No trip to Spain is complete without visiting the Catedral de Barcelona (also known as the Barcelona Cathedral or Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia), located in the picturesque Barri Gòtic neighborhood.
This romanesque Cathedral features an impressive Neo-Gothic facade and is the current seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona.
Where is the Barcelona Cathedral located?
The Barcelona Cathedral is located in the Barrio Gòtico in the heart of the city of Barcelona, Spain.
There are several artisanal stores, old Roman architecture, small bars, and boutique stands to explore, found on picturesque old-Europe streets and winding alleys.
History of the Barcelona Cathedral
While Barcelona is home to many impressive Catalan churches and ancient chapels, few can compare with the impressive Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia in the Gothic Quarter.
The present Gothic Cathedral is located on the site of an ancient Roman temple, on the Pla de la Seu square. La Seu means "headquarters," referring to the seat of the bishop.
The tomb of the patron saint, Santa Eulàlia, is located under the main altar. Her death is commemorated annually on February 12th.
The site features a cloister with small side chapels, gardens, fountains, graves, and a flock of thirteen white geese. The geese are important for a number of reasons.
Thirteen supposedly symbolizes the age of patron saint Eulàlia when she was martyred, and some say Santa Eulàlia was a goose herder.
However, many cathedrals in the city kept geese to warn the occupants against intruders and thieves.
The cool cloister is a wonderful place to visit on hot summer days and features a small museum with religious artifacts and a beautiful ceiling painting.
The monastery fountain at the cloister is decorated with flowers on religious holidays, and on Corpus Christi, an egg dances on the water, a tradition that dates back to 1636.
While the church was completed in 1448, its appearance has changed several times. The central tower was added in 1913.
There were three periods of construction:
The addition of the apse, main altar, central nave, and presbytery;
The construction of the three naves and lateral chapels;
The construction of the basilica to the simple west facade and cloister.
Famous industrialist Manuel Girona Agrafel funded work on the side towers in keeping with the original plans of renowned architect Josep O Mestres . Girona's children completed their father's work in 1913 by finishing the ciboria.
What is Inside Barcelona Cathedral?
The interior of the Barcelona Cathedral features a high altar, from where you can clearly see the crypt where Santa Eulalia is kept, along with the tomb of Saint Raymond and the bishops Berenguer de Palou II, Salvador Casañas y Pagés, and Arnau de Gurb.
Two side chapels, the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament and of the Holy Christ of Lepanto, were built in 1407 and are one of the highlights of every visit.
There is a wide variety of beautiful stained glass windows that utilize bold colors and distinctive patterns.
You'll also note the impressive choir stalls in the middle of the nave, considered some of the most important Gothic sculptural works in all of Catalonia.
There are numerous canopies and battlements featuring a series of commemorative plaques dating back to 1517-18, referencing the Knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece, who were called to Barcelona in 1519.
The wooden chancery found on the right of the entrance to the choir stalls dates back to 1403. The Barcelona Cathedral features more than 215 keystones, each depicting a saint venerated in the church.
You should also take note of the organ located under the bell tower above the Sant Ivo entrance. It was built in 1537 and restored in 1994. Organ concerts are held monthly.
Visiting the Catedral de Barcelona
The Barcelona Cathedral is open to visitors every day. You can explore the nave, chapels, cloister, and museum through guided tours in multiple languages or audio guides.
Basic admission to the Cathedral is free, but if you want to access the rooftop terrace (which offers incredible views over the city), you will need to purchase a ticket for €8. Guided tours with audio guides cost €13 for adults or €11 for students with valid ID.
There are a few special tours that offer access to restricted areas, including the Treasury, for €20 per adult.
You can reduce the cost by purchasing combination tickets with other nearby tourist attractions. While the prices are correct at the time of publication, it's always a good idea to check the Cathedral's website for up-to-date pricing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Cathedral of Barcelona free to enter?
The Barcelona Cathedral, officially known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, offers free entry during specific hours.
If you're planning to visit between 8 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. or after 3:15 p.m. on any day, you can enter without any fee.
However, from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., visitors are encouraged to make a donation of their choice for admission.
Is Barcelona Cathedral the same as Sagrada Familia?
No, the Barcelona Cathedral and Sagrada Familia are distinct entities.
While both are iconic religious structures in the city, the Barcelona Cathedral is the official cathedral church of the Archdiocese of Barcelona.
Sagrada Familia is a basilica, designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí.
It's essential to note that only one cathedral can exist in a city, serving as the seat for the bishop, and in Barcelona, that title belongs to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia.
How long does it take to visit Barcelona Cathedral?
To thoroughly experience the architectural beauty, history, and religious significance of the Barcelona Cathedral, visitors typically spend between 1.5 to 2 hours.
This duration allows enough time to explore the main areas, including its chapels, cloister, and rooftop, which offers panoramic views of the city.
Is there a dress code for Barcelona Cathedral?
Yes, there's a dress code for visitors to the Barcelona Cathedral.
To respect the Barcelona Cathedral, guests should ensure their shoulders are covered and wear trousers or skirts that extend below mid-thigh.
Wearing hats (except for religious reasons), swimwear, and attire with promotional or offensive graphics is prohibited.
Proper attire ensures a respectful environment for both worshippers and visitors.