I was in Barcelona in 2016 and 2019 and was impressed with the entire experience. It is very walkable. We stayed at the Hotel Continental Barcelona in 2016. 2019 was just a port stop.
Don’t miss the Sagrada La Familia Basilica. We have been to many churches in Europe and this is the most unique!
To get from the ship to the city is not far with plenty of transportation options. Taxis are plentiful and very organized. Prices are also fixed by law. There is also a ship shuttle for about 8-10 Euros.
Advice on transportation to Monserrat Monastery: My goal is to explain exactly how we did this trip in May 2016
- Go to the Catalunya Station on Las Ramblas: do down the entrance from LaRamblas or near Cafe Zurich- they will both get you there. Purchase a ticket for 10 trips. It is 9.95 Euros and can be used by multiple people (put it in the machine and hand it to the next person in your party). Insert the card arrow in, take out the top, doors open and walk thru!)
- Find Metro Line #L1- walk a few short tunnels and turn left to find the train to Espanya. I was told L3 also will get you there but takes longer. Use your Metro ticket to access L1. Be sure you take the L1 that goes in the correct direction (towards the Hospital). Study the map to assure yourself.
- Get on the L1 and go about 4 stops and exit train at the Espana Station. The Metro has a nice lighted sign over the doors of the train so that you can watch for your exit.
- At the Espana station find the R5 Regional Train (FGC). It departs every hour at _:36. It may be sitting there early as Espana is the end of the line. At the Espana station there is a fine information center that will assist. You need to buy your Monserrat ticket at this station. You will sign signs that say in English: Easiest way to Montserrat.
- Go to the yellow ticket area machines in Espana Station. press for English and buy the combination ticket. We pressed “return” so our ticket was a round trip. You need to decide if yu want the cable car or funicular. We chose the cable- no issues with it being scary. I do NOT recommend you get the TOT Monserrat which includes lunch. Ours said “Combinat Montserrat and was 19.20 Euro each (senior rate).
- The train to Monserrat was on the right side.
- Your train ride is about one hour and if you take the cable car, you get off at the station that indicates “Aeri” . I believe the funicular stop Monistrol is the next one. Remember that if you choose the cable or funicular that you cannot take the other one back.
- The train station has good signage and you walk to the cable car area. It takes 5 minutes to go up and is thrilling.
- Once you arrive at the top of Montserrat, go to the info center to get oriented and find a map. There are a variety of restaurants and a cafeteria which were just fine.
- If you are on your own, you may wonder what some of the lines are for. There is a long line to the right of the Cathredral which is a line to see the Black Madonna up close.
The train to go back was 10 minutes early! This time find the direction to Fondo. Just reverse your directions for the way back.
This is a modified review from Lavawalker on Cruise critic:
The ship was docked overnight so we had the opportunity to spend the better part of two days in Barcelona. If you plan to stay in the city, the general wisdom is to spend the first day on a tour or HOHO bus and then take local transportation (metro and buses) to specific places you wish to explore in more detail on your second day. When visiting Barcelona, it’s important to know something about Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926), a very gifted architect with a unique modernistic/gothic/naturalist vision. Hint: you’ll think you’re walking into the world of Dr. Seuss. His collective works in Barcelona have been blessed as a UNESCO Heritage Centre. I recommend learning a little about Gaudí and his works before visiting. There is a small terminal building next to the pier where we docked. However the port entrance/exit into town is a long way off. Upon exiting you can either walk a long 30 minutes; buy a shuttle day-pass from Celebrity for €5; take the T3 (aka Cruise Bus, €3 one way / €4 roundtrip) to within a half block from the Christopher Columbus Monument (essentially ground zero for most directions); arrange a tour that will pick you up here; or jump in a taxi.There are two different double-decker HOHO (Hop On / Hop Off) buses in Barcelona. One has two routes and the other has three. The price is about the same and the reviews are mixed on both. Previous visitors liked that they will take you past all the major sights with commentary in several languages and you can get on and off at will. They didn’t like that the commentary was pretty minimal and not well synched at times; and that the buses are hard to reboard due to massive crowds at some sights.BARCELONA DAY 1: Barcelona Highlights TourI wanted something better than the HOHO experience so we booked a 4-hour semi-private “Barcelona Highlights Tour with Skip-the-line tickets at Park Guell” with Barcelona Day Tours online. There were 12 passengers in our van, plus a driver and a guide. Cost was €59 pp + €6 pp Park Guell tickets + tip.
