Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Where to Eat and Drink
Casual Dining: Stop by a tapas bar along Las Ramblas, or grab a chorizo sandwich from one of many local stands.
Elegant Dining: Merendero de la Mari is an indoor- and outdoor-dining seafood restaurant on the waterfront, fairly close to where the ship docks. Go for the excellent catalana-style paella, or the fresh mussels.
Where You're Docked
Large cruise ships dock at the largely industrial area of the waterfront, a doable (albeit healthy) walk to Las Ramblas, Barcelona's most famous and vibrant street. Cruise ships typically offer shuttles to the base of Las Ramblas as well.
Staying in Touch
Barcelona is an eminently walkable city, particularly in the older quarters, such as Barrio Gothic, with its winding streets. There's an excellent subway system, and buses operate to all the major attractions.
What to See and Do
Las Ramblas. A fabulous promenade leading from the port to Placa de Catalunya, the center of old Barcelona, it's lined with shops, cafes, flower stalls, street performers, and a wonderful food market called Boqueria. You'll pass by the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona's circa 1848 opera house. Las Ramblas ends at the Placa de Catalunya--a huge plaza that's the heart of the city and is surrounded by shops and cafes.
La Sagrada Familia. Barcelona's funkiest church was designed by Gaudi. The most unusual thing about it? It's not finished yet! He began working on it in 1883 and designed intriguing features such as the bell towers, covered in Venetian mosaics, and the nativity-themed facade, with doorways representing faith, hope, and charity. Services are held in the crypt where Gaudi is buried. The best way to experience Sagrada Familia is to take the elevator to the top of one of the towers; there's an awesome view from that height. Also spend some time in the church museum.
The Museu d'art Contemporani de Barcelona is Barcelona's ode to contemporary art.
Barri Gotic. Barcelona's gothic quarter, architecture dates back to the 13th century and this area has wonderfully olde-Europe style atmosphere. Streets are winding and narrow; there are numerous boutiques and antique and artisan galleries. Its best known attractions include the Museu Picasso. Parts of Barcelona Cathedral date back to 1298 but it wasn't actually completed until the late 19th century. Santa Maria del Mar is another cathedral worth inspecting; it is, for this ornate city, unusually simple and quite elegant.
Sports enthusiasts will enjoy a trip to Olympic Stadium. The stadium existed before the Olympic games were held there, but it was completely remodeled in 1992 just for the occasion. These days, the stadium is used for various events, and home to baseball team Barcelona Dragons as well as a Barcelona soccer club.
The village of Montjuic rises 700 feet above the city's commercial port and chock-a-block with cafes, boutiques, art galleries, and museums. Not to be missed is Museu Arqueologic, which showcases artifacts from prehistoric cultures in both Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. Another highlight is the Fundacio Joan Miro, which features tapestries, paintings, and sculptures of Catalonian Joan Miro--he's considered a surrealist. Another key art museum is the Museu Nacional d'art de Catalunya; it's got one of the world's premier collections of Romanesque art.
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