and the tree like columns which support it
No picture can prepare you for the beauty of the Sagrada Familia

If you decide to visit the towers, I recommend you choose the Nativity Façade. These are the oldest of the Sagrada Familia’s towers and the only ones that Antoni Gaudí worked on.

Unlike the Passion Façade, the towers of the Nativity Façade include a small bridge that affords better views and a close-up of parts of the façade.

Is it worth paying extra for the audio guide?

All tickets for the Sagrada Familia include an audioguide app which explains Gaudí’s design and vision as well as the history of the building.

If you are interested in learning more, you could book a guided tour, which includes fast-track entry to the Sagrada Família with an English-speaking guide to tell you all about the Basilica and answer your questions (other languages available).

I’ve changed my mind. Can I add the tower visit once I’m inside the Sagrada Familia?

Yes, subject to availability, it may be possible to pay to visit the towers once inside the Basilica.

Having said that, the number of places available is strictly limited, so if you are interested in visiting the towers, I recommend booking in advance.

Which discount cards and sightseeing passes include entry to the Sagrada Familia?

The Sagrada Familia is Barcelona’s best-known attraction, and the entrance is included in several of the most popular Tourist Passes.

The Gaudi Bundle

The Gaudi Bundle is a two-attraction pass that gives fast-track entry to the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell and an audioguide for both sites.

Barcelona Pass

The Barcelona Pass includes entry to the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell, a ticket for the Hop On Hop Off tour buses, and a 10% discount at top attractions.

Go City Barcelona Pass

The Go City Barcelona Pass includes a guided tour of the Sagrada Familia as one of the many options available.

More information about Barcelona sightseeing passes and discount cards here>>

What other discounts are available?

Children under 11 and disabled people can visit the Sagrada Familia free of charge (including foreign nationals; proof is needed).

Students, young people under thirty, and senior citizens (over 65) are also entitled to a discount.

When can you visit the Sagrada Familia for free?

In addition to the discounts mentioned above, the Sagrada Familia can also be visited for free during the Festes de Santa Eulalia, which takes place in February, and the La Mercè festival, in September.

At these times, the Sagrada Familia organizes open days, whereby they raffle off several thousand tickets free of charge. The open days are usually announced two weeks in advance on the Sagrada Familia website. Only Spanish residents are eligible to enter the draw.

Where is the Sagrada Familia located?

The Sagrada Familia is located in the L’Eixample district of Barcelona, approximately 2 km from the city centre. The neighbourhood around the Basilica is called Sagrada Familia. This is a quiet, residential neighbourhood with wide streets and an abundance of small shops, bars and restaurants. Most buildings in the area were built during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and are between four and six stories high.

How can I get there by public transport?

The easiest way to visit the Sagrada Familia from most parts of Barcelona is by metro. The Sagrada Familia metro station is on the L2 (purple) and L5 (blue) metro lines.

Pictures on the platforms indicate which exit you should take for the Basilica. In fact, both exits are approximately the same distance from the ticket holder’s entrance, so I suggest you use whichever is nearest when you alight the train.

The Bus Turistic city tour buses stop right outside the Sagrada Familia (blue route).

Is the Sagrada Família accessible to wheelchair users?

Yes, the Sagrada Família is accessible in a wheelchair. The accessible entrance is in front of the Passion Façade (see map below), with a ramp leading up to the entrance to the nave. There is also a ramp down to the small museum in the church’s basement.

The towers are not accessible in a wheelchair due to the short flight of stairs up to the lift.

Wheelchair users plus one companion are entitled to free entry, which should be booked in advance on the Sagrada Familia website. Upon arrival, you may be asked for documents accrediting your disability.

The Sagrada Familia metro station is also wheelchair accessible. When you alight the metro, there are pictograms indicating where the lift up from the platform is located. There are two entrances at street level, one of which has a lift.

All of Barcelona’s public buses are fitted with ramps for wheelchair access.

The nativity façade of Antoni Gaudi's Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona bathed in early morning sunlight. This photo was taken from a park and there are trees and a palm tree in the foreground.
The nativity façade

How can I attend mass at the Sagrada Familia?

The Sagrada Familia is a Roman Catholic church, and mass is held every Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. The service lasts approximately one hour and is conducted in several languages.

Spaces are limited, and entrance is on a first-come, first-served basis. If you want to attend mass, you should be at the entrance in front of the Nativity Façade about an hour before the service starts, or at the very latest, 8:30 a.m.

Other church services take place on special dates throughout the year; there’s more information on the Sagrada Familia website.

When attending mass, it is essential that you dress and behave appropriately; see the dress code below.

