Barcelona, a city synonymous with unique architecture, is home to some of the most beautiful churches in the world. Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia is clearly the most famous church in the city, and possibly the most unique church in the world. But there are so many other beautiful churches and cathedrals in Barcelona than often get overshadowed by the La Sagrada Familia.
When someone visited me while I was living in Barcelona, I would take them on a tour of my favourite churches in the city. And unlike most tour guides, I would always end with the La Sagrada Familia. So, allow me to take you on a virtual tour of some of Barcelona’s best churches through this post.
Our first stop is the Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús on the summit Mount Tibidabo.
Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús
Tibidabo was always my first stop for first time visitors to Barcelona. From Tibidabo, you can see the entire city of Barcelona, in all its glory, right below you. It’s simply breathtaking! Also, there are plenty of bars in the vicinity to grab a drink and admire the view.
Apart from the vistas of the city, and the amusement park, Tibidabo is also home to the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor (Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús in Spanish). Located on the summit of Mount Tibidado, this Roman Catholic church, and minor basilica completed construction in 1961.
Albeit a small church, I really love its colourful altar. It is also possible to climb right on top of this church and get some spectacular views of Barcelona. On a clear day, you can see as far back as Montserrat. I highly recommend climbing up all the way!
Address: Cumbre del Tibidabo, 08035 Barcelona, Spain
Basílica de Santa María del Mar
El Born is one of the coolest neighbourhoods in all of Barcelona. Its narrow Gothic alleys are home to some of the best bars, and restaurants in the city. Nestled among all the commotion is a beautiful church hidden in plain-sight, the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar.
The church that took 54 years to complete construction, is a prime example of Catalan Gothic architecture. Although it may not look anything spectacular from the outside, step inside to be amazed by its spacious, and symmetrical interiors.
After visiting the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar, head to the main plaza at El Born to grab a drink, or why not try the best burger in Barcelona next door?
Address: Plaça de Santa Maria, 1, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
La Catedral de Barcelona (Barcelona Cathedral)
The Barcelona Cathedral is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in all of Spain, in my opinion. Often referred to as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, the Barcelona Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona. This magnificent structure stands tall in the city’s El Gotico neighbourhood (right next to El Born).
The Barcelona Cathedral took almost 150 years to complete, and its architecture reflects the influences from the different periods. Inside everything from the altar, the columns, stained glass windows, and the choir stand is simply breathtaking. On the exterior, the roof is notable for its gargoyles, and animals, both domestic and mythical. Be sure to take a walk into the Gothic cloister where the geese are kept. But the elevator ride to the roof isn’t worth it, so you can skip that.
The cathedral is dedicated to Eulalia of Barcelona, co-patron saint of Barcelona, a young virgin who, according to Catholic tradition, suffered martyrdom during Roman times in the city. The cathedral’s cloister has 13 white geese to signify the age when Eulalia was was martyred.
The Barcelona Cathedral is definitely a beautiful cathedral in its own right. It’s just a pity that it is in the same city as the La Sagrada Familia.
Address: Placita de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
La Sagrada Familia
Gaudi’s masterpiece, and probably the most unique looking church in the world – the La Sagrada Familia is the most iconic structure in all of Barcelona. Expected to complete construction by 2026, it is open to the public who want to marvel at Gaudi’s creation.
Every pillar, facade, door, has so much detail, and intricate work on it. I have been inside the La Sagrada Familia numerous times and am always fascinated by it. From the nativity scene on the back facade, to coloured stained glass windows that symbolise sunrise and sunset. The amount of thought that Gaudi put into the La Sagrada Familia is clearly evident.
There’s a good reason why I would always take visitors to the La Sagrada Familia in the end. Because if you take someone there first, they wouldn’t truly appreciate the beauty of the other churches on this list. Like I said at the start of this post, the Sagrada Familia has a tendency to overshadow all other tourist attractions in Barcelona. But that doesn’t mean the other churches are any less beautiful.
Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
Inside La Sagrada Familia
If you’re curious to take a look inside the La Sagrada Familia, check out this video.
Finally, remember to buy your tickets before visiting the Sagrada Familia. Tickets sell out fast, especially during peak tourist season. So, buy them a couple of days in advance.
I hope that you enjoyed this short virtual tour of Barcelona’s best churches with me. Remember to share this post on the social media platform of your choice.