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The Best Time to Visit the Sagrada Familia

Selecting the Ideal Time for Your Sagrada Familia Adventur

The best time to visit the Sagrada Familia is during the early morning on a weekday, ideally around 9:00 AM when it opens. Arriving early allows you to avoid the large crowds that gather as the day progresses, giving you a more peaceful and immersive experience. Weekdays are generally less crowded than weekends, making it easier to appreciate the intricate details of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece. The lighting inside the basilica is particularly stunning in the morning when the sunlight streams through the colorful stained-glass windows, casting beautiful patterns on the floor and walls. If you plan to visit the towers, the morning is also a good time as visibility is often better, offering clear views of Barcelona.

To make the most of your visit, purchase Sagrada Familia tickets online in advance to skip the long lines and ensure entry at your desired time. Additionally, consider opting for an audio guide or a guided tour to gain deeper insights into the history and architectural significance of this iconic structure. Visiting in the spring or fall is ideal, as the weather is mild and pleasant, enhancing your overall experience. Avoid major holidays and peak tourist seasons like summer to enjoy a more relaxed visit. By planning your visit for an early weekday morning during off-peak times, you can fully appreciate the beauty and grandeur of the Sagrada Familia with fewer distractions and a more serene atmosphere.

Is it better to visit the Sagrada Familia during the week or at the weekend?

Many schools visit the Sagrada Familia during the academic year. Special schedule to visit the Basilica is provided for these student groups, with the exception during autumn and spring, the busiest visiting periods, especially January and February. If you can, please avoid visiting the basilica during the school hours, from 9 am to 1 pm. Nurses take lunch time to avoid the busiest period. If you buy your ticket to make sure you will visit the basilica outside the main lunch time, from 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm to avoid the biggest groups of tourists usually is a good option. Conversely, you can also reserve your ticket for after 4:00 pm, the busiest time occurs early afternoon, from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm.

If you have the option to visit the Sagrada Familia on a weekday or at the weekend, our recommendation is to visit the basilica from Monday to Thursday. One of the busiest days of the week is Sunday, coinciding with the influx of visitors who attend mass at the Basilica. Fridays and Saturdays are also very popular days of the week, where high visitor numbers and the lowest staff numbers create an unfavorable environment. Therefore, it is better if you decide to visit the Sagrada Familia on Monday, then Tuesday, Wednesday is usually the most enjoyable day of the week to visit the basilica, and it becomes somewhat busier on Thursday, due to visitors who have arrived in the city for a long weekend.

Weather and Seasons

Winter: November, December, January, and February

During the winter months, it can get as low as 5°C in the months of December, January, and February, but if you are coming from a colder climate, you will find this mild. The locals dress warmly, and the streets are decorated with Christmas decorations. The winter atmosphere allows you to get into a different side of Barcelona, to do different types of activities, such as ice skating in Plaza Cataluña, and the best thing is that everything is cheaper. If you love photography, you will love the winter sunsets with a red sky over Barcelona’s monuments.

Autumn: September, October, and November

In fall, the humidity decreases, and the amount of sunlight decreases as well. However, temperatures remain mild, but you see less of an influx of tourists and locals. Moreover, in September, there is the local festivity of “La Mercè,” but with the weather cooling down, this is the perfect time to visit the Sagrada Familia. There will not be so many people, and it will not be as hot, so you can visit the towers at your own pace without being too distracted by the weather. There’s also Halloween in October, and chestnuts and sweet potatoes are sold on street corners, and there are barbecues in the streets. November brings little rain, but nothing that won’t stop you from exploring. For Barcelona, it is essential to wear a comfortable pair of walking shoes.

Summer: July and August

During the months of July and August, the weather in Barcelona is hot and humid. It can be an average of 30 degrees. During these months, you can visit beaches and bathe in the Mediterranean Sea to escape the heat. As this is the high season for tourism, you will find that all types of establishments, shops, and restaurants are open. With a downside that visiting the Sagrada Familia can become uncomfortable due to the heat and the large number of people visiting it, it can get too crowded. It will be best to buy tickets in advance to avoid long queues and wear sunscreen and a hat. If possible, avoid the hours of maximum influx of tourists. There are also events and festivities in this holiday season, such as Sónar Music Festival, Sant Jordi, and The Summer Festival.

