Real Basilica de San Francisco el Grande

Real Basilica de San Francisco el Grande

Real Basilica de San Francisco el Grande
4.5
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Plan your visit
The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Centro
Expansive plazas, local and foreign crowds, street performers, colorful lights, window shopping, restaurant signs promising the best paella, ham, and churros con chocolate- this is downtown Madrid, a collection of plazas interconnected by a network of side streets. Some of these side streets are wide pedestrian shopping routes, and some are hidden, so it's possible to duck in and out of the bustle as desired. The iconic Puerta del Sol is the giant crossroads of the city and a must-see attraction at any time of the day. The nearby Plaza Mayor, completely enclosed by historic red buildings, is an ideal place to grab a bite to eat outside, amidst scores of tables and people out for a stroll. Plaza Isabel II (also known as “Opera”) is smaller and a good meeting spot, and the stately Plaza del Oriente is the front yard of the Royal Palace. Centro can be touristy (pickpockets are unfortuately not unheard-of here), crowded, and sometimes gimmicky, but it is also the place to experience classic Madrid.
How to get there
  • La Latina • 7 min walk
  • Puerta de Toledo • 7 min walk
Reach out directly

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
1 851 reviews
Excellent
1 230
Very good
477
Average
113
Poor
13
Terrible
18

Michele H
Carrickfergus, UK292 contributions
Feb 2024 • Couples
Beautiful church to pop in and reflect for a while, beautifully maintained and very serene, we managed to be there during a mass
Written 11 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AL_reviewer_2014
Weymouth, UK140 contributions
Feb 2024 • Solo
A very peaceful church with some beautiful artwork. I think some of the paintings might be by famous people. The domes are stunning. There’s a sign saying photography isn’t allowed, but it is as long as you don’t use a flash. It was free. If you only have time for one church, I would choose the cathedral.
Written 1 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

top-trippers
Bolton, UK641 contributions
Oct 2023 • Couples
We much preferred this church to the nearby Cathedral. Don’t be put off by the rather plain exterior – the interior decorations are stunning and well worth the €5 admission charge (some reduced rates; and free to enter on Thursdays). The man on the door was very friendly and helpful. When you pay for your ticket, considering invest the small illustrated guide book for an explanation of the church’s history and artworks.

The central cupola is huge - 108 foot diameter (only 3 churches boast a wider dome: St Peter’s and the Pantheon in Rome and The Santa Maria Fiore in Florence). Gilded arches divide the ceiling into 8 panels, each containing a stunning celestial scene. The rotunda beneath is outlined by 9-foot-high white marble statues of the apostles. The rotunda is encircled by 7 beautiful and evocatively decorated side chapels. The San Bernardino de Siena Chapel is the most famous of these – the magnificent central painting depicting San Bernardino preaching to Alfonso V of Aragon is by Goya (the figure standing on the right, not looking up, is a self-portrait of the artist), whilst the painting on the left is by Velazquez. The two marble pulpits are decorated with gilded bas-relief panels inspired by the life of St Francis. The Cloister houses 49 paintings which mainly depict St Francis (including two by Cano and several by Velazquez). The Sacristy is hung with paintings of the apostles by Ribera and, in the archways, there are two beautiful paintings of St Francis, one with the Divine Shepherd. At 4pm, there were few other visitors and the atmosphere was serene. I would allow 45 – 60 minutes for your visit.

In peak season, the church is usually open to non-worshipping visitors Tuesday to Friday (1030 – 1230 and 1600 – 1730), but I would strongly advise you to double-check the times just before you go, as they are subject to change at short notice.
Written 28 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Wayne M
Sydney, Australia672 contributions
Dec 2023 • Solo
Beautiful and spectacular church near the centre of Madrid. Well worth a visit for the spectacular ceilings and artwork.
Written 17 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TorontoMusicman
Toronto1 144 contributions
Nov 2023 • Couples
A beautiful large basilica with impressive work of art inside including murals by Goya and murals and many paintings by Velasquez.
Well worth the small admission price
Written 18 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mariajL1258OX
Amsterdam, The Netherlands23 contributions
Oct 2023 • Couples
Despite the guidebook saying it was open on Sunday evenings, it was closed ….. so disappointing. Fortunately it was 1 bus stop away from Plaza Major so I went there instead
Very sad I missed the church though ….
Written 24 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sally j
Chelmsford, UK1 604 contributions
Sept 2023 • Couples
What an amazing Cathedral, inside the dome is so beautiful, and there are many stunning pieces of Art inside. definitely worth a visit if your in Madrid and you like beautiful architecture, and its also a very peaceful place to sit for a while.
Written 21 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michael K
London, UK532 contributions
May 2023
I can't deny that this is an impressive building, worth 5*. But there’s always something of an irony on seeing Franciscan churches which, despite the ideals of their founder, are as extravagant as any other baroque church. The adjective “grande” is well-deserved though, for here we have here one of the largest church domes in the world at 33 m diameter. It is beautifully decorated and has been recently restored. Has some works by the great artists, eg Rubens and Velazquez, but also, unfortunately, one depicting James the Moorslayer. When will the authorities put in place some sort of explanatory note of penitence about these (numerous) insensitive portrayals? You can walk through rooms behind the High Altar to see artworks of famous Franciscans and the huge sacristy. Admission cost us 3 Euros each (over-65).
Written 26 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michael2810
Hampton, Australia1 156 contributions
May 2023 • Couples
Lovely inside and well worth the visit. Just be aware it closes between 2-4pm. I think they entry was 5 euros, which was well worth the investment.
Written 25 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Janet C
17 contributions
May 2023
We found this was definitely worth a visit for the breathtaking frescoes that decorate the huge dome in this basilica.
Written 19 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Real Basilica de San Francisco el Grande, Madrid

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