Category Archives: Parroquias y Iglesias

Monasterios de las Descalzas Reales

2018_041413_2318_581If you’re a first-time traveler to Madrid, there’s no way that you will miss the numerous churches and monasteries scattered all around the city. One of the most popular, not only because it is located in the tourist-magnet Centro, but adjacent to the majestic Palacio Real, is the grand Cathedral de Almudena. The most popular iglesia in the early days until the Almudena was built, along Calle Arenal and near the Plaza Mayor, is the history-rich Real Iglesia Parroquial de San Ginés de Arlés.

Yet another nearby church near the Monte de Piedad Building, is the Plateresque-designed Monastery of the Descalzas Reales. It is certainly a must-visit, if only for the beauty and magnificence of both the intricate interior and solid facade of the edifice. A visit of the monastery is sure to make your tour of Madrid a meaningful one.

Former Royal Palace

Did you know that the edifice’s name literally means the Monastery of the Royal Barefooted, and that it was given the Royal title because it was a former residence of Empress Isabel and Emperador Charles V of Portugal. At present, its vast area houses a small church and an orchard.

History of the Monastery

2018_041413_2329_977Originally built for the Nuns of Poor Claire order as far back as 1559, it eventually admitted and cared for spinster women or widows. It was said that every woman who was taken in to the convent had to pay a dowry. This allowed the monastery to gain a huge amount of wealth, allowing it to become one of the most beautiful in all of Europe. 

What to Find Inside

If you’re an art lover, you would surely love to take a look on the interior of the Monastery as there must be tons of valuable art items, particularly paintings and religious artifacts. A beautiful palace in its own right, the monastery displays a great deal of Plateresque style, combined with Renaissance touch, particularly in its interiors. Renowned painters and artists like Luini and Tinian have their paintings adorning various parts of the convent and chapel.

Nearby Sites and Attractions

After a visit of the Monasterios de las Descalzas Reales, shopping might be in order next. A stone’s throw away is the El Corte Ingles, along Calle Maestro Victoria, and a host of many other shops and boutiques within the areas of Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, and Plaza Callao. And if you haven´t gotten your fill of things that are royal, visit the Real Casa de Correos in Puerto del Sol, the former post office and now the Ministry of the Interior, and the Royal Palace, the King of Spain’s Official Residence.

Need to grab something to eat? The perfect choice is the Mercado San Miguel, the food kiosks of which probably sells thousands of varieties of tapas. Other choices offering good eats are Museo del Jamon and Cerveceria Plaza Mayor Bar, both within the confines of the Plaza Mayor.

Hours of Visit

Tuesday – Saturday: 10AM to 2PM, 4PM to 6:30PM.
Sundays & holidays: 10AM to 3PM
Monday: Closed

Price of Admission

6 euros

Free entrance

Wednesday, Thursday: 4PM – 6:30PM



Madrid Churches: Real Iglesia Parroquial de San Ginés de Arlés

imageThis year’s first ever mass saw me skipping Parroquia San Fernando at Calle Alcocer, where I regularly attend Sunday service, and instead heard mass in one of the oldest existing churches of Madrid — the Real Iglesia Parroquial de San Ginés de Arlés. While another famous church, the Catedral de la Almudena is just a few blocks away, I opted for the smaller and more personal San Gines, located just along Arenal, the street that connects Puerto del Sol to Plazas de Isabel II and Oriente.

It must be one of the most accessible churches in the city since both the Sol and Opera Metro stations are a mere hundred meters away. Hence, it is not surprising that Sn Gines is among the most attended churches this side of Madrid.

Actually, it was much older than the sprawling Almudena Church, having been built in the middle of the 17th century; and until the latter was constructed, San Gines was considered the main church where all the major religious activities in Madrid was held. And like the nearby Parroquia Sta Cruz of Calle Atocha, San Gines Church is known to cradle the venerated image of St. Jude Thaddeus.

Nearby Madrid Attractions

imageDisplaying a simple facade, it was built using the Baroque and neo-classical designs, one of the prevailing architectural styles for edifices during those days

Eats: Beside the church is a narrow passageway that leads to the Chocolatería San Ginés, a popular churros shop serving the thickest and sweetest chocolate syrup there is. Always, I finish a cup of its special saccharine concoction with gusto, together with four piping hot churros or porras. The chocolateria, which opened in 1894, boasts of serving the best churros con chocolate in town. Just a stone’s throw away is the Mercado de San Miguel, if you decide that you want tapas, wine, bocadillos, and more tapas. Along Calle Mayor is the touristy Museo del Jamon, which is the perfect place if you want to grab a quick bite from its bar, or experience dining in its spacious comedor at the second floor, savoring all sorts of popular Spanish cocido.

