Barcelona – The Spanish City You’ll Never Want to Leave
Barcelona has long been a popular port of call on West Mediterranean cruises, especially for those looking to explore the European seas. Why? Well, Barcelona is unique in many ways, and offers an inspiring mix of cuisine, culture, history and of course beautiful beaches to enjoy when city life becomes a little too hectic.
In Barcelona, it’s easy to stop off for tapas and glass of wine at one of Europe’s largest open-air markets, stare in awe at the Gothic buildings, and marvel at some of Picasso’s masterpieces – basically, to use a cliché Barcelona has something for everyone.
Explore the city
The vibrant city of Barcelona may not be Spain’s capital, but it is one of Europe’s most popular destinations, an it’s popularity is growing by the year thanks to low cost flights heading in this direction.. The beauty of buildings such as the Cathedral Saint Eulalia, and the medieval streets of the Gothic Quarter, may provide a slightly surreal quality, but this is what makes this destination so fascinating – the architecture here is different, like nowhere else you will find. Every neighborhood boasts its own unique identity, from the bohemian ‘café culture’ of El Raval, to the grungy and artistic El Born Barrio, and you’ll find something new around every corner. If you don’t feel like exploring on foot then you can always take one of the two city cable-cars, perfect for checking out the views and reaching the beaches and theme parks.
From the splendor of Montjuïc Palace, to the quirky, fairy-tale like buildings at Park Güell, to the dazzling Magic Fountains – Barcelona is a city of endless sightseeing. Admire the world’s largest collection of artworks by Picasso at the dedicated museum, or wander through the bustling and historic La Boqueria, a huge food market that dates back to 1217. Alternatively, spend an afternoon on the four kilometres of golden sands, only a 10 minute walk from the city, or take a look through the Barcelona FC Stadium and Museum, predictably one of the city’s most popular tours. If you want to be a little more authentic and mix with the locals there’s no better place to do this than in any of the numerous cafes and restaurants where you can sample Mediterranean, French, and of course, Catalonian dishes throughout the day.
When evening falls
You may have heard of Barcelona’s well-deserved reputation as a nightlife capital, and it’s true this is a city which works hard and parties hard. Authentic Flamenco clubs rub shoulders with cutting-edge nightclubs in Las Ramblas and El Born, whereas the party atmosphere lasts well into the small hours in the legendary clubs of Raval. For something a little more sophisticated stick to the waterfront area near Port Olimpic, where you can enjoy drinks on the terraces and rooftop bars, and even indulge in a spot of celeb-spotting.
There’s no denying that Barcelona will be one of the highlights on a Mediterranean cruise and you may need a few days of relaxation back on board your ship in order to decompress. This is a city where the fun never stops, but come on, what more could you ask from a vacation destination?
Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn