Explore the History and Culture of Barcelona on Your Next European Vacation

Take some time to explore Barcelona's Gothic architecture inside La Sagrada Familia and other historic landmarks.
Take some time to explore Barcelona's Gothic architecture inside La Sagrada Familia and other historic landmarks.

As you journey through the Mediterranean on your cruise ship, the historic city of Barcelona is bound to be one of your favorite stops on your European vacation. This bustling Spanish city is known internationally for hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics. Barcelona is also well-known for being home to some of history's most famous artists, including Picasso, Dali, Miro, and Casals. The influence of the arts is reflected throughout the city's many museums and Gothic architecture.

The cruise port in Barcelona, Spain brings you to the center of it all. Step off the cruise ship and experience a good portion of history and highlights of this remarkable city at your own pace. Or, book an excursion to see some of the city's more famous landmarks on a guided tour. With a little planning, and some comfortable shoes, you'll have it all covered for a memorable European vacation. Here's a step-by-step guide to get the most out of your time in Barcelona.
 

  1. When you leave the pier, take a stroll along the Moll d'Espanya. This complex includes a footbridge, aquarium, waterfront park, restaurants, and shops, exhibiting a modern Barcelona. Though you could spend a whole day wandering the Moll d'Espanya, history awaits you!
  2. Next, head over to Palau de Mar. It's the only building from Barcelona's old port that is still standing, and it's now the home of the Museu d'Història (Museum of History). Visit this museum to learn more about this Spanish city's history and culture.
  3. The next stop on your journey of Barcelona will be La Llotja. It is the current stock exchange, which was formerly used as a grain exchange. Explore this historic building's Gothic features, some of which date back to the 14th century.
  4. Make a right onto Plaça del Palau, where you'll see some more examples of Barcelona's medieval architecture. Among those structures you'll want to see further are the Palau Reial Major and the Royal Chapel of Santa Àgata.
  5. At the end of the road, turn left to Santa Maria del Mar. The church, which was constructed in the 14th century, was badly damaged due to social and political unrest. Its altar and much of the interior were destroyed by a fire during the Spanish Civil War. However, the presence of this reconstructed Gothic basilica tells the story of this enduring and historic city.
  6. Keep your eyes open and your camera ready as you walk by more Spanish history on your way to Museu Picasso. This tribute to the legendary artist extends through three palaces. Though you likely won't have time to see all 3,500 pieces on display, the artwork you do see will create a lasting impression for a European vacation you won't soon forget.
  7. Take a stroll down to the modernist architectural marvel known as Palau de la Música Catalana, and experience the beautiful marble and ornamental brick. If you have time, its worth taking a guided tour. Just be sure to specify that you'd like to take the tour in English.
  8. After, walk through laça de Catalunya and turn left onto La Ramblas. As you continue to walk down toward the pier, you'll be able to pick up souvenirs, handmade items, and snacks from the open-air street market.
  9. You'll know that you're near the pier when you spot Mirador de Colom. This enormous monument is almost 200 feet tall, and was erected in 1888. Perched atop a column high above the street lights, the statue of Christopher Columbus points out to the sea.


Are you ready to explore Barcelona's history? Book your own
European cruise with a stop in Barcelona, Spain.