February 24, 2024

Introducing Barcelona

Barcelona is the capital of the Catalonia region of Spain, and Catalan is the most widely spoken language. The history of the region and its dealings with the other parts of Spain is often fractious but always fascinating.

Barcelona port hosts many Mediterranean cruises and Barcelona city makes a brilliant tourist destination at either end of your trip. The city has lots of things to do, from gazing at spectacular Gaudi architectural masterpieces to relaxing and people-watching at a sunny Las Ramblas cafe, and offers visitors a seductive feel for the laid-back Spanish lifestyle.

Barcelona Port

Ships dock at Port Vell, which could not be more conveniently situated, being just a mile or so from Barcelona’s major sights. Today the port has become a tourist attraction by itself with a large Maremagnum shopping mall with an IMAX theater, and Europe’s biggest aquarium. Port Vell leads directly on to Las Ramblas, the main Barcelona boulevard packed with cafes and street entertainment that leads into the center of the city (Las Ramblas is alternately called by its singular form, La Rambla).

There are eight terminals at the Barcelona port, divided into 3 quays.

1 Adossat Quay

Cruise Terminals A, B, C and D are located at the Adossat Quay and are furthest away from the port entrance. Terminal D also has the name Palacruceros. Shuttle buses make the short trip from these cruise terminals to the start of Las Ramblas.

2 World Trade Center Quay

There are 3 terminals in the World Trade Center quay called North, South and East terminals. From these it is an easy walk to the start of Las Ramblas.

3 Sant Bertrand Quay

Sant Bertrand Quay is just across from the WTC terminal. This terminal which normally handles ferries is only occasionally used for cruise ships.

5 Best Things to Do in Barcelona (Editor’s choice!)

It takes even an enthusiastic tourist several days to explore Barcelona, so if you have only a day or two, it’ll be a manic rush. Be sure to include well-known spots like La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s astonishing church, the romantic and medieval Barrio Gothic area, and the Picasso museum. Finish your whistle-stop tour by heading up to Montjuic for a wonderful view over the whole of the city and the surrounding countryside and sea.

1 Las Ramblas

A magnificent promenade connecting Port Vell to Placa de Catalunya, right in the middle of of old Barcelona. The street is packed with shops, cafes, florists, street entertainers, and the not-to-missed Boqueria, a colorful market. You’ll also pass by the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona’s magnificent opera house. Las Ramblas end ups at the Placa de Catalunya, a large square surrounded by offices, restaurants, and shops.

2 La Sagrada Familia

Barcelona’s funky church was designed by the famous Antonio Gaudi. Work began in 1883, and the intriguing building is still to be finished. Don’t miss features like the nativity theme of the frontage, the towers decorated with mosaic work, and the massive doorways inscribed with designs representing faith, hope and charity.

3 Barri Gotic

In Barcelona’s gothic quarter the buildings date back to the thirteenth century. The streets are narrow and winding and packed with busy life. At the center of the Gothic Quarter sits the Museu Picasso, featuring the works (unsurprisingly!) of Picasso. Also worth visiting is the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, a magnificent example of early-European architecture.

4 Parc Guell

A big treat for Gaudi fans, Parc Guell is an intriguing public park. The planting is imaginative and colorful, but the premier attraction is Gaudi’s hard landscaping, like concrete arbors and mosaic lizards.

5 Montjuic

The pretty village of Montjuic rises 700 feet above the city’s port and is home to museums, art galleries, boutiques and cafes. Don’t miss the Museu Arqueologic with a diverse range of items from prehistoric civilizations from Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. Another excellent museum is the Museu Nacional d’art de Catalunya, featuring an excellent collection of early works.

Picking a Cruise from Barcelona

The most popular itinerary is a circuit circumnavigating the beautiful Western Mediterranean. Other ideas include the Canary Islands, North Africa, or longer trips to the Eastern Mediterranean and Greek Islands.

Typical itineraries would be: Eastern Mediterranean (from NCL) calling at Barcelona, Civitavecchia, Piraeus, Izmir, Alexandria, La Valletta, Barcelona and Spain, Monaco, Tunisia (from Costa) calling at Barcelona, Monaco, Livorno, Olbia, Naples, Tunis, Port Mahon, Barcelona.

Travelling to the Port from Barcelona Airport

By public transport

Catch the Bus to Placa Catalunya in Barcelona, next travel by metro from Catalunya to Drassanes. From Drassanes walk to the statue of Christopher Columbus at the port entrance. Wait for the Blue bus which shuttles to and from the cruise terminals.


The simpler method for travelling from the airport to the port is a cab. The trip will take you about twenty five minutes and costs about 30 Euros in total. This price will include per-bag extras and additional airport and cruise port levies.

Also Worth Knowing

Currency: Euro

Language: Catalan and Spanish (though English is widely spoken)