What to See in Almudena Cathedral, Madrid, Spain

Madrid, the capital of Spain, has several beautiful cathedrals. Some of them are free to visit. One among them is Almudena Cathedral.

What to See in Almudena Cathedral

During our walking tour of Madrid we paused to tour this beautiful cathedral. Prior to visit I had read up on this cathedral. And every link had this mention that “Almudena Cathedral is one of the most beautiful churches of Madrid”. But I was surprised by the cathedral’s modest exterior. You will find a similarity with the colors in the facade of Palacio Real, Palace of Madrid.

Later I read up: The cathedral was built on the ruins of medieval mosque of 1083. Construction of this cathedral started in 1883, but it got delayed due to Civil wars and in 1993 it was finally ready. Fernando Chueca Goitia adapted the plans of de Francisco de Cubas (who initially made the plans for the church), to a baroque exterior to match the grey and white façade of the Palacio Real, which stands directly opposite.

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Following are some of the interesting features that I have listed as what to see in Almudena Cathedral of Madrid.

Impressive Size of the Cathedral

The Sheer size of the cathedral is impressive. Once inside you feel a little lost, not knowing which way to tour inside without disturbing those are praying there. The size of Almudena Cathedral is 104-meter long and 76-meter wide.

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You won’t Miss this Statue of John Paul II

The cathedral was not completed until 1993, when it was consecrated by Pope John Paul II. A statue of him is there right in front of the cathedral. So this was a relatively new church. It is a modern one.

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See the Colorful Interiors of Almudena Cathedral

Stepping in, I was spell bound by the splash of colors. It was like it was raining colors from the ceiling. The square cupola particularly held my gaze for long. It seemed to me as if the artist had visualized a night sky full of stars. The ceiling looked a kind of colorful geometric design. Very bright colors used in the designs make it look very attractive. The main nave is mesmerizing. Large wall panels are done with paintings of saints.

Kiko Argüello, who was the founder of the Neocatechumenal Way, painted these brightly colored imitation of Byzantine frescoes in the ceilings.

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Crypts in the Interiors

The crypts here belong to rich Spanish citizens. They will become famous as centuries roll by. There are chapels along the crypt. Entrance to this part of the cathedral is not free.

Ornate Bronze Door Must See at Almudena Cathedral

I have never seen such ornate doors, as the ones in Almudena Cathedral ever before. It is the work of sculptor Luis Antonio Sanguino. Impressive ones! Like me there were several more tourists gaping at them in awe. This is at the second entrance in the Calle Bailén. The doors portray the theme of “the discovery of the image of the Virgin”.

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Location of Almudena Cathedral

Nearest Metro station is Opera. The cathedral is very close to the Palace of Madrid.

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61 Responses to “What to See in Almudena Cathedral, Madrid, Spain

  • Great post. I love visiting cathedrals wherever I go. They are all so unique in colours and history and I find that it’s a nice peaceful place to have a small sit-down break if sightseeing.
    If you ever visit Trondheim where I’m from I recommend a stop by Nidaros Cathedral which is the world’s most northern gothic cathedral 🙂

  • Beautiful cathedral and great information! Will keep this in mind. . .

  • Your photography is incredible. I am heading to Madrid early next year, will definitely go here when I get there! I have visited a ton of cathedrals around the world. The architecture just fascinates me!

  • Beautiful images! The doors are indeed impressive, they reminded me of the doors of some Cathedrals in Italy, so intricate and elaborate. The details are truly worth hours of observation.
    The colors inside the building are also stunning. A very interesting read!

  • Blair Villanueva
    1 year ago

    I admire Spain’s architecture and its rich culture, both that has been acquired by my country, Philippines from them as their former colony. It would be lovely to visit their cities and also learn more about it.

    PS. your photos are beautiful!

  • The roof decorations are gorgeous!

  • The door of the Almudena Cathedral is stunning, I can’t believe how much detail and how many bronze sculptures are on it. It actually reminds me of the cathedral from Ljubljana, which has a similar door. I have been to Madrid and passed by the Almudena Cathedral but I didn’t go inside as I was in tour and my day was very short due to a flight I had to catch. I have to visit it when I’ll go to Madrid again.

