Barcelona (Spain)
Cruise Port Must Know, See and Do

Overview and Highlights
of Barcelona Port for Cruise Travelers
- Top Things To Do and See, Beyond the Highlights, Sightseeing and Tours.

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Cruise travelers visiting Barcelona for the day as a Port of Call need to plan the stay as there so many and wonderful things to see and do in this spectacular city. From exceptional Museums and Religious sites to memorable gastronomic tastings, or just lazy walking around, Barcelona has a unique charm that all visitors rave about.

Photo of La Pedrera in Barcelona.

La Pedrera in Barcelona

Photo © IQCruising.com

If embarking or disembarking in Barcelona, you should also enjoy the fun of an overnight. In fact, unless you have been in Barcelona before and have thoroughly explored Spain’s second largest city, the cruise traveler will regret if flying directly to embark on a cruise without spending some good time in the capital of Catalonia.

Photo of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

Sagrada Familia - Barcelona

Photo by Bernard Gagnon CC by SA

After all, there are very good reasons why Barcelona is the 4th most visited destination in Europe (after London, Paris, and Rome), the 12th-most-visited city in the World and a UNESCO Awarded City.

The urban architecture of Barcelona is world famous as is Antoni Gaudi, the most illustrious son of the city. But besides the exuberant Art Nouveau of Gaudi, there are too may sites to be visited in one day.

Photo of Casa Batlló in Barcelona.

Casa Batlló in Barcelona

Photo © IQCruising.com

Where Cruise Ships Dock in Barcelona

Photo of Port of Barcelona.

Port of Barcelona

Photo © IQCruising.com

Barcelona's two cruise ports (WTC Port and Moll Adossat) are ideally located to explore the city. The WTC Port has 3 piers around the World Trade Center building, it is located just under 1/2 a mile (700 meters) from the Plaça Colon and the start of La Rambla, but only small cruise ships can dock here.

Top Things To Do and See - Highlights

For those that only have a few hours to explore Barcelona - before Embarkation or after Disembarkation - at least one of the following Top Highlights must be visited.

Basilica of the Sagrada Familia

The Basilica of the Sagrada Familia (one of the most famous modern churches in the World and a masterpiece by Gaudi) is inevitably on top of any must-see list.

Photo of Sagrada Familia, Interior, in Barcelona.

Sagrada Familia, Interior - Barcelona

Photo by Gary Ullah CC by SA

The Basilica is under construction since 1882 (completion is planned for 2026), is located around 5 miles (7 km) from the port and it will take around 30 minutes to get there by taxi. Allow at least a couple of hours to visit the church.
Insider's tip: it is highlight advisable to buy tickets online to get a fast entry.

Passeig de Gràcia & Art Nouveau

The Passeig de Gràcia is one Barcelona's most wonderful tree-lined avenues, where all major luxury boutiques have their stores, a delight to walk and also where Gaudi architectural exuberance is displayed in Art Nouveau residential buildings.

Photo of Casa Batlló in Barcelona.

Casa Batlló in Barcelona

Photo © IQCruising.com

Casa Milà or La Pedrera is a major highlight of Barcelona and just a couple of blocks down you will find another two architectural gems - the Casa Batlló (also by Gaudi) and Casa Amatller (by Josep Puig i Cadafalch). To get there, the Editor suggests either to get a taxi straight to La Pedrera or on the Metro (underground or subway) green line (L3) from Darsannes Station (close to Plaça Colon) directly to Diagonal Station. Again, online reservations are advisable to visit any of these buildings.

Picasso Museum and Miró Foundation

Photo of Science and Charity by Picasso in Barcelona.

Science and Charity by Picasso

Photo Public Domain

Barcelona has quite a few renowned museums but two should be highlighted. The Joan Miró Foundation has on display one of the best collections in the World of the works by this abstract modernist artist, whilst the Picasso Museum exhibits focus on the earlier works (and many times ignored adolescent art) of this Spanish modernist master. "Science and Charity" painted when Picasso was 16 years old is a must see. Although the Picasso Museum is relatively close to the cruise port and is easy to get there - by taxi or even walking -, the Miró Foundation is a bit off the beaten track on Parc de Montjuïc.

