Tour with us the most beautiful cathedrals in Spain, from the Gothic jewels such as Santa Maria de la Sede in Seville or Burgos Cathedral, to the most impressive Romanesque temples in Girona, Valencia or Santiago de Compostela, and other jewels of neoclassicism and the Mudejar like the cathedral-mosque of Cordoba.

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1. The largest Gothic cathedrals in Spain.
2. The most beautiful Romanesque cathedrals in Spain.
3. The most beautiful neoclassical cathedrals in Spain.
4. The most beautiful Islamic and Mudejar cathedrals in Spain.

The largest Gothic cathedrals in Spain
Although each one has their preferred architectural style, there is no doubt that the Gothic always has that ability to leave the visitor with their mouths open. Discover the most beautiful and largest Gothic cathedrals in Spain.

1. Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Sede (Seville)
Santa Maria de la Sede, in Seville. | Ingo Mehling.
At 11,520 square meters, it is considered the largest cathedral in Spain and one of the largest Christian cathedrals in the world. The construction works began in 1401, and among other things it is a center of pilgrimage because the remains of Christopher Columbus and various kings of Castile such as Pedro I el Cruel or Alfonso X el Sabio lie there.
But in addition to its architectural wealth and its historical value, it is a true wonder to behold. The Giralda tower stands out, 104 meters high, and the Patio de los Naranjos, which was originally the ablutions patio of the Almohad mosque.
What most impresses the visitor is the interior grandeur, with five naves and 25 chapels that house paintings by the best Spanish painters.. Also surprising is the great variety of doors and windows on the facades.
It is a World Heritage Site since 1987.

2. Cathedral of Santa Maria de Regla (Leon)
Santa Maria de la Regla, in Leon. | Santa Maria of the Rule, in Leon.
In the 13th century, the Pulchra leonina was built in Leon, a temple known above all for having taken the dematerialization of Gothic art to the extreme . As a result, the walls were reduced to their minimum expression and were replaced by colorful stained glass windows that are considered one of the largest collections of medieval glass in the world.
The lifting of the cathedral was done following plans inspired by the French Gothic. One of the best examples of this is the main facade, which consists of three semicircular arch portals in the lower part, and two floors above, with a large central rose window and two large square towers on the sides.
Inside, the cathedral is very bright and contains, among other things, the oldest choir stalls in Spain and a rich collection of sculptures and tombs .

3. Metropolitan Cathedral of Santa Maria (Burgos)
Metropolitan Cathedral of Santa Maria, in Burgos. | Flickr.
The construction works of this cathedral began in 1221 with the intention of following the architectural pattern of the French Gothic. Later, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and in the eighteenth, some aspects were reformed and elements that make up other styles, such as Baroque or Renaissance, were added.
In this case, the most impressive is the main facade, inspired by the Gothic cathedrals of Paris and Reims. It is a base with three gates, one large and two smaller, with two upper pieces flanked by two side towers with a square floor plan . In the fifteenth century the spiers reminiscent of German churches were added.
Inside the cathedral are preserved pictorial works of great value and other remarkable sculptural pieces. In the main nave is the Flycatcher, a figure presiding over a large clock that moves its arm every time it strikes the hour to ring a bell.

4. Cathedral-basilica of Palma de Mallorca
Cathedral-basilica of Palma de Mallorca | Wikimedia Commons.
The basilica of La Seu, in Palma de Mallorca, was built in the 13th century on a cliff that was then limited by the sea. For this reason, for some time, it was the only Gothic cathedral in the world reflected . Nowadays, this effect has been reproduced thanks to the construction of an artificial saltwater lake, the Parque del Mar.
The complex consists of three cross-shaped naves closed by a chancel with three apses. The naves are separated by large octagonal pillars and offer, inside, the sensation of spaciousness, lightness and luminosity. The light filters inside through 7 rose windows and 83 windows: it is also known as “the cathedral of light” .
Although Gothic predominates, the cathedral has been restored many times. In 1904 Antoni Gaudi began a renovation that lasted ten years and that influenced, among others, the transfer of the choir, the elimination of the Gothic main altarpiece and the construction of the main altar.

5. Cathedral of Santa Cruz and Santa Eulalia (Barcelona)
Santa Cruz and Santa Eulalia, in Barcelona. | Elisa Rolle
The seat of the Archbishopric of Barcelona is also one of the largest and most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in Spain. It was built in the 13th century on top of an old Visigothic church which in turn had been built on top of a Paleo-Christian temple. Although the facade is what most impresses the visitor, this is more recent, from the 19th century.
The church is consecrated to the patron saint of Barcelona, ​​Santa Eulalia , who was martyred by the Roman authorities when she was thrown down a slope into a barrel full of glass and nails. It is believed that Santa Eulalia herded geese, and that is why some geese live in the gothic cloister of the cathedral.
The architectural complex is made up of three naves, the central one twice as wide as the lateral ones, surrounded bychapels with a great artistic wealth .

