If you are planning to stay in Barcelona, here is a guide for you to get started on where you would like to do before or after your cruise.
Places to Visit
La Sagrada Familia is a large, gothic-style basilica in the Eixample district that to this day remains unfinished. The basilica is mostly famous for its architect, Antoni Gaudi, who took influence from different styles of architecture that include Art Nouveau, Modern Catalan style, and Spanish Gothic style. The basilica is simply magnificent and will make you wonder how in the world they managed to build this beauty back in the 1800s!
Visit Miro, Picasso and Dali Museums
Barcelona is also home to the Spanish surrealist painter, Fundació Joan Miró. One of the largest museums in the world houses over 225 paintings and 150 sculptures by the famous Spanish artist here. For Picasso and Salvador Dali fans, Barcelona was where both lived and worked for many years. The Museu Picasso has a collection from Picasso's formative years and is a must-visit while traveling in Barcelona. Less than 1 mile from Museu Picasso, the Waterside Catalan history museum provides a wonderful history of Spain over the past 2 millenniums.
Enjoy the charming Gothic Quarter and famous landmarks
Travelers to Barcelona immerse themselves by walking through the streets of the Gothic Quarter. The Barcelona Cathedral, Church of Saint Miquel, and Basilica of La Mercè are landmarks that architecture enthusiasts admire greatly. Walking through the Old Town of Barcelona transports you back in time to the 18th century. At the end of La Rambla, you will come to the Old Port of Barcelona where you'll gaze up at the impressive Mirador de Colom, a giant statute of Christopher Columbus.
Day Trips from Barcelona
Tarragona has a seaside stadium constructed in 2nd century AD and the MonNatura Delta de I'Ebre Nature Reserve for the largest wetland in Western Europe.
Girona located 60 miles northeast of Barcelona, is a wonderful day trip to experience the Catalan culture and Gothic architecture.
In Seville, the sun-drenched capital of Spain’s Andalucia province, flamenco dancing, Moorish history, and tapas comprise the blood that runs through the city’s veins.
Valencia's historic highlights come in the form of Torres de Serranos, Valencia Cathedral—home to an agate chalice, which some believe is the Holy Grail and the mummified arm of a saint—and the Silk Exchange (La Lonja de la Seda).
Be mindful of the siesta. While most tourist spots will stay open during regular business hours, many businesses throughout Spain will close between the hours of 1pm - 4pm (hours vary by city). Keep this in mind when planning your itinerary for the day so you don't miss the destinations you've been dreaming about. Remember to relax. Things in Spain move at a slower pace. Don’t expect to sit down at a restaurant for a rushed meal. In fact, waiters in Spain will leave you until you demand their attention so you can enjoy your meal at leisure.
Food in Spain
Spain is a city of discovery especially culinary discovery. Be sure to sample the specialties of each city or region, such as paella in Barcelona or Jamon Iberico in Madrid. While you’ll love indulging in mouth-watering snacks and sips, following Spain’s unique eating schedule make the time some getting used to.
Breakfast is optional. Many locals skip breakfast altogether, but if it is a breakfast meal you’re after, you can do so between the hours of 7:00-9:00am. Spain is a country of late mornings, so finding a café that opens before 7:00am is a rarity. Once you do find a breakfast spot, your options will almost always include a variety of sandwiches (with omelets or meat paste slathered inside) or a selection of sweet baked goods.
Mid-morning snack (Almuerzo). This late-early snack (10:30-11:00 am) will usually consist of coffee or juice, paired with a croissant sandwich. Don’t forget lunch. Lunch is the most important meal in Spain, so important in fact, that the word for lunch, "la comida," translates to “the meal.” Satisfy your craving between the hours of 2-3:30 pm, and make sure to always ask for the menu of the day!
Snack for socializing. The merienda, or mid-afternoon snack, is served between 5:30-7:30 pm and is a time to just grab a coffee and a light snack over some socialization with friends and family.
Time for Tapas! The moment you’ve been waiting for... tapas! The city streets come alive from 8:00-10 pm when locals and visitors pour into the city’s most popular tapas bars. The size and style of the tapas vary by region and are often eaten standing up at the bar.
Tapas at 8, Dinner at 10. Dinnertime in Spain is typically from 9:00-11:00 pm and is usually much lighter than that of an American dinner. You won’t find many of Spain’s heartier dishes on the dinner menus but are more likely to find a menu offering Spanish omelets, cured meat assortments, and a variety of croquettes, waiting to be devoured.
Weather in Spain
Spain is known throughout Europe for its fantastic climate! The Mediterranean coastline sees an average of over 300 days of sunshine a year, and the city of the southern city of Seville has the warmest average temperature in Western Europe. Feeling caliente yet?
Currency in Spain
Spain uses the Euro and is a very wallet-friendly country. Many bars will serve free tapas with beer – who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?
Transportation in Spain
Spain’s major cities have a convenient public transportation system including trams and busses. Getting around in between cities is fairly easy as well; choose from trains, buses, or rent a car and hit the road.
Language in Spain
While English is not spoken everywhere, in most major cities you will be able to get by with English. Spanish is the official language of Spain, however, any regions in Spain have their own dialects – some so different they are actually different languages, such as Catalan, spoken in the Catalonia region of Spain (Barcelona!).
Useful Spanish phrases:
Hello - Hola
Thank you - Gracias
Where is the bathroom? - Donde esta el baño?
One beer, please - Una cerveza, por favor
Cheers - Salud
Sorry - Perdon