Spring

In fact, the Sagrada Familia is stunning no matter the season, but during spring, cherry trees’ flowers give a special touch to the square, Rafael’s style. Plus, there are fewer tourists than in summer, and everything is cheaper. In case you want to step into appreciating Antonio Gaudí’s masterpiece and the significant events involved in its construction, one of the special dates is in spring: every 18th of April, the Basílica celebrates that Gaudí was blessed by the Pope back in 1906, and now it is a huge commercial event.

Summer

Taking a guided tour on a weekend evening may provide you with a 45- to 60-minute wait in harsh sunlight, as the Basilica closes when tours begin. This year, for safety reasons the crowded elevator ride up to the tower and the self-guided balcony circuit are still closed, so you will miss these amazing views, although it will be free of charge to visit the NAU space which lies between the towers icon stage and under the central vault and which offers a new and exciting way to experience the interior of the Temple, and now all naves are open again (closed for some years).
July and August can be overwhelming in the Sagrada Familia, so if you can, avoid these months entirely—or if you must visit in the summer, plan to be one of the first to arrive as soon as the Basilica opens (9 a.m. daily) on a weekday morning. If you take a guided tour, it will be easier to move within the group and the tour guide will help to lighten the experience by offering less stressful contacts with other group members.

Most of the tour guides are regulars and they have their own little rituals to make your visit less stressful. One of them is offering time for silent prayer after explaining the construction of the nativity façade, and then finding a place for you to sit inside the crypt (audainer). If you do not take a guided tour and you are not religious (that is going to be the large majority of the people in the Sagrada Familia this summer) you will not feel secure about seating or praying, that can be very stressful.

Autumn

Another fact about the fall and winter season is that these months are the most exclusive time. By taking days off, the queue is very short to no queue at all. It is the four months from November to February in which, because of the low temperature, we can consider it off-season. The few people from the surrounding countries like Germany and France won’t even think about traveling, so it is the authentic holiday time in the place. Also, the warm and decorative months of November and February are also very enjoyable to visit because of the small amount of people and the colors that Gaudí offers. So, we suggest the months of November to February for a less and more exclusive experience of Sagrada Familia.

Then, in the fall and the beginning of winter, Sagrada Familia is quite recommended, especially in the fewer months of November to February because of holidays and low amounts of people in the city of Barcelona. You will be better able to appreciate it. Also, during these months, architect Antoni Gaudí was born, so temperatures are low but also very enjoyable. At the place, it is a balanced season which is recommended due to the low crowd and the lovely Sagrada Familia colors and architecture seen on naked trees.

During the fall and spring seasons, before and after the peak season, the weather is also pleasant and very similar to the summer one. The sun will be around, you’ll be able to walk around without the need of an umbrella, and the views will be nice and clear.

Winter

Winter in Barcelona features cool weather and few tourists, making it an optimal time for sightseeing such as Sagrada Familia. Many attractions offer discounted admissions during the slow season, including the world-renowned church. The winter holidays bring decorations to the Sagrada Familia, a special market, and a beautiful ice rink. If you can plan around the holiday season and Scandinavians and Germans, the winter season offers the best potential for clear visibility. Barcelona has a cool, dry winter. January is the coldest and wettest time of year in Barcelona, with the average temperatures ranging between 48°F/9°C and 57°F/14°C.

What is the low season to visit the Sagrada Familia?

The low season to visit the Sagrada Familia is during the months of January, February, and March. In these four months, the temple has a lot of times free to visit and there are fewer visitors in the neighboring squares. But these times are not only in the low season. In the high season, there are also times that are not so much in demand and the visit is fantastic, but not as good as in the winter months.

It is very important, because the Sagrada Familia is a very crowded monument, to know what is the low season to visit the interior of the temple, so we can optimize the visit and avoid possible waiting. It is true that in the low season where there are fewer visitors is in the morning, specifically at the first hour. That is why we think the best time to visit the Sagrada Familia is from 9:00 to 9:30 in the morning. After 10:30, the influx of people clouds the visit and there are a lot of queues to enter.

This depends not only on the time of day, but also on the time of year.

Peak Season

Spring (late March – May) and Autumn (September – October) are your best bets in terms of fewer visitors. As the weather is still gorgeous in spring and it comes with the added bonus of the spectacular sights and scents of the many flora in the area. The later in October, the fewer tourists there will be, and the cooler the weather will become. November kicks off the off-peak winter season, with daily highs dropping below 20°C (68°F) and passenger numbers nosedive along with the leaves. This continues throughout winter, making December to February the best Sagrada Familia visiting times in terms of light crowds. However, just be prepared for shorter opening hours and site closures on two November holidays. Note that the time slots vary throughout the year to accommodate changing opening times. If you’re visiting in peak season, don’t fret – we have more tips, including fast-track tickets and tour types for all personas.

