Spain has been a favourite holiday destination for decades and nowhere in the country has captured the imagination quite like Barcelona. Enjoying a cruise that stops off at this bustling port is a great way to introduce the family to the capital of Catalonia and its best activities.
Here are the top five things you will want to consider including on your Barcelona itinerary:
Gaudi’s Masterpiece, The Sagrada Familia
Think of Barcelona and you’ll immediately think of Antoni Gaudi - the great architect who added some of the city’s most iconic buildings to its streets. None of his creations are more well-known than the soaring Sagrada Familia - the unfinished church that was designed to be Barcelona’s cathedral. For an in-depth tour, MSC offers a shore excursion called Gaudi’s Experience which takes you through the Sagrada Familia.
Construction may have begun in 1882, but it’s not expected to be finished until 2026. And this is part of the draw of the Sagrada Familia. Even if you’ve visited before, it’s always worth going back to see how the building work is coming along.
Check out the internal columns that branch out like trees, the bright stained glass windows and eight of the total 18 towers that will be built. So far, the Passion and Nativity facades have been completed and will eventually be joined by the Glory facade. The two existing facades are fascinating in their contrasting styles austere and ornate sculpture.
Cable Car Across The Harbour
The Port Vell Aerial Tramway has been transported visitors from Montjuic Hill to the beach area of Barceloneta since 1931 and remains one of the best things to experience in the city to this day. The views of Port Vell - Barcelona’s old harbour - and beyond are unparalleled, with the chance to glimpse the famous statue of Christopher Columbus pointing towards the New World from above.
Tour The Camp Nou Stadium
For sports fans, a visit to the Camp Nou Stadium is an absolute must, as FC Barcelona have made history at the arena since its opening in 1957. Even when there aren’t any matches on the schedule, visitors can tour the stadium and explore the exhibits in the accompanying museum.
Camp Nou tours include the stands, the away team’s changing room and the tunnel, but even more impressively, the first team’s dugout and the field. Visitors can marvel at the collection of trophies in the museum and the wide selection of memorabilia on display.
Rise Above The City At Tibidabo
Sat atop the highest mountain in the Serra de Collserola and overlooking Barcelona is the Tibidabo Amusement Park. Its position makes the views from its rides all the more impressive, as the whole city stretches out below.
The park opened to the public in 1889 and a large proportion of its rides are original to this period. This gives it a nostalgic feel, with vintage carousels and the iconic Tibidabo plane attraction.
There’s more to Tibidabo than the amusement park, however, with a neo-gothic Roman Catholic church also occupying a prominent position on the mountain. This incredible piece of architecture is the work of Enric Sagnier and his son Josep Maria Sagnier i Vidal. It was completed in 1806 and renovated in 1902.
Take In The Colours And Flavours Of La Boqueria Market
A walk down Barcelona’s most famous street, La Ramblas, is not complete without stopping off at the equally well-known La Boqueria Market. While the tempting stalls of towering fruit, veg and other produce take up the central section of Europe’s biggest market, it’s the bars around the edge that offer delicious lunch and light snack options.