  • I had a weekend break in Madrid and it was lovely. We didn’t do the walking tour though, sounds great! Ree love30

  • One of the things I love visiting most in Europe are the cathedrals. While we have never been to Spain, this is a perfect example of why. That ceiling is so spectacular, the ornate bronze door is such a work of art. The architectural beauty is incredible.

  • Even though it’s a modern one, I like that they’ve tried to keep it look like a classic, old building. The doors are really impressive!

  • Great details about the cathedral. I will keep them for my trip to Madrit.

  • Lovely! What an impressive place to visit. I’ve never been to Madrid before, but it looks pretty amazing. So much history and depth 🙂

  • We loved this cathedral when we finally visited it on our last visit. Very beautiful and l loved the statue of St. Peter out at the front. Very pretty and the history is fascinating too. I always love it when they build on mosques 🙂 . Great post

  • I already heard about it but I haven´t seen it with my own eyes yet. I would like to travel the whole world and visit monuments like this one. Lovely photos ʕ•́ᴥ•̀ʔっ

  • 104m long and 76m wide, that’s pretty impressive size for a Cathedral. Really outstanding architecture. I can imagine anyone will get lost in its grandeur. I had a similar experience at the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

  • Fabulous pictures Indrani! LOVED the ceilings! Very well captured.

  • I love visiting cathedrals. There is something in them which fascinates me. So many stories hidden in them. And the colors! And the peace.

    The ceiling looks great here.

  • i’d love to see the Almudena Cathedral in Spain, the architecture is exquisite and looks like it would be worth the trip!

  • My favorite part is the blue dome ceiling and the gold stars! It looks like the sky! So beautiful! I’d love to go there soon! I really want to go to Spain very soon!

  • I spent 7 months in Madrid and I don’t remember having ever seen this cathedral! Opera metro station wasn’t really close to my place, but it happened I went there, especially by night with friends. The fact that it’s free is for sure an added value, because I don’t spend money anymore to enter religious places of any sort. 🙂

  • What a spectacular cathedral. I must say that while I prefer to go to BCN, I would also love to explore Madrid, which I haven’t yet.

    Worth a Thousand Words

  • A lovely Cathedral! The intricacy of the door is amazing as is the detail in the interior! I’ve never been to Madrid and would love to visit.

  • You’ve captured the places so well. I’d love to visit Spain again as I was there for 24hrs only

  • Such gorgeous place! I studied abroad in Madrid and this was one of the my favorite places to go visit while I lived there. It’s absolutely stunning!

  • Cathedrals in Europe are some of the most incredible architecture in the world! They truly shape a city’s landmarks and central destinations. I think this one is gorgeous and truly speaks Spanish culture throughout!

  • Yogi Saraswat
    12 months ago

    Cathedral , mostly in Europe used colorful art to enhance their beauty which makes it special and beautiful.

  • Very beautiful cathedral! We are hoping to visit Spain next year and if we do Madrid will totally be on the list! We will have to check out the Almundena Cathedral thanks to you!

  • Love this cathedral so much! I used to wander in when I lived in Madrid. It’s funny because when I first visited I was on a tour via my college, and the lady told us she thought it was the ugliest one in Spain! It’s true only in that the rest of the cathedrals in Spain are pretty stunning (and have quite a few years on this guy), but I still think this one is pretty special. Never got tired of those colorful ceilings!

  • This cathedral looks really impressive. I like the detailed sculptures – and it’s interesting to find out about the Statue of John Paul II – I didn’t know about it!

  • I love the intricate details of the cathedral. That picture of the ceiling is lovely. I am heading to spain this april. I shall keep this in mind.

  • Wow that is such a beautiful cathedral! I hope to visit it one day

  • I’m not a cathedral/landmark type of traveler but Madrid is a different case. It is rich in so much history that is translated to a beautiful aesthetic!

  • Sudipto De
    12 months ago

    This cathedral looks so mesmerising. Did you try out any of the Spanish food?

  • Oh my gosh I love the ceiling, it’s so beautiful. I think when I eventually have a house of my own I am going to have to have an extravagant ceiling haha!

  • So gorgeous – you always hear about the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona when you think of churches and cathedrals in Spain – I haven’t yet made it to Madrid, but will make sure Almudena Cathedral is on the list for that trip!

