A Day in Barcelona Cruise Port (+ Port Info, Highlights, Shore Excursions)

Montjuic Hill in Barcelona

Welcome to Barcelona cruise port!

Cosmopolitan. Artistic. Captivating. Whether you are a first-time visitor or have already been to Barcelona, you never get enough of it. The city has incredible energy and so many places to explore that one day in Barcelona is certainly not enough.

However, if Barcelona cruise port is in your cruise itinerary, make sure you plan your stay so you can get the most of Barcelona in a day.

I’ve been to Barcelona several times on a cruise ship where I’ve worked as a Shore excursions staff, and in this article, I want to share with you useful information on:

    • Barcelona Cruise Ship Terminal Info
    • Barcelona Itinerary & Port Highlights – What to see in Barcelona in one day?
    • Shore Excursions Tips
    • Top-rated shore excursions in Barcelona

Check out today’s cruise deals from Cruise Critic!

Barcelona Cruise Terminal

Barcelona is the capital city of Catalonia and one of the major Mediterranean cruise ports, located in the north-east of Spain. It is one of the busiest and most visited European cruise ports, particularly due to its proximity to Barcelona city center and its main attractions.

Barcelona cruise ship port consists of 9 terminals grouped around Port Vell marina, out of which 7 are cruise terminals. Depending on the size, cruise ships dock at Quai Adossat (Moll Adossat), which consists of 4 terminals (A, B, C, D), or at World Trade Center (WTC), which has 3 terminals (South Terminal, North Terminal, East Terminal).

See Barcelona cruise port map on Google maps

Barcelona cruise port map
Barcelona cruise port © www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com

Two other terminals are Sant Bertran Wharf, used for ferry transportation between Barcelona and Balearic Islands, and Maremagnum Port Vell that can accommodate large ships, but not cruise liners.

Quai Adossat Cruise Terminals

A, B, C, D terminals (D is also called Palacruceros) are located around 3 km (1.8 mi), or a 10-minute driving distance from La Rambla, the tourist hub and one of the most famous boulevards in Barcelona. Quai Adossat is connected to the city by the bridge Porta d’Europa (Puente de la Puerta de Europa).

There are shuttle buses and cruise buses (“blue bus”) provided to transfer the passengers to the area of the World Trade Center, located a 5-minute walk from Christopher Columbus Monument, where La Rambla boulevard starts. These buses are wheelchair-users friendly, and you can purchase the tickets onboard or in the terminal buildings (depending on the cruise line). For guests who don’t want to take buses, taxis or a 20-40-minute walk to the city center are an alternative option.

The terminal buildings are equipped with modern facilities, such as duty-free shops, elevators, souvenir shops, a bar-restaurant, exchange office, public phones, restrooms, ATMs. There is a taxi rank in front of each terminal, as well as a shuttle bus station and parking for tour buses. Given that Barcelona is not only a port of call but also a homeport, the terminals also feature embarkation/disembarkation facilities.

Barcelona cruise port - Quay Adossat cruise terminals, view from Montjuic Hill
Barcelona cruise port – Quay Adossat cruise terminals. Photo courtesy of Rene Cicero.

World Trade Center Terminals (WTC terminals)

South, North, and East Terminals are located at Moll de Barcelona, within a 10-minute walking distance from Columbus Monument and the start of La Rambla street. The three docks surround the modern, state-of-the-art building of the World Trade Center, and can accommodate cruise liners of moderate size. You can find public transport stations nearby as well.

The terminal buildings consist of duty-free and souvenir shops, an exchange office, and a small tourist information center. There are no restaurants or bars, as you can find those next door inside WTC. The terminals also feature embarkation/disembarkation facilities and suit the needs of guests with disabilities.

The cruise bus station is located near the terminals, so in case you can’t walk, you can take a round-trip ticket (prices starting at 3 €), and the bus will drop you off at the Columbus Monument. Cruise buses don’t have fixed timetables – they depend on the arrival and departure times of the ships in port.

Hop on hop off bus station is also located nearby, and you can check out the best deal here.

Embarkation in Barcelona – Important Notes

If you are embarking on a cruise ship in Barcelona, and coming from the US, make sure you come to Barcelona at least two days prior to the embarkation to avoid the inconveniences of jet lag. If you want to fully enjoy the city, you’ll need to come at least 4-5 days before your cruise starts.

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The distance between Josep Tarradellas Barcelona Airport – El Prat Airport and Barcelona cruise port is around 15 km (9 mi), or around a 20-minute drive. The best way to get from Barcelona airport to the cruise port is by taxi and the transportation fares are fixed at 40 € (all fees included). Another option is to book a private transfer, which is often a cheaper option  – click here to check the deals.

The best hotels in Barcelona near cruise port are Atlas Hotel, Wilson Boutique Hotel, Ofelias Hotel, May Ramblas Hotel, Vincci Gala Hotel, Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona, Barcelona Colonial Hotel.

Find more on Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, and Agoda


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Barcelona Port Highlights – What to See in Barcelona in a Day

For exclusive, insider shore excursions tips, sign up below and get my FREE Shore Excursion Guide!

