Sagrada Familia in Barcelona gets more than 5 million tourists annually.
During the summer months, up to 30,000 visitors enter the gates of Antoni Gaudi’s masterpiece daily.
This massive crowd is one of the main reasons why holidayers in Barcelona want to know the best time to visit Sagrada Familia.
This article shares everything you must know before planning your visit to Sagrada Familia and buy Sagrada Familia tickets.
Table of contents
Best time to avoid the crowd
The biggest crowds throng this place during the high season from April to September.
If you want to avoid the crowd, the best time to visit Sagrada Familia is as soon as they open at 9 am.
The period from 9 am to 11 am is relatively less crowded.
During these peak months, the longest waiting lines are seen between 11 am to 1 pm.
After lunchtime, the crowd thins down, and the queues shorten.
However, it becomes challenging to stand in the line because of the hot sun.
If you can’t brave the Spanish sun, try being in the ticketing queue at 5 pm.
However, there is a high possibility of the day’s tickets being sold off by 5 pm, so we always recommend online tickets for Sagrada Familia.
Best time to see Sagrada Familia interiors
The best time to see Sagrada Familia cathedral’s interiors is between 5 pm to 6 pm – when the sun is setting.
The evening light shines through the intricately stained glass, making it seem like a dream.
Many tourists plan their visit to coincide with the Golden Hour.
Once you have experienced the interiors, you can attend the Mass at La Sagrada Familia.
The crypt opens for Mass at 6 pm.
Best time to go up Sagrada Familia Towers
If you plan to go up one of the Sagrada Familia towers, you need a Tower ticket.
The best time to go up a Sagrada Familia Tower is between 9 am to 11 am.
Before the crowd starts trickling in, you must reach the venue, spend 15 minutes collecting your audio guide, and then go up the Tower.
If you reach the elevator to go up the Nativity or Passion tower before 11 am, you will find a short queue.
Once you have gone up the elevator and seen the fantastic views from one of the towers, you must climb down 400 odd stairs.
Before 11 am, Sagrada Familia is not as crowded, and you won’t take much time walking down the stairs.
With the light streaming in at an angle, 10.30 am to 11.30 am is one of the best times to see the stained-glass windows.
Visual Story: 12 must-know tips before visiting Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia Towers in afternoon
If you missed the time slot mentioned above, reach the attraction by 3 pm.
Once again, start by going up the towers and enjoying the sunlit views of the city.
During this time, there is a slightly longer queue for the elevators.
Even the climb down the stairs is a little slow because the crowd walking ahead of you decides your speed.
Recommended Reading: Are Sagrada Familia Towers worth it?
Monday – best day of the week
Most Barcelona attractions (and some restaurants too) are closed on Mondays.
However, Sagrada Familia remains open on the first day of the week.
Tourists think the massive Barcelona Cathedral will also be closed on Mondays and plan something else.
As a result, Mondays are relatively less crowded and ideal for visiting with family, kids, and seniors.
If you book your Sagrada Familia tickets in advance, you can avoid the queues (short or long!) and enter the Basilica right away.
Worst time to visit Sagrada Familia
Irrespective of the season, 12 pm to 3 pm is the most crowded time at Sagrada Familia.
Large groups from schools, cruise liners, and bus tours start arriving around noon.
If your stay in Barcelona is long enough, we suggest avoiding the 12 pm to 3 pm slot.
The queue at the ticketing counters is long, which translates to long lines for the elevators (when you go up the Towers).
Interesting Read: Sagrada Familia facts
Best time for taking photographs
Sagrada Familia is so beautiful that you can take photographs whenever you want.
However, some times are better than the rest.
Two slots are great for taking photos at Sagrada Familia.
First, from 10.30 to 11.30 am when the sunlight enters the Basilica at an angle.
Second, from 5 pm to 6 pm when the subdued rays of the sunlight stream in sheepishly. Many tourists consider the evening time better.
If you are a seasoned photographer, any time is good for photoshoots of the Basilica from outside.
If you plan to go up the Nativity facade towers and take many photos, we recommend the morning slot.
Morning is better because the sun is behind you and helps take good pics.
Post noon, the sun is in front of you, making it impossible to snap good photos.
There is no specific good time to take good photos of Passion facade.
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