Plazas: Puerta del Sol is one shouldn’t miss if you’re a first-timer in Madrid. There is also the Plaza Mayor, which is nearer to San Gines. What was once a bull-ring and execution area for criminals is now a popular tourist spot, where the city’s tourism office is found, as well as a host of bocadillo and Spanish comida restaurants, and souvenir shops.

Shops: El Corte Ingles is found in many parts of Madrid, but the one located in Calle Preciado is probably the busiest. In nearby Calle de Carretas are found popular boutiques such as Zara and Celio, among others.


Calle del Arenal 13 Madrid 28001

When Open

On Sundays, the church is open for mass service at 9AM, albeit I always go to hear mass scheduled at either 6PM or 8:30PM

imageA Nativity Scene, composing of the Holy Family and the Three Kings, is on display on the left front side of the Church


Madrid Churches: Iglesia de San Francisco de Sales

San Francisco de Sales, MadridAlong Calle Francos Rodríguez, just off the busy main street of Bravo Murillo is where you can see one of Madrid‘s beautiful churches — the grand St Francis Church. If only for its copper-hued brick facade, the La iglesia de San Francisco de Sales is a edifice-masterpiece, a creation of renowned Spanish artist Joaquin Saldana.

Another  popular city church, the Parroquia de San Antonio, is nearby and strategically located since it is right along the street and just a stone’s throw way from the Maravilla Market, but still, the Iglesia of San Francisco boasts of a high number of regular church goers. I guess the main reason for this is because it is dedicated to one of Roman Catholicism’s more important Saint, to whom many faithful are strongly devoted.

2017_050116_1634_297In my case, Sn Francisco serves as my place of worship from time to time, together with San Fernando Church at Alcocer. Both these churches are where I thought the mass is said in a more solemn and traditional manner.

San Fransisco was declared a Bien de Interés Cultural or a Monument of cultural interest way back in October of 1996.

Schedule of Masses:

2017_050116_1624_997Winter (Sept 1 to June 30)
Ordinary Days: 8:30, 9:30, 11:30, 19:00, 20:00
Sundays and Holidays: 8:30, 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 13:30, 19:00, 20:00

Summer (July 1 to August 31)
Ordinary Days: 8:30, 9:30, 11:30, 19:00, 20:00
Sundays and Holidays: 8:30, 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 19:00, 20:00

How to go:

It is easy to visit the church whether by bus or Metro. Take Linea 1 if you intend to use the Madrid Metro. If you want to go there via bus, take Line 124, 66, or 3.

Its address is C/ Francos Rodríguez 5 28039 Madrid.


Parroquia San Agustin, Madrid

imageParroquia San Agustin, or the St. Augustinus’ Church in English, is one of the finest work of Spanish architect Luis Moya Blanco, who is a strong advocate of classic architecture. Located on Calle Joaquin Costa or Paseo de Ronda in the District of Chamartin, the construction of the church lasted for six long years, from 1946 up until 1950.

image Marker found on the facade providing vital details of the church, like Moya Blanco being indicated as the architect and the duration of its construction

The church boasts of four small lateral chapels, all shaped in a circle, and are dedicated or used for various religious services and devotions such as baptism services, the Sacristy, the devotion to Sta. Filomena, and the Blessed Sacrament. The back area of the church is used as the parish house.

I had already attend Sunday mass at San Agustin a couple of times, the latest of which is just recently. While I needed to take a ride to the church via the Metro system (getting off at Nuevos Ministerios station), it takes only a few minute walk to reach the paroquia. The apparent quiet and solemnity of the church is what makes me want to attend the mass there once in a while. If ever, I always hear the mass at 1PM, the last one in the afternoon.

imageSimple yet beautiful principal facade of the church of San Agustin

According to its official website, Parroquia San Agustin is not merely a place of worship but moreso a community of the faithful that work toward commitment, conversion and action. To be a true member of the parish, one must feel it and takes an active part in the activities of the community.

How to reach Parroquia San Agustin:

imageAddress: C/ Joaquin Costa 10 Madrid
The most convenient way to reach the church is via Madrid Metro, with Nuevos Ministerios and República Argentina as the two nearest stations.
You may also ride the Auto Bus: C1, C2, 7, 16, 51, 19

Schedule of Masses:

Monday to Saturday: 8:00AM, 1PM, 8:00PM
Sundays and Holidays: 11:00AM, 12:00PM, 1:00PM, 8:00PM

Basilica de la Sagrada Familia: Heart of Barcelona, Spain

imageIt was a pleasant surprise that I got an online message from a favorite aunt based in California, who was excited because she learned I visited Barcelona. She told me about her own trip to the Catalan city, which I was more than happy to hear.

