Tracing Barcelona's History on a Europe Cruise

Visitors to Barcelona, Spain, experiencing the city's fantastic architecture.
Visitors to Barcelona, Spain, experiencing the city's fantastic architecture.

The history of Barcelona, Spain, runs deep. From ancient Roman ruins to the modern Olympic stadium, visitors can trace the city's history from its earliest beginnings to its latest achievements while on a Europe cruise.

Barri Gothic

Among the most romantic images of European cities are the serpentine streets that twist and turn through the ages. Barri Gothic, where Barcelona's history started, features a labyrinth of such streets that take visitors past opulent sites — including the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia and the vestiges of the Roman colony of Barcino. Barri Gothic is largely pedestrian which also allows for people to move at their own pace as they admire the network of historic streets during a walking tour.

Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys (Olympic Stadium)

Barcelona's Olympic Stadium has come to represent the city's rise in prominence, which began when it hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics. Originally constructed in 1929 to host that year's International Exposition, the Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc, named for the neighborhood in which it is situated, was renamed the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys in 2001 in honor of Lluís Companys who served as president of the Catalan government during the Spanish Civil War. Over the course of its storied history, the stadium has hosted a number of prominent sporting events in everything from soccer to track and field, and has served as a venue for some of the world's biggest musicians including Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones. On a city drive through Barcelona, you'll circle this historic stadium, and have the chance to marvel at its grandeur.

La Sagrada Familia and Park Gruell

Architect Antoni Gaudi's works can be seen throughout Barcelona, but his masterpieces, La Sagrada Familia and Park Gruell, are his true gems. Still a work in progress, La Sagrada Familia is a marvel to behold. Of the 18 towers it will comprise (the tallest among them soaring 560 feet into the air), the building is celebrated for its massive stature and spectacular design, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and was consecrated as a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI. Another of Gaudi's splendid works is Park Gruell, which features fantastic mosaic elements and gorgeous landscaping, and it provides a scenic overlook of Barcelona. Both of these sites and many more of Gaudi's iconic works can be seen while embarking on a shore excursion.

Picasso Museum

Pablo Picasso is to Barcelona's artistic heritage what Antoni Gaudi is to the city's architectural sense of self — and there is no better place to view the artist's works than the Picasso Museum. The museum is housed in a medieval mansion in the El Raval district, the magnificence of which perfectly complements Picasso's bold masterpieces. The bulk of the collection consists of works from Picasso's seminal years from 1890 to 1904.

A Europe cruise can take passengers just about anywhere, but there is no city like Barcelona. From the city's Roman roots to its modern splendor, there is something to be enjoyed by everyone.

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