  • A really enjoyable post. Cathedrals are some of the most iconic parts of Europe and regardless of what city I visit, I am always sure to check out the local cathedral. That being said, Almundena Cathedral does look particularly spectacular. Certainly, your photos and words go a long way to indicating its impressive size and I can only imagine how powerful the sound would be with a full choir in full voice

  • The cathedral looks and sounds lovely. I find it very soothing and grounding to see the cathedrals where we go. Somehow the aura that envelopes you as you cross those doors automatically soothes and calms. Travel is not just about going to the next destination…it is also a journey within…and cathedrals can be wonderful vehicles to aid this journey. Thanks for sharing.

  • I loved the Almudena cathedral too. It is just so peaceful there.

  • Wow! The bronze doors are stunning and the art work on the roof is superb..I am visiting Spain in 2017! Will bookmark this and do it 🙂

  • That is definitely worth checking out. We hope on going to Madrid at some point so we’ll definitely add this to the list of things to see. It’s kinda cool seeing such a modern cathedral since everything is so shiny and new looking yet still has a great style like the older cathedrals. The insides are so bright and the colours are vibrant. I wonder if this cathedral will age better than cathedrals made in the past.

  • I did see this cathedral when I was in Madrid but I never went inside. I was too busy watching flemenco shows I guess lol

  • The cathedral architecture is really very impressive. The interiors too are beautiful and seem to create an ethereal atmosphere, which is so typical of these kind of structures. They seem to possess some kind of divine beauty.

  • Ahhh Spain! Wow! Awesome photos! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Oh Wow! That carvings in Almudena Cathedral door looks so stunning. The architecture was solidly done and I like how they made the ceiling colorful and appealing, yea It’s really worth a gaze. You have captured the cathedral details very well.

  • Although I am not religious, I always love visiting churches and cathedrals when I’m in a city abroad. I was raised catholic and Dutch churches are very simple compared to those in other countries!

  • Beautiful interiors. The reason i don’t believe any single person is precisely because each of us have our own likes and dislikes…so better to visit once and see for yourself first!

  • Beautiful photographs depicting various aspects of the cathedral. Especially the colourfull glasswork seems very alluring to me. The history seems interesting too, datng back to crusade days.

  • How absolutely gorgeous. We’ll be in Madrid in January and I’m looking forward to the historical sites and culture!

  • It’s super beautiful! And I love Madrid anyway, it is just such an amazing city! Can’t wait to be back 🙂

  • I never made it to Almudena Cathedral during my brief visit to Spain. I would have remembered the statue of the former Pope for sure. “Cathedral” is a Van Halen song!

  • I haven’t been to Madrid yet, but I’ll definitely visit the cathedral when I’m there. Maybe it’s not a medieval cathedral (these I like most), but it’s still quite impressive. I add it to my list 🙂

  • This cathedral is beautiful! The second picture in this post of the ceiling is amazing! Also, the detail on the bronze doors is like nothing I’ve seen before. Very cool!

  • Spain is totally on my bucket list. That cathedral is huge and the intrecate details are amazing! The ceilings are made with different colors and details which made it stand out.

  • Wow! That cathedral is one of a kind! The interior look so unique and beautiful! Love the Ornate Bronze Door!! 🙂

  • I love your captures of Cathedrals of Europe…in fact that is the reason I started following your blog in the first place 😀

  • The colourful ceiling of the cathedral is one of the many highlights of the place. Did u enjoy the view from the top?

  • Laveena Sengar
    12 months ago

    Wow. What an amazing read. I just love the pictures clicked. So much of details are given in all the pictures. I would love to visit the cathedral churches there for sure.

  • Stunning images of a stunning place ! I live in Spain , on the Canary Islands which is quite a distance from mainland Spain. I have not made it to Madrid yet , but that is absolutely on my bucket list in combination with a visit to Barcelona. Spains cathedrals and landmarks are amazing , history is so present everywhere ! Beautiful post.

  • I so want to visit this place now. Loved the bronze door. I believe the sheer size of the cathedral would captivate any visitor.

  • The roof of that Cathedral is absolutely gorgeous!! I love visiting cathedrals when I travel!

  • I love the ceilings in this cathedral, they are lovely.

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