Santa Maria del Mar Barcelona

The Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar is seen as one of the best examples of Catalan Gothic architecture, which has noticeable differences to the European Gothic tradition. It is one of the most beautiful churches in Barcelona, even taking in to account the city’s much more well-known Cathedral. In spite of the fact that all indications show that the basilica originated in the year 998 AD, the current basilica actually dates back to the 14th century, and it was constructed under the supervision of craftsmen Berenguer de Montagut and Ramón Despuig.


Located in the area of el Born in the neighborhood of Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i La Ribera, the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar is one of the most sought-after churches for couples getting married in Barcelona, so it’s quite common to find a wedding taking place there. Tourists can often be found mingling with wedding guests in the steps up to the main entrance to the church, waiting to get a photograph of the bride as she comes out.

Visiting the basilica

Despite the fact that the basilica is not as well-known as the Sagrada Familia or Barcelona’s Cathedral, in more recent years the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar has found itself in an area visited more frequently by tourists, thanks to the interest kindled by the well-known books ‘La Catedral del Mar’ (Cathedral of the Sea) and ‘El Juego del Ángel’ (The Angel’s Game) by the local authors Ildefonso Falcones and Carlos Ruíz Zafón respectively. In spite of this extra media impact and the fact that the church is free (for several hours a day. Payment from 12:00 to 17:00) to visit, you won’t find queues to enter, and you will be able to visit the church in peace.

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Santa María del Mar guided tour


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The three magnificent façades, which emphasize the two octagonal towers and the huge amount of bare stone surfaces, give the building quite an imposing feel, as it’s difficult to gain an overall impression due to the fact that the church is so hemmed in by the narrow streets of La Ribera. Despite the simplicity of the interior of the church, it’s just as impressive; in fact this simplicity is what gives the church its incredible acoustics, making it the host of many choral concerts and even some jazz.

Unlike in many other churches, you will find that photography is permitted in the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar, although during religious ceremonies your co-operation in keeping photography to a minimum will be appreciated.

For some time it has been possible to go on a guided tour, which allows you to find out more about the history of the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar’s construction, and by doing this tour you will be able to visit the roof and the terraces of the church and enjoy the wonderful views of both its immediate surroundings, and of some of Barcelona’s most iconic landmarks.

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c/ (street) dels Sombrerers 6, Barcelona.

Open hours

Monday to Saturday: from 09:00 until 13:30, and from 16:30 to 20:00.

Sundays and public holidays: from 10:30 until 13:30, and from 16:30 to 20:00.

Entry price

To visit the Basilica: from 12:00 to 17:00: 3.00€, but entry is free throughout the rest of the day.

Tour of the terraces and rooftop: 5.00€. (If you’re visiting the church during the times in which you have to pay, you will only have to pay the difference to go up to the terrace, ie an extra 2.00€)

How to get there

Metro: Jaume I and Barceloneta (line 4).

Buses: lines 14, 17, 19, 40, 45, 51, 120 and tourist bus.

Nearby places of interest

Parc de la Ciutadella (Ciutadella Park)
Museu Picasso (Picasso Museum)
Museu del Mamut (Mammouth Museum)
Museu de la Xocolata (Chocolate Museum)
Mercat de Santa Caterina (Santa Caterina Market)

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