Since the Sagrada Familia is one of Barcelona’s most popular attractions, no time will ever be free from the crowds. However, from June to August, it is quite literally bursting at the seams. The long summer days bring with them the largest throngs of visitors, meaning the entrance queues are often hours long. If you absolutely cannot imagine coming to the city without seeing it, then there is a way to snag yourself a quieter trip – you just have to brave it in the early morning. For a more civilized experience, we suggest you visit in the shoulder seasons, or at least towards the very end or very beginning of the day, and definitely try to avoid weekends when it is doubly busy. However, at this time of the year you can visit the surroundings of Barcelona and places like the Costa Brava or Salou that have many activities for this season.

Shoulder Season

September has very good average temperatures and it rained less than in May. It has less crowd, but is still respecting most of the lines and the sunsets are later. The month with the least rain is November in this town and it rained less than in September and May. There are very few tourists in the temple and that is appreciated when you are inside. If you have to choose July or August, it is better in July. It is cheaper, warmer and less crowded than in August. It is not worth to get up so soon to visit the Jewel of Barcelona with the heat that goes on those months. I hope the ticket line has fast-pass.

Even the times to see it in the evening are not the best, but if you have no choice, it is better to opt for the night of July and then August.
Shoulder seasons in Sagrada Familia last from February to May and from September to November. The weather is somewhat better in the period from May to September with significantly higher temperatures. April and May have good weather and moderate temperatures which can invite more people and having small lines in the mornings. But, if the priority is having more space to enjoy, may be better to choose November. Certainly, May is the warmest and most expensive of these months. It is the month with more lines in the mornings, but the most visited part of the church is done in the morning and then it can be better in the noon/evening. So, taking advantage of the fact that there is still sun and days are longer.

Off-Season

There are usually tours in several languages throughout the day from Monday to Sunday. In addition, you may have the impression that the busiest entrance is the one that forms by the people who go through the large portals of the sculptures of the Passion facade. If you want to avoid crowds and buy tickets to see firsthand the impressions of the Passion Facade, it is best to buy an individual ticket, or a priority entrance for the groups. You can buy your tickets without commissions. For a more personal experience, or if you plan to visit the Sagrada Familia as a group, we recommend to book a guided tour to see the basilica with a local English and/or Spanish-speaking guide.

Off season at the Sagrada Familia, January and February in terms of weather, the quietest days are the months of January and February, as it is still cold in Barcelona. The months of January and February are ideal if you are looking for tranquility and quieter places. Therefore, it is the ideal time to savor the tour of the Sagrada Familia because cheap airlines have lowered their rates. If you also enjoy photography, the light of winter can give you beautiful photographic moments.

In addition, we will take refuge from the cold inside the modernist monument. There are usually tours in several languages throughout the day from Monday to Sunday. In addition, you may have the impression that the busiest entrance is the one that forms by the people who go through the large portals of the sculptures of the Passion facade. For this reason, we advise you to visit the Sagrada Familia first in the morning, and later, consecrate the afternoon, to visit the Park Guell, which also allows you to buy your tickets without commissions. If you find a sunny day, you can relax on one of the terraces with great views of Barcelona, both the basilica and the towers. Ideal for resting and enjoying the views with an authentic Spanish sangria.

Special Events and Holidays

A little after the basilica’s birthday is the ‘Festivity of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary on the 8th of December. Sagrada Familia dedicates a weekend prior to this festivity to La Purisima, by offering pizzas, live music and other activities. During these important days, the basilica will hold a special and solemn mass in the hope that you come and celebrate this important day with us. It is the first in history of the Temple that a Nativity Façade has offered its own Mass, and it has become the aim for 50 percent of the 2 million people who were at the Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family on the 25th December. Don’t be sound asleep on New Year’s Day, as the Basilica offers live music to celebrate New Year on the night of the 31st of December, will you be tuning in?

In addition to Barcelona’s public holidays and the big events like Passion Week, there are a number of unique events and religious services that take place at the Basilica. The Basilica invites you to come and join the various masses and services that take place throughout the year. During the 15th August, the day of the Patron, Sagrada Familia will be holding a solemn mass and at 24:00, there will be another mass, but this time it will be a solemn mass in honor of the Virgin of the Assumption. From the 18th to the 24th is the week of the Assumption.

