I couldn’t continue the Barcelona series without making an exclusive post to Barcelona’s most iconic construction: La Sagrada Familia.
The first time I ever came to Barcelona, I was backpacking through Europe and because half of our group had already been to Barcelona from prior visits, we only stopped by the city for a new year’s party (so literally, one night).
As soon as we got out of the train, we checked our clock and noticed we had 1h before we absolutely had to get ready. This time constraint meant that if we wanted to see Gaudi’s famous masterpieces in Barcelona, we would have to select only one.
And you can guess which one we chose, right?
What is La Sagrada Familia?
One of the must see places of Barcelona
Bla bla bla
Having myself been inside this magnificent church nothing less than in THREE different occasions, I am positive I have some extremely valuable sort of Sagrada Experience to share with you.
Moreover, add to the fact that I live in Barcelona and have constant visitors giving me their feedback, I have slowly become the point of reference to everyone who wishes to enjoy La Sagrada Familia to the its fullest.
Are you ready to visit la Sagarad Familia as Antoni Gaudi intended it? Keep on reading then 🙂
The 9 Mistakes All Tourists Make When Visiting La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
Mistake # 1 Not Buying the Ticket Online in Advance
I’ve made a super detailed post filled with valuable tips for first time visitors to Barcelona here where I’ve actually mentioned this before.
But for the sake of making this post complete from A-Z, I will refrain this super important point.
In case you are still not aware, Barcelona is a major tourist destination year-round (not exclusive to peak months, such as August). Furthermore, it seems that everyone who visits, even those who were not initially familiar with Gaudi, immediately fall in love with his work.
Because of that, is not uncommon for all of Gaudi’s attractions to be always filled with eager tourists and their cameras to get in throughout the entire day.
Important to remember
It is important to be on time! Keep in mind that if you miss your slot, you won’t be able to get in
anymore (nor will you get a reimbursement for your ticket).
1- Are you younger than 30 years old? Be sure to let them know and get a small discount (2 €)
2- Tickets sold out by the time you tried buying them online? Why not try the ‘skip the line tour’ (a reseller)
For more options to get into all Barcelona attractions, read this post I wrote about practical ways to beat the crowd in Barcelona.
Mistake #2 Only Touring the Inside of the Church
This would totally happen in case you didn’t not pay attention to item 4 (renting an audio guide), but it is more common than it should for people to only visit the inside of the church, be so mesmerized by
its beauty, and forget to go to the external area.
Don’t make this mistake! The exterior is just as beautiful as the interior, filled with magnificent details of nature and God, Gaudi’s main point of inspiration.
Just so you have an idea, there are 18 Gothic-style towers, and they each represent a figure from the Bible. For instance, 12 of these towers are an homage to the 12 Apostles of Jesus.
Mistake # 3 – Not Paying for the Audio Guide
Again, I also wrote this tip in my Barcelona City Guide, but this is my most valuable tip of all.
I can’t express enough how much the Sagrada Familia experience changes just because you pay a few extra euros for the audio guide. Trust me that with the audio guide you will for sure see details
that would have otherwise have gone unnoticed.
Wanna save some bucks? Take one of your own headphones with you and this way you will be able to share the audio guide with someone else.
Mistake # 4 – Using a low grade camera/phone
I know this is not for everyone’s pockets, but if you do have a DSLR camera, be sure to bring it with you. There are so many beautiful details that are so high up that you will never catch it on your Iphone camera.
(insert a button: book your sagrada familia tickets here)
Mistake # 5 – Not Visiting During Sunset
As any other European church, the Sagara Familia has mesmerizing stained glass windows, which colors vary from warm tones (red/orange/yellow) to cool tones (such as blue/green).
As the golden hour approaches, the sun reflects from the outside to the interior of the church, and just like that, you get a free front row show from Mother Nature at its best!
Mistake # 6 – Not Exploring the Park Outside
Just outside the Sagrada Familia is a charming little park. I would suggest admiring the magnificent church from a different angle.
You can also take the best pictures with the Sagarada from this park as it gives you a little distance from the construction.
Mistake # 7 – Being Too Focused on Taking Pictures (and not appreciating)
Sometimes we can get so focused trying to get the perfect shot, that we end up forgetting to actually stop and observe (guilty myself).
It won’t take you long to notice how much detail there is to all of Gaudi’s work and great part of appreciation of art revolves around actually taking a step back to observe.
Put the camera down and get a chance to observe firsthand what many others who have never been to Barcelona can only see through pictures.
Mistake # 8 – Not Going with Time to Spare
Either I was too lazy, tired (or just plain cheap to pay extra to go up), there will probably be reasons that will try and stop you from going up these magnificent towers.
But if you have the time, do try and go up. Not only will you get the absolute complete tour of the Sagrada Familia, but you will have an amazing view of Barcelona.
Please note that going up the tower is not included in the standard ticket, so make sure you book yours in advance here.
Which Tower Should You Visit?
Well, that is for you to decide.
The Sagrada Familia has two facades with towers that you can go up: the Passion Towers and the Nativity Towers, and they are both very distinguished from each other.
The Nativity Towers are the oldest ones (meaning, the ones that Gaudi built himself while he was alive). The Passion Tower, on the other hand, is the newest versions of it (made following Gaudi’s
Still unsure which one to choose?
I get it, it might be hard to decide like this.
So in the hopes to help you decide, know that the Nativity Towers has a mountain view, while if you go up the Passion Tower you will get to see the ocean 😉
BONUS – Get in the Sagarad Familia for FREE
Did you know there are ways to get in for free inside such a popular touristic attraction?
Keep in mind that the Sagrada is not exclusively made for tourists, but it is in fact an actual religious site.
As such, they hold weekly masses every Sunday at 9 AM (and in various different languages). The mass lasts 1h long and you get the chance to appreciate it exactly as Gaudi intended it.
It is important to bear in mind that this will in no way be a touristic visit, meaning no photos or videos.
Please be respectful to everyone attending, as it was primarily designed for religious purposes.
NOTE: Being a public worship, the places are limited and the first people in line have priority. Make sure to be at the Nativity Facade entrance at 8.30 AM in order to make sure you will attend the mass.
If you are a group of 25 people or more, you must fill in a special form in order to secure your places at the
Feeling hungry after visiting?
You will notice that the area where the Sagarad is built is not exactly filled with nice restaurants (and the ‘’local’’ ones around it are quite touristic – do NOT eat a paella anywhere near that area).
But in case you absolutely must, there are two restaurants in that area that I LOVE:
Five Guys – An extremely American burger joint (and also extremely delicious). I go there every weekend with Cris haha (look for my hand drawn post it written 5 Guaps)
La Paradeta – A restaurant for seafood by kilo. The interior is nothing fancy, but it has the most fresh and delicious seafood selection. I love their grilled giant shrimps.
What are the Sagrada Familia’s Opening Hours?
The basilica is open 365 days of the year.
- Sagrada Familia hours:
- November-February: 9 AM to 6 PM
- March: 9 AM to 7 PM
- April-September: 9 AM to 8 PM
- October: 9 AM to 7 PM
- December 25, 26, January 1 st and 6 th : 9 AM to 2 PM.
Sometimes they hold some private events and the Basilica or the Towers access might be closed, (but this does not happen very often at all).
If you bought your ticket online for a specific time slot, you can be sure you will get in with no problems (another reason to buy your tickets in advance and not me negatively surprised)