If you are on your way to visit Spain and Portugal, you are in for some of the most wonderful historically and culturally heavy experiences! While both countries are famous for their distinct Mediterranean way of life, impeccable cuisine, and picturesque sceneries, you can also learn a lot by simply visiting a few of their oldest, most significant establishments.
Both Spain and Portugal have numerous ancient churches to explore and feed that history thirst in you. So, for today, let’s look at the top Iberian cathedrals you should absolutely visit to learn about ancient times!
- Sagrada Familia Basilica, Spain
Quite unsurprisingly, the very first one you should visit while in Spain is the famous Sagrada Familia. If your primary location is the capital city, though, we suggest you opt to travel from Madrid to Barcelona by train and start exploring!
One of the most significant monuments in Spain, Sagrada Familia, was designed by Antoni Gaudi in the 19th century. While it is not at all ancient by age, there are plenty of corners to catch glimpses of the olden days.
Starting from its magnificent exterior, the cathedral displays an impressive facade depicting all the important moments in Jesus’s life. While built in the Spanish Late Gothic architectural style, its interior is filled with ancient-type features, like the double aisles, an ambulatory, and multiple portals. If you wish for a thorough journey, we suggest guided tours!
- Lisbon Cathedral, Portugal
Whether you choose generic travel packages or tailor-made Portugal tours, all roads lead to Lisbon! As the capital city, it holds the most importance culturally and historically, so it makes sense that its main cathedral is essential for you to visit!
Otherwise known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary Major, Lisbon’s main religious body is one of the country’s oldest churches and has a distinct ancient vibe around it! Built in the 12th century, the cathedral survived many natural disasters and modifications thereafter, but it remains one of Portugal’s most historically well-preserved buildings.
Explore its stunning fortress-looking exterior and ancient-type designs on the inside. These include Latin cross construction with three aisles, a transept, and the main chapel surrounded by an ambulatory.
Lisbon Cathedral: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2017/07/11/10/12/lisabona-2493019_1280.jpg
- Avila Cathedral, Spain
If you want to see the perfect mixture of Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles, head to the south of Old Castile in Spain to inspect the gorgeous Avila Cathedral.
While it is unknown when the Spanish started the construction, Avila Cathedral has been around since the 11th or the 12th century, most likely! Predating most of the Spanish churches, Avila welcomes you with 13th-century aisles and towers alongside several impressive vaults and other ancient detailing.
Explore the inside and see the rugged columns and pointed arches, all of which survived many historical inconveniences, like the Muslim attacks and other sieges. Make sure to bring your camera with you, because the sights are truly magnificent!
- The Old Cathedral of Coimbra, Portugal
The ancient city of Coimbra has always held great religious and historical significance for the Portuguese, and most of its establishments allow you glimpses into the past. Yet, today, let’s visit the stunning Old Cathedral of Coimbra.
Since the city has been the seat of a bishopric since as early as the 5th century, it was always very important for the Portuguese to uphold its status, which they chose to do by building these gorgeous churches. The Old Cathedral was constructed in 1139 after the Battle of Orique.
Its architectural choices are very unique, considering that this is the only cathedral in Portugal built in the Portuguese Romanesque style during the time of Reconquista. Its exterior makes it look like a fortress, and the inside designs have a solid connection to the ancient establishments.
The Old Cathedral of Coimbra: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2019/09/01/03/28/the-cathedral-of-coimbra-4444331_1280.jpg
- Segovia Cathedral, Spain
Last but not least, let’s head back to Spain to explore this monumental cathedral of Segovia!
The church, which was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was built in the 16th century in the Flamboyant Gothic style and remained the most impressive building in Segovia. Nothing can compare to how the church adorns the cityscape, especially at night! You should remember that!
The building is structured from three high vaults, stained glass windows, an ambulatory, and an impressive dome. The whole interior is built in the Gothic style, featuring some of its traditional elements, like the bell tower and stonework. If you want a thorough expedition, we suggest opting for guided tours! This way, you will get to learn all about Segovia’s origins, development, and its link to ancient times.
Segovia Cathedral: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2016/11/10/09/32/cathedral-1813826_1280.jpg
Wait no more and make your way to the Iberian Peninsula right now! Aside from exploring these splendid cathedrals, you will experience their zesty lifestyle, friendly conversation, and great food. So, pack your bags, and let’s go!