Goes Ashore in Europe:
to see & things to do
of the fiercely proud Catalonians, Barcelona is an intriguing mix of
the very old and very modern. From
the ancient ruins of a Roman Temple in the Gothic Quarter to the
structures built for the 1992 Summer Olympics on Montju´c,
Barcelona is a city of contrast with the ever-present whimsical
architecture of Antoni GaudÝ tossed in to delight the visitor.
an embarkation/debarkation point, Barcelona boasts a fine airport
with excellent and efficient facilities. Getting
to port is a simple matter, either by cruise line transfer or in a
taxi. But don’t simply pass through; plan to linger at least two
days either pre- or post-cruise to experience one of Spain’s most
captivating cities and unique cultures.
so much to see, and so little time, tours are recommended. Hotel
personnel can recommend tour operators—Juliatours, MacAndrews, and
Pullmantur are some of the best. For the more adventurous tourist
who’s done his homework, there is the Bus Turistic, which passes
by the most popular sights. Riders hop off the Bus Turistic for a
closer view and hop on the next one that passes by. The price of
your ticket may also entitle you to ride the Tibidabo funicular and
the Montju´c cable car. Take care that you hop on the correct bus,
though, as there are several. Don’t even consider renting a
car—traffic is horrible in Barcelona and parking impossible. Taxis
are good for short distances and can deposit you in areas where a
walking tour is preferable, such as the Gothic Quarter and Les
Rambles. Arm yourself with a detailed map and up to date guidebook.
Change your dollars to Euros, as US dollars are not widely accepted.
ATM machines are located on nearly every corner.
the Gothic Quarter is Barcelona’s Catalonian Gothic Cathedral.
Begun in the 13th century, it blends medieval and Renaissance styles
and ranks as one of Spain’s most impressive cathedrals.
Nearby are the Roman Walls, one of Barcelona’s most
important treasures, and the Great Royal Palace.
Rambles is the most famous promenade in Spain. From it’s city
entrance at the fountains of Plaša de Catalunya you can stroll all
the way to the Plaša Portal de la Pau at the base of the Columbus
Monument and then take an elevator to the top for a bird’s-eye
view of the harbor. Along the way you’ll pass flower stalls,
newsvendors, sidewalk cafes, and street entertainers garishly
interpreting scenes from Roman times to Star Wars. Feel free to
photograph them, but do drop a coin or two in their boxes.
has museums for art and history enthusiasts. Some of the finest are
the National Art Museum of Catalonia, the Archeological Museum, the
Museum of Modern Art, and the Picasso Museum, which contains over
2,500 of his paintings, engravings, and drawings. Architectural
buffs will be enchanted or repelled by the imaginative works of
Antoni GaudÝ—his presence and influence are seen throughout the
city. Some of his most famous buildings are Casa MilÓ, the most
famous apartment house in Spain; the Casa Batllˇ, one of a trio of
buildings in the Block of Discord; the structures in Parc GŘell;
and the fantastic La Sagrada Familia (Church of the Holy Family) his
bizarre unfinished masterpiece. If you see only one building in
Barcelona, this must be it.
Espanyol, or the re-created Spanish Village, was built for the 1929
World’s Fair and affords the visitor a theme-park style view of
architectural styles from all regions of Spain. Sidewalk cafes dot
the village, as do numerous shops selling arts and crafts—in some
of them artists are at work creating their wares.
for refreshments in one of the dozens of tapas bars or sidewalk
cafes. For a real treat, a night out on the town should include
dinner and a flamenco show.
up your credit cards—attractive and stylish clothing, shoes, art,
and decorative objects are often good buys in Barcelona. There are
dozens of art galleries in the Gothic Quarter and near the Picasso
Museum, but the most fashionable stores are located on Passeig de GrÓcia.
The local branch of the largest and most glamorous department store
in Spain, El Corte InglÚs is located on the Plaša de Catalunya.
shops close after lunch until late afternoon but El Corte InglÚs is
open for non-stop, all day shopping.
south of Barcelona have shallow water for some distance from shore,
while those north of the city are shallow for only a few yards
before dropping off into deep water. A day trip to the seaside
village of Sitges (where well-to-do Barcelona residents go for
holidays) offers a wide beach in charming surroundings.
Information -- A quick guide to Barcelona. What to see, how
to get around, and where to stay.
Insider -- Private city tours designed to give clients an
insiders view of Barcelona. Informative and fun, tours are custom
designed for the independent traveler.
Ports of Call