5 Things to avoid at sagrada familia - How to prepare for a visit in Barcelona's landmark.
Updated: Jun 19
If you are reading this article, that means you are about to go to Barcelona and you are planning your trip and Sagrada Familia which is one of the landmarks you consider visiting. It is the most famous landmark of Barcelona probably after Camp Nou, and Park Guell that attracts millions (approx. 4.5 million a year, with 20 million visiting the area to see it) of tourists every year and I urge you to visit it (if you are still hesitant). Let me start with some facts; La Sagrada Familia is a minor basilica and it is being built since 1882; interestingly it only received building permit in 2019. It was due to be completed by 2026 (which would mark centenary of Gaudi's death) but due to COVID it is postponed to later date. The construction of the church is funded by private donations; which is the reason it takes so long to build and all the proceeds from tickets go towards the construction. Sagrada Familia is architectural maverick, it is so unique that it is probably one of its kind in the world. Once the towers will be completed, it will be the tallest church in the world.
Rainer Zerbst, a professor who studied Gaudi extensively, said "it is probably impossible to find a church building anything like it in the entire history of art"
So how to prepare yourself for a visit to Sagrada Familia, but most importantly what to avoid so it is a successful trip when you get there and you can enjoy this wonderful piece of art, as well as soul enriching place? This article will be about things to avoid, and things to do instead! I needed to catch your attention so the title could bring you here.... I hope you will find it useful?
Below is 5 mistakes that may cost you a successful trip and may lead to not the greatest visit to La Sagrada Familia.
1. Avoid buying tickets at the site. First and foremost, buy tickets online especially if you are visiting during peak season as the queues are very long. Online ticket holders have priority line and don't need to wait in a loooong line. Plus you know you are entering for sure.
My tip: buy a fast track entrance ticket with audio guide on websites like Get Your Guide or Viator. You get to skip the line and go straight into the basilica with an audio guide walking you through different parts of the church.
2. Avoid coming late - Try to book early time slot, or try to arrive earlier before your actual time slot - you may get inside quicker - this place is so intricate and elaborate to look at, that it could easily take a day to see every corner if you are very detail oriented. It took me 3-4 hours inside and I feel I really rushed it.
3. Avoid skipping some parts of the basilica - visit the crypt with old pictures and plans of the church; DO climb the towers, even if you are scared of heights (just like my hubby) then the panoramic view of Barcelona is worth the climb. Also, you are closer to detailed sculptures that are on the outside of the towers. Additionally, if you are thinking that the outside is enough to see, let me tell you there is much more to see inside!
4. Avoid going unprepared - try to read information before you go, I would suggest you read about Gaudi, the history of the construction site and all the background info about basilica as there is a lot of interesting facts you want to know while you are walking around the church. It also makes much more sense when you know history, different architectural styles, religious symbolism and background as well as the artist's vision. There's so much to see inside as well as on the outside that it is worth knowing what are you looking at. Hiring a guide would be a great option if you can afford.
5. Avoid wondering aimlessly - Use audiobook or a guide if you can afford, as I said in previous point the intricacy and detail of this building is so complex that without guide or audiobook you are just walking around and don't know what you are looking at e.g. Glory Facade, Passion facade, crypt, naves and their symbolism. So in order to get as much from this visit as possible, get a guide or audioguide, alternatively read up before you arrive.
I hope this short and quick travel tips will be useful for your Barcelona and Sagrada Familia visit and you will have fantastic time visiting this one of a kind place.