The wonderful Spanish city of Barcelona is one of the most visited cruise ports in all of the Mediterranean. Although you may automatically assume there’s nothing more than city life here, you don’t need to go too far to find some hidden and less frantic gems.
If you have never visited Barcelona before, then one of the most popular Barcelona shore excursions to take in the city’s most popular sights is via the Barcelona Highlights and Spanish Village tour.
During this 4-hour excursion, you’ll experience the Gothic Quarter where you can soak up the rich 2,000-year history of the area. You will also visit major attractions like the Villa Olimpica, built as the athlete’s residential complex during the 1992 Olympics, and Poble Espanyol (Spanish Village), which was built for the 1929 International Exhibition. The added bonus of this trip is the chance to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and take in areas of this wonderful destination that are sometimes overlooked.
Because it’s only a 4-hour excursion, it leaves plenty of time afterwards for you to explore independently before heading back to your cruise ship.
I would highly recommend taking a stroll along Las Ramblas, possibly one of the most famous streets not only in Barcelona but in the whole of Spain. Here you can find numerous restaurants, shopping outlets and the wonderful La Boqueria, a vibrant market where locals sell fresh fish, meat, vegetables, fruit and candy.
If you have been lucky enough to visit Barcelona before and are hoping to do something entirely different, then the only recommendation I have is to visit the jagged mountain of Montserrat, which is roughly 90 minutes away from the city. People flock here every year as it is also the location of the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey. The Abbey is nothing short of incredible and serves as the home to The Virgin of Montserrat, a statue of the Virgin Mary and infant Christ. The Royal Basilica has also been one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Spain for hundreds of years, so the area does have a strong religious connection.
Even if you claim no religion, a visit here shall leave you speechless. The views are stunning and it’s a chance to see another side of Spain.
Barcelona really does have so much to offer. I have visited five times since 2008 and every time I discover something new. I took a trip in June 2013 that was very similar to the Barcelona Highlights and Spanish Village excursion, and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. The Gothic Quarter is still my favorite part of Barcelona, and you should definitely check it out for yourself.