Barcelona Churches & Cathedrals

Churches, Cathedrals, Basílicas, and Monasteries. Barcelona is home to some of the most memorable cathedrals, churches, basilicas, and holy sites on the planet each with its own remarkable story. Guidebooks dedicated to sacred sites in Catalonia remain the best resource for the big picture however we at have culled the list, highlighting the most significant sacred sites in the city. While most of the locations below are free, donations are appreciated and respectful dress is required meaning no shorts, no short skirts, no bare shoulders, and hats off for men. 

Barcelona Cathedral – A Gothic spiritual hub. This outstanding cathedral with its Gothic cloister and Baroque chapels dates from 1298. The varying architectural styles trace Spain’s religious history. Organ and choral concerts are held frequently throughout the year. Access is free but a small fee is required for the roof, museum, and choir loft. Look sardanes - Catalonia’s regional dance in front of the cathedral on Saturday evening and Sundays after morning mass. (Placa de la Seu Barcelona. Tel: 93 342 82 60)

Basílica Sagrada Família – Three portals represent faith, hope, and love. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is emblematic of Barcelona and the modernist style of Antoni Gaudi. Begun in 1882, this unfinished cathedral is a work in progress filled with religious symbolism and meaning. The basilica has three facades, which symbolize passion, glory, and the Nativity. Eight of the planned 18 towers have been completed. The timeline for completion is sometime after 2026. Know that this is a very popular place for visitors. (Carrer Mallorca, 401, Barcelona. Tel: 93 207 30 31or

Esglesia de Santa Maria del Mar- Church of Saint Mary by the Sea. Located in the El Born area, Santa Maria del Mar history dates from the 1300s. It stands as one of the most beautiful examples of early Catalan Gothic architecture in Spain. In addition to the elegant interior, 34 lateral chapels are dedicated to different saints and images. This is the church where San Ignacio de Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order, begged for alms in 1524 and 1525. Check the schedule for concerts or try to attend the choral mass on Sundays at 1pm. (Plaça de Santa Maria 1, Born-Ribera, Barcelona. Tel: 93 310 23 90 or

Monestir de Montserrat – The Monastery of Montserrat. Located about 30 miles northwest of Barcelona, this  Benedictine monastery sits on the side of a mountain offers all who make the journey outstanding views of Catalonia and the sea.  Today it is accessible by funicular de Sant Joan from Montserrat. Founded in the 12th century, this is the home of the Black Virgin (La Moreneta) - Catalonia’s patron. El Escolania, Montserrat’s Boys’ Choir one of the oldest in Europe, performs during religious ceremonies and communal prayers in the basilica. The museum on site features not just religious artifacts but also works of art by many prominent painters and sculptors including works by El Greco, Dalí, and Picasso. (Museu de Montserrat, tel: 93 877 77 77; Monastery Monistrol de Montserrat, Spain. Tel: 93 877 77 66 or

Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor – The Church of the Sacred Heart. Located atop Mount Tibidabo and sharing space with the amusement park, this grand Neo-Gothic church is impressive. Even if you're not a cathedral-phile it is worth the trip by bus, tram or funicular. Entrance to the church is free and the surrounding views of the city are spectacular. Eucharist is performed at Sagrat Cor throughout the day. (Plaça del Tibidabo, Sarrià - Sant Gervasi, Barcelona. Tel: 93 417 56 86 or

Note: This information was accurate at time of posting. Because things often change, we suggest that you confirm details with the locations before making plans. Copyright 2012.


by Nancy Nelson-Duac