What are the Sagrada Familia opening times?

The Basilica is open to the public 365 days a year; times may vary.

DateOpening times
March09:00 – 19:00
April to September09:00 – 20:00
October09:00 – 19:00
November to February09:00 – 18:00
25 Dec, 26 Dec, 01 Jan & 06 Jan09:00 – 14:00
Sagrada Familia opening times 2023

When can you visit the crypt of the Sagrada Familia?

Regular masses used to be held in the Sagrada Familia’s crypt. Since 2019, international Mass has been celebrated in the nave on Sundays.

What is the dress code for the Sagrada Familia Basilica?

According to the Basilica’s official website, you should adhere to the standard dress code for Roman Catholic churches, which is the same for both men and women:

Hats and caps should be removed before entering the basilica (unless required for religious or medical reasons). You should wear an appropriate shirt, blouse, T-shirt, or jacket covering your shoulders, back, and midriff. Trousers and skirts should cover to below mid-thigh. Transparent clothing or plunging necklines are not allowed, and you may not go barefoot.

In reality, the dress code is not strictly enforced, and it’s common to see people wearing singlets and shorts. Personally, I think it’s best to follow the rules and comply with the dress code rather than risk getting turned away.

Where to eat and drink near the Sagrada Familia?

There are plenty of restaurants in the streets surrounding the Sagrada Familia.

If you want a drink or snack, I recommend heading to Avinguda de Gaudí, where there are bars and cafés with terraces outside and views of the Basilica.

For traditional Spanish cuisine, try:

Can Josep, Carrer de Roger de Flor, 237
Caldeni, Carrer de València, 454
La Paradetta, Passatge Simó 18

One of my favourite vegetarian restaurants in Barcelona, Arc Iris, is nearby at Carrer de Roger de Flor, 216. I also like La Taqueria at Passatge de Font 5 (authentic Mexican tacos) and, for vegan burgers, La Trocadero at Carrer de la Marina 269.

One of the best Irish Pubs in Barcelona, The Michael Collins, is located nearby at Plaça de la Sagrada Família, 4


Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Carrer de Mallorca 401, Barcelona


    1. Hi Anju,

      When you click the “Book Now” button you will be asked how many passes you want to purchase and the start date of your trip.

      At this point, you should indicate the date you will arrive in Barcelona.

      You will then be asked to select the dates and time slots when you want to visit the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell.

      After this, you click on the “Go to next step” button which takes you to a secure page where you fill in your contact details and select how you want to pay.

      Once you have paid for the pass you will receive an email with your tickets, instructions for downloading the Apps and a link for booking additional attractions with a 10% discount.

    1. Hi Joyy,

      No, you don’t need a ticket for the International Mass which now takes place every Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at 9 am in the nave of the Sagrada Familia.

      You should, however, make sure you are at the entrance on Carrer de la Marina at least thirty minutes before mass is due to start because places are limited.

      If there will be 25 or more people in your group then you should contact the basilica via their website in advance.

  1. I purchased a guided tour for Sagrada, which doesn’t include the towers. After our tour, if we decide to go up the towers, can we buy tower tickets on the day of?

    1. Hi Arvydas,

      Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s possible to add a towers visit to your ticket once you are inside the Sagrada Familia. I suggest you contact the company that you purchased the tour from and see if you can change your booking for a tour which includes the towers.

      1. Update: This has now changed. Subject to availability, it may be possible to add audioguides and tour visits to the basic ticket once inside the basilica.

  2. Do you have any tips on where to visit while in Barcelona. One adult and 4 teenagers. What can you do? Any culture, food or attractions you have to see or try? We are there 6 days, in October. We´re going to an FC Barcelona match. Where is the best place to buy tickets, online or there in place?

    1. Hello Rania,

      The best place to buy your FC Barcelona tickets depends largely on who they will be playing against.

      If it’s a minor league match then the cheapest tickets will be available on the official FC Barcelona site between 1 month and 2 weeks before the match or at the ticket office at the Camp Nou or from FC Barcelona stores in the city.

      For more important league matches or champions league, you will be better off buying tickets in advance from a reputable ticketing site because the only tickets which are likely to be available on the FC Barcelona site are the VIP packages which are very expensive.

      Top sites to see in Barcelona with teenagers include: Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Casa Batlló. I’d also recommend taking the cable cars up to the castle on Montjuïc and spending some time exploring the Gothic Quarter. Since you are obviously interested in football, a tour of Camp Nou should also be on your list.

      Also check out this post which has a lot of ideas for things to see, many of which are free. If your teens are interested in street art then this walking route which is slightly off the beaten track would also be a good choice.

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