6. Pamplona
Cathedral Pamplona Cathedral. | Know Navarre.
It is a unique architectural complex in Spain for being the most complete in a religious temple : in addition to the church, the cloister and the sacristies, it has a cellar, a refectory, a chapter house and a bedroom, which in other cathedrals have been demolished with the passing of the centuries.
Although rooms from the Romanesque period are preserved, the Gothic predominates in the complex (especially in the church and the cloister) and incorporates the neoclassical-style western facade.

The gothic church has three naves, attached to which are distributed a series of chapels with the exception of the space that serves as the entrance to the cloister. The vaults are simple ribbed where the interaction of the cobblestones can be seen and whose pointed arches on pillars attached columns give it a vertical and solemn appearance.

7. Cathedral of Segovia
Cathedral of Segovia. | Pedro J. Orellana.
This religious temple is the third to be built in Segovia: the first church was destroyed in 516, the second, in Romanesque style, was destroyed in the War of the Communities, and in 1525, by order of King Carlos I, it began to build the third and current one. In fact, it is one of the later Gothic cathedrals in Spain .
Segovia Cathedral consists of three naves with side chapels and a transept, in addition to the tower and the cloister. The square-shaped tower rises to a height of 88 meters and was once the tallest in Spain . It is completely completed in Gothic style, finished with a mahogany wood capital destroyed by lightning in 1614.
The cloister, located to the south of the cathedral, is framed in the flamboyant Gothic of the fifteenth century and contains galleries of more than five meters with a central patio with a well .

8. Cathedral of San Salvador (Oviedo)
Cathedral of San Salvador, in Oviedo. | Xavier Losa.
The Cathedral of San Salvador de Oviedo was built from the 13th to the 17th century, starting with the Chapter House that goes to the cloister and ending with the Gothic tower, which is the distinctive element of the temple . It conserves, however, some parts of the old pre-Romanesque church, such as the famous Camara Santa.
This chamber is important because its function is to contain the relics that have been accumulating, such as the Crosses of Victory and of the Angels, symbol of the Habsburgs, and the Holy Ark that contains the Holy Shroud . Since 2015 it is a World Heritage Site.
The towers are an 80-meter-high wonder made up of five bodies that decrease in size as they rise, with the intention of emulating an indicator that points to the sky.The Gothic cloister is also very characteristic , with a rectangular shape (four arches on the long sides, and three on the short ones).

9. Cathedral of Santiago (Bilbao)
Cathedral of Santiago, in Bilbao. | Wikimedia Commons.
One of the best manifestations of Gothic in the Basque Country is the cathedral-basilica of Bilbao, consecrated to the Apostle Santiago. It was built between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries , and has three naves in the shape of a Latin cross with a cozy Gothic cloister.
In fact, the Cathedral of Santiago in Bilbao does not stand out for its dimensions, since compared to other Gothic cathedrals in Spain it has a rather small size. However, it contains an undeniable beauty that focuses, above all, on the southern door,the Capilla Mayor and the Puerta del Angel . It also has a large number of chapels and a crypt where you can see the original hermitage on which it was built.
Although the interior of the cathedral contains really brilliant spaces, the main facade is especially impressive, which has undergone modifications over the centuries and is dominated by a tall neo-Gothic tower .

The most beautiful Romanesque cathedrals in Spain
These churches share the same Romanesque origin and, therefore, common features, such as the Latin cross shape and the aesthetics of the domes and facades. This is a list of the most beautiful Romanesque cathedrals in Spain.

10. Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
The Cathedral of Santiago of Compostela. | Andriy Buymistr.
Probably the most emblematic cathedral in Spain, not only for its artistic beauty but also for being a pilgrimage destination on the Camino de Santiago , an initiatory route that ends in the cathedral that houses the tomb of the Apostle Santiago.
Santiago de Compostela is a large cathedral whose origin is the Romanesque church built from the year 1075 . Like all Romanesque temples, it has three naves in the shape of a cross, and a rich ornamentation that gives it a vertical and palatial aspect, to which are added the Gothic and Baroque styles.
The most impressive is the Obradoiro facade, completed in the 18th century. Clearly baroque in style, thispresided over by Santiago Peregrino between its two 74-meter-high towers (the Carraca tower and the Bell tower).
It has been a World Heritage Site since 1985.

