Credit: Shutterstock

Chocolate sculptures, a fairy-themed bar & food by monks - why Barcelona is the ultimate cruise destination

Author: Lucy Abbott

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Princess Cruises brings you to the cherry on top of Spain – Barcelona. With a depth of history unlike any other, it’s well worth a visit.

Over 20 Michelin starred restaurants, nine UNESCO World Heritage sites and 2.7 miles of coastline are just a few factors that will make you go, “wow” when you explore Barcelona.

Barcelona may have allegedly rejected the installation of the Eiffel Tower back in 1888 but the city’s architecture is still impressive – and the proof is in the pudding as Barcelona is the only recipient of the royal gold medal for architecture.

If you’ve swotted up on your Spanish before your travels to Barcelona then you might have to start up your Duolingo app again, as Barcelona actually has two official languages: Spanish and Catalan.

So, say “Hola” to Princess Cruises, which has countless cruises that start, end and stop in Barcelona – you’ll have plenty of opportunities to absorb new cultures and, of course, indulge in delicious food.

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What to do in Barcelona?

As an ever-popular cruise port, Barcelona has many famed attractions you probably already know about – so let us show you just four of the weird and wonderful things you can do in this bustling city.

A true hidden gem is the hedge maze in the Labyrinth Park of Horta – the perfect romantic activity for couples.

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If you manage to navigate your way to the centre (and no, not by fighting your way through the bushes) you will be rewarded with the sight of the hunky Eros, the Greek God of Love – dishy.

Ever heard of a mercury-spouting water fountain? Well, Barcelona features the Calder Mercury Fountain, first displayed in 1937, which spurts pure mercury.

The Montjuic Cemetery features an array of intriguing graves and accompanying decor. Credit: Shutterstock

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Luckily, today we understand the toxicity of Mercury and the fountain is now displayed behind a glass case to protect you from breathing in or touching the toxic fumes.

Augustus Gloop would thrive at the Chocolate Museum in Barcelona, where your mind will be blown at the intricate chocolate sculptures – just keep your tongue to yourself.

In honour of cocoa beans first coming ashore in Spain, the museum showcases the very best in choco-sculptures – with delicious replicas of the likes of Minnie Mouse and Louis Armstrong.

Get creepy in Montjuic Cemetery and admire the uniqueness of modern graves decorated with haunting, dramatic statues – definitely one to visit during daylight hours!

Cruise to Barcelona with Marella and take a stroll down lively Las Ramblas. Credit: Shutterstock

What to pack on a cruise to Barcelona?

When exploring Barcelona across the summer months, ensure you are equipped with sunglasses, sunscreen and a sunhat.

Comfortable shoes are a must, that’s right, ditch the flipflops and opt for a pair of light, comfortable trainers instead.

Of course, Barcelona is well known as a fashion hotspot so whip out your favourite floaty dress or funky shirt and make Las Ramblas your runway.

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If you want to blend in with the locals, you can by ensuring you keep the beachwear strictly to the beach – save those legs for the sand.

Top tip – bring a zip-up bum-bag to explore hands free and snap as many pictures as you can.

If you have opted to visit Barcelona with Princess in the colder months, October and November, then ensure you pack a thick, warm jumper and a light, waterproof coat for all your explorations and top deck adventures.

Barcelona's Medieval Jewish Quarter features an array of cafés. Credit: Shutterstock

Where to eat and drink in Barcelona?

If you fancy indulging in some good, hearty food then steer clear of the overpopulated eateries and opt for a unique experience such as Caelum, where you can eat the creations of monks and nuns – praise the lord.

Nestled in Barcelona’s Medieval Jewish Quarter, this café serves buttery pastries and other sugary delights – you could even descend to the basement of the café to discover the remains of public baths.

If a mighty camel catches your eye, you will have found Arabia, an Arabian restaurant in Barcelona where you can awaken your taste buds with a selection of exotic dishes.

When in Barcelona, you’ve got to try some of the, well, more unusual Spanish cuisine traditions such as baby eels (angulas) or bull tail stew (Rabo de toro) – only if you are feeling particularly adventurous.

If it’s drinks you’re after, fly away with the fairies in El Bosc de les Fades, a fairy-themed bar, where you will step into a magical grotto that gets more magical the more cocktails you drink.

Picasso Museum is a great spot to explore stunning works of art. Credit: Shutterstock

Cruise and stay in Barcelona

Let Princess Cruises guide your journey to Barcelona – whether you choose to visit the city as part of an itinerary or cruise and stay, the choice is yours.

Wave goodbye to an excruciatingly early morning on the day your cruise begins to reach your ship and say hello to a relaxed embarkation after learning Barcelona like the back of your hand.

There are a stunning selection of cruises sailing with Princess throughout April, May, June, July in 2022 and beyond as well as in summer 2023 – lucky you.

For example, you could embark on a 21-day The Best of the Mediterranean cruise, a roundtrip from Barcelona departing May 21, 2022, or a 22-day Grand Mediterranean Collection cruise, visiting Barcelona, departing October 21, 2023, with many more sailings taking place.

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With a choice of three hotels, Hotel Claris, Hotel Gallery and Hotel Hesperia Presidente, you can have the pick of the bunch.

Perhaps spend your first cruise and stay day in Barcelona admiring the rich artistic background of the bustling city – visit the Picasso Museum and learn all about the formative years of the legendary artist Pablo Picasso. With over 55 museums in Barcelona, you will certainly be kept busy.

Of course, you could spend the extra few days shopping along the famed Las Ramblas – from the classic high street shops to a range of independent, quirky boutiques – fun fact, Las Ramblas is actually five streets combined and originally functioned as a sewage stream, so a far cry from what it functions as today!

So, whatever way you decide to explore Barcelona, let Princess Cruises take you there.

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About Lucy Abbott

Lucy is a cruise journalist who has sailed on a variety of ships, from expedition to river – with her favourite being expedition cruising.

Lucy is interested in new sustainable ways to cruise as well as how cruising is becoming accessible for all.

She works together with Kaye Holland to keep the World of Cruising website up to date with all the latest cruise news.