Our main reason for visiting Barcelona is to see the Basilica La Sagrada Família. With more than 100 years being under construction, this architecture masterpiece of the genius Antoni Gaudí attracts a large amount of tourists every day! No wonder why, the UNESCO world heritage site is truly impressive for its intricate and fascinating design. And to make the most of your time in this iconic building, we’ve created this travel guide that will help you on visiting the Sagrada Familia.
Before You Go
- Buy Tickets Online – As a popular tourist destination, expect an intolerable long queue in buying tickets onsite. We’d suggest you to buy tickets online in Sagrada Familia official website before you go. The most basic ticket to visit the Sagrada Família is 15€ that allow you to go inside but not to the tower. We bought the first one “Top Views” which cost 29€ which we find expensive but really worthy. If you’re not claustrophobic or don’t mind the heights then we’d suggest you to buy the same.
- Nativity or Passion Tower – When you purchase the same tickets, you will have to decide which tower you would like to visit. It actually depends on your personal preference. We chose Nativity Tower because we wanted to see more of the city center and the snail-looking spiral staircase (400 steps!) which is the only way to go down from this tower. The Passion Tower gives you a better view of the ocean. Also it has an elevator going up and down.
- Know How to Get There – With the good transport system of Barcelona, the church is easy to access. Both the L5 (blue) and L2 (purple) metro lines have a stop across the street from Sagrada Familia. We recommend you to buy the 10 ride ticket for less than 10€. It will take you anywhere on Zone 1 where the main attractions are located.
- Tripod and Flash Photography – Both are not allowed to be used inside the church but you can bring the tripod along with you. There are lockers available to leave your things before the elevator to the tower.
- Check the Weather – Be sure to check the weather before you purchase tickets with the tower. As I’ve read in forums, they closed the tower when the weather is bad. Refunds or exchanges cannot be made as per their website.
On the Day of your Visit
- Know the Entrance – If you buy your tickets online, you can go directly on the Nativity Facade reserved entrance that has black umbrellas. It’s the side where the church is facing the park with the pond.
- Be There On Time – You will be asked which time you prefer when buying tickets. We chose the first entry which is 9am and you should too since the crowd is still bearable during this time. Also, you have to be there 15 minutes before your time as there’s still a line for security checks. Note that you cannot switch your scheduled time or date.
- Dress Appropriately – It’s a church so visitors must dress conservatively. But still they allowed a few ladies wearing above the knee skirts during our visit. Everyone should practice respect to the temple.
Sagrada Familia Photography Tips
- Exterior Photos – The exterior of the church is exceptionally splendid. But before looking up close and get lost in its intricate details, take shots of the full church. Use the pond reflection or the trees surrounding the area to add some green to the Sagrada Familia.
- Sunrise or Sunset – It’s a fact that any building can look beautiful with the sun glow on it so make sure to visit Gaudí’s wonder during sunrise or sunset. We actually went during sunset but the weather was cloudy.
- Interior Shots – Look in every direction, but more on look up and capture those brilliant ceilings! The glass windows are gorgeous and change colors all throughout. Take care of the sunlight direction and make sure it’s not right behind. It really looks magical, more when captured the right way and you’ll just feel so thankful to Him being in the moment.
- Tower Shots – If you go up specifically to Nativity Tower, you’ll get to capture the spiral staircase, the city center view and the tower pinnacles into details.
- Include the Tourists – Since it will be really hard to get a shot without the tourists, include them in the story and use your camera’s slow shutter for a blur effect.
- Look closely and Look up – Don’t forget capturing the details and look closely. The carvings of the church are very unique and portray the image of the cathedral. While we were so amazed with all its details, we forgot to capture the ceiling which we admit was the most beautiful to photograph here.
Our visit to the Sagrada Familia was certainly one of the highlights of our trip to Barcelona. While the architectural form and sculptures from the outside of the church are already amazing to view, we highly recommend you to go inside and don’t miss the opportunity of seeing the magnificent church. We went here before sunset and early in the morning, yet the place is so busy. But we manage to make the experience great since we prepared before heading here. Hope that our guide above will help you in visiting Sagrada Familia 🙂