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Home / Things to do in Quito / Quito Metropolitan Cathedral

Quito Metropolitan Cathedral

The Quito Metropolitan Cathedral, also known as the Primate Cathedral of Quito, is the highest Catholic temple in the country and one of the most iconic buildings in the city, as its colonial design makes it an architectural marvel. It is located in the heart of the historic center of Quito and is considered the architectural jewel of the city’s Plaza de la Independencia. This building has a history that dates back to the 16th century and is a true architectural and cultural treasure of the capital of Ecuador.

Quito Metropolitan Cathedral
Photo by Byron.calisto at English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The basics

The Quito Metropolitan Cathedral is considered one of the oldest cathedrals in Ecuador and South America since its construction began in the 16th century. This majestic building combines various architectural styles: neo-Gothic, Mudejar, neoclassical, baroque, Romanesque, and Rococo, reflecting the influence of different eras and cultures. Visitors can admire its imposing façade, which impresses with its presence of white walls, its glazed green ceramic dome, the Carondelet arch, and the lobed staircase that descends, articulating the cathedral and the city’s Independence Square.

Things to know before visiting the Quito Metropolitan Cathedral

  • There are guided tours to the church and the museum during the day. With an additional payment, you can climb its beautiful domes. 
  • At night, guided tours of the church and the cathedral’s altars, domes, and catacombs are available. 
  • Quito Tour Bus offers the Cathedral Domes Tour, a night tour of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito. This tour is part of the Quito Secret Tours.
  • From the greenish-glazed ceramic domes of this cathedral, you can see the famous Gallito de la Catedral and enjoy a unique panorama view of the Plaza de la Independencia (Plaza Grande) and its surroundings. This view is considered one of the top viewpoints of the historic center.
  • The Quito Cathedral Church museum has a rich collection of paintings and sculptures representative of the Quito School.
  • The remains of Antonio José de Sucre, the general who commanded the army in the most crucial battle for Ecuador’s independence, rest in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito.

How to get to the Quito Metropolitan Cathedral?

The Quito Metropolitan Cathedral is in the heart of the historic center, in the Plaza de la Independencia, between García Moreno and Venezuela streets, next to the Government Palace. It is easily accessible by car, taxi, Uber, Quito Tour Bus, or on foot from nearby points in the historic center. 

By car

You can find public parking in the historic center area if you drive. However, the streets are narrow, and traffic can be heavy. 

By private taxi

Another way to the Quito Metropolitan Cathedral is a private taxi service, the safest way to get around the city. If you want VIP, comfortable, secure transportation to the Cathedral Metropolitan Quito, contact us by WhatsApp.

By the Quito Tour Bus

If you go to the Quito Metropolitan Cathedral on the Quito Tour Bus, you must get off at the San Francisco stop and walk towards García Moreno and Venezuela streets, which are very close. The Quito Tour Bus Hop-On Hop-Off system allows you to visit the place and then return to the bus to continue the tour. You can get on and off the bus as many times as you want for the duration of your ticket.

By Quito’s Metro

If you use the metro to go to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito, the “San Francisco” station of the Quito Metro is located a short distance from this tourist place. Walking from the “San Francisco” stop to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito lasts approximately five minutes.

One day tour

Another way to get to this site is to take a day tour, which is undoubtedly one of the best visiting options since you can tour the Quito Metropolitan Cathedral at your own pace while a designated driver takes care of all the logistical details. If you are looking for a day tour, Contact us by WhatsApp for more information.

When should you visit the Quito Metropolitan Cathedral?

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito is a tourist destination that can be visited throughout the year. It is much less crowded during the week. During the day, it is possible to discover and take guided tours of the interior of the cathedral, although it is also suggested to take a night tour of its domes since, at night, the cathedral takes on a unique charm. 

A good time to visit the cathedral is Holy Week when the famous Catholic ceremony of the Arrastre de Caudas is celebrated.

Frequently asked questions

The Quito Metropolitan Cathedral is the headquarters of the Primate Archdiocese of Quito and is in charge of the Archdiocese of Quito. In 1995, this church was elevated to the Primate Cathedral of Ecuador, making it the highest Catholic temple in the country.

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