She gushed about her Spanish experience, euphoric about her tour of Sagrada Familia. Traveling halfway around the world was by no means an easy feat and their trip to Spain came with serious expenses, but she swore seeing Gaudi’s mammoth of a masterpiece more than compensated all this. If given the chance she said, she and my uncle would love to go through it again, if only to relive the experience.

I told her that I had already been to Barcelona, but was not able to tour the Sagrada due to time constraints. Hearing this, she was clearly frustrated, and wished I had the chance on the first visit. She egged me go back soon, and with entry tickets to the basilica.

Finally, Sagrada Famila

The first time I went to Barca, I only had half a day to spend there, which meant being content with the more easy-to-reach Barcelona attractions like La Rambla, the port, the beach, New City of Arts and Sciences, and the Old town. Like other Spain attractions such as Santiago de Compostela and Valencia, Barcelona was such a beautiful city that I found myself planning for a revisit in the future, albeit, nothing was definite.

Now, the recent talk with my aunt got me fired up and really committed to seeing Sagrada that it must have caused the Universe to heed my inner desires to return to Barcelona. To make a long story short, I was presented with another great opportunity to go there. Friends are going to the city and I was asked to come along.

It’s a coincidence that like the first, my second visit to the place proved to be unexpected as people decided on another spur-of-the-moment, car-travel, eight-hour-long trip. But this time, everyone was more excited as the main reason for going there was to see the basilica. And so it didn’t matter that the trip was a total of 8 hours, which was probably that long because of the number of stops. In my case, such long trips are burdensome as they always render me sleepless (I could hardly get a decent shut-eye during long travels, even if it happens in the middle of the night).

I’m back, Barcelona!

And so, the revisit happened at last. Early morning we passed by at the Philippine consulate in Spain at Plaça Reial, wandered through the area as we waited for the time of our scheduled entry to the Sagrada, and saw another beautiful Barcelonan church , the Catedral de Barcelona. We then went back to the plaza for some lunch, and finally 30 minutes before 1PM, went straight to the basilica.

Always, the sight of the basilica is mesmerizing from afar. But this also led me to wondering when its construction will finally be completed.  This time, I contented myself with just a few shots of the facade upon finding out the battery charge of my mobile phone had gone down to almost half empty. I needed to save as much battery as I expected to make tons of shots once I went inside.

After just a few minutes of staying in line, my group was able to go inside and see La Sagrada Familia. One of the most noticeable features inside the church is the hanging Crucifix, below a yellow umbrella that seems to glow. Everything inside church, the altar, walls decored witg stained-glass, the religious sculptures — everything is simply amazing.

La Sagrada Familia is one reason why people would want to visit Barcelona. While it can be disappointing that the basilica is in perpetual construction, with scaffolding here and there, it sseems that total completion is within just a few more year. I’ll make sure I’d be back to see again and witness the basilica’s full and glory when that time comes.

Facts about Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia

image1. Antonio Gaudi was assigned the construction of the church in 1884, but did you know that he was not the original choice, but another Spanish architect Francesc del Villar? Gaudi was offered to replace del Villar after the latter had major disagreements with the people in charge of the project.

2. One reason why Gaudi’s own vision of the church has not been followed is because of the fact that portions of the basilica were damaged during Spanish Civil War. Likewise, after Gaudi’s death, work was continued by a number of Spanish architects, such as Lluis Gari and Francesc Quintana. Another famous artist, Josep Subirachs, was assigned to work on the facade.

3. Antonio Gaudi has a religious reason for getting involved in the building of the La Sagrada Familia. To be specific, he wanted it to be the last place sanctuary of Christendom.

4. The beloved Barcelona architect made sure the basilica is filled with Christian symbolism. For instance,once the holy edifice is finished, 18 towers will have been finished, representing the 12 Apostles, the 4 Evangelists, the Blessed Virgin, and Jesus Christ. The tower representing Christ will be the tallest of them all, and on top of it, a gargantuan cross will be placed.

5. The towers representing the four Evangelists – St Luke, St Matthew, St. Mark, and St. John will be capped by their respective symbols — an angel, a bull an eagle and a lion.

6. Antonio Gaudi lived to see the completion of the Nativity Facade. His death in 1926 was both tragic and senseless, as the master was hit by a tram on his way to the Sagrada.

7. Gaudi lived much of his life within another one of his creations, the Park Guell. He enjoyed his walks from his house located inside the park to his work at La Sagrada Familia.

