A few weeks ago we did a tour of the city with a family from Long Beach, California.
They were an enthusiastic bunch, but nothing could prepare them for the moment they saw Antoni Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia for the first time.
The dad said, “Guys, look!”
His wife and the kids in the back seat gasped, oohed and ahhhed as we drove up to the magnificent church.
Becoming A Sagrada Familia Insider
Their response was amazing and definitely fitting for the moment. Once you come to Barcelona and see Sagrada Familia for the first time, you’ll probably feel the same sense of wonder our clients did.
But did you know that the key to enjoying Gaudi’s masterpiece starts before you even come to the city? It’s true, and that’s why we’ve created this list of Sagrada Familia tips to help you know how to have the absolute best experience possible while visiting Barcelona’s most iconic building.
Sagrada Familia Tips #1: Buy You Tickets Online
You probably don’t know this yet, but you soon will. The lines to buy tickets for La Sagrada Familia are long — like, Disneyland long. You could wait for hours, which is something you definitely don’t want to do in the middle of August in Barcelona. It’s hot, it’s sticky and it’s downright miserable.
Avoid the lines and the heat by purchasing your tickets through Sagrada Familia’s official website. The site gives you three different options: a guided tour, an audio tour and a do-it-yourself tour:
By clicking on the “+” located next to the price of each tour, you can expand the tour and add the option of visiting the towers:
Sagrada Familia Tips #2: To Tower or Not To Tower?
A lot of people wonder whether or not they should visit the towers of Sagrada Familia. And you should wonder, for two very specific reasons: 1. If you’re afraid of heights, you may freak out once you get to the catwalk connecting the towers, and, 2. The walk down from the towers can be a claustrophobic experience.
As you can see, the view from the towers is not for the faint of heart. There’s a lot of exposure and plenty of opportunity to, simply put, freak out.
But if you don’t mind heights, it’s a thrilling experience. The views from the towers are amazing.
There’s no elevator on the way down from the towers, so you’ll have to descend a very long, very narrow series of corkscrew stairs. If you don’t like being confined to small spaces, this may not be the best thing for you.
When you buy your tickets, you’ll have the opportunity to choose between the Passion Towers and the Nativity Towers. The Passion Towers give you a better view of the ocean. The Nativity Towers give you better views of the mountain range behind Barcelona.
Visiting the Sagrada Familia is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so take full advantage of it by going to the towers and taking a guided tour.
Sagrada Familia Tips #3: Know Your Entrance
Since you’re buying your tickets online, you can enter the Sagrada Familia through an entrance on the Nativity Facade, the side of the church which is facing the park with the pond. Your entrance will be the gate that has the black umbrellas — these entrances are reserved for people with online tickets.
Sagrada Familia Tips #4: Get There On Time!
Now that you know how to buy your tickets, what kind of tickets to buy and which entrance you should use, we’re going to give you the most important tip of all: Be on time!
Your tickets are time sensitive, meaning if you arrive more than 15 minutes earlier you have to wait until our ticket time. If you arrive more than 15 minutes after your entrance time, you won’t get it. That’s right — you’ll be totally out of luck.
You can’t switch your date/time for another date/time. You have to go when you’re ticket tells you to, so be wise about what time you select for your Sagrada Familia experience.
Sounds intimidating, we know. But you’ll be fine as long as you make a point of getting there about 30 minutes before your ticketed time so that you can find the right entrance and get a sense of the scope and size of Gaudi’s church.
Sagrada Familia Tips #5: How to Get There
Among the amazing things that this church has to offer — history, beauty, legendary status among the world’s architectural masterpieces — is the ease with which you can access it.
Both the L5 (blue) and L2 (purple) metro lines have a stops across the street from Sagrada Familia. This is one of the things we love about the accessibility of Sagrada — as soon as you emerge from the metro station, you’ll see Sagrada Familia standing before you in all her glory.
Tower photo credit: ramon.caseras, Flickr Creative Commons
Stairs photo credit: Sander Wapstra, Flick Creative Commons
Passion Facade photo credit: Jocelyn Kinghorn, Flickr Creative Commons