If you are visiting Europe on a cruise ship, there is a good chance that one of your stops will be the beautiful Mediterranean city of Barcelona. So, most likely, you’ll only have between five and ten hours to explore the city. With this in mind, we decided to create a tailor-made guide for these short visits trying to make it as enjoyable and exciting as possible.
Things to do
1 #Las Ramblas
Near the port there is the Mirador de Colom, which is at the southern end of the famous Las Ramblas walking street. This is commonly known as the Plaça Colom, which translates as Columbus Plaza, although its official name is actually Portal de la Pau. Las Ramblas is one of the most emblematic places in the city, very popular all year round both by tourists and locals alike. It’s three-quarters of a mile long and will take you between 15 and 30 minutes to wander down, depending on how fast you walk, and how often you stop. La Rambla has different names in its different traits, for which it is sometimes called in the plural Les Rambles in Catalan and Las Ramblas in Castilian. The word Rambla derives from the Arabic raml (sand) and designates, as in other Spanish cities, a road drawn from a dry, buried or covered stream.
The Ramblas summarize the vivacity and originality of Barcelona. They are, all day, animated by street artists, cafes and stalls that will make you feel the Spanish spirit!
Metro stops: L3 (green) Dressanes – Liceu – Catalunya
2 #Gothic Quarter
The entire Las Ramblas borders the beautiful Gothic Quarter, so you can continue with your short itinerary from every point. The Gothic Quarter (or Barrio Gótico in Spanish) is the center of the old city of Barcelona. It is part of the Ciutat Vella district and is bordered to the east by Via Laietana which separates it from the Born district; to the south by the Port Vell (Old Port) and the sea (La Barceloneta District); to the west by La Rambla that separates it from the district of El Raval, while towards the north it flows into Plaça Catalunya.
Historically it represented the political and religious center of the city from its origins, in fact, Barcino, the original Roman nucleus, stood in this area, as evidenced by the wall still almost entirely preserved. Even during the Middle Ages, Barcelona lives largely within this wall, and here are the oldest buildings in the city, such as the Cathedral, and the Palacio del Obispo (Bishop’s Palace).
Metro stops: L4 (yellow) Jaume I, L3 (green) Liceu
3 #Casa Batlló
At the end of the Gothic Quarter you will find Plaça de Catalunya, the central and main square of Barcelona, one of the nerve centers of the city; occupies an area of about 50,000 m2. It’s the meeting point between the old core of the city and the Eixample. From here the main streets of the city branch off, such as the Ramblas, Passeig de Gracia, Rambla de Catalunya, Pelayo Street and Portal del Angel Avenue, the major commercial and ancient city walls. If you continue on Passeig de Gràcia on your left you will find Casa Batlló.
Casa Batlló is a work of the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, which is located in Barcelona, Spain, at number 43 of the Passeig de Gràcia. Considered one of the most original creations of the famous architect, the building was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
Metro stops: L3 (green) Passeig De Gràcia
4 #Sagrada Familia
It would not be a real trip to Barcelona without visiting the Sagrada Familia! The vastness of the scale of the project and its characteristic style have made it one of the main symbols of the city; according to the data of 2011 is the most visited monument in Spain, with 3.2 million visitors.
The works began in 1882 under the reign of Alfonso XII of Spain. The building was started in the neo-Gothic style, but when Gaudí took over as the designer of the work in 1883, at the age of 31, it was completely redesigned following his innovative modernist style!
From Casa Batlló to Sagrada Familia the walk can be long and quite exhausting especially if you are traveling to Barcelona during summer. For this reason, we suggest taking the Metro L2 from Passeig the Gracia to Sagrada Familia or the Metro L5 from Diagonal to Sagrada Familia. The ride will only take 15 minute!
Metro stops: L5 (blue) Sagrada Familia, L2 (violet) Sagrada Familia
5 #Parc Güell
Park Güell is a public park of 17,18 hectares with gardens and architectural elements located in the upper part of the city of Barcelona, on the southern slope of Mount Carmel. Conceived as an urban complex, it was designed by architect Antoni Gaudí, the leading exponent of Catalan modernism charged to the impresario Eusebi Güell and inaugurated as a public park in 1926. Park Güell covers 17.18 hectares and is located on Devonian terrain, formed by layers of slate and limestone. Gaudí cleverly manipulates the architecture of the park in such a way as to evoke a harmonious balance between the built environment and the natural environment: the Gaudian forms, in fact, actively sense the evolutionary dynamics of Nature and interpenetrate with it thanks to their wavy shapes, magmatic, almost archetypical.
From the Park Güell, you can easily go down to have a look to the Gracía District, a distinctively Catalan neighborhood, immediately distinguishable for its narrow streets, an unambiguous contrast to the wide, modern boulevards of L’Eixample. This district is known as a modish area with an active and politically-conscious community. Here you’ll find a number of dynamic plazas, bars and restaurants and definitely a more local than a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Park Güell is in the hight part of Barcelona so keep in mind that if you are following our itinerary you maybe will not have time to reach it. If you absolutely want to visit it go there first and proceed wit the itinerary in reverse so in any moment you can take a bus, taxi or metro to go back to your cruise if you are running late.
Metro stops: L5 (blue) Diagonal + bus 24 Ctra Del Carmel – Parc Güell
Where to eat
During your itinerary, you will have to have a bite somewhere. We want to give you some tips to eat something good and typical during your quick visit to Barcelona. We give here a couple of suggestions depending on your desire to sit down and have a relaxed lunch or to grab a fast meal and continue with the exploration of the amazing city.
This restaurant is a lovely cozy nest where everything is cooked to perfection. Tapas are their “must eat”, but if you are not sure to have tapas and you would like to eat or drink something totally different, that’s not a problem for one of the best tapas bars in the whole Spain.
It also has a great location. So don’t waste your time and visit it just near the famous Passeig Gracia street.
Address: Carrer Del Consell de Cent, 333, 08007 Barcelona
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 11:30 – 1:00, Saturday – Sunday 11:30 – 1:30
Telephone: +34 933 63 21 27
From outside and due to it’s location a few steps form Las Ramblas, La Fonda may seem a super touristic restaurant with dishes of mediocre quality but it is not so. The menu offers different types of dishes: from delicious appetizers, such as special salads or croquettes of ham or mushrooms (delicious), then there are obviously meat and fish dishes and an interesting variety of first courses like its amazing paella.
Address: Carrer dels Escudellers, 10
Opening hours: Every day from 1:00 pm to 11:00 pm (until 11.30pm on Friday and Saturday and from April 1st to September 30th every day).
Telephone:(+34) 933 017 515
Near the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona’s first Taquería awaits lovers of Mexican cuisine.
La Taquería is traditionally a place specialized in tacos. This is the case here but with many other delicious surprises: nachos, frijoles, guacamole, sopa, quesos fundidos … The tacos are delicious (even those for vegetarians), the cocktails are diabolic and this can be the right place to make a toast for this amazing experience in Barcelona!
Address: Passatge Font, 5
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm and 8:30 pm to 2:30 am
Telephone: +34 931 26 13 59
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