8. His abrupt death in 1926 derailed the making of the Pasion facade, and the construction of the basilica in general. Eventually, another Catalan artist, Josep Maria Subirachs i Sitjar, was commissioned to continue with the construction. Many argued that his work was a world different from Gaudi, his being mainly straight and linear, while the latter´s were of curves. Debates subsided when the work of Subirachs proved to be impressive.–

Great photos that will make you want to visit La Sagrada Familia:

Facade of the Church showing the birth of baby Jesus. The Nativity facade faces the east of Barcelona. Gaudi’s vision of the church includes 18 towers. So far, eight has been built — these are four at the Nativity and another four on the Pasion facade.

imageWhen touring the interior of the basilica, you will surely not miss the prayer door that’s made of bronze. Inscriptions of the powerful and meaningful prayer phrase “Give us this day our daily bread” in 50 languages fills the door. Found the tagalog translation in the bottom part.imageTourists marvel at the stunning interior of the Sagrada Familia

imageChrist on the cross hangs under an illuminated umbrella, which for me suggests a floatng jellyfish, suspended in midair over the main altar. It is located in the apse of the church, the area of which is filled with columns or pillars resembling trees bountiful with branches seemingly reaching out to the heavens. The thick, solid columns are obviously meant as strong support to the whole structure of thr basilica.

imageThe stained glass windows of predominant red, orange, and yellow colors are so beautiful you simply couldn’t take your eyes off them. All you wanted to do is take your time in examining their details. The hues are bold and intense as the stained glasses are kissed directly by the rays of the sun during that time

Holy water font baecelona's sagrada familiaThe holy water font of the church in the shape of a shell or oyster

imageA closer look at the holy inscriptions in the basilica door

Passion facade Sagrada FamiliaFacade of La Sagrada Familia deficting the Passion and death of Jesus Christ. Includes the suffering of the Lord as He was cruxified. This part of the church is meant to reveal the sins of men.  According to stories, Antonio Gaudí magnified the suffering and death of Jesus, intending to make everyone realize the graveness of his sacrifice just to save mankind.

imageThe four towers over the Passion Facade, facing the Barcelona city center. Note: Access to the towers (including those at the Nativity) is not included in the regular entry ticket. Tickets to the towers can be bought inside.

La Sagrada Familia
Calle Mallorca 401
Barcelona 08013 España

Opening hours:
November – February: 09:00 – 18:00
March: 09:00 – 19:00
April – September: 09:00 – 20:00
October: 09:00 – 19:00
25 and 26 December, 01 and 06 January: 09:00 – 14:00

Tickets are on sale until half an hour before closing time

Disabled Access: Yes

How to get to La Sagrada Familia

Barcelona Metro System: Sagrada Familia, Blue and purple lines (lines 5 and 2 respectively)

Hop on hop off tourist buses (Barcelona City Tour) will also drop you off the site,

How to enter the premises:

1. Main access — Entrance is at Calle Marina, at the basilica’s Nativity facade, whether you’re touring as an individual or as a group.

If you belong to a primary or secondary school group on a guided tour, entrance is at Calle Sardenya.

Getting Tickets:

Regular entrance tickets are bought at Calle Sardenya. Persons with disabilities and their companions, as well as friends of La Sagrada, can have their tickets bought at Calle Marina.

Note: The schedule when La Sagrada Familia is open to the public isn’t fixed and be be altered depending on the important activities happening within the church.

Sagrada Familia Website

Buy tickets online


La Iglesia de San Nicolas — The Oldest Church in Madrid

La Iglesia de San Nicolas, MadridBasilicas, cathedrals, parroquias — the Spaniards do love their places of worship, treating them as their go-to place after toiling the day at work, and their quiet sanctuary every weekend. They have such great respect for their churches that throughout the centuries, generations upon generations of Spanish builders put immense time and effort in the construction of these edifices, turning them into architectural and design masterpieces. It is typical for the churches’ interiors, such as the altarpiece and the nave, to be awed at, if only because of the fine, intricate details put into them.

Undoubtedly, Spanish churches, big and small, are not just creations of impeccable craftsmanship, but are great works of art.

Noticing how even the most recently built churches in the city possess the most breathtaking appearance, I always wondered how the oldest church of Madrid — Iglesia de San Nicolas de los Servitas — would look like. I always picture it to be a tall, imposing edifice sprawled on some major city plaza. Imagine how surprised I was when I finally got to visit it. The church was hidden in an inner street, obscured by surrounding edifices. Immediate streets are narrow, and the space in front is cramp, giving anyone a hard time taking a good photo of the church. Albeit still, it is located within the center of the capital.

