The Towers of Sagrada Familia
Antoni Gaudí envisioned the Sagrada Familia with 18 monumental spires. Twelve of them are dedicated to the Twelve Apostles and are placed on the three façades of the Sagrada Familia. The other six spires are dedicated to the Four Evangelists, Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ. Of the 18 spires, eight are completed. These correspond to the four Apostles of the Nativity Façade and the four Apostles of the Passion Façade. The tallest of all the 18 spires will be the one dedicated to Jesus Christ. It will be surmounted by a giant cross and will have a height of 170 metres (560 ft). Sagrada Familia is one of the most famous landmark and most visited tourist attraction in Barcelona, Spain. It started construction in 1882 under the Temple’s first architect Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano. It was then later on handed to Antoni Gaudí due to differences of opinion with the developers. Today, Sagrada Familia is well known and associated to Antoni Gaudí . To date, the hope was to finish the construction by 2026 which is about 144 years in the making.
- Website: https://sagradafamilia.org/en/home
- Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
- Opening Hours: Click HERE
- November through February: 9 am to 6 pm
- March and October: 9 am to 7 pm
- April through September: 9 am to 8 pm. –
- 25 and 26 December, 1 and 6 January: 9 am to 2 pm
- With Entrance Fee: Yes;
- 25€ Basic with Audio Guide, 17€ Basic NO Audio, 32€ Basic with Audio Guide + One Tower
- For other options, click (Ticket)
If you visiting Sagrada Familia and thinking if you want to go up the towers, let me share with you my experience. If you’re following my blog, you’ve probably seen (or maybe not) my last week post for Sagrada Familia. I’m doing a Spain posts series and Barcelona is the first city that I would be focusing on sharing with you guys. Sagrada Familia is one of the major attractions in Barcelona, so that’s a good starting point to show you around. To give you a good start before we go up the tower, here’s a video on Sagrada Familia, spare some time to watch it, then continue reading as I take you to the Passion Tower of Sagrada Familia. Let’s watch the video now.
That is the inside of the Sagrada Familia. So what do you think? Isn’t it mesmerizing? The stained glass window, the colors, the sunlight hitting the window, the unique tree like columns and ceiling and the simple yet captivating altar with the suspended cross with canopy were simply a different experience to see in person. If you are interested to know more about Sagrada Familia, I have a separate posts HERE
Now let’s get to the main topic of this post, the Sagrada Familia Towers.
I did my research to decide which one to choose, and my initial choice was the Nativity Tower because this was the one personally designed by Antoni Gaudi. But guess what? I ended up going to the Passion Tower, I selected the wrong tower when I booked my ticket. I only realized it when I was already up there, because I noticed that the was construction going on, so it immediately sunk to me that I picked the wrong tower. Anyway, so I guess I will be sharing with you my experience going up and down the Passion Tower. But first, let us talk about how you are going to buy the ticket to go up either the Nativity or Passion Tower.
How to Buy Sagrada Familia Tower Ticket?
It is recommended that you buy your ticket ahead of time. Tickets are available online, and can be bought as far as 1 month (or more) before your visit. I booked my ticket 1 month in advance. There are five (5) ticket types to choose from:
- Sagrada Familia Basic Ticket – Skip-the-line ticket. This is a ticket that allows you to go inside and explore on your own. You can ONLY visit after 2pm. This is an “okay” option as you don’t get the depth that you would with a tour guide or even an audio guide. 17€ for adults, 15€ for those under age 30.
- Sagrada Familia with Audioguide: 25€. The audio guide is about 45 minutes and well-explained. It’s not available for children under 11.
- Sagrada Familia with Guided Tour. This includes the entry ticket and a 50-minute guided tour offered in 5 languages. NO tower access and NO audio guide. You can be in a group to up to 30 people. Each person gets a headphone so they can hear their guide. 26€
- Sagrada Familia with Towers, also called Top View. It includes the entry ticket, tower access to one tower only, and audioguide. In this case, you get to choose exactly which towers you want to go up. 32€
- Sagrada Familia and Gaudí House Museum: Entry ticket, audio guide, and Gaudí House Museum, which is at Park Guell.
The prices were as of the date of this post writing, for updated pricing Click HERE in case there are any changes
Know Before You Go Up The Sagrada Familia Towers
- Ticket Access: Access to the Towers are not included in the standard admission ticket and need to be bought separately. This is the option no 4 above, 32€
- Access Point is Different: The Nativity and the Passion Façades are not joined together, the access points to these spires are different. The Nativity Tower is on the left side of the Cathedral, while the Passion Tower in on the right side.
- Elevator Only Going-Up: The top of these towers can only be accessed via an elevator, one for each façade. The elevator is quite small, only 6 people at a time so sometimes there is a line-up.
- View: The Nativity Façade will give you sea view over the east of Barcelona, while the tower of the Passion Façade will give you the city center view.
- Spiral Stairs Going-Down: There is no elevator going down, visitors must take the spiral stairs going down from any of the towers, both on the Passion Façade and the Nativity Façade.
- Are You Claustrophobic? – It is good to be aware that the passage way inside the tower is very narrow, only 1 person at a time can pass and the there are quite a lot of area going down the spiral stairway without lights.
- Spiral Stairways The spiral stairway going down is one thing the peaked my curiosity when I read it in the book “The Origin”. The stairway is very narrow, almost no railing on the outside, only on the side close to the wall. If you are claustrophobic and you get dizzy easily, you might consider this before taking any of the tower.
How Many Hours Do You Need to Visit Sagrada Familia Tower?
