The Barcelona Cathedral is a classic Gothic-style cathedral dating back to the 13th century. Visitors come to watch traditional mass under huge vaulted ceilings. Decorative arts from the 1300s and onward are displayed throughout the cathedral, and a cloister, or courtyard, houses a fountain and geese. The rooftop offers views across the city. The cathedral is also known as “Le Seu,” and was named after Saint Eulalia, the patron saint of Barcelona.
The cathedral is in the city’s Gothic Quarter, a short walk from Las Ramblas. The façade was renovated in the 1800s in a neo-gothic style, with arches and carvings. Locals and tourists gather in the square in front of the cathedral. It’s busy on Sundays, when women come to perform the “sardana,” a traditional Catalan dance.
Wander inside the church to admire its interior, which was built between 1298 and 1448. The choir stalls are some of the best examples of the Catalan gothic-style architecture and decoration. See sculpted canopies, commemorative shields and a painted relief.
The crypt of Saint Eulalia is underneath the high altar. Her remains are kept in a decorated sarcophagus.
The cloister is surrounded by a series of small gothic chapels. It has trees and a fountain. Thirteen geese roam the courtyard. At Easter the traditional “dancing egg” ritual takes place, where an eggshell is placed on top of the fountain and left to “dance” for the celebration of Corpus Christi.
A museum is under the gallery of the cloister. It’s filled with paintings and sculptures from as far back as the 11th century. Be sure to see one of the most important treasures, the monstrance, a magnificent jewelled receptacle for the Eucharistic host used in Catholic ceremonies.
Take an elevator to the roof of the cathedral. There are 360-degree views.
The cathedral is open every day. There are special opening times on Catholic holidays. Check the cathedral’s website for details. Visitors can attend a mass for free, but must pay a small fee to explore the choir stalls, museum and rooftop.
The cathedral is easily accessed by bus and metro.