ABOVE: Barcelona schoolchildren enjoy a visit
to their city's waterfront, not far from the Estació
Barcelona shore excursions
from: Port of Barcelona
In addition to being one of the Mediterranean's leading ports,
Barcelona is the second-largest city in Spain and capital of Catalunya (an
autonomous region whose native language is not Castilian Spanish, but Catalan).
With a population of more than 2.8 million, Barcelona is too large a city to
visit adequately in a day or two. So, if you're embarking or disembarking in
Barcelona, you might want to consider staying a few extra days to explore the
city and its environs.
If you have only one day in Barcelona, you'll probably want to
join the crowds on Las Ramblas, a long tree-shaded pedestrian boulevard
lined with newstands, florists, and outdoor pet shops. Stop in at the Mercat de
la Boqueria, a roofed market with tempting foodstalls.
The Ramblas border the Gothic Quarter, where you'll find
Barcelona's outstanding 15th Century Cathedral. (If there's a crowd at
the main entrance, try the side door in the street along the eastern side of the
church.) Chances are, you'll also encounter plenty of street musicians and
perhaps a group of
Sardana dancers in the cathedral square.
Be sure to visit Antoni Gaudi i Cornet's
Church of the Sagrada
Familia, which is still being constructed more than a century after its
conception. Later, spend some time along the waterfront, where you can take an
elevator up the Columbus Monument's column for a panoramic view of the city and
harbor. For an outing, try a harbor-excursion boat or a ride on the
Transbordador Aeri, a cable car that runs from Barceloneta (on the eastern
side of the harbor) to the World Trade Center and on up to Montjuic Park.
On your way back to the ship, spend at least an hour (preferably
longer) in the Maritime
Museum, which is the best of its kind that I've ever visited. The museum is
housed in the former royal shipyards, the largest commercial Gothic structure in
the world, and the admission price includes a hand-held audioguide.
If you'd rather ride than walk, the double-decker
offers an all-day "hop on, hop off" sightseeing tour with 26 stops.
Finally, your cruise ship is
likely to offer shore excursions in Barcelona. Regatta's choices included
a city highlights tour, a five-hour trip to the cliffside monastery at
Monserrat, a half-day resort tour of Sitges and the Costa Dorada, and a flamenco
show at the Spanish Village in Montjuic.
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