Built in 60 years for the Virgin of the Sailors, this church has an elegantly simplistic artistic structure. With few architectural extremities, this church is modestly ornamented with elegant columns and a few buttresses. The stained glass is the most elaborate decor in the church, and the lovely rose window is truly an attraction. Situated in the heart of the Born neighborhood, this is a great place to see beautiful architecture while also being able to take in some boutique shopping and eat delicious tapas at any of the restaurants along Passeig Del Born or amongst the narrow side streets.
A definite 'must-see', even if you're not into art. The Picasso Museum, showcases a small yet wide selection of the artist's works; you'll be taken through the different and very diverse stages of his life and career. The Museum often has special exhibits open for a few weeks at a time, so be sure to check the schedule. Although this is slightly farther from the cruise port than some of the others on this list, it's a very quick taxi ride or a leisurely stroll if it's the only thing on your list. It also places you in the heart of the Born, which provides for some excellent shopping and eating.
Named a national museum in 1990, this is the world's greatest collection of Romanesque mural paintings and home also to an impressive array of 14th and 15th century Gothic art. The MACBA is also known for its unique installations with exhibits from around the world as well as Spanish and Catalan centric pieces. The building itself is quite beautiful with a few stories, each often hosting it's own exhibit. Every year the international photography exhibit is held in the MACBA along with other internationally renowned shows. The MACBA is a short stroll or very cheap and quick taxi ride from the cruise port.
If you're hungry or just feel like browsing rows upon rows and stalls upon stalls of fresh fruit, cured hams, authentic Spanish tapas and pretty much anything you might have a craving for, Barcelona's Boqueria market should top the check list. Directly off La Rambla, the market is a genuine Barcelona experience; you might even get to see little pigs wearing baseball caps if you go on the right days! This is about a 15 minute walk from the cruise port and an excellent place to get a feel for the hustle and bustle in the city. They have excellent fresh fruit drinks.
The rooftop terrace of the 1898 hotel is one of the best places to take in panoramic views of the city. The hotel itself isn't an attraction, but if you only have one day in the city, then its rooftop terrace is the best place to get a lay of the land and take in all of the sites. This large space provides for four sides of stellar city views, covering pretty much everything from Montjuic to the sea. If you're looking for an off the beaten path place from which to see the entire city, then this is your best bet.
Few places offer city views like Montjuic. The name literally means 'Mountain of The Jews' and is a former military base in Barcelona. Today it boasts some of the most gorgeous views of the entire city of Barcelona and also holds open air movie festivals during the summer amongst a host of other activities and parties. Check out the Terrace nightclub, especially during summer as there's always cool and fun events featuring well-known dj's. Close to Poble Sec and Plaza Espanya, Montjuic is a great place to explore, especially during the evenings. You can get there via cable car, foot or public bus.
Barcelona's city center hub and major landmark separating the old from the new; Plaza Catalunya is a watering hole for teenagers wanting to gather 'after hours', families on a Sunday afternoon, late night beer vendors, tourists and at one time or another almost everyone who frequents or lives in the city. It's spacious, newly designed circle provides for an intimate place to gather and catch up with friends and in the summer the water fountain is on full blast and acts as a great backdrop for picturesque photos. It's a short cab ride from the cruise port or a nice stroll up La Rambla
The construction of this cathedral began in the late 13th century and was not completed until the middle of the 15th century. The interior design is distinctly Gothic, whereas the front and spire of the church were touched with a French influence at their completion in the 1800's. The cathedral is dedicated to a Christian martyr whose tomb is located in the crypt beneath the high altar. The choir stalls are intricately carved with religious images. This is one of the most gorgeous buildings in the Old City, it's not expensive to enter and ideal for enjoying a service in the center of the city.
This is a lively, trendy walkway in one of the Old City's chicest neighborhoods. Grab a drink on Passeig Del Born at one of the many tapas restaurants (where Javier Bardem was spotted sipping a few copas not long ago) and spend time people watching while soaking up the sun. This is also an excellent Barcelona attraction with Santa Maria Church at its base and the eternal flame that burns day and night to commemorate those who fell during the civil war. Passeig Del Born is a short walk from the cruise port and not far from the beaches as well.
What's a trip to Barcelona without taking a stroll down La Rambla. This vastly famous walkway is one of the most popular stretches in Europe as well as the world. Starting at the the Colon (Christopher Columbus Statue) by the beach, it goes until Plaza Catalunya dividing the Old City with the Gothic Quarter on one side and the Raval on the other. At the very top is the Eixample neighborhood, where the city expanded at the end of the 19th century. If you're looking for an entertaining and fun stroll, La Rambla won't disappoint. Featuring everything from street performers, to merchants selling books, art, portraits and even animals, this is a top Barcelona attraction. Just be sure to keep your purses closed and pockets zipped as it's also a haven for pickpockets.