Sagrada Familia Towers: Ultimate Visit Guide (2023)

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So you’re planning a trip to Barcelona and you’re not sure if visiting the Sagrada Familia towers is worth it, right? I mean, those amazing towers are pretty incredible from the outside, but are they worth your precious vacation time? 

Well, you’re in the right spot to figure it all out! I’ve spent more time than I can count in Barcelona – as living in Spain has its perks, you know? And let me tell you, each time friends and family have visited, I’ve had the chance to explore every nook and cranny of the basilica with them, including the Sagrada Familia towers. 

That’s exactly why I’m going to share everything you need to know, including my pick for which tower is better, the best way to make sure you actually see the Sagrada Familia towers (including my story on getting scammed when trying to do so, so the same doesn’t happen to you…) and all the other essential details that will help you make the most out of your visit.

By the end, you’ll have a clear picture of whether a trip up those skyscraping masterpieces is worth it for you! 

Sagrada Familia towers and the basilica which is worth visiting for tourists to Barcelona, Spain

What are the Sagrada Familia Towers?

The Sagrada Familia was Gaudí’s vision, and he wanted it grand and symbolic. The plan included a total of 18 towers, each representing a significant religious figure such as the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, the Twelve Apostles, and the four Evangelists. Only 8 out of the 18 towers have been completed, so far though.

As you can probably tell, these marvels of architecture aren’t just any ordinary towers – and that’s not only because of the fact that their construction is still ongoing. Designed by the legendary Antoni Gaudí, these towers in Barcelona have a deeper meaning, and are a must-see during your visit.

Among these towers are two distinctive façades: the Nativity Façade and the Passion Façade. The Nativity Façade represents new life, innocence, and joy, while the Passion Façade is a stark contrast, symbolizing the suffering and death of Jesus. 

To give you an idea of the impressive scale of these towers, the highest one, representing Jesus, will be topped by a massive cross and reach 172 meters (564 ft) once it’s finished. That will make it the highest church tower in the world and the tallest structure in the city, giving some incredible views of Barcelona from above.

The other Sagrada Familia towers aren’t much smaller though. For instance, the Evangelists Towers are currently 103.56 meters (340 ft) high and will be 135 meters (443 ft) when completed, making them the third tallest ones after the Virgin Mary Tower.

The top far view of Sagrada Familia towers.

Exploring the Sagrada Familia Towers

As you enter the Sagrada Familia, you’ll have two options for exploring the towers: the Nativity Tower and the Passion Tower, each offering its own unique perspective of the city. Tickets are required though, so grab yours in advance to secure a spot!

While going up, you have to take the lift, but you’ll descend via a spiral staircase. Keep in mind the stairs may not be suitable for everyone and assessing your comfort level is essential.

Once you reach the summit, the view is absolutely worth it! Gaze at the stunning Barcelona skyline and marvel at the intricate stone sculptures, symbols, and other architectural details within the towers themselves. Each tower provides a glimpse into the history of the Sagrada Familia and its continuous development.

As you walk the tower bridge and admire the famous trencadís mosaic, you’ll notice the different facades of the Sagrada Familia, such as the Nativity, Passion, and, eventually, the yet-to-be-completed Glory Facade. These magnificent facades present various aspects of Christ’s life and Christian beliefs in an artistic and symbolic manner.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, consider taking a guided tour to dive deep into stories and secrets behind the Sagrada Familia Towers. It’s a fantastic way to engage with the space and get the most out of your visit.

Can you visit both towers of the Sagrada Familia?

Yes, you can visit both towers of the Sagrada Familia, but there’s a catch: you’ll need to purchase separate tickets for each tower. If you’re an architecture or photography enthusiast, the experience of viewing the details of each tower and the different perspectives of the city make it worthwhile though.

If you’re just broadly interested in these things though or simply want to take in the sights of what’s become one of the most famous structures in the world, one tower is probably going to be enough for you, to be honest.

In choosing to just go to one, you’ll still get a fantastic glimpse of the Sagrada Familia’s grandeur. The Passion Façade Towers tend to be the more popular choice (and, if you have to pick one, are the side I’d choose), with a bridge connecting two of the four towers, providing awe-inspiring photo opportunities.

Tourists admiring the exterior of the La Sagrada Familia

Which tower is better at the Sagrada Familia?

Visitors to the iconic Sagrada Familia can only visit either the Nativity Tower or the Passion Tower. When choosing which tower is better to visit, for me, the Passion Tower is the best choice because of the views of both the Sagrada Familia itself and of the city below.

But let me give you a little insight to help you decide!