Evidently, Saint Nicholas is a regular church, but considering its location, I deem it is still appropriately-sized to accommodate and serve the local parishioners of that particular area in Central Madrid.

Oldest Madrid Church

La Iglesia de Sn Nicholas dates back in the medieval 12th century, and so it is now listed to be the oldest parish church in Madrid, after the original Iglesia de la Santa Maria de la Almudena was torn down. Throughout the centuries, it had undergone a number of changes both in its facade and interior, particularly the small chapels found within.

Iglesia de San Nicolas bell tower and its Mudejar features

Iglesia de San Nicolas bell towerUpon closer look at its edifice, you would know that it exhibits a Mudejar or Moorish design, most especially in its bell tower. Not a few archaeologists have strongly suggested that it might have been originally a mosque. Another theory is that a Muslim place of worship was standing in its location.

The bell tower, in particular, is the oldest structure of the church. It is said to have been built in as early as the 12th century. This must be the reason it was the first to be recognized as a Spanish National Monument, way back in 1931. The rest of the edifice was built and finished about three centuries after, during the 15th century. Recognition of the church itself came in 1978, as a Bien de Interes Cultural.

Italian Iglesia de Madrid

The San Nicholas Church is often referred to as the city´s Italian church, since from time to time the mass is said in Italian. For a mass to be performed in the said language, a request must be done beforehand, together with an assurance that a large number of Italians will attend. They must have adopted the church as their own because of its proximity to the Institute of Culture of Italy, which is just nearby, also at Calle Mayor.

San Nicholas Church Bell Tower MadridThe bell tower, exhibiting rich Mudejar features, was constructed long before the rest of the church, way back in 1100’s.

Iglesia de San Nicolas Traviesa de BiomboAt the back of the church is the Plaza del Biombo, from which pedestrians can take the Traviesa del Biombo, a narrow and short passageway that traverses the side portion of the church and into its front

Iglesia de San Nicholas Baroque ReliefYou will find on top of the main entrance to the church a sculpted Baroque relief of San Nicolas, a work of art by Spanish sculptor Luis Salvador Carmona

How to find Iglesia de San Nicolas

Direccion: Plaza San Nicolas 6, Madrid 28013

Madrid Metro: Opera Station (Lineas 2 and 5), Vodafone Sol Station (Lineas 1, 2, 3).

From the Opera, you will have to walk down to the right direction of Calle de Vergara. Turn upon reaching the corner of Plaza Plaza Ramales and continue until you reach Plaza San Nicolas.

From the vodafone station, take the right side of Calle Mayor, passing by Plaza de San Miguel and Plaza de la Villa. Turn right at Calle San Nicolas and a short walk will bring you to the church.

What time to visit:

Mondays: 8:30AM to 1PM
Tuesdays to Saturdays: 9:00AM to 9:30AM; 6:3PM to 8:30PM Sundays: 10:00AM to 2:00PM; 6:30PM to 8:30PM


Real Basilica de San Francisco el Grande

imageReal Basilica de San Francisco el Grande

Madrid, Spain has some of the most beautiful churches that it can be proud of. Not all are grand in size. Some are average or even small, like a number of community churches (or paroquias in Spanish) scattered in many barrios and neighborhoods within the capital.

The city, of course, is not without cathedrals and basilicas. It boasts of a number that could match the most stunning ones from other European countries.

Needless to say, Madrid churches, big or small, are all beautiful and majestic in their own right.

For instance, near the Palacio Real is the Catedral de la Almudena with its imposing, sky-high edifice that brags an impressive baroque design.

Needless to say, it is a suitable home to the Nuestra Seńora de la Almudena. Devotees to the beloved Lady flock by the thousands to the church during its feast day, which is on the 9th of November.

Also found within the popular tourist areas of Puerta del Sol and Opera, along the Calle Arenal is the Church of San Gines, where I occasionally attend the Sunday mass. San Gines is one of oldest churches in the city, and is known to hold some of the most important religious activities and events in the city. Aside from the masses, I visit the church on a regular basis because of St. Jude Thadeus, to whom I am a devotee. His statue stands on one corner of the church, near its entrance.

Real Basilica de San Francisco el Grande

imagePortion of the church facing the Dalieda garden

Still, another beautiful church located in the barrio of La Latina, near the Lavapies barrio and Embajadores, is the San Francisco el Grande Basilica. This basilica is dedicated to Saint Francis, and is said to have been built over a monastery that was founded by the Saint himself. Built in the 1700’s by King Carlos III, San Francisco Basilica is one of the five Basilicas Reales of Spain. Once you enter its interior, you will immediately be entranced by its stunning apse and lobby that form a circular shape.