11. Old Cathedral of Salamanca
Old Cathedral of Salamanca. | Wikimedia Commons.
The Old Cathedral of Salamanca began to be built in the 12th century, although it was finished much later. That is why it is based on the Romanesque style, although it integrates some parts of the Gothic. The jewel in the crown is the main altarpiece , a composition of 53 panels made by three authors between 1430 and 1450 and of great artistic value.
The central part is dominated by a cloister closed by several chapels. The oldest, the chapel of San Salvador, is of the Muslim typeand maintains the Mozarabic rite. Another curiosity: at the beginning of the University of Salamanca, the chapel of Santa Barbara was used as a classroom where final exams were held.
From the outside, what stands out the most is the impressive tower of the rooster, which inside becomes a large dome with sixteen ribs supported on four large pendentives.

12. Cathedral of Santa Maria (Girona)
Cathedral of Santa Maria, in Girona. | Doronenko.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria de Girona is the highest point in the city and is surrounded by an impressive Romanesque urban fabric of narrow streets and little treasures (including the old Jewish quarter and the Turkish baths). The cathedral has such charm that it served as a decoration for someepisodes of the hit series Game of Thrones .
The cathedral began in the 11th century and the Romanesque style prevails, although later Gothic elements were incorporated and, in fact, the construction ended in the 18th century. The most impressive is the baroque facade with the long access staircase . On either side the Gothic portico of San Miguel and the Portico de los Apostoles are preserved.
Above the main chapel rises the 11th century Romanesque episcopal cathedral which, beyond its architectural beauty, houses great artistic treasures such as the main altarpiece , covered in silver and enamel, or the Romanesque tapestry of Creation.

13. Cathedral of the Savior (Zaragoza)
Cathedral of the Savior, in Zaragoza. | Jose Luis Filpo Cabana.
It is a pair of Zaragoza cathedrals with the Pilar cathedral, but this one is older. It was started in the 12th century in the Romanesque style, but it is one of the most complete cathedrals in Spain because Gothic, Mudejar, Renaissance and Baroque also coexist there .
From its origins, the place where the cathedral stands was the city’s place of worship and even housed a huge mosque. In 1166 the construction of the new church consecrated to San Salvador began, converting the Muslim courtyard into a cloister and erecting three naves without an apse with the central nave twice as wide as the lateral ones.
Currently the Cathedral of El Salvador has five naves with two apses at the head and Gothic buttresses that are closed with walls forming chapels. The bell tower stands out, built in 1683 to replace the Mudejar tower.

14. Cathedral of Santa Maria (Valencia)
Cathedral of Santa Maria, in Valencia. | Wikimedia Commons.
King Jaime I ordered the construction of a cathedral in honor of the Assumption of Mary, and in 1262 the architectural complex that today is the seat of the Archbishopric of Valencia was completed . It is a cathedral with domains of the Valencian Gothic, although the base and the structure belong to the Romanesque. It also contains Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassicism.
The great attraction of this cathedral, beyond its architectural beauty, is the Chapel of the Holy Chalice , which contains a vase dating from the 1st century that many consider to be the true Holy Grail. Also, thanks to the favor of the Valencian Pope Alexander VI, the best Quattrocento paintings in our country arrived at the cathedral, and are still preserved.

The main altar of the cathedral is also a gift for the eyes . Combination of Renaissance and Baroque contains an impressive pictorial work in the dome. Also noteworthy is the dome typical of French Gothic, supported by four pendentives with sculptures of the apostles.

15. Zamora
Cathedral Zamora Cathedral. | Flickr.

Framed in the style called Romanesque DueroZamora Cathedral is a set of three naves in the shape of a Latin cross, erected from the twelfth century to house the bishopric consolidated after the recovery of Zamora in the reconquest.
The current temple offers an imposing view of the banks of the Duero on which it stands next to the castle of Zamora . The Portal of the Bishop is the only one that remains intact, and together with the enormous dome it is the most outstanding part of the romantic heritage of the cathedral.
The dome is a chevroned Romanesque dome of great artistic richness, accompanied by the Torre del Salvador, from the 13th century. As for the art it treasures, Zaragoza Cathedral has had four main altarpieces: one of Romanesque origin, replaced by a Gothic one, which later became a Baroque altar and finallythe current one, in marble and gilt bronze .

The most beautiful neoclassical cathedrals in Spain
Some of the following cathedrals were built again in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and therefore are a clear example of Spanish neoclassicism. Others, although they were born as Romanesque or Baroque pieces, ended up reformed as neoclassical buildings.

16. Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena (Madrid)
Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena, in Madrid. | Flickr.
The Almudena Cathedral takes its name from the Arabic “al-mudayna” (citadel) and was built in 1883 on the remains of an old mosque. The first stone, placed by King Alfonso XII, was located in the place where it is believed that Alfonso VI, after expelling the Muslims in 1083, miraculously found an icon of the Virgin after giving himself up to prayer.
The main facade is a symmetrical two-story colonnaded portal flanked by two towers and with a view of the great dome behind. The upper columns are in the Tuscan style, while the upper one is inspired by the Ionic, and the whole certainly acquires a clear neoclassical order . There are also four sculptures of saints in marble.
Inside, the cathedral has a Latin cross plan with three naves where the neoclassical style predominates, with a large presence of marble and large stained glass windows.

17. Cathedral of Santa Maria (Murcia)
Cathedral of Santa Maria, in Murcia. | Wikimedia Commons.
Headquarters of the Diocese of Cartagena, this cathedral was consecrated in 1467 and represents a great mix of architectural styles as several elements have been incorporated into its original work. A key piece of Spanish Baroque , the temple had to modify the portal and expand the interior, offering important elements of neoclassicism until the 18th century.
One of the most striking parts is the tower, which has its own entity as it was built to replace the previous one. On the other hand, the Museum is located in the old cloister of the cathedral, which contains important Renaissance paintings and which, together with the cloisters, represents a special architectural ensemble.

18. Our Lady of Pilar (Zaragoza)
Basilica of Our Lady of Pilar, in Zaragoza. | Flickr.
The cathedral-basilica of Nuestra Senora del Pilar is a baroque and neoclassical work that stands on the banks of the Ebro and is one of the most important Catholic temples in Spain. It is believed that it was the place where the Apostle Santiago, during his evangelizing mission in the peninsula, saw the Virgin on a pillar.
There, a new cathedral was erected on top of a ruined Romanesque temple, which was completed in 1515. Quite large in size, it consisted of a single baroque nave with an adjoining cloister where the Pilar chapel is located . In the main altar there is an outstanding alabaster altarpiece by Damian Forment in 1509.

With the intention of emulating the basilica of Saint Peter in Rome , in the 17th century work began for the extension and remodeling that will continue until the 20th century and that integrate the elements of neoclassicism that offer it a different aesthetic.

The most beautiful Islamic and Mudejar cathedrals
These are two examples of the variety and richness of styles that have coexisted in Spain over the centuries. The Cordoba mosque is the main example of Andalusian art, while the Teruel cathedral is the greatest example of Mudejar.

19. Cathedral-mosque of Cordoba
Cathedral in the Mosque of Cordoba. | Flickr.
The Great Mosque of Cordoba and current Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady began to be builtas an Arab mosque in the year 786 and constitutes an impressive architectural ensemble of 23,400 square meters. Without a doubt, one of the largest and most impressive religious temples in Spain and in the whole world.
After the Reconquest, in 1238, it was recovered as a consecrated cathedral that houses the chapter of the Diocese of Cordoba and the episcopal seat. In 1523 the basilica was built in the shape of a cross where the Renaissance style predominates.
Although it currently houses exclusively the Catholic rite, the cathedral-mosque of Cordoba remains the most important monument of Andalusian architecture.and Hispano-Muslim Umayyad art. The most emblematic are the interior columns of the mosque and the impressive Patio de los Naranjos with its fountains and rich vegetation.

20. Cathedral of Teruel
Cathedral of Teruel. | Diego Delso.
Teruel’s cathedral is one of the most emblematic examples of the Mudejar style. It has its origin in the Romanesque church of Santa Maria de Mediavilla, built in 1171, and ended with the completion of the Mudejar tower in 1257. The old romantic structure was transformed in the 13th century with a wide influence of Moorish art.
At the head of the main chapel you can see the typical Mudejar arches that replace the Romanesque arches. In general, the substitution of one art for the other had as a consequencegreater light and spaciousness .
One of the most striking elements of the cathedral of Teruel, without a doubt one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Spain, is the square-shaped tower profusely decorated with tiles. The visitor is also surprised by the roof of the central nave, which due to its pictorial motifs is considered “the Sistine Chapel” of Mudejar art .

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Bibliographic references
Sarthou Carreres, C., & Navascues Palacio, P. (1990). Cathedrals of Spain. Skip Calpe.
Azcarate, J.M. (1990). Gothic art in Spain. Chair.
Perez Monzon, O. (2003). Gothic cathedrals (No. 726.6 (460)). Jaguar,.
Pi, JJ, & Torrents, JM (2003). The aesthetics of Romanesque and Gothic. A. Machado Books.
Gualis, G.M.B., & Galan, M.B. (1990). The Islam of Cordoba to the Mudejar (Vol. 3). Silex editions.