• Rupa Valdez

Wheelchair Access at the Sagrada Familia


This summer, my husband and I had the opportunity to visit Spain for a friend’s wedding. As someone who often uses a transport wheelchair, accessibility remains at the forefront of my mind when traveling. We were able to enjoy numerous restaurants, museums, and sights throughout our trip, but perhaps my favorite was the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Construction of this breathtaking basilica began in 1882 and continues today, seeing over 3 million visitors annually.


Buying Tickets


To support construction and maintenance costs, admission ranges from 15 to 29€ based on which package you select. People with disabilities and those over age 65 are eligible for a discount, and carers receive free entry. My husband and I purchased our tickets online through the Sagrada Familia website. This allowed us to skip the incredibly crowded ticketing lines and head straight to the site’s entrance with our mobile tickets. For those who have difficulty standing in line or being around crowds, this could be a great solution.

Getting In


With tickets in hand, we arrived shortly before our assigned entrance time. The wheelchair entrance is located to the far left of the main tourist entrance. Typically, there is an elevator to take you to the tour meeting point. During our visit, however, the elevator was out of service and we had to flag down an employee. She told us that the elevator is frequently broken, but the venue is still technically accessible regardless. Instead, we maneuvered extremely steep and somewhat long distances for the duration of our trip. The staff were incredibly kind and, because I cannot self-propel, frequently took over from my husband to save him some effort.


Inside the Basilica


Once inside, we joined a guided tour. The interior of the basilica was filled to the brim with thousands of visitors. This factor combined with the large number of people in our tour group made it difficult to get my wheelchair close to the tour guide. However, we were still able to catch every word of the tour thanks to headphones linked to the guide’s microphone. This allowed us to spend more time admiring the sights than chasing after the tour guide with the wheelchair! For those who use sign language, the Sagrada Familia recently began offering handheld audio guides with video of a signed tour.


Final Thoughts


The Sagrada Familia was like nothing I have ever seen. The exterior was incredibly ornate, but the interior’s simplicity was beyond beautiful. Overall, I was thoroughly able to enjoy my time there thanks to the helpful staff and my wonderful husband.


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