A cruise day in Barcelona
Barcelona is Spain's beautiful and exhilarating city by the sea. The capital of Catalonia it has its own language and is considered the cultural capital of Spain.
Famous for its architecture, in particular the amazing work of Antonio Gaudi, the city also offers fantastic cuisine, a thriving nightlife, beaches and beautiful scenery.
There is a lot to see so if you only have one day, you will have to prioritise.
Things to do in Barcelona -
Grab a map and decide which of these 'must sees' you want to explore. Most of the city is within walking distance (with good shoes) or the Metro is well connected as are the buses.
There is also a very good hop on hop off bus called the Bus Turistic.
There are 2 routes; red line tours the north of the city, blue line tours the south. They connect at Placa de Catalunya at the end of La Rambla. Tickets can be bought from the driver and are valid for both routes. They run every 20 minutes and it takes a good few hours to ride all routes without getting off. The nearest stops from the cruise port are the World Trade Centre and the Mirador de Colon (monument at the foot of La Rambla).
Las Ramblas (or La Rambla)- a fabulous mile long promenade in the centre of the old city, it goes from the port area to Placa Catalunya. Lined with shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and famous for the many street performers along route. Also a renowned area for pickpockets. Half way down stop at Cafe de L'Opera for a trip back to 19th Century Parisian elegance.
Placa Catalunya - the most famous square in Barcelona at the top of La Rambla.surrounded by shops and cafes.
La Sagrada Familia (Church of the Holy Family) - the iconic church created by Gaudi that is still not finished!
There is an elevator to the top of one of the towers where the view is amazing. Having started construction in 1882, it is due to be completed in about 20 years.
La Pedrera (or Casa Mila) on the Passeig de Gracia boulevard is a much visited Gaudi building.
Parc Guell - a beautiful park created by Gaudi,
with narrow twisting paths full of sculptures, mosaics,
tropical flowers and tiling. Its also on a hill with great views of the city.
Barri Gottic (Gothic Quarter) - lots of narrow alleys, don't miss the Catedral and the Palau del Rei. Break for lunch at the Can Culleretes on Quintana. Its Barcelona's oldest restaurant but book in peak periods.
Montjuic - this village sits on a hill above the port topped by a castle and the best views of the city. It has many cafes, art galleries, museums and shops and was home to the 1992 Olympic stadium. To get there you can walk from Placa Espana, take the cable car from Barceloneta, or the funicular from Parallel metro.
the Palau Nacional (the Royal Palace) - this art museum houses on the world's best collections of Romanesque art.
the Magic Fountain is situated just below the Palau Nacional. Don't miss the spectacular free music, lights and water shows after dark (no shows on Mon/Tues/Wed)
Museu Arqueologic Fundacio Joan Miro houses a huge collection of Joan Miro works.
Poble Espanol (Spanish Village) - a collection of purpose built houses in different styles.
Castel de Montjuic - a large 18th century fortress housing the military museum. A cable car goes up to the castle but you can also walk (about 20 mins). Stop at the little cafe to take in the ambience.
Mercat de la Boqueria - the lively market is bursting at the seams with colour and noise as locals and tourists shop for fresh produce. Lots of places to eat and drink here too.
Nou Camp stadium - If you are a football fan you might want to head straight for the Nou Camp stadium, home of FC Barcelona where you can take a guided tour and visit the club museum. It´s a little out of the centre, but on the Metro stop Collblanc.
Tibidabo - If you don't fancy the sights, try spending the day at Tibidabo amusement park. Take the L7 train from Placa de Catalunya after 10 minutes you will arrive at Avenida Tibidabo, right next to the Tramvia Blau stop to take you up the mountain for about 7 minutes. You can then change onto the Funicular to travel right up to the amusement park. Built in 1889 it is a real traditional and charming park, although not particularly cheap. No huge coasters here, but the atmosphere is very family friendly. Take a picnic if you can, prices can be steep. And watch out for the last funicular back down the mountain, you don't want to be stuck up there!
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