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Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.
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Almudena Cathedral (Santa María la Real de La Almudena)

Admire the baroque architecture as you walk through the entrance and into the fascinating interior of Madrid’s only cathedral.

The Almudena Cathedral (Santa María la Real de La Almudena) is one of the most remarkable in Spain. It retains the floor plan and several architectural features of a conventional cathedral but has a distinctly modern flair. Sit outside and admire its towering façade then head inside to explore the neo-Gothic interior. As you wander through the nave, you’ll see pop art-style stained-glass windows, colorful ceiling art, and works by artists old and new.

Walk along the spacious aisles inside the church where Spain’s Prince Felipe married Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano in 2004. Imagine the pomp of this royal ceremony as you look around the massive church measuring 341 feet (104 meters) long and 249 feet (76 meters) wide. The central dome is (20 meters) in diameter. Go to the dome’s viewing platform for a spectacular view of the city.

Although the plans to build the cathedral began in the 16th century, the church was not completed until 1993, the same year it was consecrated by Pope John Paul II. Look out for the commemorative statue of the pope at the front of the church.

The delayed building process means the church has two architectural styles: neoclassic outside and neo-Gothic inside. The crypt, the oldest part of the cathedral, is neo-Gothic, while the exterior was designed to be more in keeping with its neighbor, the neoclassic Royal Palace.

Explore the crypt to see a 16th-century image of the Virgin of Almudena or head to the western end of the transept to look at a 15th-century altarpiece. Visit the on-site museum to learn about the history of the cathedral and the Diocese of Madrid. There are clerical garments and other artifacts.

Almudena Cathedral is along Calle Bailén, right next to the Royal Palace. The closest metro station is Ópera. The cathedral is open every day, while the museum has different operating hours. Check ahead before your visit. You can enter the building for free, but there’s an admission fee for the museum and viewing platform.


Guide to Exploring around Almudena Cathedral


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Best Lodging Options Near Almudena Cathedral

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Hotel Riu Plaza España $91
Hotel Riu Plaza España

Hotel Riu Plaza España

C/ Gran Via, 84, Madrid
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Centro, this hotel is steps from Calle de la Princesa, Gran Via Street, and Teatro Coliseum. Royal Palace of Madrid and Lope de Vega Theatre are also within 10 minutes. Plaza de Espana Station is only a 2-minute walk and Ventura Rodriguez Station is 5 minutes.

    Pestana Plaza Mayor Madrid $89
    Pestana Plaza Mayor Madrid

    Pestana Plaza Mayor Madrid

    Calle Imperial, 8, Madrid
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Centro, this spa hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Plaza Mayor, Royal Palace of Madrid, and Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia and Prado Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km). Tirso de Molina Station is only a 5-minute walk and Sol Station is 5 minutes.

      Aloft Madrid Gran Via $89
      Aloft Madrid Gran Via

      Aloft Madrid Gran Via

      Calle Jacometrezo 4, Madrid
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Centro, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Gran Via Street, Puerta del Sol, and Royal Palace of Madrid. Plaza Mayor and Prado Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km). Callao Station is only a 2-minute walk and Santo Domingo Station is 3 minutes.

        Hostal Central Palace Madrid $42
        Hostal Central Palace Madrid

        Hostal Central Palace Madrid

        plaza oriente 2, Madrid
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Centro, this hostal is steps from Plaza de Oriente, Royal Palace of Madrid, and Royal Theatre. Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor are also within 10 minutes. Opera Station is only a 2-minute walk and Santo Domingo Station is 7 minutes.

          Hotel Liabeny $64
          Hotel Liabeny

          Hotel Liabeny

          Calle de la Salud 3, Madrid
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Centro, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Puerta del Sol and Gran Via Street. Plaza Mayor and Teatro Lara are also within 10 minutes. Gran Via Station and Callao Station are within a 5-minute walk.

            Vegas Apartments Palacio Real $109
            Vegas Apartments Palacio Real

            Vegas Apartments Palacio Real

            Plaza Alamillo 8, bajo izquierdo, Madrid, Madrid
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Centro, this apartment building is within a 10-minute walk of City Hall, Royal Palace of Madrid, and Plaza Mayor. Almudena Cathedral and Mercado de San Miguel are also within 10 minutes. La Latina Station is 8 minutes by foot and Opera Station is 9 minutes.

              DOBO HOMES PALACIO APARTMENT
              DOBO HOMES PALACIO APARTMENT

              DOBO HOMES PALACIO APARTMENT

              Calle Factor 3-5, Madrid
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Centro, this apartment building is within a 5-minute walk of Almudena Cathedral, Royal Palace of Madrid, and Mercado de San Miguel. Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol are also within 10 minutes. Opera Station is 5 minutes by foot and Tirso de Molina Station is 9 minutes.

                Hostels MeetingPoint
                Hostels MeetingPoint

                Hostels MeetingPoint

                Calle Factor 5, Madrid, Madrid
                   
                  2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Centro, this hostel is within a 5-minute walk of Almudena Cathedral, Royal Palace of Madrid, and Royal Theatre. Plaza Mayor and Mercado de San Miguel are also within 10 minutes. Opera Station is only a 5-minute walk and Tirso de Molina Station is 10 minutes.