La Sagrada Família

Lucy & Michael here, we hope our expert tips, advice and experience to make planning your next escape to Barcelona that little bit easier. Enjoy!

La Sagrada Família is Barcelona’s most iconic landmark and top of the itinerary for many visiting the city. This fascinating structure has been in construction for over a century and is currently Europe’s tallest religious building.

History of La Sagrada Família

The Sagrada Família is a truly one-of-a-kind temple and the product of architect Antoni Gaudí’s eccentric and ambitious vision for the city. The project first began in 1882 and was taken over by Gaudí a year later, where he worked on the building until his death in 1926. 

Gaudí’s goal for Sagrada Família was to teach people about Catholicism through architecture. Those visiting the basilica and museum can catch a glimpse of the burial site of Antoni Gaudí, whose body rests within a tomb in the crypt. 

To this day, more than 140 years after work began, construction on the Basilica still continues, with an expected completion date in 2026.

La Sagrada Família
Exterior of La Sagrada Família – taken in 2019

Why Visit La Sagrada Família? 

Sagrada Família has to be the number one stop for tourists visiting the city and once you see it, you’ll appreciate why. The landmark is steeped in history and if that’s not for you, the sight alone will blow you away.   

We have to be honest and admit that for the first few times we visited Barcelona we only ever admired Sagrada Família from the outside. Having been constrained with time and put off by the seemingly tedious queues, we decided that a chance to admire the external architecture and impressive details in the stone carvings that shroud the walls was enough for us. 

Exterior carvings of La Sagrada Família
Exterior carvings of La Sagrada Família – taken in 2009

However, we strongly encourage all visitors to take a tour inside the basilica as the opportunity to check out the mind blowing interior and chance to hear of the history of the construction is a truly memorable experience. 

There’s something about gazing up at the extraordinary ceilings and stained glass that makes you really appreciate the work that has gone into the construction of Sagrada Família- you simply don’t get this same depth of experience by looking from the outside!

Stained glass windows inside La Sagrada Família
Stained glass windows inside La Sagrada Família – taken in 2019

See our top tips below to make your visit as hassle free as possible.

Opening Times & Ticket Prices 

Current opening times can be seen below: 

November – FebruaryMarch and OctoberApril – September
Monday – Saturday 9am – 6pm9am – 7pm9am – 8pm
Sunday10.30am – 7pm10.30 – 7pm10.30 – 8pm

*Special opening hours 9am – 2pm on 25th & 26th December and 1st & 6th January.

Individual ticket prices are outlined below. We personally recommend the audio guide option as it is cheaper and allows you to enjoy the attraction at your own pace- great for those short on time who just want a quick visit, or equally those looking to really take their time and take in every little detail. Please note – the official Sagrada Família app is required to access the audio guide. 

Audio Guide TicketsGuided Tour Tickets 
Sagrada Família26€30€
Sagrada Família + Towers 36€40€

*Children under 11 years and guests with disabilities plus one accompanying carer can visit for free. But you should submit a request for any free tickets at least 48 hours in advance. 

*Guests under 30 are eligible for a 2€ discount on tickets purchased through the official website

Groups of 10 people or more should visit the official website to arrange a guided tour. 

This information is based on tickets purchased through the official website. See our top tips below for information on discounted combination ticket options.

Tickets With Tower Access In La Sagrada Família

If you purchase a Sagrada Família + Towers ticket, you will be granted access to one of the towers only. We would recommend this option if you are hoping to see more of the building and catch a closer look at some of the stone carvings on the exterior. Guests take the lifts up to the top of the towers and walk down the spiral steps. Unfortunately, this part of the tour is unsuitable for those with reduced mobility, anyone requiring wheelchair access or children under 6 years.

On occasion, the towers have to close due to bad weather or for maintenance but if this happens you will be refunded for the tower access fraction of your ticket price. Bags must be left in the lockers provided before entering the lifts- these lockers are fine for smaller bags or backpacks but you’ll want to avoid bringing any larger luggage items.