Quick note: our tour guide was late, though it was due to having been involved in a traffic accident on her way to the port. This got us off to a late start and caused some confusion as we weren’t really sure what our delay was. Give her credit for seeking other transportation to meet up with our van. Our group quickly forgave this unusual and unfortunate event. Thankfully our guide was not injured and was able to give us a very enthusiastic and informative tour.
We were picked up at the terminal building next to the ship, met up with our guide, and started our tour through the city. Our guide gave us historic context and explained sights as we passed them. We alternated between a driving tour and a walking tour. The walking portions included the exterior of La Sagrada Familia and two of Gaudí’s other famous buildings; about an hour touring Park Guell; and a visit to the National Museum of Art for a bathroom break and great views of the city. Following the tour about half of the passengers got off in town and the rest of us were returned to the ship. This was an excellent overview of the city and a fun first day.
If you’ve spent any time in Europe, you may have already gotten your fill of churches. They seem to be on every corner and many are truly spectacular. I’ve got news for you. Few are as breathtaking as Sagrada Familia. It’s a must-see.
The #1 tourist attraction in Barcelona is Sagrada Familia, a basilica unlike any other in the world. Designed by Antoni Gaudí, its a work still in progress. While the exterior is genuinely unique — my wife thinks it looks something like a sandcastle — it’s the interior that is jaw-dropping. Nothing really prepares you for the experience that awaits once you set foot inside.
We bought the “Basic” self-guided tour tickets (€15 pp) online at their official website for the 9:00 am entry time, which is when they open. All tickets are time-controled and they only let a set number of visitors in at 15-minute intervals. Miss your interval and you will be refused entry. However, once in, you can stay as long as you like. And they do have restrooms in the complex, but outside of the basilica on your way towards the museum, souvenir shop, and exit.
If you prefer to take the metro, and the Cruise Bus is running, take the Cruise Bus to the Christopher Columbus statue. Then walk NW 2 blocks from the Christopher Columbus statue to the Drassanes Metro station. It’s located just the other side of the Comandància Naval de Barcelona building. Take the green L3 metro 1 stop to Paral-lel station, then change to the L2 Purple Metro and take it directly to the Sagrada Familia stop. The Sagrada Familia can be seen immediately upon exiting the metro.
Our next stop was Castell de Montjuic, a fortress with roots dating to 1640. It sits atop a 567-foot hill overlooking the port with panoramic views of the city. But first we had to get there. A metro station sits on a corner across the street from Sagrada Familia. We purchased a Metro T-10 pass which allows 10 rides for €10.20. Everyone in your party can use the same pass until its used up. This is the only place on our entire trip where our credit card didn’t work. We used coins.
The metro couldn’t be easier! Simply take the purple L2 metro to Paral-lel and get off at the end of the line. For reassurance, a list of stations can be found above every other door on the metro. Stations that have already passed are lit up. It’s easy to see which stations are coming up and confirm the direction you are heading.
Upon arrival at Paral-lel, follow signs and board the Funicular. No additional fare required. Do not leave the station. The funicular is a 2-minute steeply angled mountain train that will take you to the Funicular du Montjuic station. From here you can walk (free; over 30-minutes uphill), get in line for the Montjuic Cable Car ride (€12.70 roundtrip/€8.40 one way; less than 5-minutes), or take the Red 150 Bus (use your T-10 pass; 10-minutes) to Castell de Montjuic.
We returned the way we came. Red 150 bus (T10 pass) to the Funicular (T10 pass) back down to Paral-lel station. Located the green L3 line and took it one stop to Drassanes. Walked two blocks to the Christopher Columbus statue. (Can’t miss it). Then another block South (towards the ship) and where we found the Cruise Buses lined up (€3 one way, if you didn’t get a roundtrip ticket earlier). Tell the driver which ship you’re on and he’ll make sure you get off at the correct terminal.