We recently went to Barcelona for a few days, which was amazing! Barcelona is one of my favourite cities, I first visited four years ago so was excited to be going back. And the one thing that you cannot miss when visiting Barcelona is the Sagrada Familia.
Barcelona’s most iconic building, the Sagrada Familia is still yet to be finished. Designed by Gaudi in late 1800s, the cathedral is so unique as it has different influences in design from each era it’s been built through. It’s said that Gaudi always knew he’d never see his creation finished, and unfortunately he died after being hit by a tram aged 72. When visiting Barcelona there are many other places to see Gaudi’s work, but the Sagrada Familia is definitely number one on the list! For more information on the history of the Sagrada Familia, have a look on the website here.
I’ve visited twice now – each time has been different and I got a bit caught out this time as the system had changed. So here’s a few things to know before you go!
Get tickets in advance!
When I visited the first time, we ended up queuing for quite a while (which isn’t fun in the heat) to get our tickets. When you buy tickets they have an entry time slot, so we then ended up having to wait in a nearby cafe until our slot. This wasn’t too bad, but this time we tried to do the same and the ticket office wasn’t even open! We then bought our tickets online for 4pm, meaning we left (it was 11am) and came back later. We were lucky though, as the website kept saying that they were sold out and each day for the rest of the week was! After refreshing and trying a few times we got a slot, but I wish I’d known to get it online in advance and could’ve just done it all before the day to avoid the stress/wasted time! I read online that sometimes (especially at weekends) it can be totally sold out for days, so we were extremely lucky to find something the same day! So if you’re heading there, be aware that they sell out and to be safe you should plan what day/time you’re going and book ahead.
I’d say to book your tickets a few days before you plan on going – especially if you’re only there for a few days to avoid disappointment and it being totally sold out. We bought our tickets through the official website, which you can find here! The standard entry ticket is the last one, so make sure you scroll down.
Are going up the towers worth it?
This time around we only bought a basic ticket, but the first time I went we went up the towers too. This ended up being a really bad decision on my part! I am very claustrophobic, heights don’t worry me at all but small, confined spaces really aren’t for me. Being my stubborn self however I ignored the sign saying the towers weren’t advised for some people, including those with claustrophobia, and went anyway… (oops!).
The views were incredible, though only through a small, narrow window. But I soon became panicky and the whole thing ended in tears. When I went 4 years ago you got the lift up then a narrow, spiral staircase all the way back down. The staircase was what broke me – I literally couldn’t see a way out! I’m not sure if it’s still the same now, but either way I wouldn’t recommend it for those with claustrophobia or a fear of heights.
This time we went we just went around the main part of the cathedral which was more than impressive in itself! It’s so beautiful, especially in the late afternoon when the sun has come down a bit and is shining through the colourful stained-glass windows. There is plenty to see without going up the towers, so don’t feel like they’re necessary for the trip.
In my personal opinion, the towers are a bit of a waste of money and the main part of the cathedral is amazing so you don’t need to see them! Sorry to anyone who disagrees with this!
Dress Code at the Sagrada Familia
I honestly didn’t even think about this – after travelling Asia this summer I got so used to what you could and couldn’t wear visiting temples, so I’m not sure why it didn’t cross my mind for the cathedral too! Obviously it is a religious space, and there are signs when you come in to say shoulders must be covered, no short skirts or shorts and no hats or headwear (unless for religious reasons).
I was wearing an off the shoulder top and shorts (not crazy short but still!) so pulled my top over my shoulders and was fine. I don’t think they are very strict as I saw others wearing stuff and not getting told off, but it’s better to stick to the rules just in case & to respect that it is a religious building.
Other than that, as long as you plan ahead & dress appropriately there isn’t much else you need to know. As it’s such an incredible place make sure you take a camera (or that your phone is charged) as the architecture is so unique you’ll definitely want to get photos of it. It really is something you cannot miss when in Barcelona! I took SO many photos, so here are a few of my favourites.
Have you visited the Sagrada Familia and think there’s more to add to this? Let me know in the comments below!
Charlotte Rick x
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