Along with the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona has narrow alleyways home to the Cathedral. Arriving at the Gothic Quarter is like traveling back in time.
If you leave the Ramblas, you may find your way to the city’s center by meandering through the city’s winding streets.
There are still ruins left behind by the ancient Barcino (Barcelona’s Roman name), emblems of the Jewish Quarter, and haunts of Art Nouveau’s bohemian artists. Without a doubt, it is one of the most attractive districts in Barcelona, with the gothic gem at its heart.
Early History Behind Cathedral of Barcelona
Barcelona Cathedral, officially known as “Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia” – is a historical cathedral with a relatively modern facade. The Cathedral you see stands on the same spot occupied by the Early Christian Cathedral in the fourth century-which the remains of it can be seen in the subsoil and the City History Museum.
The original church suffered severe damage during the invasion by the Arab war leader Almanzor back in the 10th century and later was rebuilt into a new church in the Romanesque style. In May 1298, during the reign of Jaime II of Aragon, the construction of the existing Gothic church began and continued over 150 years.
Moreover, the facade that tourists today enjoy was built much more recently in the 19th century after remaining untouched for more than 400 years.
The Emblem of the Cathedral: The Harrowing Legend of Saint Eulalia
Since 599 AD this Cathedral has been dedicated to the Holy Cross. In 877, the old Christian cathedral received the relics of Saint Eulalia, patron saint of the city of Barcelona, which is concealed in the church of Santa Maria del Mar.
Because of the powerful legend surrounding this Christian martyr who died at the end of the third century, the Barcelona Cathedral has a huge number of memorabilia that are devoted to her: a door, stained glass windows, keystones, reliefs, pictures, and so on.
According to the legends, the Romans brought 13 agonies on Saint Eulalia, one for every year of her life; beating, imprisoning, torturing, and burning her breasts on a rack, as well as tossing her into a quicklime pit and flea-infested yard.
The ninth torment is the most well-known, in which she was closed in a casket filled with shattered glass, nails, and knives and thrown down a steep street, which was known as the Baixada de Santa Eulàlia. Finally, the maiden was nailed to an x-shaped cross that you see today as the emblem of the Barcelona Cathedral.
Location, Hours, and Access
Barcelona Cathedral is located on the Pla de la Seu, in the heart of the Gothic Quarter. To reach there, take the Metro to ‘Jaume l Station’ on line 4 and walk from there. In addition, if you happen to be in this part of town, you may go there on foot.
The Cathedral of Barcelona is available to the public at the following hours:
Monday to Friday: 8:00 am to 12:30 pm and 5:45 pm to 7:30 pm.
Saturdays: 8:30 am to 12:30 pm and from 5:15 pm to 8:00 pm.
Sunday and Holidays: 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm
The Cathedral of Barcelona is exclusively open for religious service the rest of the day. While you are welcome to attend, photography is not allowed at this time. You are expected to pray respectfully throughout this time.
Monday to Friday: 9:00 pm to 12:00 pm, and 7:00 pm
Saturdays: 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Sundays & Holidays: 9:00 am, 10:30 am, 12:00 am, 13:00 am, 6:00 pm, 7:00 pm
All masses are in Catalan or Spanish.
While there are no days when the building is officially closed, it is essential to check their website calendar for current visiting hours if you are going on a trip.
While access to the Cathedral of Barcelona is free, some parts have payment. The central nave of the Cathedral and the cloisters are both free to enter. The Choir entrance fee is €3, while the Terraces and lift are both €3. You may also acquire these two tickets plus admission to the Sala Capitular museum for €7, which is a pretty good deal.
The views from the terrace are spectacular, we recommend you don’t miss it. Take note that the terrace closes 30 minutes earlier than most of the church. This is very important to keep in mind, especially if you have already purchased your ticket. And unless you arrive at the height of the tourist season, you may purchase your tickets upon entry.
- Keep in mind that the security may inspect things before allowing you entry.
- Citizens and tourists are requested to dress appropriately. In this case, appropriate dress means clothing that covers the thighs and shoulders. Otherwise, you can’t enter if you do not comply with this policy.
- Go up to the roof of the Cathedral for scenic views of Barcelona. For the best views, go between 10, and 11 am when there are few tourists.
- There is a specific slot in the sarcophagus containing St. Eulalia’s relics where you may place a coin — the sarcophagus is illuminated with lovely lights.
- Every month, the Cathedral of Barcelona holds organ performances. But to be able to attend, make sure to schedule in advance.
- If you’re in the Gothic Quarter and walking to the Barcelona Cathedral, make sure to take a map with you because you can easily get lost in the old part of Barcelona.
So that’s it! Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed going through this article as much as you will when visiting this gothic gem. We hope this can save you some time when planning your next trip to Barcelona!
By the way, if you are planning to travel to Barcelona, be sure to check out our articles on the best attractions and the best activities in Barcelona. We’ve listed some below.
Let us know if there are any questions or comments you have regarding this article or anything else. You can always find us on Facebook or Instagram or by leaving a comment below Happy traveling!