First, let’s talk about the history and design. The Nativity Tower is part of the Nativity Facade, which showcases Antoni Gaudí’s original architectural designs and sculptural work. It’s more traditional and features beautiful symbols depicting the birth of Christ. 

On the other hand, the Passion Tower is a part of the Passion Facade, illustrating the story of Christ’s crucifixion. Its design is more modern and angular, making it visually striking in contrast to the Nativity Tower.

In terms of views, both towers have their perks. The Nativity Tower faces one of the lovely parks in Barcelona with a lake, giving you excellent sights of the western part of the city, including landmarks like the Agbar Tower and the twin towers of Port Olimpic. With a clear day, you can even glimpse mountains further to the north.

The Passion Towers, while overlooking more greenery, offers a different perspective as you observe the unique rooftop of the Sagrada Familia Schools. You’ll also spot the Agbar Tower, Olympic Village towers, the Cathedral towers in the Gothic Quarter, and Montjuic Hill. 

Personally, I find these views a bit more exciting, so I favor the Passion Towers for sightseeing.

But hey, regardless of which tower you choose, both offer great views of the central towers’ construction and the fruit pinnacles adorning the church’s sides. So, it really comes down to what kind of view and architectural experience you’re after. 

Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Barcelona. Catalonia.

How do I get tickets to the Sagrada Familia towers?

Getting tickets to this iconic architectural masterpiece is super simple. Follow these easy steps, and you’ll be well on your way to experiencing one of the most impressive sights in Europe.

First off, whether you choose to go up the Sagrada Familia towers or only visit the main part of the basilica below, you need to book in advance. It’s easily the most popular tourist sight in Barcelona – a city with plenty of tourists as it is – and waiting to get your tickets on the day you go will either mean an hour or more of waiting…or even missing out altogether if they sell out.

(In fact, I just jumped on to the ticket site to check some details while writing this article. Entry to the Sagrada Familia is sold out for the next eight days and all days are marked as low availability for the three weeks after that. So…you’ve been warned.)

You can grab your tickets online through the Sagrada Familia’s official website. While browsing the ticket options, be sure to choose one that includes access to the towers. 

This will likely be labeled as a “Sagrada Familia with Towers” ticket. Keep in mind as well that these tower access tickets have specific time slots, so you’ll need to be punctual for your scheduled entry.

Once you’ve chosen the right ticket, you’ll be asked to select the tower you’d like to visit. As mentioned above, I generally prefer the Passion Tower, but you can always choose to go to both if you want.

After you’ve made all your selections, simply complete the payment online, and you’ll receive an e-ticket or QR code via email. Don’t forget to bring this with you when you visit!

That’s it! With your tickets secured, you’re all set for an unforgettable experience at the Sagrada Familia towers. 

Tourists queuing at the entrance of Sagrada Familia

Is Skip the Line Worth it for the Sagrada Familia Towers?

Absolutely. The Sagrada Familia is without a doubt a top attraction in Barcelona and can get pretty busy, especially during peak season. Waiting times for regular tickets can sometimes be painfully long. Opting for skip-the-line tickets can save you valuable time that you could spend exploring other parts of the city.

Now, about the cost. The price of skip-the-line tickets can vary depending on the tour operator or the package you choose – but, clearly, it’s going to cost a bit more than the standard entry fee. 

Ultimately, it’s up to you to weigh the benefits of saving time against the additional cost. That said, for anyone who has limited time in the city, you’re not here to spend an hour or more lining up, so I’d definitely suggest that a skip-the-line ticket is worthwhile (as long as it’s reasonably priced, of course).

Is it worth buying Sagrada Familia tower tickets in advance?

It’s definitely worth buying Sagrada Familia tower tickets in advance, especially during the peak tourist season. It saves you from long ticket queues, not to mention that it makes sure you actually get in on the day, as tickets often sell out well in advance. 

Plus, if you have a specific time you want to visit (like during sunset for that perfect Instagram-worthy shot), advance booking helps you secure that coveted time slot.

There’s no question that when it comes to exploring the iconic basilica and its tower, planning and paying in advance can save you quite some time. I’ve personally been in the position when a friend visited Barcelona and I waited too long to get a ticket to the Sagrada Familia, so she missed out on seeing the inside.

(Actually, here’s a lesson learned for you: On that occasion, I got scammed by buying through a non-legit site. A legit site said that tickets had sold out but after Googling, I smugly thought I’d stumbled on a secret site with extra tickets. 

Long story short, I was wrong. We got there and we got denied entry. Basically, don’t be me.)

Are the Sagrada Familia towers worth it?

