Cruise Port Atlas | Barcelona, Spain Day Trips | Attractions

Barcelona, Spain Day Trips | Attractions

With limited time in port, planning is the best way to make the most of your time. Should you strike out on your own? Should you hire a local guide? Or should you book a shore excursion offered by the cruise line or an international tour company? Below we have listed the attractions and activities that many other cruisers have enjoyed. This information should help you plan.

The advantage to cruise line tours is that they are timed for your visit and give you flexibility to change your mind after your trip begins. The advantage of using a large international firm is that tours are often less expensive than cruise sponsored tours. The advantage to using a local tour company or guide is that prices can be significantly lower or you may be able to get a customized trip just to see the attractions that interest you most.

Cruise lines that visit Barcelona: Star Clippers, Windstar, Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal, Oceania, Paul Gauguin, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea, Celebrity, Cunard, Holland America, Princess, Costa, Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, AmaWaterways, Viking River Cruises

Key Attractions: La Rambla, Barcelona Cathedral, La Sagrada Familia, Montjuic, Parc Guell, Miro Museum, Picasso Museum, La Barceloneta, Sitges, Cava Wineries, Monserrat, Barcelona Zoo, Barcelona Aquarium

La Sagrada Familia

Port to La Sagrada Familia - 6 KM, 15 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The basilica was begun with a crypt in 1882 and in 1883 Gaudi took over the design and radically changed the original Gothic revival conception. Gaudi spent the last years of his life working to bring his vision to fruition, but died in 1926 in a street car accident. In 2010, the building reached the halfway point of construction and it is hoped that the centenary of Gaudi's death in 2026 will see it completed. Though other architects have contributed through the years to the design, the basic inspiration of the design has remained with Gaudi. The Nativity facade was nearly complete at the time of his death and is the most representative of his original design. When complete, La Sagrada Familia will have 18 spires representing Christ, Mary, the 12 apostles, and the 4 evangelists. When finished it will be the tallest church in the world. La Sagrada Familia, along with several other buildings designed by Gaudi, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for transforming the city.

La Sagrada Familia has been built by private donations with no government or church funds used. Admission is 13 Euros (3/3/2012).

Photo Sagrada Familia interior by SBA73


World Heritage Site   One of the most renowned buildings in the world   The details are works of art   The beauty and size will amaze most children  

Easy walking    Somewhat Wheelchair Accessible


Panorama from Montjuic

Port to Monjuic - 3 KM, 8 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Montjuic is a large hill immediately to the west of downtown Barcelona. In 1992, it was one of the main areas for the Barcelona Olympics. Along with the Olympic Stadium, the other sports facilities on the hill are a smaller arena, the swimming, and diving facilities. The National Palace was built for the 1929 World's Fair and now houses an impressive collection of art works from the Romanesque to the modern eras, including an extensive collection of Catalan art. Other museums on the hill are the Catalan Archaeology Museum, the Museum of Ethnology, and the Joan Miro Museum (more below). There is a large cemetery where the city's most famed citizens are buried, a botanical garden, plus an Olympic and Sports Museum. Access to the top is by taxi, funicular rail, or two different gondolas, one from the city and one from the port and La Barceloneta.

The most popular attraction on Montjuic is known as the Spanish Village (admission 9.50 Euros as of 3/3/2012). Here you will see typical architecture from different parts of Spain along with workshops demonstrating Spanish crafts. Montjuic is also the location of Barcelona's Magic Fountain.

Botanical Gardens   National and Miro Museums   Incredible views of the city   A wide variety of attractions   Olympic Stadium  

Strenuous Walking in some areas    Wheelchair Accessibility varies

Panorama of Montjuic by Year of the Dragon

La Rambla

La Rambla

Port to La Rambla - 1 Km, 3 minutes, 10 minutes walk
Link to Full-Page Google Map

La Rambla is a pedestrian boulevard that begins near the Port at the Christopher Columbus statue and runs about 1.2 kilometers to Barcelona Square where the Passeig de Gracia begins. Shops and markets offer a wide variety of products mostly oriented toward the tourist trade. One of the highlights of the walk are the human statues, street performers often painted in metallic colors and selected as the best the city has to offer. La Boqueria is a fresh market with flowers, fruits, vegetables, meats, cheese and seafood as well as little food stands where you can sample some of the local cuisine in a casual atmosphere. To the east of the street is the Barri Gotic (neighborhood) with some great shopping and cafes as well.

