Barcelona is the capital of the Catalan region of Spain and is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid. It’s a lively, historic city with stunning architecture, great food and entrancing street life.
One day in Barcelona
If you only have a limited amount of time in Barcelona don’t worry—it’s an easy city to explore the main attractions on foot or by quick, efficient metro, or even taxis which are inexpensive.
You’ll want to take a walk up the main boulevard La Rambla. This is the place where all of Barcelona comes to see and be seen. There is street art and theatre, shopping, bars and restaurants all the way along this street. For a real taste of Barcelona life wander through the Boqueria market which has been providing the city with its food for centuries.
Just off La Rambla is Placa Reial, a handsome 19th century square which is a popular meeting place and lined by restaurants. It’s in the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic) and a good place to begin exploring this part of town. You’ll also want to see the cathedral, Le Seu which incorporates part of the old Roman town wall, and is thought to date from the 4th century. Of course the really famous and more modern cathedral is Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia which is a must-visit. Finally finished, you can make up your own mind about whether it should have been left unfinished and true to Gaudi’s vision when he died, or finished with more modern materials. If you’re a real Gaudi fan, find you way to Parc Guell for views of the city and unique design.
Also great for views of Barcelona is Montjuic, the hill which overlooks the city and which was the location of venues for the 1992 Olympics. There is the majestic Palau Nacional which houses a Catalan art museum, an Olympics museum, a Miro museum, wonderful fountains, botanical gardens and parks, a museum of Catalonia and also the Montjuic Cemetery. You can reach Montjuic by funicular or the Port Vell aerial tramway which goes from right beside the port.
Check out more cruise shore excursions from Barcelona
How to get to Barcelona
The cruise port of Barcelona is large with nine docks, seven of them for cruise ships. It is handily located at the end of La Rambla so it’s easy to just walk into the center of town in about 10 minutes, although if you are at one of the further docks you should catch the shuttle Blue Bus which goes to and from the Christopher Columbus statue at the bottom of La Rambla.
Taxis are also easy to get and cheap so you might find this your best way to get to all the sights you want and also to and from your ship. Alternately the metro is efficient and safe.
The main language in Barcelona is Catalan but people also speak and understand Spanish though some words are completely different. English is also commonly understood and spoken as this is such an international city. The currency is the Euro.