Is It Worth Visiting The Sagrada Família Towers?

If you are wanting to go up solely in the hope of catching an amazing view of the city, then don’t. There are many other attractions that offer a better view of the Barcelona skyline, such as Mount Tibidabo and Montjuic. However, if you aren’t short of time and want to explore more of the building to catch a closer glimpse of the stone carvings on the exterior then yes, we would definitely recommend a visit up the towers. In our honest opinion, the highlight of the tour is when you first enter the main hall in the basilica, so whilst the towers will most definitely add to your experience, they probably won’t be the highlight of it.

Which Tower Offers The Best View In Sagrada Família? 

Your ticket will grant you access to one of the towers. If you book far enough in advance you should be able to select which tower you want to visit at your chosen time. There are two types you can explore, the Nativity Towers and the Passion Towers

The Nativity Towers are the oldest, and the ones built during Gaudí’s lifetime. The Nativity facade is shrouded with intricate carvings and decoration representing the birth of Jesus. Understandably, the Nativity facade tends to be a favourite out of the two. You can expect a restricted mountain view of the city from the Nativity Towers.

The Nativity Facade & Towers - La Sagrada Família
The Nativity Facade & Towers

The Passion Towers are slightly taller and offer a restricted ocean view of the city. The Passion facade and towers are more modern and less extravagant in terms of decoration, but still offer an impressive representation of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

The Passion Facade & Towers - La Sagrada Família
The Passion Facade & Towers

Our Tips On Visiting La Sagrada Família

We’ve put together a list of our top tips, to ensure you get the most out of your visit to La Sagrada Família. Enjoy!

– It is absolutely worth paying to go inside Sagrada Família, trust us! 

Buy your tickets in advance– they do sell out and you can skip the queue.

– Don’t forget to apply 48hrs in advance for any free tickets.

– Make use of the under 30 discount if applicable to you.

– Purchase a ticket with tower access included if you are able. But avoid taking large bags/luggage with you if you choose this option as bags have to be removed and stored prior to going up the towers. The storage is only suitable for smaller bags and backpacks. 

– Visitors with small children are best skipping the tower access tours as children under 6 years are not allowed to go up the towers.

– To save money, consider a Go City explorer pass if you are planning to visit multiple attractions. But remember to book your reservation for your visit.

– CitySightseeing off a skip-the-line combination ticket with their bus tours which will save you time and money if you are already planning on using the buses. Visit the official CIty Sightseeing website for more information. 

– Download the audio guide app prior to your visit to save time, you’ll be ready to go as soon as you get there.

– Choose a self-guide ticket option if short on time or to allow you to explore at your own pace.

– Visit on a weekday and get there first thing in the morning to beat the queues.

– Dress appropriately- cover shoulders and no shorts or short skirts. Hats must be removed unless worn for a religious or medical reason. 

– Allow a minimum of 2 hours to get inside Sagrada Família and take a look around. Those visiting the towers or wishing to explore in more depth should allow 3 hours.

– Use a wide lens to capture the best shots of the impressive ceilings and stained glass. 

– Food and drink are not allowed inside 

– Head to Plaça de Gaudí to capture the best pictures of La Sagrada Família from across the lake.

– It is free to attend mass at Sagrada Família with places allocated on a first come first serve basis. Mass is every Sunday at 9am and Saturday 8pm. Arrive at the main entrance on Carrer de la Marina at least half an hour before mass starts to have a chance at getting access.

Inside La Sagrada Família
Inside La Sagrada Família

Where Is La Sagrada Família?

La Sagrada Família is located at Carrer de la Marina. It is easily accessed by several means of transport.

A taxi from Plaça de Catalunya for example, would take around 10 minutes and cost 5-9€.

For those wishing to use public transport, Buses 19, 33, 34, D50, H10 and B24 all stop at the famous landmark. Alternatively the Metro L2 and L5 will take you to Sagrada Família station, located directly outside the basilica.

