Sagrada Família - Tickets, Visiting tips & History
Spectacular modernist gothic art nouveau major basilica, Gaudí's Barcelona cathedral. UNESCO World Heritage site. Info and image gallery
Updated: Jun 27, 2023by: Barcelona Travel HacksViews: 3k
About La Sagrada Família
The most famous and visited tourist attraction in Spain (with over 1.7 million visitors in 2019) resides in Barcelona. I am of course talking about La Sagrada Família 20th Century Antoni Gaudí Basilica that has been under construction since 1882.
Why is it taking so long to construct La Sagrada Família?
The short answer is that most cathedrals have taken 50 to 100 years to construct. Construction on La Sagrada Família was also interrupted by the Spanish Civil War, the unexpected death of Gaudí and a global Pandemic in 2019. For a more complete idea, below is an overview of the La Sagrada Família history and construction milestones.
1882 Architect Francisco de Paula del Villar receives the commission to build the church of Sagrada Familia according to a neo-gothic design but fell out with the Associacio de Devots de Sant Josep and left the project.
1883 Architect Antoni Gaudí takes on the project with the The chapel of Sant Josep being inaugurated in the crypt in 1885 and the first masses are celebrated there.
1891 Work begins on the Nativity Façade with Antoni Gaudí dedicating himself exclusively to the temple from 1914 onwards.
1925 The Saint Bernabe tower on the Nativity Façade is finished. This is the only part of the the basilica that Antoni Gaudí was able to complete before his death in 1926 (ran over by a Tram). Domènec Sugrañes i Gras assumes control of the project.
1936 The original Gaudí plans and drawings as well as some plaster models are destroyed in a fire during the Spanish Civil War.
1939 End of the Spanish Civil War and Francisco de Paula Quintana takes over works thanks to some information surviving the fire in the form of photographs and published plans.
1952 The Nativity Façade is completed and illuminated and in 1954 the foundations for the Passion façade are laid.
1958 For the feast of Sant Josep on 19th of March a sculptural set representing the sacred family by Jaume Busquets i Mollera is placed on the Nativity Façade.
1966 Francisco de Paula Quintana dies and is superseded by Isidre Puig i boada and Lluís Bonet i Gari.
1976 The bell towers of the Passion Façade are complete with the construction of the side isle façades starting in 1978.
1976 architect Francesc Cardoner i Blanch takes over as director of works.
1985 architect Jordi Bonet i Armengol superseedes Francesc Cardoner i Blanch. Josep Maria Subirachs i Sitjar was commissioned to create the sculptures on the Passion Façade.
1986 The foundations of all the naves. columns, vaults and the facades of the main nave, the transepts and the apse begin construction. This work is completed in 2010
2005 The Façade of the Nativity and the Crypt are declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
2010 November 7th, Pope Benedict XVI dedicated the basilica to worship and designates it a Minor Basilica.
2012 architect Jordi Faulí i Oller supersedes Jordi benet as lead architect and remains in post to this day.
2016 Construction begins on the Towers of the Evangelists, Mary and Jesus with the first stone arriving in 2019. In 2020 They exceed the height of the Passion and Nativity façades.
2020 Construction halted between March and October due to the Covid pandemic hitting hard in Spain.
2020 October, construction resumes, with working restrictions during the pandemic with the focus being on completing the Virgin Mary Tower.
2021 When completed Sagrda Família will have 12 towers to symbolise the apostles, 4 are the Evangelists towers at 135 metres high. One the Virgin Mary tower at 138 metres high topped by a morning star. The tallest central tower will symbolise Jesus Christ at a height of 172 metres. December 8th 2021, completion of the Virgin Mary tower with the placement of the Morning star which is illuminated at night. Gaudí did not want the height of the Sagrda Família temple to exceed the work of god, i.e. be higher than the mountain of Tibidabo.
2022 December 16th. Completion and illumination of the Luke and Mark Evangelist towers. The John and Mathew Evangelist towers are expected to be finished in 2023.
2023 January. Work has begun on the Glory Façade (dedicated to the Glory of Jesus Christ) which is in Carrer de Mallorca. Currently only the skeletal columns are completed.
2026 is the planned completion date due to coincide with the centenary anniversary of Gaudí's death but the pandemic has delayed construction. The Plan is now to complete the main structure of the central Jesus Christ tower by this date with decorative finishes expected to be completed some time between 2028 and 2030.
Click on any of the 78 images to open full screen gallery player
Visiting La Sagrada Família
When you visit you will see instantly what was done under Gaudí because it is the darker coloured stone. The basilica had no roof or connecting walls between the two facades during the Gaudí era of construction.
Controversy surrounding use of modern materials
Often overlooked is that the original design by Gaudí used 20th Century construction tecniques of cut and carved stone where as the modern design uses steel reinforced concrete with stone cladding.
Due to many of the original plans being destroyed during the civil war questions have arisen about how faithful to Gaudí's original concept is the Sagrada Família's more modern 21st Century construction.
Construction is being sped up by the use of computer CAD programs and the use of CNC milling machines to carve stone rather than traditional stone masons with hand tools.
Is La Sagrada Família Worth visiting?
I have been to the Sagrada Família multiple times since 2005 and the parts that are getting finished are truly spectacular. When I first visited in 2005, the inside was scaffolding poles spaced half a metre apart and partially open to the sky. At that time the only noteworthy parts were the exterior passion and nativity facade and the tower visit. In 2005 I paid 8 euros!. I have since visited La Sagrada Familia in 2012 and 2020 and am awestruck by the detail and progess of the construction.
