St. Mary of the Sea Cathedral (Santa Maria del Mar) stands at the end of Passeig del Born as one of Barcelona’s most magnificent Catalan Gothic churches. Built in the 14th century, the cathedral is characterized by its architectural elegance and harmony. A highlight is the 15th-century stained-glass rose window.
St. Mary of the Sea Cathedral is a prominent landmark in La Ribera and a regular stop on walking tours of this historic neighborhood. To appreciate some of the city’s finest art and architecture, combine a cathedral tour with a guided visit to the Picasso Museum, which is a short walk from the cathedral. Fans of Ildefonso Falcones’ novel The Cathedral of the Sea can tour locations featured in the book with a local guide.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The cathedral is a must-visit for architecture buffs and spiritual travelers.
- Remember to dress respectfully, with clothing covering shoulders and knees.
- The ground floor areas of the cathedral are wheelchair-accessible.
How to Get There
The cathedral is located in El Born, Barcelona’s medieval district, within easy walking distance of just about anywhere in the Old City. To get there by public transportation, take the Barcelona Metro Line 4 to either the Jaume I or Barceloneta station.
When to Get There
The cathedral is open for cultural visits every afternoon. It’s also possible to duck in quietly during mass to soak up the atmosphere. Mass is held each evening, Sunday morning, and holidays. Try to time your visit to coincide with a choral performance to get a true feel for the acoustics.
FC Barcelona Logo
Football (soccer) fans visiting the cathedral should keep an eye out for a hidden tribute to the city’s beloved team. One of the stained-glass windows in the cathedral depicts the FC Barcelona crest. During the 1960s, the team helped finance the renovation of the window, and their crest was added as a sign of gratitude.