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A complete guide to Barcelona’s skyline – what to do and who to cruise with

Author: Lucy Abbott

Published on:

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Barcelona, a Spanish city abundant in art, culture, beaches and shopping opportunities, is a popular cruise destination. This is what to see and do plus which cruise lines to sail with.

Barcelona is a city that never stops giving, you can bar hop in the city centre, take in the gorgeous architecture hidden around every corner or relax on one of the inviting beaches - Barcelona is a one-stop-shop for a guaranteed amazing holiday.

As Catalonia’s capital city, Barcelona oozes charm and culture. This multidimensional metropolis features a Gothic Quarter as well as the famous modern tree-lined main thoroughfare, Las Ramblas.

In this comprehensive guide, swot up on the top sights to see in Barcelona, find out which cruise line is best and book with confidence thanks to leading travel agent ROL Cruise.

Gaze up at the iconic La Sagrada Familia with cruise lines such as Oceania Cruises. Credit: Shutterstock

What to see: La Sagrada Familía

One of the most iconic sites in Barcelona, La Sagrada Familía is a must-see for every visitor as a stand-out example of Catalan Modernism.

And the most memorable part of this basilica? It still hasn’t been completed! Building began in 1882 and has been underway for over a century. With completion estimated to be in 2026, its construction is taking longer than the Egyptian Pyramids!

- READ MORE: Most popular cruise destinations for 2022 and beyond -

Declared a basilica in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI, the building was designed by renowned architect Antoni Gaudí, who has a range of artistic works spread throughout Barcelona.

Fun fact: Gaudi was constantly inspired by natural phenomena so constructed the arches of La Sagrada Familia with a weighted string from the ceiling to see how natural arches would form.

Oceania Cruises offers a range of Barcelona excursions. Credit: Shutterstock

Who to cruise with: Oceania Cruises

Admire this iconic building with Oceania on a 12-night 2022 5 Star Luxury Spanish Enchantment onboard Nautica departing 23 April, 2022, from Lisbon, Portugal.

During your time in Portugal, Oceania offers you the chance to embark on a half-day ‘Highlights of Barcelona’ excursion, on which you can explore the stunning Gothic Quarter, gaze up at the Sagrada Familía and take in the city from the hillside of Montjuïc.

It’s a small group tour so you can enjoy the bonus of a higher level of flexibility as well as personalisation.

Oceania Cruises ensures you travel in comfort, with free 24-hour room service onboard a mid-sized ship and port-intensive itineraries. Oceania is known for its delectable food onboard, which you can sample in one of four open-plan restaurants.

Barcelona Cathedral combines Gothic and Baroque features in Barcelona. Credit: Shutterstock

What to see: Catedral de Barcelona

Providing vital insight into the city's history, Catedral de Barcelona, or Barcelona Cathedral, was constructed in 1298 on the site of a Romanesque temple.

It attracts around three million visitors each year – and once you see the combination of magnificent Gothic art and Baroque altarpieces you’ll understand why.

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You can attend a wide variety of religious services here; there are daily masses, confessions as well as baptisms of children and adults.

If you are in Barcelona on a Sunday, be sure to attend the conventual Mass, which features the famous Francesc Valls chamber choir, sit in serenity and listen to their voices working harmoniously together and even join in yourself!

Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Edge offers theatre productions and acrobats. Credit: Shutterstock

Who to cruise with: Celebrity Cruises

See Catedral de Barcelona on Celebrity Cruises’ eight-night Italy, France and Spain itinerary onboard Celebrity Edge departing September 24, 2022, from Rome, Italy.

Discover Catedral de Barcelona and more, from La Sagrada Familía basilica to well-known Gaudí building Casa Milà, on a ‘Barcelona & Montserrat with Lunch – Small Group’ excursion.

With Celebrity Cruises prioritising authentic local cultural excursions which are easy to plan and book, all that’s left for you is to go out and experience something new.

Celebrity Cruises offers you as much entertainment onboard as you will experience offboard, with a range of immersive entertainment at the theatre from acrobats or an enchanting performance from the American Ballet Theatre on select sailings.

What’s more, staterooms boast a 24-hour attendant and a contemporary design, so you can relax in style after a busy day exploring key religious sites such as the cathedral.