Street Performers   Shops and Markets   Outdoor Cafes   Street Performers  

Flat Walking but no vehicles    Mostly Wheelchair Accessible

Photo of La Rambla by Marcela

Barcelona's Modern Art

Fundacio Joan Miro on Montjuic

Port to Fundaci Joan Miro - 3.3 KM, 5 minutes
Port to National Palace / Modern Art Museum - 3.2 KM, 6 minutes
Port to Picasso Museum - 2.7 KM, 6 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The city of Barcelona is certainly one of the great cities of 20th century art. This was partially due to the influence of Barcelona's architectural genius, Antoni Gaudi, whose modernism predated the 20th century. The collection of Catalan modern art in the National Palace on Montjuic focuses on the late 19th and early 20th centuries. (admission 10 Euros as of 3/3/2012) Also on Monjuic, is the Fundaci (Foundation) Joan Miro, featuring a collection of art much of which was owned by Miro himself. The photo here shows the museum and an Alexander Calder sculpture. (admission 10 Euros as of 3/3/2012)

Barcelona's massive Picasso Museum is one of the largest collections of the artist's work anywhere. His friend Jaume Sabartes located the museum in Barcelona and contributed a large number of works to begin the collection. After Sabartes died, Picasso himself contributed many early works that were owned by his family. The museum has over 3500 pieces in its permanent collection. (admission 11 Euros as of 3/3/2012)

Works by Catalan and World Artists   National Palace  

Lots of walking    Wheelchair Accessible

Photo of Joan Miro Museum by Kippelboy

Sports in Barcelona

Port to Camp Nou - 8 KM, 21 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Barcelona is passionate about sports and central to that passion is their local FC Barcelona, one of the finest soccer teams in the world. The city has two premier soccer stadiums including Camp Nou which is the largest in Europe. Tours of Camp Nou are available as part of a FC Barcelona tour, but it is best to book in advance of arrival.  Besides the Olympic facilities on Montjuic, the Olympic village is located just north of La Barceloneta not far from the Cathedral and the Picasso Museum.

Photo of Olympic Stadium by Amadalvarez

Stadiums, Arenas and Pools   World Class facilities   Stadiums, Arenas and Pools  

Lots of walking    Mostly Wheelchair Accessible

Barcelona Cathedral and the Gothic Quarter

Barcelona's Cathedral

Port to Cathedral / Gothic Quarter - 2 KM, 9 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, it was named for a young martyr killed by Roman persecutors; the cross from the Battle of Lepanto is reputed to have moved of its own volition to avoid a canon ball. This was seen as a sign that Christian navies would defeat the Turks. The cathedral was built from the 13th to 15th centuries in a late Gothic style, featuring an ornate facade added in the 19th century and the spire which was only finished in 1913. The remains of St. Eulalia are housed in the crypt below the church; in the courtyard are 13 geese representing the saint's age the time of her death. Inside the church is the coat-of-arms of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

Surrounding the Cathedral is one of Barcelona's most historic neighborhoods, known as the Gothic Quarter (Barrio Gotic) which features narrow alleys and historic buildings. This was the birth place of Miro and where Picasso lived for 10 years around the turn of the 20th century.

Barcelona's main historic church   Gothic  

Strenuous Walking and uneven surfaces    Some Wheelchair Accessibility

Photo of Barcelona Cathedral by Montrealais

Parc Guell and other Gaudi buildings

Main Entrance to Parc Guell

Port to Park Guell - 11 Km, 22 minutes
Port to Casa Batllo - 5.5 Km, 9 minutes
Port to Casa Mila - 5.9 Km, 11 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

While La Sagrada Familia shows Gaudi's artistry on a monumental scale, there are several other structures and locations that display his more human and light-hearted approach to smaller buildings. Parc Guell is a park area designed for children and features two homes one of which now houses a Gaudi museum. The park includes an arcade of columns, festive mosaic lizards and other creatures, plus a terraced area with incredible views of the city and sea.

On the Passeig de Gracia Gaudi created the Casa Batllo in 1877 which looks as if it is built without the use of straight lines. A few blocks farther down the street is the apartment building Casa Mila built 1905-1907. Admission to Casa Mila is 14 Euros (3/3/2012).