Easter

The Holy Week performances at the Sagrada Familia have some striking points. On Good Friday, there is the traditional dancing of the death under the portico of the Glory Façade, during which there is the Solemn Prayer of the Father Nostre. When the dancing finishes, inside the Basilica there is the procession of Els Armats, ending with the singing of the final Sanctus before the viiure becoming very silence. On Easter Sunday, there is the now-traditional awakening of Querubí Choir, with the subsequent mass presided by the archbishop of Barcelona within the atrium of the Basilica, with over three thousand people. This is followed by the fun song of a l’Àngel, which directly precedes the Mass’s final consecration.

On Palm Sunday, the 29th March, the Sagrada Familia opens its doors to the celebration and gathering of many of the guilds of the city of Barcelona, as well as the general public. These guilds come parading from different city-area parishes to the Sagrada Familia, dressed in their own unique medieval-style robes – giving it a true sense of tradition and culture. The following Thursday, the 2nd April, the Basilica opens its doors to the Diocese and the public once again to celebrate Slenderness and to show the participants the sculptures that will later be solemnly veiled.
Date: From 29th March to 5th April 2018.

Christmas

For the Epiphany day, access will only be allowed with a Basilica Ticket, due to the religious acts. In case you want to visit the Basilica after the Epiphany Parade, the Public Entrance will be open until 5 pm when the parade starts. During this period, if you want to visit the Basilica, you need to buy your Basilica ticket online before visiting us.

From December 25 to January 1st:
For Christmas day, access for everybody will not be allowed, only for people who have bought tickets with the Basilica. For the rest of the days, the Basilica will remain open with the same structure explained in point 4.1, but on the 25th of December, there will be a special schedule for the masses and the visitors: Masses and Morning of the 25th of December from 1 pm to 8 pm: Closed to the visitors. After 8 pm inside the Basilica, only with the ticket that includes the visit. On the afternoon of the 25th of December, there is not going to be the option to visit the Basilica for everybody because works required masses celebration days interruption, but it is possible to buy the entrance with a mass at 6 p.m., and it is allowed for the rest of the visitors to stay in the Christmas fair at the square to buy handcraft or have a visual of the Basilica.
On November 29 (Immaculate Conception), you will not be able to access Sagrada Familia due to the religious acts. The rest of the days remain the same.

Best time of the day to visit Sagrada familia

After 10:30 am the Sagrada Familia area gets busy very quickly, which means that you will experience some long lines at the entrances. If you don’t want to take risks, you can reserve your fast-track ticket online. However, this does not guarantee that you will avoid all the lines and find the Sagrada Familia hall empty. If you would like to visit Sagrada Familia with fewer tourist attractions, you can book your visit for early evening hours or late afternoon (it opens until 6 pm in the winter). Don’t expect that the place will be empty, but at least you will miss the central time of the day, when most of the tourist buses and groups arrive.
The best time of the day to visit Sagrada Familia is early morning (8:00-9:00 am), when the tourist flow is very low and you can avoid the long lines at the ticket office. From 9:00 am to 10:30 am the number of tourists increases, so you will have to be very cautious during this time. It’s recommended to rise early to make the most of your day, to explore a new city without crowds and long lines, and to take photos without hundreds of tourists photobombing. If you are an early riser then Sagrada Familia will be a good starting point for your day! Just opposite of Sagrada Familia, you can find the perfect place to start your day in one of the most genuine, typical and unknown places of Barcelona – Plaça de la Sagrada Família.

Morning

So the morning is an excellent time to visit Sagrada Familia. There are enough people that the church will never feel empty, which actually shows that it really is a popular attraction. At the same time, the people do not reach the overwhelming level of later in the day. So if you do not buy tickets in advance, the best way of getting in with the least hassle is by arriving early. This is especially true in the summer months. You will also be able to buy tickets for the same morning for the two towers with the least queues. If you are not lucky and there are not any tickets left, save yourself some money and visit the church instead!
Mornings are the quietest time to visit Sagrada Familia. Of course, the number of visitors doubles as opposed to the previous two time slots, but the crowds are mainly concentrated under the awning that surrounds the building, which gives you plenty of space to take pictures and enjoy your visit. It is at these times that the outside of the church is completely lit by the rising sun. Queues are quite long and take about forty minutes to an hour to get in. It is very advisable to purchase your ticket online in advance, as the lines for buying tickets on the day of entering can be over an hour, regardless of the time to visit or the amount of tourists in Barcelona. Try to be ahead of the queues by around 9:45 am, and you will be able to visit the church comfortably, and you will also escape the heat of the sun. Another option is to visit the Passion tower, as this is the best time to buy your ticket and visit this tower. You will avoid the longest queues and the hot afternoon sun. In short, despite the fact that the morning is the quietest time to visit, it is one with long queues, so consider buying your tickets online and arriving before the church opens to avoid the large crowds.

Afternoon

Coming back to Sagrada Familia. If you have time left, we recommend visiting La Sagrada Familia in the afternoon, when the sunlight covers the crypt lodge and the facade located on the eastern side of the basilica with sweet, warm colors. Keep in mind, however, that the direct sunlight enters through the western facade, so if you are sensitive to the light, you may prefer to visit the basilica when the sun sets. The interior of the basilica is indeed amazing, and the light and shadow game is a fundamental part of the multifaceted beauty of the building. But its facade is indeed the most characteristic part of the temple and the one created by its main architect Antonio Gaudí.

If you go for a morning visit, you may be willing to schedule an optional afternoon visit to get to see the different lighting of the afternoon sun. Make sure to be back to the main facade of the basilica on time in order to get the best views when the sun goes down.

If you still have time left after lunch, you could consider moving on to Park Güell, which is only 3 km from Sagrada Familia. Otherwise, you have different options, depending on your interests. Park de la Ciutadela, besides being a refreshing stop for an ice cream, offers different museums to visit, for instance, the Zoologic of Barcelona. Nevertheless, we do not recommend this option for this tour, as the visit to the main attractions would simply mean walking back and forth. If you are traveling with children, however, Park de la Ciutadela may turn out to be a good idea. Another option is to visit the Pablo Picasso Museum, located in Calle Montcada, 15-23, just off Plaça Sant Jaume (City Hall square) through Calle de la Princesa.

The museum opens Monday to Sunday 10-20h, and the entrance fee is 10€. This option, however, may end up being quite stressful, as you will have to go to Sagrada Familia to receive the tickets, ending up quite tight on schedule. If you want to follow this tour because you enjoy art, you better choose options such as Fundació Joan Miró, Teatre Museu Dalí, or Palau de la Música Catalana.

Evening

If the idea of an evening visit has captured your heart, you also have the possibility of a ‘dream’ visit to the attraction. This is a small group guided visit, directly after the church has closed to the public and as the sun is setting over Barcelona. A great way to enjoy the church in a more relaxed atmosphere.

This time coincides with the church’s closing time and the end of their group tours, which last until 6.30pm. It is the best time to visit if you really are set on avoiding the crowds. The only thing to be aware of is that those tours have a pre-booked timed entry to the church, so you may still encounter a group of tourists arriving at the same time.

As the sun sets, the earth cools off a little, making an evening visit a slightly cooler prospect. The beauty of visiting the Sagrada Familia last thing is that you have the opportunity to see the church in both the dusk lighting and at night when it is illuminated. The church looks particularly stunning at this time and is a great photo opportunity.

Best day of the week to visit Sagrada familia

It is difficult to determine the best day to visit the Sagrada Familia because the banner days, the days on which the Basilica celebrates the patron saint of migrants, are different each year. If you have the option to choose, avoid June 9, which is the day of Saint Josep and is a public holiday in Barcelona, so the Basilica is crowded. And if we talk about the month of September, another date to keep in mind is the 24th, the day of the Virgin of La Mercè.

When it comes to visiting the Templo with guided tours, the first piece of advice is to try not to coincide with the aforementioned dates, as the usual registered groups take place at 3 pm and a final one at 7 pm, which join other visitors, with which the space is easily collapsed. In any case, from Visit Sagrada Familia we always advise getting up early, to take advantage of all the natural light that enters the Basilica. Surely the sun’s rays will provide you with hidden perspectives that today you would not be able to contemplate in the Templo.

If we can avoid it, we recommend not going exactly on these days, especially if you don’t want your experience hampered by the masses of tourists who have the same idea. Sundays are not a good day to visit the Sagrada Família at all. The only “advantage” is that its prices are the same as the rest of the days, which is not the case on other Sundays, whose prices are inflated. The only positive thing we can contribute is that from Monday to Saturday, the Basilica is open from 9 am to 6 pm, a schedule that remains intact virtually throughout the year except on certain holidays.

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