15 – 30 minutes maximum. There is really not much to do at the top but to admire the view. Since the space at the top is quite small and the passage way and stairway is very narrow, you cannot linger around for a long time especially if there are people following you. More than admiring the view, most of the time will be consumed going down the stairs. Depending on your physical condition, going down the stairs could be about 10 – 15 minutes. I highly recommend to take your time going down especially when you reached the area where there is very little if no light at all.
Which One is a Better Option, Nativity Tower or Passion Tower?
While the views from both the Towers are splendid in their own rights, it seems that a lot of people who had been to both towers prefer the Nativity Tower over the Passion Tower. Here are few information to help you decide which Tower to visit.
- Antoni Gaudi Work: The Nativity Facade was built by Antoni Gaudi himself while he was alive. This is the top reason why a lot of people prefer to visit this tower over Passion Tower.
- There is a bridge that connects 2 towers out of the 4 towers of the Nativity Facade. This bridge allows one to experience the more diverse details and consume photogenic views of Barcelona City. The Passion Towers are not yet connected by bridges because it is still under construction.
- While the Nativity Tower’s construction is complete, the Passion Tower is newer and is still under construction, as such some views are obstructed with the construction equipment. This is one of the main reasons people prefer the Nativity Tower over Passion Tower.
- Stairs: The stairs for Nativity Towers is said to be slightly wider than the stairs of Passion Tower. If you are claustrophobic, you might want to consider this when choosing which tower to visit.
- Panoramic View: While coming down the Nativity Tower, you can stop by the balconies for a detailed view of the Towers and peep out to see bird’s eye views of Barcelona city. This provision lacks for the Passion Towers as of now. The most that you will have is a 2 lookout point which do not offer that much of a view.
Let Us Go Up the Passion Tower
It is a very short ride. Before we go there, first thing first. You are not allowed to carry a big bag with you when you go up the tower. This is because the stairway is super narrow and having a huge bag will make it difficult to go up and down. Plus, there were some areas going down with very limited lights. There were lockers where people can leave their things. You will need 1 euro to deposit but you can get it back once you take out your things. Once you’ve deposited your things, you can now line up for the elevator. The elevator is quite small, only 6 people are allowed at a time. Going up is quite fast, about 1-2 minutes. After getting off the elevator, you’ll walk up few steps and there were few stops where you can take photo and admire the view. Once you are in the staircase, you cannot stop or a long time especially if there are people at your back. The passage way and stairs are so narrow, only 1 person can pass at a time. So if there are a lot of people, everybody will be going up or down in a single line.
Are the Sagrada Familia Towers Worth It?
I asked myself this question, over and over again. More than the additional cost, lineup and extra time, it is the narrow stairs going down that really made me think twice to do it. I am pretty sure that there are a lot of other people there who are also wondering if it is worth paying extra for climbing the tower. Let me share with you my experience, a point of view of someone who was once very skeptical with the idea of climbing the tower.
- Extra Cost 7 – 15 euro: Going up the towers cost extra, and you can only choose 1 tower for the access that you will pay. If you have extra money and time to spare, then go ahead and go up the tower. If you are tight on budget,skip the tower. You wouldn’t miss much even if you skip it. For me the highlight of my visit is the inside of the Sagrada Familia more than the towers.
- Line-up going up – The elevators can only take 6 people at a time. It was not a long wait, but again if you are short in time, you have to factor the going up and down.
- Narrow and dark stairs going down – I have to admit that what intrigue me more than the view at the top is the spiral stairs going down. I have read this is Dan Brown book “The Origin” and I was very curious about it. It took me about 10 – 15 minutes going down, a lot of the area was not lighted and there was no railing in the open side of the stairs. If you easily get dizzy and is claustrophobic, you might want to consider this. Watch the video to have an idea how this looks like.
- The View at the top – It was nice, but was it great? Not really. I did not feel that amazing feeling when I got to the top. You know that “Wow” feeling when you see a magnificent view for the first time? I did not get that. The view was just nice but not exceptional.
My verdict, It was a nice experience being there and being able to say that I went up in one of the tower. However, this is not something that I would pay extra more to do it again. You will not miss a lot even if you decide to skip going up the tower. But then again, it is totally up to you. Some people really enjoyed the experience and some are just ok with it, just like me. I hope that this post and the video gave you an idea of what to expect when you go up the Passion Tower. Let me know your thoughts if you decide to go and which tower you choose.
Tips in Visiting Sagrada Familia
- Book in Advance – Sagrada Familia is one of the most famous landmark in Barcelona. As such, line-up is crazy almost any time of the day. It is best to buy the ticket in advance to maximize the time of your visit. You don’t want to spend hours just waiting in the line. But even with the online purchased tickets, please note that you still have to stay in a short line of travelers who have the same admission as yours, but at least the wait is shorter than lining up just to buy the ticket. Line is quite fast, about 2 – 15 minutes depending of course on how busy that day. But trust me, it is still a shorter wait.
- Do not be late – Do not be late, make sure to be there at least 15 minutes before the time of your visit. If you miss your time slot, you will not be allowed to enter. Lost opportunity and lost money.
- Time Restriction to Basic Ticket (17€): Starting in January 2019, the general admission tickets can only be used after 2 PM. If you want to visit Sagrada Familia earlier, then you have to book a guided tour.
- Wear Appropriate Clothes – Sagrada Familia is a church, so you should dress modestly and appropriately to avoid being turn away to enter the premise. No see-through clothing, plunging necklines or exposed backs or bellies, trousers and skirts must come down to at least mid-thigh. It is always better safe than sorry, so reserve your “tiny” clothing for somewhere else. Click HERE for more details
- and as always, Beware of pickpockets. Have your bag in front of you and NEVER put it down. It is always advisable NOT to carry all your cash with you when you go to packed attraction areas. Better be safe than sorry.
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