Santa Maria del Mar
Gothic colossus in El Born
Barcelona isn’t short of iconic churches (such as the Cathedral La Seu or Gaudi’s unforgettable La Sagrada Familia) but few visitors will regret adding the Santa Maria del Mar onto their travel itinerary.
This medieval colossus was built between 1329 and 1384 and named other St. Mary, patron saint of sailors, thanks to its close location to the sea. The church is known for its purity of architectural style (a prime example of Catalan Gothic) and worthy of note are the octagonal towers, beautiful rose-shaped stained glass window above the entrance and, in the interior, the two rows of columns soaring divinely towards heaven.
One of the most easily recognisable landmarks of El Born district, Santa Maria del Mar looks over a delightful small square, near the Passeig del Born, and the lucky might even find a table for a lunch or coffee break underneath this impressive facade.
The church is free to enter, but is closed between 1.30pm and 4.30pm.
Did you know? After a lightning storm blasted out some of Santa Maria’s stained glass windows the mayor of Barcelona offered to pay to replace them… but only if they feature the coat of arms of his beloved FC Barcelona football team. Look carefully and you can see their crest up high on the left of the church towards the back.