Parc de la Citadella in Barcelona offers the chance for a relaxing walk. Credit: Shutterstock

Where to go: Parc de la Ciutadella

Escape to the green oasis of Parc de la Ciutadella and relax on a winding walk, perhaps even indulge in a picnic on a grassy bank or even glide across the lake in a charming rowing boat.

The park isn’t just made up of rolling greenery (although we wouldn’t complain if it were!). There are several attractions such as the Catalan Parliament, the Museu d’Art Modern, a zoo, a zoological museum and the Museu de Geologia, which recounts millions of years of history where you can see the evolution of life through different geological eras.

- READ MORE: Can I live on a cruise ship? What you might not know about full-time life on board -

Alternatively, if you simply want to relax, sit in the shade and listen to the parrots whistling and squawking overhead as you admire the eclectic mix of locals and tourists wandering past.

Who to cruise with: Princess Cruises

Explore Barcelona’s green spaces with Princess Cruises’ 14-night 2022 No-Fly Mediterranean Adventurer onboard Sky Princess departing April 30, 2022, sailing from Southampton, England.

Princess Cruises Sky Princess sails from Southampton. Credit: Shutterstock

With ample time to explore this beautiful city independently, take the time to visit Parc de la Ciutadella after exploring the Gothic Quarter.

Wander back to your Princess Cruises ship after your day in Barcelona and indulge in a delicious glass of bubbly, with the premium drinks package included in all bookings, before heading down to a deck party or watching enthralling theatre productions and live musicians.

Where to go: Park Güell

As one of the largest green spaces, this World Heritage Site Park was designed by Gaudi and commissioned in 1900 by Eusebi Güell, whose influence you can see straight away with the colourful Dragon Fountain at the entrance.

More stone structures greet you throughout the park alongside beautiful multicoloured tiled work. Wander up to the top of the park to discover a romantic terraced area featuring a plethora of vibrant tiled seats.

Embrace the history of the park and visit the house Gaudí once lived in - now converted into a museum. Why not indulge in some house inspiration with his collection of interesting furniture?

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas features an extensive vitality spa after your explorations in Barcelona. Credit: Shutterstock

Who to cruise with: Royal Caribbean

This delightful spot can be visited on Royal Caribbean International’s 11-night Western Mediterranean itinerary onboard Vision of the Seas departing August 31 2022, sailing from Barcelona, Spain.

You can book onto a Barcelona & Park Güell shore excursion, roam around this beautiful park and take in the Spanish sun and cuisine as you venture into the Gothic Quarter afterwards with Royal Caribbean.

Continue on your relaxing journey after visiting this expansive green space and visit the vitality spa onboard the ship before sitting back with a cocktail (or two!) for an outdoor film night.

- READ MORE: Cruise lines to keep on your radar for 2022 from P&O to Princess -

Where to go: Tibidabo

Combining stunning views, architecture and an amusement park, Tibidabo, a mountain overlooking Barcelona and Catalonia, really has something for everyone. Take a tram halfway up the mountain and, if you are feeling brave, catch the Funicular to the top through the mountain’s lush forests where many more attractions await.

Families can enjoy a fun day out at the Tibidabo amusement park; a standout feature is the big wheel, which offers an even more staggering height to observe Barcelona from.

Temple de Sagrat Cor offers spectacular views over Barcelona. Credit: Shutterstock

If theme parks don’t tickle your fancy, there is a stunning church to admire - the Temple de Sagrat Cor, built in 1806. You can take a trip to the top of this neo-Gothic structure via lift (phew!) to admire the city at 575 meters above sea level.

Who to cruise with: Seabourn

Visit this on Seabourn’s 15-night Mediterranean Allure & Greek Isles onboard Seabourn Encore departing April 02 2022, sailing from Lisbon, Portugal.

Take the funicular up to Tibidabo to discover the stunning views of the entire city, with the opportunity to embark on a private excursion by car and with an English-speaking guide in Barcelona, you can explore entirely at your own pace with Seabourn.

After a busy day admiring panoramic views, back onboard Seabourn Encore you can either relax in your room with complimentary room service or wander down to the dining room to experience a menu created by skilled chefs.

Book your unforgettable Barcelona cruise holiday with leading travel agent ROL Cruise by clicking here.

Sarah Brightman will perform onboard Seabourn Encore. Credit: Shutterstock
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