What makes the church both unique and impressive are its set of domes, which consists of a big dome for the main chapel and six complementary small ones installed over the chapels that are distributed on both the southern and northern portion of the edifice.

The basilica was constructed from the common materials available during those times, mainly granite rocks. You would notice that the facade is built out of bricks and plaster material.

The San Francisco el Grande Church is a sight to behold because of its dominant design that is patterned after the Spanish artist Francisco Cabezas’ own style. The completion of the project was ensured by the great Italian architect Francesco Sabatini, creator of the Jardines de Sabatini. The interior of the holy edifice is filled with valuable artistic and religious items, including the finest works of art and masterpieces by Francisco Goya.

Dalieda de San Francisco

imageAdjacent to the basilica is the dahlia garden known as the Dalieda de San Francisco el Grande, where bountiful and in full bloom are a number of dahlia and other flower species and colors, especially those of yellow and red varieties.

imageThere is a wide terrace on Dalieda’s far end, from which you may enjoy a spectacular view of the Western portion of the city and beyond. On the same spot stands a sculpture named “El Sueño de San Isidro.” Finished in 1952 by renowned sculptor Santiago Costa, this particular work consists of two statues of what appears to be an angel providing comfort to the beloved saint. Unfortunately, there was no marker that could identify the two figures.

Where to find San Francisco el Grande


Location: Calle San Buenaventura 1, Madrid 28005

Means of transportation: Via Madrid Metro, La Latina Station

Schedule of daily masses

Laborables: Morning masses are held at 8:30 AM and 10:00 AM

Festivos: Schedule of Sunday masses are as follows — 10:30 AM, 11:30 AM, 12:30 PM, 1:30 PM, 8:00 PM

Museum Hours:

Inside the church is a museum that’s open to the public from Tuesday to Friday, from 11AM – 12:30PM and 4Pm – 6:30PM; and Saturdays, from 11AM – 1:30PM. Hours are subject to change depending on any scheduled religious ceremonies.

Admission price: Regular adult: 3 euros; Reduced price: 2 euros


Parroquias y Iglesias: My Eight Beautiful Madrid Churches

I had been to quite a number of churches in Madrid; some are built simply, while others are complex. They exhibit differences in varying degrees – in size, shape, design, structure – in their total architecture. But if there’s one thing they have in common, it’s the striking form and beauty that they possess. It’s evident that only the most skilled and dedicated craftsmen and builders constructed such magnificent, spirit-filled edifices.

Just take a look at the chancel where the altar is placed and the holy mass is performed.  It’s typical in Madrid for the front area of its churches to be intricate and adorned in a meticulous manner. The altar itself is radiant from afar. It becomes even more during a mass service, when the florescent lamps that line up the narrow spaces behind nearby walls shine to offer steady illumination and the lighted candles atop its corners flicker with their unsteady, yellow flames. Now slowly walk the length of the nave from the entrance. As you go nearer, the more you become drawn to the enthralling sight of the altar, with its blessed exquisiteness as well as the serenity of the chancel that cradles it further amplified.

The Spaniards love their church. Like most other Catholic nations, Spain recognizes it as an institution vital in keeping communities intact and people in harmony. One thing I noticed, however, is that weekday masses are sparsely attended. This observation brings up a needling, sad question: “Why do many churches in Madrid have their pews collecting dust in most days of the week instead of enjoying the attendance of the pious?”

It’s not difficult to believe that not a few of them in some obscure corners of Madrid are abandoned to suffer a desolate state.

Notwithstanding, the situation isn’t all that rough like I perceive it to be. Come Sunday, churches become alive with all the religious assemblies, choir concerts, processions, and masses that usually happen on this day. And families, couples, friends do gather and attend. My guess is that Spain, as a modern, progressive country, takes much of the time of its people, keeping them from performing their religious responsibilities in order to meet their daily obligations at work and society.

A parroquia, iglesia, or a catedral? I’m confused as to when and why one is called as such. One thing is sure – there is no church in Madrid that has not taken my breath away. From the tens or probably even hundreds of them scattered in the city, I managed to make a list of my own eight beautiful churches – the inclusion of which is either because they strike me for their extraordinary charm, or because they’re the ones that I go to attend mass.