Views from hill of the city   Designed for children   Park   Some of Gaudi's most delightful designs   World Heritage Site  

Stairs and trails    Wheelchair Accessible in some areas

Photo of Parc Guell by es:Usuario:Rapomon

Zoo, Aquarium and other Barcelona Attractions

Komodo Dragon

Port to Aquarium and IMAX - 3 KM, 8 minutes
Port to Zoo - 2.5 KM, 8 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Barcelona has an excellent Aquarium and adjacent IMAX theater within shouting distance of the World Trade Center terminals. (The taxi ride is longer than the walk.) There is also a world-class zoo adjacent to the Olympic Village. The most famous resident of the zoo was Snowflake, an albino gorilla that passed away in 2003. The zoo features a special display of Komodo Dragons and a dolphin show.

There are a wide variety of tickets for the Aquarium but as of 3-3-12 the adult charge was 15 Euros and for children 11 Euros. Zoo admission is 8.90 Euros for seniors, 10.20 Euros for children up to 12 and 17.00 Euros for adults (3-3-12).

Zoo and Aquarium   Animals and Cinema   Animals in natural settings  

Flat Walking    Wheelchair Accessible

Photo of Komodo Dragon by Midori



Port to Sitges - 38 KM, 35 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

If you want to hang out with the international jet set, then Sitges is the place to go. It has long been a center for artists and craftsman, but has become a place where wealthy Europeans buy vacation homes. There are historic sites here, but the main focus is on the beaches, restaurants, and shops. The relaxed and open atmosphere has made this a mecca for gay and lesbian tourists.

Several Popular Beaches   Beachside Cafes and Markets  

Flat Walking    Wheelchair Accessible in central areas

Photo of Sitges by Rapomon

Cava Vineyards and Wineries

Freixenet Winery

Catalonia is renowned for its sparkling white and rose wines that were once known as Spanish Champagne, but are now known more correctly as cava. The name Cava comes from the caves in which the wines are aged. There are two large producers in an area to the southwest of Barcelona: Codorniu and Freixenet and both offer tours of their vineyards and wineries. The Codorniu family has been producing wines for over 500 years and began producing their famous sparkling wine in 1872. Freixenet was established in 1889 and has been exported to the U.S. since the 1920s.

While in the U.S. Cava is often far less expensive than champagne, there are selections from both of these renowned vineyards that rival top French wines for quality.

Vineyards, Wineries and Wine-tasting   Winery buildings and caves  

Flat Walking    Wheelchair Accessible

Photo of Freixenet Winery by Vikingstad

MontserratSanta Cova Chapel at Montserrat

Port to Montserrat - 53 KM, 45 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Its name means jagged mountain and Montserrat is a multi-peaked mountain that has been a site for religious pilgrims for nearly 1000 years because of the mysterious statue of the Black Virgin, reputed to have been carved by St. Luke around 50 AD. Historians date it to the 12th century AD. The striking setting is the location of a huge monastery and basilica and the chapel at the entrance to the cave where the statue was discovered. Montserrat is a popular spot for adventurous hikers and rock climbers. The basilica is home to one of the world's best known boy's choirs, performing daily at 1pm.

To reach the monastery and basilica you can take the gondola for 9 Euros roundtrip.

Geothermal Waters and Volcanic Muds      Many spas in natural settings  

Uneven surfaces and difficult Walking    Not Wheelchair Accessible

Photo of Monserrat by Bernard Gagnon

Dali Attractions

Port to Pubol - 123 KM, 1 hour 15 minutes
Port to Figueres - 138 KM, 1 hour 25 minutes
Port to Portlligat - 170 KM, 2 hours
Link to Full-Page Google Map

In the small city of Figueres, Dali built his museum at the location of a theater destroyed during the Spanish Civil War. The museum is essentially a massive work of surrealist art, as everything in it was especially designed to be there. Also in Figueres is the Dali Jewel Collection. The Castle of Pubol is also known as the Gala Dali Castle in honor of the artist's wife. Their tombs are on the grounds of this medieval building that Dali outfitted to suit his personality. On the craggy coast of the Cap de Creus peninsula is the most exclusive and unusual Dali attraction, his home at Portlligat. Built over a period of 40 years, it is actually several connected buildings on multiple levels. If offers a unique look at the artist's personal style. Tickets are very limited, so you must book in advance.


Palamos -    
Other destinations vary -    

Photo of Dali Museum Dome at Figueres by Adamcobb

Interests Key:

Art Architecture Beach Children Wild Animals Local Cuisine Flora Gardens-Parks Geology

Diving UNESCO Views Wine Dance Music Shopping History Hiking

Walking & Wheelchair Accessibility:

No Walking Easy Walking Normal Walking Difficult Walking Accessible Limited Not Accessible