Best time to visit Sagrada Familia – to avoid crowd, take great photos

Best time to visit Sagrada Familia

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 is one of the main reasons why holidayers in Barcelona want to know the best time to visit Sagrada Familia.

In this article, we share everything you must know before you plan your visit to Sagrada Familia.

1. Best time to avoid crowd
2. Best time to see interiors
3. Better time for Tower climb
4. Best day of the week
5. Worst time to visit
6. Best time for photos

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 a little difficult to stand in the queue 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.

This is why we always recommend online tickets for Sagrada Familia.


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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.

Sagrada Familia sunlight inside
Image: Sagrada Familia on Twitter
Golden hour at Sagrada Familia
Image: Girl With Red Hat

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.


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Best time to go up Sagrada Familia Towers

If you plan to go up one of the Sagrada Familia Towers, you will need a Tower ticket.

The best time to go up a Sagrada Familia Tower is between 9 am to 11 am.

You must reach the venue before the crowd starts trickling, spend 15 minutes to collect 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.

Since before 11 am, this tourist attraction isn’t as crowded, you won’t take much time walking down the stairs.

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

Sagrada Familia Towers in afternoon

If for some reason you missed the above mentioned time slot, land up at 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 decide your speed.

Recommended Reading: Are Sagrada Familia Towers worth it?


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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 thus plan something else. 

As a result, Mondays are relatively less crowded and ideal for visiting family, kids, and seniors. 

If you book your Sagrada Familia tickets in advance, you can avoid whatever short lines you see and enter the gates right away. 

Sagrada Familia tickets

The cheapest and most popular entry ticket at this attraction is the Sagrada Familia Fast Track ticket.

Two of the best and cheapest guided tours of Sagrada Familia are THIS and THIS (they don’t include access to the Towers).

If you want to go up the Towers, check out the Tower Access Ticket.


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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 this time.

If your stay in Barcelona is long enough, we suggest you avoid the 12 pm to 3 pm slot.

The queue at the ticketing counters is long, which then translate to long lines for the elevators (when you go up the Towers) as well.

Interesting Read: Sagrada Familia facts


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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.

Sagrada Familia photography
Image: Nick Fewings

There are two slots which 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.

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

If you plan to go up the Nativity facade towers and take lots of photos, we 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 impossible to snap good photos.

There is no such specific timing required to take good photos of Passion facade.

# Sagrada Familia
# Park Guell
# Casa Batllo
# Casa Mila
# Camp Nou tour
# Barcelona Aquarium
# Montserrat Monastery
# Gaudi House Museum

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