Let’s Talk Madrid’s Top 8 Churches

1.Parroquia de San Jeronimo el Real de Madrid

image Set on top of an elevated land along Calle de Moreto, and facing the famous Museo del Prado,I have always been in awe with the beauty of Parroquia de San Jeronimo el Real de Madrid. The Church Atop the Hill – that’s how I’d like to call it – San Jeronimo is said to be originally a monastery in the 16th century. Continuous renovations gave its present Gothic appearance on its facade. The interior is something to marvel at. Its serene, low-lit ambiance is mesmerizing, and hence conducive for the prayerful to send forth his intentions. Overall, the church’s presence in the area is captivating. It is a strong rival to nearby structures and edifices such as the Plaza de Neptuno and the Prado Museum. The Parroquia de San Jeronimo Real de Madrid is not merely a church, but a major tourist attraction this part of the city.


Address: Calle de Moreto, 4, 28014 Madrid

Sunday Masses: Invierno – 10AM, 12Noon, 1PM, 2PM, 7PM; Verano – 10AM, 12Noon, 1PM, 8PM

For complete schedule of its regular daily opening and masses for both Summer and winter Seasons, please refer to the Horarios webpage at church’s official website. (This is applicable to succeeding featured churches)


2.Parroquia de Santa María la Real de la Almudena

imageIf Cathedral de la Almudena is an art, it is one gargantuan city block of masterpiece. People often compare it to the St. Peter’s Basilica or Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia. Upon entering, you will immediately be amazed by the Gothic-Neoclassical interior that its builder must have focused on to perfect. Especially impressive are the fine details of the altarpiece and ceiling. A frequented part of the Cathedral is The Blessed Sacrament, where masses are held everyday. image Indeed, the cathedral’s architectural design is one to fuss about. This is the reason why Almudena is among the favorite churches of tourists. A statue of Pope John Paul II stands in the midst of its yard. With arms wide open and outstretched, he seemingly invites people to visit La Almudena.

Address: Calle Bailen 10, 28013 Madrid
Sunday and Holiday Masses: 10:30AM, 12Noon, 1:30PM, 6:00PM, 7PM
Website: Cathedral de la Almudena


3. Parroquia de San Antonio de Cuatro Caminos

imageThe San Antonio Church, along the busy Bravo Murillo, is a Franciscan church founded by the Capuchin friars. It is a popular church among Filipinos and other churchgoers of various nationalities. The church has a simple facade, but boasts of a decent interior of white and pink. There is a second level, an elevated floor just above the altar area and overlooking the pews and faithful below; here is where you will find the statue of the patron saint. The walls on both aisles, left and right, treat visitors with oversized written scriptures. Displayed also are sculptures and paintings of San Antonio and other religious figures.

imageThe Parroquia is known to be dedicated to Saint Anthony, the Patron Saint of  of Miracles, a proven powerful intercessor. Countless devotees attest to instances when their intentions and prayers were answered thru the San Antonio’s intercession.

Location: Calle Bravo Murillo, 150 28020 Madrid
Sunday and Holiday Masses: 8AM; 9AM; 10AM; 11AM; 12Noon; 1PM; 7:30PM; 8:30PM
Website: Parroquia de San Antonio horarios


4.Parroquia de la Santa Cruz

image This Church at Calle Atocha situated within the central area of Madrid is a personal favorite because one of its patron saints is St. Jude Thaddeus, the Saint of Impossible Cases, to whom I am a devotee. Tourists never fail to visit it,  probably because it is just a hundred meters or so away from Plaza Mayor.

A beautiful edifice is highlighted by a lanky tower in the middle, which is said to be built initially to act as a watch tower for the community.  It boasts of an exciting baroque style in its facade, giving the impression that a grand interior is waiting to be seen. And indeed, you will not be disappointed. Low-lighted, but not bleak, this adds solemnity to the quiet setting that’s meant to help church-goers focus on pursuing their holy intentions. image

On the sides of the church are small chapels that display various  saints such as Virgen de la Cinta and Virgen de los Siete Dolores. Taking pictures of the interior is prohibited.

Address: Parroquia de Santa Cruz. Atocha, 6 Madrid  28012
Sunday and Holiday masses: Invierno – 10AM, 11:30AM, 1PM, 7PM; Verano – 10AM, 11:30AM, 1PM, 8PM
Sitio horarios: Sta Cruz Church


5. Basílica de la Concepción de Nuestra Señora

imageImmaculate Concepcion is a majestic, towering edifice of worship located at Goya, in the midst of the shopping district of Salamanca. A white church that features fine details both in its interior and facade, it is further accentuated by an impressive altarpiece that the Lady of Immaculate Concepcion deserves. image It is dominantly white in color, complimented by the blue-hued dome, the windows of which offer sufficient lighting onto the altar and the surrounding areas.