Depending where you are located in the city, reaching Sagrada Família may be doable on foot. It is a reasonable 30 minute walk from Plaça de Catalunya. 

Once you arrive, individuals should use the general entrance on the Nativity façade, on c/ de la Marina. There is a separate entrance for groups also located on c/ de la Marina.

For those using the City Sightseeing buses, use stop 4 on the blue route.

When Will Sagrada Família Be Finished? 

Work on La Sagrada Família first began in 1882. More than 140 years later and the construction still continues.

The towers of Luke and Mark were completed in 2022, with the towers of John and Matthew expected to be completed this year. 

The completion of the central tower of Jesus is expected to take place in 2026, the 100th anniversary of Antoni Gaudí’s death. With a bit of luck, this will be part of the final steps in the construction of this remarkable landmark.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused delays in construction and set back this mammoth project. An alternative completion date in 2028 has also been considered, I guess only time will tell!  

Please don’t be put off by the construction works or feel that you should wait until 2026 (or 2028)  to visit. Catching a glimpse of the work being carried out on the towers is a pretty special sight and all part of the fascinating history behind the world’s largest unfinished Catholic church. 

Construction work on La Sagrada Família
Construction work on La Sagrada Família

It’s been great to see the building progress that’s taken place over the years. We remember first hearing the expected completion year of 2026 and thinking how far into the future that was. We can’t wait for that long awaited and highly anticipated completion, when visitors can finally admire La Sagrada Família in all its glory!

La Sagrada Família Facts

– The building has been under construction for over a century, currently 141 years to be precise!
– It is currently the tallest religious building in Europe at 172m. 
– Architect Antoni Gaudí believed that nothing made by man should be taller than God’s creation, for this reason, it is one metre shorter than Montjuïc.
– Gaudí is one of two individuals buried here. Gaudí’s tomb is held in the chapel dedicated to the El Carmen Virgin and can be viewed through a small window overlooking the crypt. 
– UNESCO made Sagrada Família a World Heritage Site in 1984 due to its unique architecture.
– Gaudí’s design and ideas were inspired by nature, which gives both the interior and exterior their distinctively unique appearance. 
– The construction is expected to be completed in 2026, the centenary of Gaudí’s death.

Exterior carvings of La Sagrada Família
Exterior carvings of La Sagrada Família

La Sagrada Família FAQs

Who designed La Sagrada Família?

Antoni Gaudí is the architect and mastermind behind the famous Sagrada Família.

Why is La Sagrada Família so famous?

Sagrada Família is Barcelona’s most iconic landmark. Famous for its astonishingly unique architecture and being the tallest (unfished) religious building in Europe. 

How long has La Sagrada Familia been under construction?

Sagrada Família has been under construction for over a century; currently 141 years to be precise. Construction began in 1882. 

When will La Sagrada Família be completed?

Construction of Sagrada Família is expected to be completed in 2026, the centenary of Antoni Gaudí’s death. However the Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant delays to the construction work and an alternative completion date of 2028 has also been suggested.

What is the dress code for visiting La Sagrada Família?

Visitors should dress respectfully. Shoulders and knees should be covered for both men and women. Hats must be removed unless worn for religious or medical purposes. 

Are children allowed in La Sagrada Família? 

Children are absolutely allowed in Sagrada Família and children under 11 years can visit for free! Just note that raised voices are not permitted inside the basilica and children should be kept under close supervision. 

What is the cost of building La Sagrada Família? 

Whilst it is impossible to estimate the total costs of construction of La Sagrada Família, the current estimate for building costs is roughly an eye-watering 25 million euros per year. The building operation has never received public or even church funding. Instead it relies entirely on private donations and revenue from ticket sales.

What is the height of La Sagrada Família? 

La Sagrada Família stands at 172m tall, just 1m less than Montjuïc as Gaudí’ believed nothing man made should be taller than God’s creation. 

What does La Sagrada Família mean in English? 

La Sagrada Família translates as ‘The Sacred Family’. It can be described as the ‘Expiatory Temple of the Sacred Family’.