Yes, the Sagrada Familia towers are definitely worth visiting. Taking in the impressive panoramic views of Barcelona is an absolute highlight, but it’s also an incredible opportunity to appreciate Gaudí’s vision and creativity up close. As you reach the top and cross the suspension bridge, you’ll truly feel a part of this architectural marvel.

If you’re into history, art or architecture, going up the towers is going to be amazing for you. Photography enthusiasts should also really consider climbing the towers, as the shots you’ll get will be unparalleled.

That said, like anything, this isn’t for everyone. For example, if you’re short on time, seeing the inside of the main part of the Sagrada Familia is still crazy impressive and will still be a great experience.

Kids also might not appreciate it and, obviously, if you’re scared of heights, you might want to stay on the ground.

View of Barcelona from Sagrada Familia cathedral,

How long does it take to tour the Sagrada Familia towers?

To fully experience the Sagrada Familia and its towers, you should set aside at least 1.5 to two hours for your visit. This includes exploring the interiors, marveling at the Nativity and Passion facades, and even checking out the Gaudí museum in the basement.

You have two ticket options for your visit: standard and tower access. If you’re opting for the tower access ticket, which I highly recommend, you’ll need to budget for an extra 20 minutes to your visit. 

As for the way up, there’s an elevator so this won’t take as long as if you had to go up the stairs. You do have to go down the stairs though, so you’ll need some time for that.

Considering the completion of this timeless monument is still underway, a guided tour is an excellent choice to unlock the symbolism and learn more about the basilica’s history. You can choose a faster one or one that takes its time a bit more, especially if you’re an architecture aficionado.

Attractions in the Catalan capital

Is there a lift to the Sagrada Familia towers?

Yes, there is a lift that everyone must take to reach the Sagrada Familia towers. This means you can comfortably enjoy the incredible views without getting too worn out. However, you will have to take a spiral staircase down the towers.

With a lift available, you have the opportunity to experience this fantastic attraction without worrying about climbing hundreds of steps.

The lift provides access to the towers on both the Passion Façade and the Nativity Façade. To visit the Passion Façade, you’ll go up in the lift and then take the stairs to go down. This façade represents the suffering and pain of Christ during his crucifixion and has a more simple and stark decoration compared to the Nativity Façade.

When you visit the Nativity Façade, you’ll take a lift up to Saint Jude’s tower, which is 50m (164 ft) high! After getting off the lift, you can climb a few more stairs to reach a scenic bridge at 60m (197 ft) behind the cypress tree sculpture, connecting with the next tower, Simon’s.

For coming down from the towers, it’s worth mentioning that the staircase was designed for just a bell ringer, not for thousands of tourists every day. This means that they’re pretty dark and narrow, so you may want to take that into consideration for your visit.

Exterior of Sagrada Familia, south facade of the Passion of Christ

Can you go back to the Sagrada Familia after the towers?

Yes, when you finish with the towers and take the elevator back down, you’ll indeed find yourself back within the Sagrada Familia. From here, you can take the opportunity to wander back to the stunning stained glass windows for a second look (trust me, once is never enough!).

And after savoring the gorgeous colors and patterns, why not head downstairs to the historical area? You won’t regret learning more about the fascinating history and meaning behind this remarkable structure. 

What time can you go to the Sagrada Familia towers?

The first tickets for the Sagrada Familia towers are for entry at 9:15am, whereas the tickets for last entry are at 7:15pm. These can, however, be modified occasionally on certain public holidays or if there’s a special event taking place in the Basilica.

The optimal time to head up a Sagrada Familia tower is before 11 am. Arriving early is key to beating the crowds and making the most of your experience. 

And if you manage to reach the elevator going up the Nativity or Passion tower before 11 am, chances are you’ll find a short queue, which is a bonus.

The opening hours of the Sagrada Familia as a whole are as follows:

  • November through February:
    • Monday through Saturday: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. 
    • Sundays: 10:30 am to 6:00 pm
  • March and October:
    • Monday through Saturday: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
    • Sundays: 10:30 am to 7:00 pm
  • April through September:
    • Monday through Saturday: 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
    • Sundays: 10:30 am to 8:00 pm

Always make sure you check that these times haven’t changed or aren’t different on the specific date that you plan to go, though.

Sagrada Familia Barcelona

Are the Sagrada Familia towers open?

Great news for all you travel enthusiasts out there – the towers of the Sagrada Familia are now open for visitors! They had been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but fortunately, they reopened in April 2022. 

Now you can experience the awe and wonder of this iconic landmark in Barcelona. After all, the towers offer an unforgettable, panoramic view of the vibrant city that should definitely be part of your trip. 

So next time you find yourself in Barcelona, make sure you check out the Sagrada Familia towers. The view, history, and architecture will definitely leave a lasting impression on you.

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