Credit: Shutterstock

Quick guide to Barcelona - what to see, eat & do on a cruise in the enchanting Spanish city

Author: World of Cruising

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Barcelona has the power to enchant, whether it’s your first or seventh visit and is a staple of any Mediterranean cruise. This is what to do in the Spanish city.

Catalan fire and Spanish flair combine to delightful effect in the famous city of Barcelona in northeastern Spain.

One of the busiest cruise ports in the world has plenty of offer tourists.

A heavyweight cultural and commercial destination, there is plenty to see and do whether your interests lie in culture, shopping or food. Barcelona offers all three with aplomb.

This is our quick-fire guide to Barcelona cruise holidays.

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Getting from the ship

There’s a frequent bus shuttle that leaves from Barcelona cruise port and drops you off at the Christopher Columbus Monument in the city centre for €4 return.

- READ MORE: A complete guide to Barcelona’s skyline -

Alternatively, you can take a taxi from the port into the centre for roughly €10-15 – both journeys take approximately 10-15 minutes.

Depending on the dock you are ported in you could potentially walk into the city centre – but expect a good 20-minute walk at best.

Barcelona cruise port: There’s a frequent bus shuttle that leaves from the port. Credit: Shutterstock

What to see and do in Barcelona

Sagrada Familia

No visit to Barcelona is complete without a visit to Antoni Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia.

A sprawling mess of gothic spires and arches – resembling something out of a Tolkien fantasy novel rather than a church – it is impossible to stand underneath its grand scale and not be impressed.

- READ MORE: Royal Caribbean's summer 2023 cruises to Barcelona -

Incredibly, a mere 144 years after construction was first started in 1882, the Sagrada Familia is scheduled to be finished in 2026 – coinciding with the 100-year anniversary of Gaudi’s death.

Nou Camp

One for the football fans only, perhaps. But there’s no denying that when it comes to the beautiful game, it doesn’t get much more beautiful than Barcelona FC.

Barcelona travel guide: Nou Camp is a must-see for football fans during their stay. Credit: Shutterstock

From the modern maestro Messi to the golden generation spearheaded by Johann Cruyff, this is an opportunity to get up-close and personal with generations of footballing royalty.

Take a tour around the ground, see their five European Cups and shout orders from the home team bench. An experience the football fanatic won’t soon forget.

- READ MORE: Best world-class cultural cruises -

Park Güell

Want more Gaudi? The famous Park Güell in the north of the city is an absolute must.

A playground for the famous Spanish architect, this is what happens when you ask an eccentric genius to landscape your garden.

Make your way uphill past fairytale houses – and that iconic mosaic dragon – and you’ll be treated to a panoramic view of the city as good as you’ll find anywhere else.

Barcelona travel guide: The famous Park Güell in the north of the city is an absolute must. Credit: Shutterstock

Where to eat in Barcelona - best restaurants in Barcelona

Bar Cañete

This traditional tapas restaurant is situated just to the north of the main cruise terminal and has been serving delicious small plate specialities for decades now.

- READ MORE: Virgin Voyages' Mediterranean itineraries for 2022 to Barcelona -

Can Culleretes

Situated in its plum spot on the famous La Rambla street since 1786, eating at the oldest restaurant in Barcelona (and the second oldest in Spain), is an opportunity to dine alongside history.

La Barra de Carles Abellan

Barcelona is a foodie’s dream with so many of the world’s top restaurants here – and few come finer than this effort from hometown chef Carles Abellán.

Lively Las Ramblas is Barcelona's most famous street. Credit: Shutterstock

Best shops in Barcelona

Las Ramblas

It might be a little touristy, but you can’t visit Barcelona and not take a stroll down Las Ramblas. A street where little tourist shops combine with big attractions.

La Boqueria

The most popular market in Barcelona is an explosion of colour and smells similar to that of an Arabian souk. Perfect for an afternoon stroll.

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Diagonal Mar

Every city needs a good shopping mall and Barcelona is no exception. Modern, clean and packed to the gills with stores, Diagonal Mar is a shopaholics dream.

Top local tip

Keep an eye on your personal belongings. Barcelona is well-known for its pickpockets so make sure to take only what you need with you.

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