La Sagrada Familia has over 102,000 reviews on TripAdvisor with an almost 5 star average. To put these numbers in perspective, Machu Picchu only has 14,000 reviews and Angkor Wat currently has 29,000. How does a church have over 70,000 more reviews than some of the most popular landmarks in the world??
La Sagrada Familia – Antoni Gaudi’s Unfinished Masterpiece
Antoni Gaudi is a revered Catalan architect whose work happens to be some of the most popular tourist attractions in Barcelona. Park Guell, La Pedrera and Casa Batllo are among his most famous projects in the city, but nothing compares to La Sagrada Familia. Gaudi began working on the basilica in 1882 and devoted the rest of his life to to it. When he died in 1926, only 1/4 of the church had been finished. It’s been under construction since, with a projected completion date of 2026.
The Hype is Real
When you visit Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia will be at the top of every single to-do list. Obviously it’s a must-see attraction, and now I know why. After visiting the basilica last week, I can confidently say that La Sagrada Familia absolutely lives up to it’s reputation.
The outside of the basilica is a lot to take in. There are three different facades; the Nativity facade to the East, the Passion facade to the West, and the Glory facade to the South. It looks like a different church from just about every side. The Nativity Facade has the most direct Gaudí influence.
I saw a few people on the Trip Advisor forums saying that it’s not necessary to go inside. This is worst advice ever. You absolutely need to go inside.
While walking around La Sagrada Familia, I stood at the entrance for a few minutes watching people enter. Just about every single person to walk inside the church gasped. One girl literally screamed. It’s breathtaking in the most literal sense of the word.
The west side of La Sagrada Familia is decorated with yellow and orange stained glass while the east side is covered with blue and green. When the sun spills in through the colored windows, the interior of the church is bathed in vibrant rainbow light.
I was mesmerized by the colors, it was truly a magical sight.
Tips for Visiting La Sagrada Familia
Visit 2 Hours Before Sunset
It’s of popular opinion to visit La Sagrada Familia early in the morning in order to avoid the crowds as much as possible. However, the church interior looks the most beautiful 2 hours before sunset when the sun is shining directly through the stained glass on the west side of the church. Alternatively, you can arrive early in the morning when is pouring through the blue/green glass but it doesn’t look as powerful. One of the workers inside the church confirmed this when we talked to her.
The lighting was the most incredible part, so this is my top tip for visiting. I can’t imagine not seeing it like this.
Buy Your Ticket Online to Avoid Long Lines
As Barcelona’s #1 tourist attraction, La Sagrada Familia is known for it’s long lines (up to 2 hours), especially during peak season. By purchasing your ticket online you not only get to skip the line, but you’re guaranteed entrance to the basilica even if they have reached capacity and aren’t letting anyone else in.
Also, buying your tickets online will sometimes get you a better deal. They were having an online promotion when I bought mine and it ended up being 50% off.
Buy Your Tickets HERE
Get There Early
If you buy your ticket online you will have to pick an entrance time at checkout. Before heading to the church, make sure to give yourself enough time to get to the basilica and find the right entrance. If you’re late, you will not be allowed to enter.
Watch for Pickpockets
As with any major attraction, there are bound to be pickpockets taking advantage of distracted tourists. Keep your valuable belongings close to you and just be aware of your surroundings.
Give Yourself Enough Time to Experience It
I spent way longer than I would’ve imagined inside La Sagrada Familia. When planning your itinerary for the day, block out enough time in order to actually experience this. The interior is so complex and purposely designed. There’s a lot to appreciate.
How to Get to La Sagrada Familia
Mallorca Street 401, 08013
Metro: Take Line 2 (purple line) or 5 (blue line) and get off at the Sagrada Familia Station
- October to March 9:00 to 18:00
- April to September: 9:00 to 20:00
- December 25th and 26th, January 1st and 6th: 9:00 to 14:00
Admission Prices (2017)
Basic General Admission : 15 Euro
Audio Guide + Admission: 22 Euro
Admission + Live Guided Tour : 24 Euro
Admission + Audio Guide + Towers : 29 Euro
Free Admission: Children 10 and under, Disabled (+1 companion)
Discounted Admission : Students, Seniors over 65, Under 30
Buy Your Tickets HERE