There’s no lack of things to see and do in Barcelona, even if you’re only in town for the day. The city is small enough that it usually doesn’t take longer than 30 minutes to get anywhere, either by foot, taxi or public transport, and its big enough where you feel like there’s so much to take in, spanning the various corners of town. Whether you’re in the mood for walking or hopping on the metro, there are plenty of attractions close to the cruise port. One of the most famous streets in the world is only a few minutes away. La Rambla, renowned for it’s eccentric street performers and eclectic shopping, starts at the sea, very close to where the ships dock and heads right up to another attraction, Plaza Catalunya. Although it’s about a 25 minute walk from one end to the other, it goes by quickly and is a definite ‘must’, at least once during your visit. On La Rambla itself is La Boqueria, the largest market in the city with a host of fresh foods including fish, meats, cheeses, vegetables, nuts and wine. So even if you only have a few hours to spend, you don’t have to wait by the ship as there are plenty of cool attractions as well as neighborhoods to explore. The Raval and Born are very close to the cruise port, so be sure to take a stroll on Passeig Del Born and Rambla Del Raval.
Built in 60 years for the Virgin of the Sailors, this church has an elegantly simplistic artistic structure. With few architectural extremities, this church is modestly ornamented with elegant columns and a few buttresses. The stained glass is the most elaborate decor in the church, and the lovely rose window is truly an attraction. Situated in the heart of the Born neighborhood, this is a great place to see beautiful architecture while also being able to take in some boutique shopping and eat delicious tapas at any of the restaurants along Passeig Del Born or amongst the narrow side streets.
Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: Santa Maria Del Mar is an exquisit Church and one of the only ones in the Born
Sam’s expert tip: Right outside the Church, across the courtyard is an excellent wine and tapas bar
A definite ‘must-see’, even if you’re not into art. The Picasso Museum, showcases a small yet wide selection of the artist’s works; you’ll be taken through the different and very diverse stages of his life and career. The Museum often has special exhibits open for a few weeks at a time, so be sure to check the schedule. Although this is slightly farther from the cruise port than some of the others on this list, it’s a very quick taxi ride or a leisurely stroll if it’s the only thing on your list. It also places you in the heart of the Born, which provides for some excellent shopping and eating.
Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: This Museum is close to the cruise port and an interesting lesson about Barcelona’s Maritime history
Sam’s expert tip: Reserve tickets online in advance and avoid all lines by walking right in
Named a national museum in 1990, this is the world’s greatest collection of Romanesque mural paintings and home also to an impressive array of 14th and 15th century Gothic art. The MACBA is also known for its unique installations with exhibits from around the world as well as Spanish and Catalan centric pieces. The building itself is quite beautiful with a few stories, each often hosting it’s own exhibit. Every year the international photography exhibit is held in the MACBA along with other internationally renowned shows. The MACBA is a short stroll or very cheap and quick taxi ride from the cruise port.
Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: If you’re into contemporary art the MABCA is an original Museum and very close to the cruise port
Sam’s expert tip: If you have a press card you get in free and a student card gives you a discount
If you’re hungry or just feel like browsing rows upon rows and stalls upon stalls of fresh fruit, cured hams, authentic Spanish tapas and pretty much anything you might have a craving for, Barcelona’s Boqueria market should top the check list. Directly off La Rambla, the market is a genuine Barcelona experience; you might even get to see little pigs wearing baseball caps if you go on the right days! This is about a 15 minute walk from the cruise port and an excellent place to get a feel for the hustle and bustle in the city. They have excellent fresh fruit drinks.
Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: The Boqueria is the largest market in Barcelona and a very popular tourist attraction
Sam’s expert tip: The front stalls are more expensive than the ones farther in, so if you want to save a few Euros, head closer to the back.
The rooftop terrace of the 1898 hotel is one of the best places to take in panoramic views of the city. The hotel itself isn’t an attraction, but if you only have one day in the city, then its rooftop terrace is the best place to get a lay of the land and take in all of the sites. This large space provides for four sides of stellar city views, covering pretty much everything from Montjuic to the sea. If you’re looking for an off the beaten path place from which to see the entire city, then this is your best bet.
Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: Their rooftop is the best place to take in the entire city, without having to go too far from the port.
Sam’s expert tip: Terrace is on the 6th floor, take the elevator on the left in the main lobby
Few places offer city views like Montjuic. The name literally means ‘Mountain of The Jews’ and is a former military base in Barcelona. Today it boasts some of the most gorgeous views of the entire city of Barcelona and also holds open air movie festivals during the summer amongst a host of other activities and parties. Check out the Terrace nightclub, especially during summer as there’s always cool and fun events featuring well-known dj’s. Close to Poble Sec and Plaza Espanya, Montjuic is a great place to explore, especially during the evenings. You can get there via cable car, foot or public bus.
Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: Montjuic is home to Olympic Stadium and a host of other museums and special gardens
Sam’s expert tip: Worth checking out during the evening when you can see the entire city light up beneath you
Barcelona’s city center hub and major landmark separating the old from the new; Plaza Catalunya is a watering hole for teenagers wanting to gather ‘after hours’, families on a Sunday afternoon, late night beer vendors, tourists and at one time or another almost everyone who frequents or lives in the city. It’s spacious, newly designed circle provides for an intimate place to gather and catch up with friends and in the summer the water fountain is on full blast and acts as a great backdrop for picturesque photos. It’s a short cab ride from the cruise port or a nice stroll up La Rambla
Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: Plaza Catalunya is the defining line between the Old City and the Modern area
Sam’s expert tip: Hard Rock Cafe is right next door and a great place to set for meeting spots.
The construction of this cathedral began in the late 13th century and was not completed until the middle of the 15th century. The interior design is distinctly Gothic, whereas the front and spire of the church were touched with a French influence at their completion in the 1800’s. The cathedral is dedicated to a Christian martyr whose tomb is located in the crypt beneath the high altar. The choir stalls are intricately carved with religious images. This is one of the most gorgeous buildings in the Old City, it’s not expensive to enter and ideal for enjoying a service in the center of the city.
Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: Cathedral La Seu is one of the most beautiful Gothic style churches in the city
Sam’s expert tip: Go on Sundays during service and enter for free
This is a lively, trendy walkway in one of the Old City’s chicest neighborhoods. Grab a drink on Passeig Del Born at one of the many tapas restaurants (where Javier Bardem was spotted sipping a few copas not long ago) and spend time people watching while soaking up the sun. This is also an excellent Barcelona attraction with Santa Maria Church at its base and the eternal flame that burns day and night to commemorate those who fell during the civil war. Passeig Del Born is a short walk from the cruise port and not far from the beaches as well.
Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: Passeig Del Born is home to the city’s historic flame and an excellent shopping and tapas location
Sam’s expert tip: The Question Mark Cafe serves free tapas with any drink you buy every day after 8pm.
What’s a trip to Barcelona without taking a stroll down La Rambla. This vastly famous walkway is one of the most popular stretches in Europe as well as the world. Starting at the the Colon (Christopher Columbus Statue) by the beach, it goes until Plaza Catalunya dividing the Old City with the Gothic Quarter on one side and the Raval on the other. At the very top is the Eixample neighborhood, where the city expanded at the end of the 19th century. If you’re looking for an entertaining and fun stroll, La Rambla won’t disappoint. Featuring everything from street performers, to merchants selling books, art, portraits and even animals, this is a top Barcelona attraction. Just be sure to keep your purses closed and pockets zipped as it’s also a haven for pickpockets.
Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: La Rambla is one of the busiest walkways in the world and a city ‘must-see’
Sam’s expert tip: Try to find the man sitting on the toilet