Location: Parroquia Concepción de Ntra. Señora, Goya 26 Madrid 28009
Sunday Masses: 9AM,10AM,11AM (familias), 12Noon, 1Pm (Parroquial), 2PM, 6PM,7PM and 8:30PM
Website: Basílica de la Concepción de Nuestra Señora


6. La Iglesia de San Sebastian

Along Calle Atocha where Parroquia Sta Cruz is also found is La Iglesia de San Sebastian. It is one of the highly visited churches at Barrio de las Letras, or the Quarter of the Muses. A casualty during the country’s civil war, the church is host to the remains of the famous playwright of Spain Lope de Vega. Located within the tourist area of Madrid, it is near Melia Hotel and Plaza Santa Ana.

Rich in Spanish religious history and art, you will find here the statues of Virgen del Carmen and San Antonio. Oil Paintings, like the Madre Maravillas and the Sta Teresita Maravillas de San Sebastian, are also housed within. Definitely, it one of the churches you must visit if you’re touring Madrid.

Address: Calle de Atocha, 39, 28012 Madrid
Sunday Masses: Invierno – 10AM, 12Noon, 7:30PM; Verano – 12Noon, 7:30PM
Sitio horarios: San Sebastian Horarios


7. Parroquia San Ildefonso Tribunal

imageTake a quick look at San ildefonso Tribunal Church, located at an old Malasana public square of the same name, and you will notice the simplicity of its facade. It presents no intricate lines nor details to boast of. On its right portion is an old, non-functioning clock, while in the midst is a circle-shaped window attached to which is a 8-pointed star.  It evidently lacks in grandiose outward appearance that’s common in Madrid churches; still, this is compensated by its awe-inspiring Baroque altarpiece. The interior is more engaging because of its impressive high altar. The presence of a San Ildefonso painting punctuates the beauty of its chancel. Known as one of the oldest parroquias in Madrid, it entices tourists to drop by and spend some time inside this Catholic Spanish temple. imageSan Ildefonso is near major Madrid tourist areas; like the Gran Via, Puerta del Sol, and the stretch of Fuencarral.

Address: Plaza de San Ildefonso, 28004 Madrid
Sunday masses: Invierno – 9AM, 11AM, 7PM; Verano – 9AM, 11AM, 8PM
Sitio horarios: San Ildefonso horarios


8. Iglesia de San Gines de Arles

imageFlaunting a combined Baroque-neoclassical design, Iglesia de San Gines de Arles of Calle Arenal is one of the oldest in Madrid, Spain. It is said that San Gines was the unanimous choice whenever a major city fiesta or important religious activity required a venue. It was considered the spiritual refuge of a majority of Madrilenos, until the Cathedral de Almudena was built and considered a more appropriate replacement. San Gines, however, continues to be a popular alternative site for many locals. image Devotees flock to San Gines to ask for the intercession of San Judas Tadeo, the statue of which is displayed at the church’s right corner.

Address: Calle del Arenal 13 Madrid, 28001
Sunday masses: Invierno / Verano – 9AM, 11AM, 12Noon, 7PM, 8:30PM
Webpage Horarios: San Gines Mass schedules

Parroquia de San Fernando, Alberto Alcocer Madrid

imageOne of the more popular small churches located within Madrid, along the Avenida Alberto Alcocer, is the Parroquia de San Fernando. It basically acts as a community church; it is not meant for tourists since it is found right within the city’s portion that’s largely residential and far from the top tourist  spots like Cibeles and Puerta del Sol.

imageWhat makes the Parroquia de San Fernando attractive is its simple but impressive architecture as well as the design of the facade, with a number of doors serving as convenient entrance for church goers into the interior. Rising over the edifice is a wooden cross, seemingly serving as a sign to passers-by that a church is nearby.

In spite of being a simple, small-sized edifice, San Fernando is open to all, and welcomes everyone to its fold, including individuals with physical disabilities. The church has a number of doors that assured easy entry of church goers when wide open. Also, the church provides ramps strategically found in the entrances to the convenience of people with disabilities. It has a garden with benches for church goers who want to stay around the area after they attended the mass.

imageSan Fernando church boasts of a solemn, well-lit altar that’s meant to make everyone focus on the mass. Overall, Parroquia de San Fernando is such a quaint yet beautiful church, I myself had made it as one of my favorite churches to visit for my Sunday worship.


Address of Parroquia de San Fernando:

C/ Alberto Alcocer 9
Madrid Spain

How to reach:

Metro: Cuzco, Plaza de Castilla, San Bernabeu

11, 27, 5, 40, 150, 147

Website: www://

Schedule of masses:

Laborables: 8:30AM (saturday’s are at 9AM), 12Noon, 1PM, and 7PM
Festivos: 9AM, 11AM, 12Noon, 1PM, 6PM, 7PM, 8PM