Barcelona City Guide for Cruise Passengers

The Catalan capital, Barcelona, is becoming an increasingly popular port of call for cruise ships sailing the Mediterranean and I can definitely see why. I adore the city with its striking architecture, sporting attractions, delicious tapas and the tantalising option of exploring the city or simply relaxing at the beach.

If you’re visiting Barcelona as a cruise passenger then here’s my suggestions of how to spend a day in this magnificent city…

If you’re lucky enough to have the luxury of docking at one of the spots in the heart of the city then you’ll only be a two minute stroll away from Las Ramblas, the most famous street in the city. Here you can wander along enjoying the architecture, admiring the bouquets in the florists stalls and browse in some of the shops that line the street.
BARCELONA CITY GUIDE FOR CRUISE PASSENGERS, LAS RAMBLAS, BARCELONA ARCHITECTURE
If you’re visiting in summer then you’ll find Las Ramblas to be very busy and you might want to escape the buzz and explore some of the quieter, but no less impressive, side streets instead.

You’ll find that your cruise ship might be docked further from the heart of the city and, if this is the case, your cruise line may be offering complimentary shuttle buses to the statue of Christopher Columbus (Monument a Colom) that lies at the bottom of Las Ramblas. It is also possible to walk this route if you wish but I’d recommend spending the extra time exploring the city instead.

Be sure not to miss Plaça Reial a gorgeous square which lies just off Las Ramblas in the Barri Gòtic, the gothic area of the city. The Placa is lined with cafes, bars and restaurants that are perfect for relaxing in and doing a spot of people watching.
BARCELONA CITY GUIDE, BARCELONA CRUISE, PLACE REIAL
Stroll away from the Plaça Reial and you’ll enjoy exploring the small, quaint streets dotted with independent boutique shops and the type of adorable tapas bars that look like they haven’t changed a bit since they first opened. Don’t be put off the look of these tapas bars though, these are usually the best ones where the emphasis is on the quality of the food rather than the surroundings. You’ll find these are the type of restaurants the residents of Barcelona will eat in and they’re usually wonderfully inexpensive too.

If you’ve never visited Barcelona before and want to enjoy a good overview of the city in a short space of time then the sightseeing bus might be for you. The Barcelona bus turistic takes in all the main attractions across three different routes and allows you to hop on and off at the different stops. I recommend buying your tickets online in advance as it will save waiting in a queue and it’s usually cheaper too!

Antoni Gaudí’s unmistakable architectural stamp is all over the city. His biggest project, the Sagrada Famillia, is a world famous building that has been under construction since 1882. It is due to be competed in 2026 and captivates visitors from all over the world. If you wish to go inside there is a rather costly entrance fee however a large proportion of this goes towards the remaining cost of construction of the Sagrada Famillia.
BARCELONA CITY GUIDE FOR CRUISE PASSENGERS, PARK GUELL, ANTONI GAUDI

Another of Gaudí’s creations, Park Güell, which lies to the north of the city is absolutely worth a visit. Park Güell is a large park which features some mosaic covered houses with spindly roofs that are so typical of Gaudí, interesting stone sculptures and some of the best views over the city, in my opinion. The park is free to visit however if you wish to enter the monumental zone, the most intricate and detailed part of the park, there is a fee. The queues for this are incredibly long and you’ll find in summer the waiting time will be 2-3 hours. I recommend buying your tickets in advance to avoid waiting and maximise your time in the city.

Football fans visiting the city won’t want to miss a tour of the world famous Camp Nou, home to FC Barcelona, one of the best football teams in the world. The Camp Nou holds close to one hundred thousand fans and the stadium tour takes you through the history of the club in the museum and allows you into the dressing rooms, dug outs and onto the touch lines of the pitch. If you buy tickets for the sightseeing bus tour then you’ll get a 5% discount on stadium tours by showing your bus tickets at the ticket office.
BARCELONA CITY GUIDE FOR CRUISE PASSENGERS, CAMP-NOU, FC-BARCELONA
If your cruise ship is in port overnight then don’t miss the chance to see the magic fountains of Barcelona. These run on different nights and at different times throughout the year so check this schedule to find out if they’re on during your visit. The fountains light up and ‘dance’ to music in the shadow of the stunning Palau Nacional and are absolutely free. They’re well worth a visit, just remember not to stand too close to the fountains or you’ll find yourself getting soaked!

BARCELONA CITY GUIDE FOR CRUISE PASSENGERS, PALAU NACIAL, MAGIC FOUNTAINS OF BARCELONA
One thing you’ll definitely want to do in Barcelona is enjoy some of the best tapas the city has to offer. Try Cuitat Comtal on Rambla de Catalunya that’s very popular with locals or check out Segons Mercat on Gran Via who specialise in fresh fish and tapas. Both are absolutely delicious!

BARCELONA CITY GUIDE FOR CRUISE PASSENGERS, TAPAS IN BARCELONA, CUITAT COMTAL

If the weather is good during your visit and you fancy a more relaxing day then just head to Barcelona’s beach area. Here you’ll find a much more relaxed pace, people out for walks along the beachfront, people playing volleyball on the beach, surfers riding the waves and other people just relaxing on the sand. You could even do some sightseeing in the morning and head to the beach in the afternoon…surely that’s the recipe for a perfect day in a destination?!