Sailing into Barcelona is one of the Mediterranean’s great experiences: The cruise ship terminal is located a short walk from the end of La Rambla, the city’s main tourist boulevard. From the port, you can easily walk to this Spanish city’s best bars, restaurants, museums, and shops if you don’t feel like taking a deeper dive with a shore excursion.
What We Love
La Boqueria: Barcelona’s famous food market sets the standard for Spanish ingredients, with everything from saffron for paella to locally produced almonds, olive oil, and Ibérico hams, which hang from the ceiling. This is the best souvenir shopping spot in the city and a great place to have lunch, too.
Park Güell: Modernist architect Antoni Gaudí’s fantastic creation has more than 40 landscaped acres lined with unforgettable surrealist sculptures and architectural detailing.
Best Known For
Sagrada Família: This church, also by Gaudí, is an unfinished masterpiece that continues to wow visitors with its fantastical design.
Montjuïc: The hilltop right by the port is home to a cable car system that will take you back down to the sea — after you’ve gotten the best photo op in town, of course.
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Who It's Best For
Foodies: Start your day with churros and chocolate at a counter in the Gothic district, and don’t forget to break up your afternoon with tapas and a refreshing vermut.
Culture Lovers: The city’s museum scene includes single-artist gems dedicated to Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
August Means Vacation: Locals head out of town for long vacations in August — just when the Mediterranean cruising season is at its peak. Expect shops and restaurants (including some of the better ones), especially the ones that serve the Spanish rather than tourists, to close for several weeks.
Crime is Rising: The country has faced some harsh economic realities in recent years, and pickpocketing is more common than before.
Sherri Eisenberg is the New York City-based editorial director of ShermansCruise.com.