Since the interior roof has been complete, the tree like stone columns led your eyes up to a spectacular roof that is unique and something you will not see in any other basilica or cathedral in the world. The basilica interior has incredible beauty and a cavernous splendour with the The stained glass windows by master glazier Joan Vila-Grau in the Main Nave illuminate the interior in a kaleidoscope of colour that is breath-taking.
This is an unmissable attraction to see in Barcelona and you will be in awe from the moment you set eyes on the basilica from the street and many vantage points around Barcelona. If you need more convincing, check out the image gallery above.
The ticket prices are high but this is because the Construction project, managed by La Junta Constructora, is funded by the ticket sales so you will be contributing to the construction of a modern masterpiece!
Sagrada Família Tickets & Types of Tour
There are two types of tour:
Basic Basilica Tour: includes the Passion and Nativity Façades from outside at ground level followed by a tour inside the basilica and access to the crypt where Gaudí is entombed. The tour starts in C/Marina at the Nativity Façade then proceeds through the basilica to the Passion Façade in C/Sardenya. Near to the exit via the Nativity Façade is a side chamber with some Gaudí furniture exhibits.
Basilica + tower Tour: is the basic basilica tour with a route up the Passion or Nativity Façade towers in an elevator then across a sky bridge between the two towers of that Façade and down stairs back into the basilica. The tower visit gives views of the roof construction and views over Barcelona. Although the Passion Façade towers are slightly higher at 75m with the Nativity Façade towers being 55m the sky bridge between the two towers on each Façade is at the same height so there is not really any difference between the two options.
Sagrada Família Tips
Access is via carrer de Marina. You pass through airport style security. Dont't turn up with large bags, small handbags and rucksacks only.
When you purchase the ticket you get a link to an app that you can download on your phone which serves as the audio guide so do not forget to take headphones for your mobile and have the app pre-downloaded.
Please also be aware that booking in advance, especially in the summer months, is essential to get the date and time that you want.
I recommend trying to book the first slot of the day because you will have more space inside being the first tourists inside. ALso the sun is lower in the early morning and so will project the stained glass windows onto the walls better than later in the day.
There is no time restriction for the Sagrada Família visits. I recommend allowing 1 to 2 hours for the visit.
This is an consecrated Major Basilica so make sure you comply with the dress code. see Below.
Be Punctual. Arrive 5-10 minutes before the stated time on your ticket. If you arrive with time to spare, use it to view the outside from Parc Gaudí and Parc de la Sagrada Família.
Sagrada Família Opening Hours
November to February: 09:00h to 18:00h
March: 09:00h to 21:00h
April to September: 09:00h to 20:00h
October: 09:00h to 19:00h
December 25th & 26th, January 1st & 6th: 09:00h to 14:00h
Other Gaudí Works
The House that Gaudí Lived in, is located in Parc Güell but not included in the Sagrada Familia ticket. I recommend buying a combined parc Guell + Gaudí House Museum ticket. Details on the Casa Milá/la Pedrera and Casa Batlló.
Each of these Gaudí Houses are visually distinct and each one has its own merits.
What to do after Visiting Sagrada Família
The neighbourhood around La Sagrada Família is full of bars and restaurants. Below are some links to my favourites. I also recommend seeing Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau which is at the end of a nice walk along Avenida Gaudí.
Large rucksacks, suitcases and large bags are not permitted inside and there are no lockers. Pushchairs are permitted.
Disabled access is from Carrer de Marina. The Basilica provides wheelchairs for users. To request one, call +34 935 132 060 or at email@example.com. The wheelchair will be delivered at the entrance for people with disabilities.
The visit is on one level with the crypt being exclusively accessed by stairs. The tower visits are only via stairs and a narrow air bridge so not adapt for wheelchairs or push chairs.
Don't forget headphones for the audio guide phone app that you can download with the link in the online ticket purchase.
Bicycle anchorage points outside la Sagrada Família in Carrer de Mallorca with Carrer de Marina next to the metro station exit.
la Sagrada Família Desss Code for Visitors
Dress Code for Men:
T-shirts and shirts that do not have any offensive/distracting designs and promotional content
Trousers or jeans that are full length. Shorts that are below the knee level can also be worn
Sleeveless tank tops, vests and hats are not allowed
Dress Code for Women:
Blouses and tops with sleeves and completely cover the shoulders
Dresses and tops that are backless or have a deep neckline are not allowed
Trousers or skirts that come below the mid-thigh level
No hats and swimwear
Dress Code for Children:
The same rules as adults apply to children
Shirts and tops covering the shoulders
Trousers that come below the thighs
No swimwear or hats
Day Trip Rucksack
Small 10L day trip and museums rucksack
In Ear Headphones
With 3.5mm jack. For running and for museum visits that have an audio guide. Museums don't provide headphones since Covid.
Small folded lightweight Water proof poncho for emergencies
Summary of Prices
Train/Bus FareEntry TicketAdditional InformationTrain/Bus FareEntry TicketAdditional InformationAdultZone 1 T-casual€ 33.80Seniors and students 2 euros discountChildT-familiarFREEfor Under 11 years. Group/Family Ticket?10+ People - See Website for group booking.NotesUnder 16 Years must be accompanied by adult
Getting to La Sagrada Família
Address: Carrer de la Marina 253, Barcelona. 08013
Nearest TMB METRO is Sagrada Família which is on the Blue (L5) and Purple (L2) lines.
Documents for La Sagrada Família
Click on any one of the 2 PDFs to view in full screen and download.
Wikiloc Trail for La Sagrada Família
BCN09. Sagrada Familia - Aveninda Gaudi - Recinte Modernista Sant Pau
A city walk in the Sagrada Familia area of Barcelona via La Sagrada Familia, Avenida Guidi and Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau.