The Sagrada Familia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a breathtaking combination of neo-Gothic and Spanish Baroque architecture in its most refined proportions. It is one of Barcelona’s most iconic landmarks, yet many visitors are at a loss when it comes to which tower to visit.
For optimum visits, there are three main towers to bear in mind: The Nativity Tower, the Passion Tower, and the Glory Tower. Each offers its own unique perspective, allowing guests to develop their appreciation of the magnificence of the whole project.
Visiting the Nativity Tower is a must: its completion in 2017 made it the first of the towers to be completed. It stands at a massive 68.5 metres or 225 feet, providing a spectacular view of central Barcelona. Taking the elevator to the top is highly recommended for the best possible experience — there’s no difficulty involved as it takes only a few minutes.
The Passion Tower, much taller than the Nativity Tower at an impressive 95.2m or 312 feet, is a more advanced tour and is a must for any real fan of the Sagrada Familia. This one is a bit more of a challenge — the climb to the top involves the use of a granite stairway with a total of 167 steps. The views from the top are sure to take your breath away.
The Glory Tower, rising to a dizzying 172 metres or 565 feet, is the tallest tower and one of the most exciting visits. It also has the same granite staircase, with the same number of steps, but it offers the opportunity to ascend using the Toonca: a lift that reaches the pinnacle at a speed of four metres per second. The view from the highest point is, obviously, the best one.
The official audio tour is highly recommended when visiting the towers, as it provides a detailed explanation of the history of the Sagrada Familia while guests take in the views. It’s easy to download the audio guide directly from the official website and it’s definitely worth it.
Preparing for the Visit
To make sure that the visit is enjoyable and comfortable, it is essential to prepare for it in advance. Of course, the first step is to purchase a ticket, which is now readily available on the official website, as well as in all major tourist spots throughout the city.
While a comfortable pair of shoes and a bottle of water are highly recommended items to bring when visiting, it is also important to remember that due to security reasons, nothing over 40x40x20 cm will be allowed in the towers. Therefore, it is advisable to leave backpacks and large bags in the lockers available in the entrance hall before heading up the towers.
The Sagrada Familia offers plenty of other attractions apart from the towers, including the Crypt and the Museum. The Crypt, located at the west side of the central nave, is the final resting place of Gaudí himself, as well as the only interior parts already finished during his lifetime.
The Sagrada Familia Museum is located in the Sacristy, just as Gaudí envisioned it. There, visitors can gain insight into the incredible details of the toil that went into the construction of the building, as well as some remarkable stories of Gaudí himself.
Timing the Visit
It’s essential to bear in mind just how popular Sagrada Familia is — it’s one of the most visited sites in Spain, and it gets very crowded during peak season. Therefore, timing the visit will be key in order to guarantee the best possible experience.
For those who are likely to really take their time exploring the wonders of the Sagrada Familia, it is absolutely recommended that they visit either in the morning, or relatively late in the afternoon, just before the Museum and the Towers close.
For the best tour experience, it is important to bear in mind a few safety considerations. Inside and outside the Sagrada Familia, the crowds can be overwhelming and it is very easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle. Therefore, visitors are strongly advised to stay together and to exercise caution at all times.
Since visitors will also be ascending to great heights, it is essential to keep a close eye on any youngsters, as well as the elderly, in order to make sure that the experience is as safe and enjoyable for them as for the rest of the group.
The weather is another factor to consider, as the towers are open to the elements, and the predicted forecast might make the experience less enjoyable. Therefore, before setting out to visit the towers, it’s advisable to check the forecast in order to ensure pleasant skies or at least prepare for any bad weather.
What to Take Home
The Sagrada Familia is a truly unique experience, and souvenirs will always help keep the memories alive. From mementos to handcrafted replicas of the towers, there are countless gifts to take back home in order to remember a truly incredible visit.
As the old saying goes, ‘the Sagrada Familia is worth a thousand pictures’. Whether it’s the official photographs taken by professional or amateur photographers, or just some snapshots taken on a smartphone, any visit to the Sagrada Familia should include some beautiful lasting reminders.