The Port of Barcelona is at the foot of La Rambla – Barcelona’s most famous central boulevard, running through the heart of the city centre. There are as many as seven cruise terminals at the port, at three main locations. The port is the second busiest in Europe for handling cruise passengers after Venice, Italy. September the 13th,2015 was a record-breaking day for the port, when 26,770 passengers from four cruise shops arrived at the city in a one day.
Adossat Quay Cruise Terminals are terminals A, B, C and D. Terminal E is scheduled to open in 2018 as well. These are the furthest away from the city centre. You can catch the public bus T3 PORTBUS, often referred to as the “Blue Port Bus”, which will take you to the Memorial of Christopher Columbus, at the south end of La Rambla. The ticket is 2 Euro and can only be purchased with cash on the bus itself. The terminal is 17km to Barcelona Airport, or 26 min by car. At Adossat Quay Cruise Terminal, as well as at the rest of the terminals, you can find passenger facilities, such as telephones, a cafeteria, air conditioning, duty free and souvenir shops, shuttle and taxi services.
World Trade Centre Terminals is the second location where your cruise ship would dock. There are three terminals, called North, South and East terminals. There is a stop for the hop-on-hop-off tourist bus of Barcelona near the World Trade Centre. The foot of La Rambla is about 15 min walking distance and the airport is 13 min drive away. Here you can also find passenger facilities, such as shops, eateries, transfer services, air-conditioning and telephones.
The local currency is Euros – EUR. Exchanging money would be quite easy. The best rates would be from exchange shops around the major tourist areas, such as La Rambla, Sagrada Familia, Avenue of the Parallel and Raval. Ask for the total sum you would receive, to make sure any commission would be included. The other option would be to withdraw cash from an ATM from your Debit card or pay with your card directly. Do make sure the local ATM of a specific bank is compatible with your card and notify your bank and credit card issuer that you would be abroad. Make sure you are aware of the fees they would charge when you withdraw or pay in Euros. Many banks and card companies now offer fees free service for travellers. Never exchange money with anyone that approaches you on the street and protect your PIN number at ATMs.
Opening hours – the banks and post offices in Barcelona are normally open from 8.30 am to 1 pm or 2 pm during weekdays. Most of them would also work Saturday mornings. Most museums and attractions would be closed on Mondays. mornings. Many shops close for a couple of hours middays, although now more and more shops are staying open, especially in the city centre. The shopping malls would stay open all day, including Saturdays, but may be closed on Sundays. The restaurants are open for lunch, but close in the afternoons, to open again around 5pm and stay open until late at night. Traditionally Easter and Christmas are bank holidays in Barcelona, as well as other national and religious holidays. Do make yourself aware of those before you travel.
Tipping in Barcelona – Tipping is generally not expected but appreciated. Check your restaurant and hotel bills for any service charges before you decide to tip. Between 5 and 10% is considered OK if the service was great, rounding up the bill is also fine. Bellhops and housekeepers would appreciate a 1-3 euros tip, and you may round up the fares for taxis and tour guides if you are happy with the service.
The people of Barcelona speak Spanish. English language is spoken widely among the younger generation and people that work in the tourist industry.
The local time in Barcelona is GMT + 1 and the International dialling code is 00 34.
Things To Do
Barcelona is mostly popular by the work of Antoni Gaudi (1852 – 1925) – the famous architect whose one-of-a-kind revolutional style reflected his passions in life – architecture, nature and religion, implementing the forms of nature, sculpture and light into his designs. Sagrada Familia (the Church of the Holy Family) is the work of his life, still unfinished to this day and his most famous building. The conception of the church is based on the traditions of Gothic and Byzantine places of worship. The sense of religion is communicated through the forms, iconography and the sculpture of the building and Christian symbols can be found everywhere. At Park Guell you can find bright examples of his implementation of “trencadis” – a decoration technique, using waste ceramic pieces, as well as the best views of the city, while sitting on the 100 metres of curved, colourful benches. Learn more about his unique style and life at his House Museum. Casa Battlo, called the House of Bones by the locals, is famous for the arched roof, resembling the back of a dragon or a dinosaur. The Palau Guell Mansion is one of the architect’s early buildings, designed as a mansion for the wealthy industrialist Eusebi Guell and apartments to be sold on the upper floors. Casa Mila, known as the “stone quarry” was a private residence, controversial at the time, because of it’s self-supporting stone façade, free-plan floor, underground garage, a spectacular roof-top terrace and unique, soldier-shaped chimneys. Casa Vicens is the building that has most recently been opened to the public, and the first house, designed by Gaudi. It’s considered the first Art-Nouveau building and is very different from the later work of the architect with its straight geometrical lines and bright green and white tiles.
Another emblematic piece of architecture that represents Barcelona is the Gothic Cathedral (with a full name Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia), built as early as 13th century, although the oldest findings of an early Christian church date back to the 4th century. The cathedral is dedicated to the martyr Santa Eulalia, the patron saint of Barcelona. She was tortured and killed by Romans, when she was only 13 years old. The neo-gothic style façade of the church and the two side towers were inaugurated in 1913 and today this is the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona.
Another must-see is the Montjuic Hill – there is a lot to see and do there, starting by taking a cable ride to it. The MNAC Museum, or the National Art Museum of Catalonia is here, showcasing the largest collection of Catalan art in the world. See Poble Espanyol – this Spanish Village is an open-air permanent exhibit of 117 buildings from all over Spain. La Fundacio Miro is a place, purposely built to showcase Joan Miro’s work. It’s one of a few museums in the world, where the work of an artist shines both in the interior and exterior of the building. El Jardin Botanico is a Mediterranean garden, built to preserve over 1500 plant species worldwide. The Magic Fountain is a fountain built in 1929 for just a year, comprising of waterfalls and ponds that display colour, light, motion and music to create a magical show.
There is so much more art and history to admire in Barcelona, time permitting. Don’t miss the MUHBA Museum to familiarise yourself with the history of the city of Barcelona. The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art(MACBA) is showcasing around 5000 works, dating from the mid-20th century onwards. See the CosmoCaixa – considered to be the biggest science museum in Europe is an intriguing space that showcases the environment, nature, science and space. There is also a planetarium and the “Flooded forest” – a stunning recreation of 1000 sq.km. of Amazonian rainforest ecosystem with flora and fauna, typical to the zone. The smaller, but fascinating Museum of Chocolate tells the story of chocolate, but also displays a lovely and tasty, ever changing collection of chocolate sculptures. See the Museum Maritim for the history of navigation, as well as the history of the Spanish Navy since the Catholic Monarchs. If you haven’t seen enough art yet, head over to the Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona (CCCB) – an arts centre, that showcases the city and urban culture by exhibitions, debates, festivals and concerts. The Picasso Museum, although missing some of the artist’s most famous works, displays pretty much all the rest of them – with 4251 paintings, it holds the largest collection of Picasso’s art. This is the first Museum, dedicated to Picasso and the only one, created during his life.
When you are ready to spend some time outdoors, admiring the lovely weather, street art performers and local food, head over to one of the beaches that surround the city. There are also a couple of interesting markets to buy local produce from – the La Boqueria and the Palo Alto Market are the most popular ones. The Camp Nou Stadium is also a local landmark, second most popular after the Sagrada Familia. Breath the fresh air at Parc del Laberint d’Horta and be careful not to get lost at the labyrinth – it’s harder than it looks. Go to Parc de la Ciutadella for a short boat trip around the lake.
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