With its location on Spain’s Mediterranean coast – and as the second largest city in that large country – Barcelona has a rich array of attractions and sights for visitors to enjoy. Ever since the Romans redrew Barcelona as a military camp around the year 15 BC, it is safe to say that people have been fascinated with it. Today, Barcelona is considered by many to be one of the most eclectic and vibrant of all of the major European cities; it is also a major center of commerce, finance, entertainment, media and international trade. Whether you’re looking for a thumping nightlife or a quiet stroll down a stately street, Barcelona will not disappoint.
Sightseeing & Things To Do
From mouthwatering Catalan cuisine to incredibly friendly locals, Barcelona is a sunny place where you will never grow bored. Whether you hit Las Ramblas, the Parc Guell, one of the nearby beaches or a fine museum, Barcelona will surely charm and enthrall you. Impossibly old districts of the city offer up some of the most fascinating architectural delights to be found in Europe, while large plazas take the breath away with their size and scope. If your ship stops at Barcelona, be sure to take the time to see a little bit of it.
With so many distinct neighborhoods and districts, Barcelona often seems to be a single city made up of several smaller ones. Throughout, several great attractions vie for the attention of those who are lucky enough to be visiting. Consider one of these:
If you only hit a single area or district in Barcelona, make it Las Ramblas. This famous promenade stretches from the port of Barcelona all the way the center of the old part of the city. Along the way, a bevy of fine shops, flower stalls, markets and other places keep you busy and amused. Street performers frequent Las Ramblas, entertaining passersby.
The designer and architect Antoni Gaudi made an indelible mark on Barcelona during the 20th century. The Parc Guell is a great place to see some of this revered master’s work. A mosaic lizard is one of the key highlights of the Parc Guell, but the lush surroundings – which include tropic flowers and bright, lovely plants – make a visit here more than worth it.
If you enjoy seeing fine examples of old architecture, high tail it over to Barcelona’s Barri Gotic, the Gothic district of this huge city. Buildings from as far back as the 13th century can be taken in around the Barri Gotic, and the narrow, winding streets make for some truly phenomenal photo opportunities. Art lovers take note: the Museu Picasso is here.
Sitting as it does on the Mediterranean, Barcelona boasts its own fair share of beaches. If the weather is amenable on the day that you visit, consider heading up to Sant Pau or Sant Pol for some of the best beach fun around. Under the Spanish sun, you can frolic, swim – and relax – during your stop at Barcelona.
Barcelona’s Gracia district is the best place to do a whole lot of shopping. Located only 1 kilometer from the center of Barcelona, Gracia boasts a fine array of top quality shops, stores, boutiques and markets. Along the way, several cafes, bistros, restaurants and other places keep shoppers fueled up and ready to go. Those who love to read will be especially tickled by the wonderful array of bookshops in this section of Barcelona.
Best Souvenir To Bring Back To the Cruise Ship
If you only pick up one souvenir while in Barcelona, choose something made out of leather. Indeed, Barcelona is well known for its fine leather goods; they are of the utmost quality and are incredibly low priced to boot.
Eating – Sample the Local Cuisine
As a major – and a very cosmopolitan – city, Barcelona’s restaurants serve up every type of cuisine under the sun. However, you should make a point of sampling some delectable Catalan cuisine while in the city. The savory dish pa amb tomàquet – bread with tomato – is a very popular one and can be found all over Barcelona. Paella is also simply divine in Barcelona, so be sure to order some up before heading back to the ship.
When, Where, and How
When To Go
Since summers can get so hot in Barcelona, savvy travelers usually try to visit the city in the spring. April and May are the best bets in terms of weather, with temperatures hovering right around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, low humidity and very little precipitation. If you visit Barcelona in July or August, be prepared to sweat.
Where You’re Docked
For the most part, large cruise ships dock in a largely industrial section of Barcelona’s waterfront. Happily, it is within walking distance of Las Ramblas – one of the most popular streets in the city. Catching a cab to Las Ramblas is also an easy feat.
Which Cruise Ships Go Here?
Many of the most larger cruise lines have itineraries that include stops at Barcelona. A few of the major cruise lines that stop in Barcelona are Costa Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Cunard and MSC Cruises. However, there are many other options available in terms of dates, ships, days in port and at sea when it comes to Barcelona.