The elevators in the Sagrada Familia

My wife and I are traveling in Spain with my sister and her husband in late April. Because we have encountered long lines to get into the Sagrada Familia (SF) in previous visits to Barcelona (and consequently didn't go in), I would like to order tickets for the four of us on their website before we leave the US. But Rick's 2013 Spain guide and the SF website are inconsistent about the stairs and elevators in the two SF towers, one of which we would like to go up. The website implies that you have to walk down stairs no matter which tower you chose to go up; Rick's guidebook states that for one of the towers (the Passion Facade tower), one can take the elevator down (as well as up). My brother-in-law has a bum knee, so can't walk down the stairs. So: can I buy a ticket for my brother-in-law that includes a tower, knowing he can take the elevator down? Or not? Also: anybody have a opinion of the audio guide vs the guided tour vs Rick's self-guided tour (which in his book)?

Posted by Teresa
Victoria, BC, Canada
101 posts

Re: Audio guide... We found that it was Excellent and both my hubby and I felt very sorry for those that didn't bother renting them. We gained so much insight and information which made the visit very worthwhile indeed. I personally would opt for either the audio guide unless you have your own personal guide. The guided tours just don't leave you with enough time to stand and stare! I'm not a 'being herded' kinda 'gal both hubby & I seem to like to linger and create long lasting memories. As we were in Barcelona for 5 nights we purchased our tickets through one of the la caixa machines. We wanted to make sure the weather was good, if there is rain they don't allow access to the towers. Also it is important to make sure to find the correct line for entry with a pre-purchased ticket within the allocated time slot or you won't get in.
When you get to the entry booth, you'll be offered a time & ticket for the elevator if they are in use that day. Once inside the line to pick up the audio guide seem long but moves fast.

Posted by Kelly
St Petersburg Florida
951 posts

Make sure no one is claustrophobic or has fear of heights. My first time in Barcelona, i had no problem. I climbed as high as you can go. I enjoyed the views, I took so many photos. this time around, I only went up to the 1st level offered and then panicked all the way down the spiraling stair case. It was the weirdest thing; I wasn't expecting that at all. I would say opt for the audio guide....I really didnt feel Rick's self tour was fully satisfying.

Posted by John
Westlake, TX, USA
20 posts

Another vote for the audio guide - we spent hours listening to it a few months ago. If you can't walk down from the top of the elevators then it might not be worth the trip. The view is most interesting as you descend and go around and around to see the city and cathedral unfold. When we were there we DID see some people taking the lift down.

Posted by Robin
Portland, OR, USA
12 posts

Just to clarifythe audio guide you are speaking of is the one offered through the SF, correct? Also, does anyone know where I can get a list of the Caixa stations/kisoks that I can print out the tickets before we go there?

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6888 posts

You will need to buy a separate ticket for the elevator up to the top of the tower. They will give you a time for your elevator ride. Ours was 2hrs after we entered the SF. It was well worth the wait. For our visit, there was only one elevator. It holds about 6 people. There was also a small line at the top to ride the elevator back down. Holds 6 people for that ride as well. I suspect that you can walk down but it looks like a lot of stairs. It's beautiful up there. A bit tight to walk around but nothing to worry about. Here's a link to a picture that I took looking down the inside of the tower.

Posted by Bob
Chico, California, US
57 posts

Thanks everyone for your responses. In answer to Robin, yes the audio guide I referred to in my original post was the guide rented by the SF. Based on Larry's response, we do plan to get a ticket for my brother-in-law that includes the Passion Facade tower. Thanks Larry for the link to your picture. But I have given up on buying tickets from the US. An earlier post this month (and others before that) have commented on the difficulty of getting your credit card accepted on certain Spanish websites, including the SF site (which actually uses the Spanish Ticketmaster). I tried twice using my Visa card to no avail. So we'll buy our tickets in Barcelona the day before...and will include the audio guide and the Passion Facade tower.

Posted by Bev
Decorah, Iowa, USA
273 posts

Fantastic picture, Larry! Spain will be one of the next countries on my list!