The Sagrada Familia, does it need more introduction?!
Official name: Basilica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia
Type: Roman Catholic Church
Designer: Antoni Gaudi
Years of construction to-date: 135
Planned completion: Year 2026
Accolades: UNESCO World Heritage Site
When my flight to Barcelona was delayed, I was extremely worried that I will miss my pre-booked timing to visit the Sagrada Familia. The Sagrada Familia was the main reason I wanted to go to Barcelona. Fortunately, even though I arrived Barcelona 8 hours later than planned, it didn’t affect my Sagrada Familia visit. Phew!
We were glad that we booked the first available time slot at 9am. It was nice to arrive at the church first thing in the morning with not much of a crowd. The streets were even empty!
The audio guide we paid for provided details of the basilica including some explanation on the intricate designs both on the facade and inside of the church. There are also sign posts scattered around the church which highlighted some additional information which may not be available in the audio guide. The sign posts also provided a better explanation with pictures and layouts. Don’t miss out on the video at the right hand side of the church when you enter after collecting the audio guide – it provides an excellent explanation of the story of Lent shown by Gaudi on the Passion facade. It allows you to understand the carvings and decorations better when you see it later on your way out.
The construction of the whole Sagrada Familia is very detailed and intricate, you would be amazed by the workmanship and the amount of information Gaudi incorporated into this building.
A visit to Sagrada Familia would not be complete with checking out the Nativity or Passion facade. Lifts at 2 sides of the church allow visitors to go up either the Nativity facade or Passion facade. For this, you need to book in advance because they only allow a limited number of people up the tower at each time slot, and they are usually fully booked. Many people were being turned away when we were there. People with backpacks (like me) have to deposit our bags at the lockers next to the lift before we can go up the tower. The lockers need either a 20 cents or €1 coin in order for it to lock. The money will be given back to you when you retrieve the contents.
We had a great view of Barcelona when we reached the top .
The walkway was narrow but safe with railings and fencing. We took our time to walk along the passageway and admire the architectures from a close up view. This would not have been possible from the ground level (you will be looking up almost all the time).
Although there’s a lift to go up the tower, one has to walk down the steps by the stairway.
Before getting out of the Sagrada Familia, we also visited the school built right next to the church with undulating roof and the museum next to it.
The church is planned to be completed by 2026. However, due to the scale and complexity (it has been under construction for the last century!) I believe refurbishment will commence immediately after the Sagrada Familia is completed.
By the end of the tour, I was really impressed by Gaudi’s ideology to incorporate nature into architecture. He must have been a genius of his time by using his architecture and engineering knowledge to create such an amazing building.
We took over 2 hours for the visit. But I believe one can easily spend up to 3-4 hours here so plan your day carefully. You will be glad that you finally made it to admire one of the world’s most impressive architectures.
Book your tickets online and try to get the first time slot available to the church to avoid the crowd. When we left just before noon, the place was packed!
Passion / Nativity Facade: You will then need to book a separate timing to go up the towers if you want to. Give yourself at least half an hour from the entrance timing to the towers visit. This will allow you to enjoy the surrounding and tour around the church a little before making your way up. You can always continue your tour in and around the rest of the church after visiting the Passion / Nativity Facade.
Have you been to the Sagrada Familia? Click here to see which other UNESCO Heritage Site we visited.