Best time to visit Sagrada Familia – Best for photography, to avoid crowd

Best time to visit Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia is the most popular tourist destination in Barcelona attracting more than 5 million tourists every year.

Under construction for more than 100 years, this Basilica is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.

Basilica de la Sagrada Família as it is originally called is a fantastic masterpiece by Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi.

A visit to the Sagrada Familia is unforgettable during any time or season, but some times are better than others.

Many European visitors to Barcelona arrive here on Weekend breaks and that’s why Friday, Saturday and Sundays tend to be crowded.

If you prefer a quiet visit, we suggest you book your tickets to Sagrada Familia on weekdays. Everything about Sagrada Familia online tickets.

How much time is needed at Sagrada Familia

At Sagrada Familia, once you have entered nobody asks you to leave. Just make sure you arrive at the entry gates 15 minutes earlier than the time mentioned on your ticket. Else you won’t be able to enter.

The guards at the entry gates of this Barcelona attraction are strict when it comes to timings.

Going up the towers to see the Nativity facade or the Passion facade will take up an hour of your time at Sagrada Familia. To see inside the Basilica in Barcelona you need another half hour. A total of 90 minutes is enough to get a good Sagrada Familia experience.

If you are an avid photographer, you will need three hours and more.

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Best time to visit Sagrada Familia

Best time to avoid crowd at Sagrada Familia

One needs to know the best time to visit Sagrada Familia for two reasons – one is to avoid the crowd and second is to capture the best photographs. Let’s find out.

Best time to visit Sagrada Familia – 9 am to 12 pm

On all days Sagrada Familia is open by 9 am. Land up before the crowd starts trickling in and start by going up one of your preferred towers to see the intricate sculptures and amazing views from the top of Gaudi’s masterpiece.

Not sure which Sagrada Familia tower you should buy the ticket for? Read Nativity Facade vs Passion facade – which is better?

Do factor in 15 minutes for collecting the audio guide. If you reach the elevator to go up the tower before 11 am, you will find a short queue.

Once you have gone up the elevator and seen the amazing views from the towers, you must climb down 400 odd stairs. Since this time slot is not so crowded, the walk down the stairs is faster.

Once the towers are checked, walk into the cathedral to admire interiors of La Sagrada Familia.

With the light streaming in, this is the best time to see the stained-glass windows.

Buy TicketsFast Track tickets for Sagrada Familia + Tower Access + Audio Guide

Buy TicketsFast Track tickets for Sagrada Familia

Second best time to visit Sagrada Familia – 3 pm to 6 pm

If for some reason you missed the best time to visit Sagrada Familia, delay your visit even further and land up at the attraction by 3 pm.

Once again start by going up the towers and enjoying the sunlit views of the city and the ocean from Sagrada Familia’s towers.

During this time there is a slightly longer queue for the elevators to go up the towers.

Even the climb down the stairs is a little slow because your speed is decided by the crowd walking ahead of you.

Ensure you are inside the Sagrada Familia cathedral by 5 pm for the best time to see the Basilica’s interiors is between 5 pm to 6 pm.

The evening light shines through the intricately stained glass, making it seem like a dream.

Once you have experienced the interiors you can attend the mass at La Sagrada Familia. The crypt opens for mass at 6 pm.

Third best time to visit Sagrada Familia – 12 pm to 3 pm

If your stay in Barcelona is long enough, we suggest you avoid this time slot. If for some reason you can’t make it to this Barcelona attraction between 9 am to 12 pm or between 3 pm to 6 pm, move your trip to the next day.

This isn’t the best slot for a couple of reasons. Large groups of tourists from schools, cruise liners, and bus tours start arriving around this time.

The queue at the ticketing counters is long, which then translate to long queues for the elevators as well.

With so many people in the frame, photography also becomes difficult during this period.

Best time to visit Sagrada Familia for photography

Sagrada Familia is a beautiful tourist attraction and hence photo worthy. It is so beautiful that all the times are best times for taking photographs at this Basilica.

However, some times are better than the rest.

Light through stained glass sagrada Familia

There are two slots which are great for taking photos at Sagrada Familia. Morning time of 10.30 to 11.30 when the sunlight enters the Basilica at an angle is good.

However, the evening time between 5 pm to 6 pm when the subdued rays of the sunlight stream in sheepishly is even better.

For photo shoots of the Basilica from outside, any time is a good time if you are a seasoned photographer.

Photography in Sagrada Familia

To fully exploit the colors of the light, iPhone users are known to (and we recommend it too!) change to the ‘chrome’ photo setting.

If you intend to go up the Nativity facade towers and take lots of photos we strongly recommend the morning slot.

Morning is better because then the sun is behind you and helps take good pics.

Post noon the sun is in front of you making it literally impossible to shoot good photos. Views and photos to expect from Passion Facade towers

Be aware that professional photo equipment is not allowed inside the Basilica.

Professional shoots where the subject dresses up and holds props etc are also not allowed inside Sagrada Familia.

However, if you belong to the press and want to conduct your photo shoots inside you need the go-ahead of the Press Department of the Basilica.

If you take your photography seriously, we will also recommend visiting Sagrada Familia in the night for clicking some amazing photos of a lit-up Basilica.

Best time to visit Sagrada Familia at night

Antonio Gaudi wanted to attract a lot of people to his favorite masterpiece and hence made the exteriors of Sagrada Familia as ornate as possible.

One of the finest times for photographing Sagrada Familia is when the sun is setting and the golden glow reflects off the walls of the World wonder. Something like this:

Photo of Sagrada Familia in sunset

As the night falls, the church gets lit up in all its grandiosity. Once the lights go up, it is the best time to take photographs of Sagrada Familia at night. Something like this:

Sagrada Familia at night

Any time after 7 pm is a good time to see the Basilica in its night time glory. This is also a good time to see the city of Barcelona from Nativity facade.

Sagrada Familia’s timing

November to February: 9 AM to 6 PM
March: 9 AM to 7 PM
April to September: 9 AM to 8 PM
October: 9 AM to 7 PM
December 25, 26, and January 1 and 6: 9 AM to 2 PM

Be aware that the ticketing counters close half hour before the closing time.

Do your research beforehand and decide if you want to go up the towers for the top views. Find out if going up the Sagrada Familia Towers is worth it?

And if you have decided to go up the towers, which facade will it be? Do your research on which is better – Nativity facade or the Passion facade?


Buy TicketsFast Track tickets for Sagrada Familia + Tower Access + Audio Guide

If you book this ticket online, you save 6 Euros per ticket because you don’t pay ticket window surcharge. The ticket will be emailed to you.

Buy TicketsFast Track tickets for Sagrada Familia

Buying this ticket online saves you 3 Euros per ticket because you don’t pay ticket window surcharge. You must show the email at the entrance to gain access.

Recommended Reading
1. Sagrada Familia facts
2. Are Sagrada Familia Towers worth it?
3. How to avoid the crowd at Sagrada Familia
4. Casa Batllo tickets – Fast Pass, tickets price, discounts
5. Barcelona Aquarium tickets – online tickets price, discount

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