Barcelona is an amazing, vibrant and exciting city and cruise port! It’s very easy to navigate, with a great public transport system and tourist attractions.  The centre is the Placa de Catalunya, which separates the old city from the modern.   To introduce yourself to the city, head to Monument a Colom (Columbus Monument) at Portal de la Pau. Located right by the harbour, it has a lift (for a fee) that takes you up to an enclosed viewing gallery with spectacular views. The windows have diagrams showing all the major features to orient you to the city.  One day will give you a mere glimpse of the extraordinary sights and sounds of this vivacious cosmopolitan city full of modern and medieval architecture, gorgeous parks, and people with a “passionate energy,” in the words of George Orwell.

At the very top of the Columbus monument…..

If you are planning to spend your day on the beaches, get there early to avoid the over crowding in the summer.  For the walkers, a portside stroll along Passeig de Joan de Borbo will take you past some lovely eateries with pavement terraces, and eventually get you to one of the gates into the Gothic Quarter.

The base of the major thoroughfare, La Ramblas, is right next to Monument a Colom, and very close to where your cruise ship will dock. Here you will experience the life and flavours of Barcelona.  Pavement artists, street music and market stalls of everything from postcards to parakeets offer a continuous show as you walk leisurely by. Further up the street are the more upscale markets. Shopping in markets is basic to the culture and everyone takes part from professional chefs to the homemakers.

The historic heart of the city, Barri Gothic (Gothic Quarter) has buildings dating from the 13th to the 15th Century. Then you will find playful, organic structures by the famous Antoni Gaudi. There is still work being done on his last masterpiece begun in 1882, La Sagrada Familia, where he spent the last years of his life. Picasso, Miro and Tapies all have significant museums dedicated to their works. In fact, there are over 100 museums and art galleries in Barcelona, some smaller ones housing collections of chocolate, perfumes and even erotica. Explore the streets.  Relax into the real magic of Barcelona, its people and what they have created. An old drinking fountain along the Rambla de Canletes has a legend that says,”drink from here and you will always return to Barcelona.”