Photo of Miró Foundation in Barcelona.

Miró Foundation in Barcelona

Photo © IQCruising.com

If planning to visit the Miró Foundation be aware that it may difficult to find taxis close by for the return and that the Funicular de Montjuïc that connects the park to Avenue del Parallel is the fastest and easiest way to get there and back.

La Rambla

Photo of La Rambla in Barcelona.

La Rambla in Barcelona

Photo © IQCruising.com

La Rambla is arguably the most famous of all Barcelona's streets connecting Plaça Colon (aka Plaça Portal de la Pau), very close to the Cruise Port, and another major square in the city: Plaça de Catalunya, where Passeig de Gràcia starts.

Photo of Plaça de Catalunya in Barcelona.

Plaça de Catalunya in Barcelona

Photo © IQCruising.com

Photo of Palau Güell in Barcelona.

Palau Güell in Barcelona

Photo © IQCruising.com

This three-quarter of a mile (1 km) pedestrian, tree-lined, and wide avenue is a popular place for locals and tourists alike. For the last 10 years, it has become embellished by street performers, flower stands, restaurants and all sort of touristic glitz. On a side street, close to Plaça Colon, the Palau Güell is a must see for those interested in Gaudi's architecture. On the left side, midway, the Gran Teatre del Liceu is the most prestigious theater in Barcelona. At the opposite end, the La Boqueria or Mercat Sant Antoni is one of the city's leading tourist landmarks and the oldest market hall in the area dating back to 1840.

Photo of La Boqueria in Barcelona.

La Boqueria in Barcelona

Photo © IQCruising.com

Barri Gòtic

To the right (east) side of La Rambla, the cruise traveler will find the narrow and winding streets of the oldest district in Barcelona known as Barri Gòtic where many landmarks are to be found: the Plaça Reial (Royal Plaza), the Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi, the Plaça Sant Jaume, the old Jewish Quarter (Call Jueu), the Pont del Bisbe, the Museum of the History of Barcelona (MUHBA).

Photo of Plaça Reial in Barcelona.

Plaça Reial in Barcelona

Photo © IQCruising.com

Photo of Cathedral of St. Eulalia Barcelona.

Cathedral of St. Eulalia in Barcelona

Photo © IQCruising.com

Cathedral of St. Eulalia - La Seu

Last but certainly not least, another major highlight of Barcelona - the Cathedral of St. Eulalia or La Seu (as the local call the majestic church), built between 1298 and 1460. All the area around the Barri Gòtic has a unique ambiance inviting the traveler to an historic journey to the time when the first populations settled here during the reign of the Roman emperor, Augustus, 2,000 years ago.

Beyond The Top Highlights

For those that have been in the major touristic areas and visited the top highlights of Barcelona, there are many other places that are very seldom offered on cruise ship excursions. The neighborhood known as El Born has become a great place to visit on a leisurely walk.

Photo of Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona.

Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona

Photo © IQCruising.com

El Born and La Ribera

Farther east of the Barri Gòtic - in fact, just across Via Laietana, - what once was the main trading center and one of the richest neighborhoods of the city during the 13th and 14th centuries, El Born and the adjacent La Ribera neighborhood are both worth a visit. This is the area where the Picasso Museum is located (on Carrer Montcada) but, at end of this narrow street, the Passeig del Born, the Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar, and the El Born Cultural Center are off-the-beaten-track landmarks to be discovered. For those with a sweet tooth, the Chocolate Museum (Museu de la Xocolata) is also close by.

Photo of Cascada Monumental in Barcelona.

Cascada Monumental, Parc de la Ciutadella

Photo © IQCruising.com

Ciutadella

Farther east, is the Ciutadella Park (Parc de la Ciutadella) with a number of historical landmarks - the Catalan Parliament, the Castell dels Tres Dragons, the Cascada Monumental among others - and the Barcelona Zoo. The latter is not particularly impressive, but the Park itself, with its ponds, fountains, and lawns, is a nice green area for those that enjoy outdoors.

