If architecturally, Barcelona is most closely associated in the visitor's mind with Gothic and modernist architecture, then the La Seu Cathedral and Santa Maria del Mar church provide beautiful examples of the former, and Gaudí's Sagrada Familia a sublime, outrageous offering of the latter. But the Renaissance is also majestically represented in the Eglesia de Betlem on Las Ramblas, and there's a rare example of Romanesque architecture just off Rambla del Raval, in the shape of the church of Sant Pau del Camp. These are the top five Barcelona churches.
La Sagrada Familia
Permanent scaffolding and cranes cannot mask the insouciant creative dynamism of Europe's most bizarre cathedral. Often called 'the last cathedral' (though it's not technically a cathedral), the Sagrada Familia inspires, delights, torments and disturbs in equal measure.
The line to get into the Sagrada Familia has become pretty ridiculous in recent years. Save yourself a lot of time by booking your tickets online. But keep in mind that the interior isn't finished - so you're really just touring a building site (and an average museum) and the views are the only ones in the city where you can't see the Sagrada Familia from!
Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
Nearest Metro: Sagrada Familia
La Seu Cathedral
La Seu's spires dominate the Gothic Quarter. The cathedral is surrounded by some of Barcelona's most romantic, not to mention best-preserved, rambling alleyways. It also has a beautiful 14th-century cloister, overrun by 13 geese representing the thirteen years of the martyred Saint Eulalia, whose tomb is inside the cathedral.
Address: Plaça de la Seu
Nearest Metro: Jaume I
This 17th-century chapel's impressive portal occupies a corner of Las Ramblas and Carrer Hospital. It's one of Catalonia's finest examples of Renaissance architecture.
Address: C/ Xuclà, 2
Sant Pau del Camp
Just off Rambla del Raval is one of Barcelona's oldest churches. Its a rare glimpse of romanesque architecture in the city.
Address: Sant Pau 99, El Raval, Barcelona
Nearest Metro: Paral.lel
Santa Maria del Mar Church
This Gothic basilica is thought to be one of the finest in Spain, thanks to its celestial, light-absorbing windows and soaring columns. Its movie star appeal is attested to by it being the protagonist of Illdefonso Falcones's Gothic novel, The Cathedral of the Sea.
Address: Plaça Santa María del Mar, Born-Ribera, Barcelona
Nearest Metro: Jaume I