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Santa Maria del Mar

The Most Beautiful Gothic Church in Barcelona

The Santa Maria del Mar is a great tip for your trip to Barcelona. The church is one of Barcelona's landmarks, which looks like a fortress with its monumental towers in the old town. Locals call the church "Church of the poor". Especially worth seeing is the interior of the Santa Maria del Mar. You can also book a guided tour and enjoy the view over old town of Barcelona from the roof.

Highlights of the Guided Tour Santa Maria del Mar

  • 45 min guided tour in English
  • Visit the terraces and towers
  • Beautiful view over surroundings

Why Santa Maria del Mar is worth visiting

The construction is unique and was groundbreaking for the time. The church was built within 55 years only by Berenguer de Montagut in the 14th century and was consecrated in 1384. Due to the short construction period the Santa Maria del Mar has a very uniform-looking architecture. There's no mixture of architectural styles due to long construction times.

During the guided tour in English, you will learn about the construction and the history of Santa Maria del Mar. The guide will take you to the towers and terraces with a fantastic view of Barcelona. A fun and educational tour awaits you through the for the locals most popular church of Barcelona.

The Construction of Santa Maria del Mar

The construction site of Santa Maria del Mar has been of particular importance since the early Christian era. Here the apostle James is said to have preached. Therefore, a small chapel was built here. In 304, the body of St. Eulalia was buried there. The bones were hidden in the 8th century before the Moors and only 15 years later found again. In 1339 these were then transferred to the cathedral.

Guided Tour through Santa Maria del Mar (Video in Catalan, tour in English)

The beginning of the construction of today's Gothic church Santa Maria del Mar was in 1329 with the laying of the foundation stone. The church was the only Gothic church that was actually completed within one era. In 1714, during the Spanish War of Succession, the church was partially destroyed. The damage was repaired only provisionally. During the Spanish Civil War in 1936, these parts burned down in a fire. Due to the fire, the interior was largely destroyed as well. Also, a large part of the church windows had to be reconstructed. In 1990, the renovation and restoration work was completed.

The Interior of Santa Maria del Mar

Enter the church through the portal. A narrow nave, which emphasizes the height and length of the basilica opens up to you. The stained-glass windows flood the room with subdued colored light.
Due to the special construction of the nave the Santa Maria del Mar only has four narrow, octagonal pairs of columns to support the loads of 13 metres wide vault.
Around the church small chapels are located that form a kind of cloister. The apse is surrounded by a delicate pillar wreath, which merges into a multi-unit vault and thus forms the conclusion upwards.

The Exterior of the Church

High pillars divide the facade into three sections that correspond to the ships. The narrow octagonal, 33 metres high towers have a straight end on the top.
Turning left around the church, you get to a small square at Carrer Santa Maria, where a granite slab commemorates the Spanish invasion of 1714.

The best-seller novel "Cathedral of the Sea"

The novel "Cathedral of the Sea" took place almost 700 years ago, at a time when Barcelona was one of the most prosperous and growing cities in Europe. At that time, the inhabitants of the modest district Ribera decided to build a new church - by the people for the people. This church is dedicated to the patron saint of sailors - the Santa Maria de la Mar. But the people of Barcelona, both the poor and the rich, had to deal with a variety of problems at those times ...

The literary guided tour "Cathedral of the Sea" was inspired by the novel of Ildefonso Falcones. Visit the original locations with us, which were vividly described in this fascinating novel. Revive the stories of the 14th-century novel protagonists. We address greed, injustice, wars, the plague and the Spanish Inquisition during our 2.5 hour journey through time.

Book the Guided Tour Santa Maria del Mar incl. Admission and the Cathedral of the Sea Tour here

  • Tour "Cathedral of the Sea" incl. visit of the church
  • Tour in the Old Town of Barcelona, incl. El Borne, in which the Santa Maria del Mar is located

Important information

Find Hotels nearby

Pl. Santa Maria del Mar

Metro: Jaume I. (L4)
Bus Turístic: Pla de Palau
Parking nearby

Opening times
Monday to Saturday: 9:00-13:00 Uhr and 17:00-20:30
Sun- and Holidays 10.00-14.00 and 17.00-20.30

Guided visits in English: daily at 14:00 and 15:00

Notes for visiting the Santa Maria del Mar

The guided tour in English lasts about 55 minutes and includes a visit to the towers, the crypt and the roof. Without guide, the roof can not be visited.