Three million people visit Sagrada Familia in Barcelona every year. Such huge numbers make it the second most visited tourist attraction after Great Wall of China, which gets 10 million visitors in a year.
These 3 million tourists have one question: Passion facade or Nativity facade? Which towers should they buy the tickets for?
The much easier choice would have been to see both – Nativity facade and Passion facade. Unfortunately, that’s not possible due to many reasons.
– Limited time the tourists have
– High cost of the tower tickets
– Facades are not connected, which means you can only visit one facade at a time
Those who don’t do their research before visiting Sagrada Familia have to decide when they are standing in the ticketing line for the Towers.
Before we recommend the better facade at Sagrada Familia – Passion facade or Nativity facade – let’s understand the Basilica’s design better.
Towers at Sagrada Familia
When fully built this basilica will have 18 towers but as of today, only eight are complete.
In the middle of Sagrada Familia is the tower dedicated to Jesus Christ. This is the tallest tower. Around this central tower are four towers representing the four Gospels – the books containing the life and teachings of Jesus.
At the end of the Basilica is its apse – and a huge tower rests on top which represents Virgin Mary. You can identify this tower by the star on the top.
Besides these six towers, there are 12 more which represent the 12 Apostles, the primary disciples of Jesus.
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Facades at Sagrada Familia
There are three facades in Sagrada Familia. The Nativity facade, the Passion facade and the Glory facade.
As mentioned earlier only 8 of the 18 towers are fully constructed. Of these eight complete towers, four are part of the Nativity facade and four are part of the Passion facade.
Facade is nothing but the view that a few towers combine and create for the viewer. Let’s understand them better.
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What is Nativity Facade?
The four eastern towers in the front of Sagrada Família make up the Nativity Facade. These towers represent the four Apostles Matthew, Barnabas, Jude, and Simon.
The Nativity facade is dedicated to the birth of Jesus Christ. The iconography used on the Nativity towers relates to nature and life. Nativity facade was completed under the supervision of Gaudi himself in 1935.
What is Passion Facade?
The four towers towards the west of Sagrada Familia make up the Passion Facade. These towers represent the four Apostles James, Thomas, Philip, and Bartholomew.
Completed in 1977, this facade facing the west represents the suffering of Christ during his crucifixion. While the Nativity facade is highly decorated, the Passion facade is austere, plain and simple.
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What is Glory Facade?
The rest of the towers in the south represent the Glory facade. The construction for this facade began in 2002 and once completed, these will be the tallest of all Sagrada Familia towers.
This facade is dedicated to the Glory of Jesus and hence the name. It represents the road to God: Death, Final Judgment, and Glory.
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Is it worth paying for tower tickets at Sagrada Familia?
Many tourists who visit Sagrada Familia don’t go up the towers, which is not what we recommend. The view from below doesn’t show you the intricate work on the facades of this masterpiece by Gaudi.
Check out this video below to see what you are missing if you don’t visit one of the towers – the view from the top of Sagrada Familia is something to die for.
Now for the question…
Passion facade or Nativity Facade – which is better?
Before we share our advice on which is better – the Passion facade or Nativity facade you need to know a few things about going up the towers.
Going up the towers will cost you extra. Access to these towers is not included in your basic entry ticket to Sagrada Familia. Ask for the “Top Views” tickets at the attraction.
You can only visit one facade at a time because they aren’t joined yet. This is the reason why tourists have to choose between the Passion facade and Nativity facade.
To reach the top of the towers, you must take one of the lifts in each of the facades.
Once you have checked out the views from the facades, everybody must walk down approximately 400 stairs. Since these stairs don’t have handrails, children younger than 6 years are not allowed to go up to see the facades. All kids under 16 must have an adult supervisor with them.
Now for our recommendation on which facade is better – the Nativity facade is better than the Passion facade. We recommend you buy your tower tickets for Nativity facade.
Why is Nativity facade better than Passion facade?
Majority of the visitors to Sagrada Familia seem to think that the Nativity facade is better than the Passion facade.
In fact, the guides who take the tourists to both the towers say they have seen a better sense of satisfaction in tourists who go up Nativity facade.
Here are our reasons for why it is better to buy tower tickets for Nativity facade.
1. Antoni Gaudi built the Nativity facade himself. It makes more sense to see the towers built by the real architect of Sagrada Familia.
2. A bridge connects two towers of Nativity facade. Once you take the elevator and go up the Nativity facade, you can walk on the bridge for incredible views. Passion facade has no such bridge.
3. Standing on this bridge of Nativity facade you can view diverse details of the towers from close.
4. On your way down the Nativity facade, you can get into the balconies for better view of the details on the towers.
5. From Nativity tower you see the city and the mountain range behind Barcelona and from Passion Tower you see the ocean. It is better to get a bird’s eye view of Barcelona.
6. Passion facade is still under construction with lots of equipment hindering the views. It is a bit disappointing when you pay so much for the tower tickets and don’t get the full experience.
7. Since we all love to take photographs, Nativity facade works best. After 12 noon, the sun is at your back, making it easy to snap excellent photos of your family, friends and the Basilica in general.