Q: I will be visiting Barcelona for the first time in May with my wife and son. I have heard that there are long queues to get in to see the Gaudí Cathedral. We have this attraction at the top of our list to visit. Do you have any advice on how to jump the queue so we don't waste our holiday time in a queue? My son is 8 years and I don't think standing in line for much time is going to go down too well with him.
|The historic façade of Gaudi's giant basilica.|
A: It is true that there are long queues to get in the Sagrada Familia. Take a look at this small video to see what the problem is. This video was taken in April, just before the main tourist season had started.
Video showing the long entrance queues
You can see what the problem is. Some of the best ways to beat the queue are as follows:
1. The only sure way that I am aware of to be sure to avoid queuing is to buy your tickets online in advance before your visit
The advance tickets include a guided tour and you would jump the queues. You would need to print out your booking voucher and bring it to the meeting point at the appointed hour given the voucher. You will need photo ID for example a driving license or passport.
The meeting point is situated close to the entrance but it is not at the actual entrance gates themselves.
This is important to note because if you turn up directly at the gates with your voucher you will be denied access. At the meeting point an authorized official tour guide will then walk you past the queues and give you direct access.
Once in the Sagrada Familia you will have a guided tour that will show you the highlights of this famous building and you will learn some insights into Gaudí and the influences behind the design of the of the Basilica. After the tour you will be free to be able to explore the Basilica further at your leisure.
If you do not want to book your entrance tickets in advance of your visit then you could try these following ideas to reduce queuing time:
2. Aim to arrive as early as possible in the morning, when the attraction first opens the queues are likely to be shorter. This attraction is popular throughout the day however bearing in mind that the majority of tourists don't start sightseeing until after they have had breakfast you would expect to experience a shorter queue if you arrived first thing in the morning when the attraction opens at 09:00 in the morning. However even at this time you are likely to experience queuing if you are arriving during peak season but the queue will be shorter. There is a metro stop called Sagrada Familia, right outside the Basilica making access to this attraction quick and easy for anyone in the city centre.
Map showing the nearest metro
3. If you have any flexibility in your travel and choosing dates is an option you could plan to visit outside of the main tourist season. That is November to March and combine this with an early arrival to the attraction you are likely to shorter wait time.
I would just like to correct out one point you raised in your question. The Sagrada Familia is often referred to as the "Gaudí Cathedral". I have even seen this mentioned in main stream media so you are not alone there. However it is in fact officially known as a Basilica. There is only one Cathedral in Barcelona and that is in the Gothic Quarter (historic old town).
The Sagrada Familia is the no.1 most visited attraction in Barcelona the only way to skip the queue is to reserve your tickets in advance of your trip.