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 certainly 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!
When I lived in Barcelona and someone visited me, I would take them on a tour of my favourite churches in the city. And I would always end the tour at La Sagrada Familia. So, allow me to take you on a virtual tour of some of Barcelona’s best churches through this blog.
Our first stop is the Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús on the summit of Mount Tibidabo.
Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús
Address: Cumbre del Tibidabo, 08035 Barcelona, Spain
Tibidabo should be your first stop if you’re a first-time visitor to Barcelona. The breathtaking views from Tibidabo are simply spectacular! You can see the entire city of Barcelona, in all its glory, right below you. Also, there are plenty of bars next to the funicular station for you to sit, 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 Tibidabo, this Roman Catholic Church, and minor basilica completed construction in 1961.
Although a small church, I love its colourful altar. It is also possible to climb right to the top of this church to get even better views of Barcelona. In fact, on a clear day, you can see as far back as Montserrat. I highly recommend climbing to the top of the church.
Basílica de Santa María del Mar
Address: Plaça de Santa Maria, 1, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
El Born (part of the old town) 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. And nestled among all the commotion is a beautiful church hidden in plain sight, the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar.
The church which 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?
La Catedral de Barcelona (Barcelona Cathedral)
Address: Placita de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
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 (also part of the old town, right next to El Born).
The Barcelona Cathedral took almost 150 years to complete, and its architecture reflects the influences from different periods. Inside everything from the altar, the columns, stained-glass windows, and the choir stand are 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. However, 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 martyred.
The Barcelona Cathedral is beautiful in its own right. But it’s a pity that it is in the same city as the La Sagrada Familia.
La Sagrada Família
Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
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, and door, has so much detail, and intricate work on it. I have been inside the La Sagrada Familia on numerous occasions, and I’m always left fascinated. 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 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, La Sagrada Familia tends to overshadow all other tourist attractions in Barcelona. But that doesn’t mean the other churches are any less beautiful.
Just a word of caution – as La Sagrada Familia is one of the most popular tourist spots in Barcelona, the line to enter can be extremely long! Even if you buy tickets online, you still might have to wait. So, be sure to get the tickets with Fast-Track Access.
Quick Tour Inside La Sagrada Familia
If you’re curious to take a look inside the La Sagrada Familia, check out this video.
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Again, remember to buy your tickets online before visiting the La Sagrada Familia. Tickets sell out fast, especially during peak tourist season. So, buy them a couple of days in advance. And the same applies to the fast-track guided tour. Buy them well in advance!
The Best Churches in Barcelona
I hope that you enjoyed this short guide to Barcelona’s best churches. If you found it helpful, please leave a comment and feel free to share this post on the social media platform of your choice.