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Basílica de Santa María del Mar - Born Cathedral

Gothic cathedral built 1383 at the peek of Catalonia's Maritime and mercantile prominence. Free entry but also offers a guided tour including visit to rooftop

Updated: Jul 27, 2022 by: Barcelona Travel Hacks Views: 1k

About Santa Maria del Mar Basilica

Barcelona is a city with multiple grand churches, major basilicas and Cathedrals such as the Sagrada Família, Barcelona Cathedral and The Basilica de Santa María del Mar The cathedral in El Born Neighbourhood.

The Basilica de Santa María del Mar is known as the Cathedral of the Sea because it was originally built in a part of Barcelona called La Ribera which was on the sea front and a neighbourhood of dock workers, sailors and merchants plus any other professions related to sea trade.

The cathedral is pure Catalan Gothic in style where as other churches, basilicas and cathedrals from this time are a mix of styles.

Spanish archaeologist Jordina Sales theorises that the site that is now occupied by the Santa María del Mar basilica was once the location for Roman Barcelona's amphitheatre, but tis is currently being disputed.

Santa María del Mar History

The current temple originates from 1329 when the first corner stone was laid. The site of the church was historically very close to the shore line in a neighbourhood then known as la Ribera or shoreline and was in a part of town where wealthy merchants and minor nobility built their houses (Calle Montcada). This neighbourhood was derived from trades related to the sea such as ship building, craftsmen, import-export, dock workers and porters.

Construction of the church was funded by wealthy pious merchants and king Pere III gave permission for stone to be quarried from Montjuïc and the local residents and merchants assisted with boats to bring the stone to the site. Note the two Stone inscription stones by the Entrance door located on Santa Maria Street.

The temple is unusual for a catholic church as the decoration inside is minimal. This is because in 1936, during the Spanish civil war the church was sacked and set on fire, burning for 11 days. Much of the interior including the magnificent baroque altar and the images in the historical archive were all destroyed. A more detailed history is included in the guided tour.

Visiting Santa Maria del Mar Basilica

Access to the church is generally free During the times indicated on the website. However, for 13.23 € there is a rooftop, crypt and towers guided tour which offers spectacular views and includes an explanation of the history of the church and its role in the surrounding neighbourhood.

Santa María del Mar Guided Tours Tickets

Accessibility, mobility & Clothing for Santa Maria del Mar Basilica

The main front entrance into the cathedral has several stone steps. The side entrance is at street level with a very small slight incline ramp. The roof visit is via a spiral staircase with no lift option.

There is no locker or cloakroom so do not take large bags. a 10L small rucksack is acceptable. Dress appropriately for a religious building, no hot-pants or micro skirts. A t-shirt is better than a vest for gentlemen. You will be asked to remove your hat upon entry into the cathedral.

Nearest bicycle anchorage points are in Passeig del Born 10-12.

Day Trip Rucksack

Day Trip Rucksack

Small 10L day trip and museums rucksack

Decathlon Spain Link Amazon Spain Link
Emergency Poncho

Emergency Poncho

Small folded lightweight Water proof poncho for emergencies

Decathlon Spain Link Amazon Spain Link

Summary of Prices

Train/Bus Fare Entry Ticket Additional Information Train/Bus Fare Entry Ticket Additional Information Adult Zone 1 T-casual € 13.23 Students, Over 65 years 10.18 Euros Child T-familiar € 6.11 under 10 Years FREENotes Is posible to enter the church free without tour.

Getting to Santa Maria del Mar Basilica

Address: Plaça de Santa Maria 1, Barcelona. 08003

Nearest TMB Metro is Jaume I on the yellow (L4) line.

Documents for Santa Maria del Mar Basilica

Click on any one of the 2 PDFs to view in full screen and download.


Street Map Born Neighbourhood

Author: Barcelona Travel Hacks


Metro Map Urquinaona


Weather for Barcelona

8 Attractions Nearby

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