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Almudena Cathedral (Santa María la Real de La Almudena)

Madrid’s only cathedral is a definite crowd-pleaser, with a mixed architectural style and breathtaking panorama of the city from its viewing platform.

Originally designed in the 16th century, Almudena Cathedral, or Santa María la Real de La Almudena, was only completed in 1993, and the resulting potpourri of design features from over the ages make it a remarkable stopping point on any sightseeing tour of Madrid. The combination of ancient and modern is interesting enough, but there's also a museum and viewing platform on-site to make your visit even more worthwhile.

As you approach the cathedral, you'll be struck by its impressively tall façade. You may notice that the neoclassical exterior of the building was designed to fit in with the style of the nearby Royal Palace. However, the neo-Gothic interior conjures a completely different atmosphere, especially when you walk down to the crypt, the oldest part of the cathedral. This offers a further contrast with the stained-glass, pop-art style windows and dazzling array of colour on the underside of the roof. Throughout the cathedral you can also enjoy artwork by artists both ancient and modern.

At 104 metres long and 76 metres wide, with the diameter of the central dome at 20 metres, there’s plenty of space to walk around. Soak up the sense of pomp and grandeur, and breathe in the ambience that surrounded Prince Felipe and Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano's royal wedding ceremony in 2004. A visit to this cathedral wouldn't be complete without going up to the dome and gazing out from the viewing platform; you're unlikely to find a better view over Madrid anywhere else in the city.

There are a number of specific features in the cathedral worth looking out for. One of these is the statue of Pope John Paul II which commemorates his consecration of the cathedral in 1993. The image of the Virgin of Almudena in the crypt is also an important piece, harking back to the 16th century, while the 15th-century altarpiece at the western end of the transept is also a must-see for all visitors. The on-site museum gives a detailed history of the cathedral and diocese. It also has clerical attire and other artefacts on display.

The cathedral is on Calle Bailé, next-door to the Royal Palace, and is accessible via the Ópera metro station. The cathedral is open every day but you should check opening hours if you want to go to the museum. Admission is free, although there is a fee for the museum and viewing platform.


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Lodging Near Almudena Cathedral

See all 2,587 properties near Almudena Cathedral

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Hotel Regina

Hotel Regina

Alcala 19, Madrid, Madrid
    3.0 out of 5.0
     
     
    4.5 out of 5 (2 reviews)

    Located in Centro, this hotel is steps from La Equitativa Building, Casino de Madrid, and Church of las Calatravas. San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts and ...

    Hotel ReginaAU$127

    5 Aug - 6 Aug

    Hotel Atlantico Madrid

    Hotel Atlantico Madrid

    Gran Via 38, Madrid, Madrid
      4.0 out of 5.0
       
       

      Located in Centro, this hotel is steps from Plaza de Callao, Gran Via Street, and Teatro Lara. Teatro Rialto and Lope de Vega Theatre are also within 5 minutes. ...

      Hotel Atlantico MadridAU$204

      8 Aug - 9 Aug

      Pestana Plaza Mayor Madrid

      Pestana Plaza Mayor Madrid

      Calle Imperial, 8, Madrid
        4.0 out of 5.0
         
         

        Located in Centro, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. Almudena Cathedral and El Rastro are also within 10 minutes. Tirso ...

        Pestana Plaza Mayor MadridAU$231

        4 Aug - 5 Aug

        Dear Hotel Madrid

        Dear Hotel Madrid

        Gran Via 80, Madrid
          4.0 out of 5.0
           
           
          4.0 out of 5 (1 reviews)

          This boutique hotel is located in the heart of Madrid, walking distance from Teatro Coliseum, Plaza de España, and Lope de Vega Theatre. Also nearby are Gran ...

          Dear Hotel MadridAU$174

          4 Aug - 5 Aug

          Hotel Emperador

          Hotel Emperador

          Gran Via 53, Madrid, Madrid
            4.0 out of 5.0
             
             

            Located in Centro, this hotel is steps from Plaza de Espana - Princesa, Gran Via Street, and Lope de Vega Theatre. Plaza de España and Teatro Rialto are also ...

            Hotel EmperadorAU$171

            4 Aug - 5 Aug

            VP Plaza España Design

            VP Plaza España Design

            Plaza de España, 5, Madrid, Madrid
              5.0 out of 5.0
               
               

              Located in Centro, this luxury hotel is steps from Plaza de Espana - Princesa, Gran Via Street, and Plaza de España. Teatro Coliseum and Lope de Vega Theatre ...

              VP Plaza España DesignAU$298

              11 Aug - 12 Aug

              Gran Vía Capital

              Gran Vía Capital

              Gran Via 48, Madrid, Madrid
                4.0 out of 5.0
                 
                 

                Located in Centro, this apartment building is within a 10-minute walk of Plaza de Callao, Plaza de España, and Plaza Mayor. Royal Palace and Plaza de Cibeles ...

                Gran Vía CapitalAU$249

                19 Jul - 20 Jul

                Iberostar Las Letras Gran Via

                Iberostar Las Letras Gran Via

                Gran Via 11, Madrid, Madrid
                  4.0 out of 5.0
                   
                   
                  5.0 out of 5 (1 reviews)

                  Located in Centro, this boutique hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Gran Via Street, Puerta del Sol, and Paseo del Prado. Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum ...

                  Iberostar Las Letras Gran ViaAU$190

                  11 Aug - 12 Aug