Photo of Park Güell in Barcelona.

Park Güell in Barcelona

Photo © IQCruising.com

Montjuïc and Güell Parks

Two other parks are top attractions in Barcelona: the Montjuïc Park and the Park Güell, the latter is a bit farther away from the cruise port although a must see for fans of Gaudi's architectural design. Located on a hill around 5 miles (8km) from the sea, it offers wonderful views of Barcelona. Besides the extraordinary landscape and design, the Gaudí House Museum where the famous architect lived for 20 years should not be missed. All hop-on-hop-off sightseeing buses have stops close by; the Metro station of Lesseps on L3 (Green Line) is 1 mile (1.6km) away.

Photo of Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya in Barcelona.

Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya in Barcelona

Photo © IQCruising.com

The Montjuïc Castle dominates the homonyms park and is relatively close to the Cruise Port - easy to get to with a funicular, which starts at the Parallel metro station on Avenida Parallel. At the Montjuïc Park the traveler will find many attractions such as the already mention Fundació Joan Miró and the wonderful Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC), the Poble Espanyol, the Botanical Garden and Science Museum, the Olympic Park built for the 1992 Summer Olympics, the Palace Albéniz and a couple of two other interesting museums - the Catalonia’s Archaeological Museum and the Ethnological Museum. From the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya a long and wide park/avenue ends at the Plaça de Espanya where the old Bullring has been revamped into a popular shopping mall, along the way the Font Màgica, the CaixaForum Barcelona (contemporary art exhibition center) and the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion are landmarks not to be missed.

Photo of Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona.

Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona

Photo © IQCruising.com

Port Vell and Barceloneta

Also close to the Port, a stone's trow from the Portbus T3 stop, the Port Vell is where one of the best Aquarium in Europe is located and a delight for those cruising with children. The entire area was redeveloped for the 1992 Olympic Games hosting a marina, the “Maremagnum” shopping center, a park and seaside cafés. Farther along the coast, the Museu d'Història de Catalunya, housed in a waterside warehouse, is an invitation to travel trough the history of Catalanoia and the start of the old fishermen’s neighborhood known as Barceloneta. This is one of the best places to savor fresh fish in Barcelona with many good restaurants to choose from. Beyond the residential grid of narrow lanes, the beaches of Barceloneta are one of the best-kept secrets of the city (enjoyed almost exclusively by locals) and are perfect for pure relaxing time.

Barcelona Sightseeing and Tours

The charming character of Barcelona, the infinite mix of ancient and modern architecture, the excellence of museums and galleries are a sensorial feast that can easily be discovered on your own. Exploring Barcelona on foot is a joy - be it on a walk trough the nooks and crannies of the old city lined with modern shops, a stroll along wide boulevards with fashionable boutiques and renowned brands, contemplating the unique details of astonishing UNESCO listed buildings with mind-boggling facades or just people watching on a stylish café.

Photo of Tour Kiosk in Barcelona.

Tour Kiosk in Barcelona

Photo © IQCruising.com

With so much to see and enjoy, Barcelona has an amazing array of independent tours available. Be it on a sightseeing hop-on-hop-off bus, a bicycle, scooter, van, limousine, rickshaw, electric car or convertible the variety of tours is almost endless. Activities like Catamaran Sailing, Jet Ski, Para-sailing, Para-gliding, Land Sailing or Balloon Flying are on offer and easy to access. The delicious local cuisine and famous gourmet chefs of the city's restaurants are destinations for a good number of tours. And for those that wish to explore beyond the city, the coastal town of Sitges and the rocky peaks of Montserrat with its monastery are must-visit destinations.

Tourist Cards

When calling at the Port of Barcelona or if staying in Barcelona for more than a day, there are a number of Tourist Cards that can be very advantageous, saving both time and money. With the Barcelona City Card (42.75 online) you'll be able to travel free on the metro, buses, trams (including the airport train and metro) and free admission to, or discounts at, Barcelona's most important museums and many places of interest. The Barcelona Card Express (19.00, online) offers 48 hours free travel on public transport and discounts in museums and city sights.

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