1. Gaudi’s Barcelona – Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, Park Güell

Sagrada Familia viewed from the park
La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s masterpiece and iconic symbol of Barcelona

To understand Gaudi’s art, we need to understand his vision

Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) was a Catalan architect and one of the major exponents of Catalan Modernism, an innovative artistic movement inspired by Catalan Nationalism (an ideology founded on the idea that the Catalans are a nation). Proud of his Catalan origin and deeply religious man, Gaudi’s style was unique and individualized, led by his greatest life passions: architecture, nature, and God. He considered that nature is God’s temple, and that “the originality consists in returning to the origins”. Gaudi’s works reflect his vision of Christianity as the return to nature where all humans belong, and his religious and other artworks are inspired by natural forms and elements. The major incarnation of his vision of Christianity is Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece and the iconic symbol of Barcelona.

1.1. La Sagrada Familia

Gaudi dedicated 43 years of his life to La Sagrada Familia (The church of the Sacred Family). The construction began in 1883, and when Gaudi died in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was finished. Obstructed during wars, the creation of the Cathedral resumed after 1950 and is anticipated to be completed in 2026, commemorating the centenary of Gaudi’s death. Sagrada Familia architecture reflects his religious views and the whole temple is an ode to nature. If you have never been to Sagrada Familia before, you absolutely must visit it from both outside and inside.

Sagrada Familia, view from exterior
Sagrada Familia is anticipated to be finished by 2026
How to Get to Sagrada Familia from the Barcelona Cruise Port?

The distance between Barcelona cruise port (Moll Adossat cruise terminals) and Sagrada Familia is 7 km (4.3 mi) by walk and around 8 km (5 mi) by car. It takes 1 hour 30 minutes to reach the Cathedral on foot, while by car it takes less than 20 minutes. When I went there, the taxi charged me 15 € one-way, and I arrived from Sagrada Familia to Barcelona cruise terminal (A) in 15 minutes.

The distance between World Trade Center cruise terminals and Sagrada Familia is 5 km (3 mi) by car (a 15-20 minute driving distance), or 4.5 km (2.7 mi) by walk (a 1 hour 30 minutes’ walking distance).

Shore Excursion Tips

Think twice before you book a cruise ship shore excursion to Sagrada Familia. That is my honest recommendation. Some excursions offer only the exterior view of the Cathedral, and some of them go inside. I’ve done both, and in both cases, the tours were rushed and I didn’t get to see much.

If you are coming with a shore excursion, keep in mind that there is no bus parking around Sagrada Familia. Instead, tour buses drop the passengers off a few blocks away, and you need to walk at least 10 minutes slightly uphill to get to the Cathedral. This is challenging for guests with walking difficulties and stressful because you need to stick with the group all the time (and we all know how tour guides can walk fast). Upon getting to Sagrada Familia church, you’ll see a vast area packed with tourists. If your tour includes only an exterior visit of the Cathedral, a tour guide normally finds an empty spot in front of it, gathers the group, tells a short story, and gives you a 15-20 minute of free time. And that’s it. It’s simply not enough.

Suggested article: 25 Top Shore Excursion Packing List Items

Photo Ops: For the best photo captures of Sagrada Familia, go around a small lake in front of the Cathedral (below in the picture) where you’ll find the best photo opportunities.

The picture of me in front of la Sagrada Familia church
The best photo opportunities are behind a small lake in front of La Sagrada Familia church

The surrounding area is large and beautiful, it is packed with cafes, street sellers, parks, and restaurants. The Cathedral is so huge and impressive that you’ll need at least 10 minutes just to go around it and admire its imposing architecture.

On the other hand, if your cruise ship shore excursion includes the interior visit, it has both advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage is that your tour guide takes care of the tickets (included in the tour price), but the main downside is that you won’t get sufficient time to explore the cathedral. You’ll take a glimpse of the interior, take a few photos and you won’t even have time to visit the museum and the crypt (Gaudi’s tomb is in the crypt).

Suggested article: Pros and Cons of Booking Cruise Ship Shore Excursions

My Advice: If you want to properly visit Sagrada Familia, book the tickets in advance (skip the line tickets), book a private/customized guided tour, or a premium guided tour in a small group. Allow yourself at least 1 hour inside the Cathedral, and 1 hour to wander around as the surrounding area is beautiful and offers extraordinary views of Sagrada Familia. The Cathedral deserves time and dedication, and you deserve the experience of a lifetime.

La Sagrada Familia interior of the church
The best way to visit La Sagrada Familia is on a private, small group tour
Sagrada Familia exterior view
You need at least two hours to properly visit La Sagrada Familia. Check out skip the line tickets 

See the list of the best Sagrada Familia tours

1.2. Casa Batlló

Located on one of the main Barcelona’s shopping and business avenues – Passeig de Gràcia, in the heart of the Eixample district, Casa Batlló is another Gaudi’s masterpiece and one of the finest architectural examples of Gaudi’s personal approach to Catalan Modernism.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Passeig de Gràcia was a prestigious place where wealthy families used to live. That’s how a rich textile industrialist Josep Batlló decided to buy an old house for his family in the middle of the avenue. He wanted his house to be unique and distinct, and he hired Antoni Gaudi in 1904 to redesign the house in an audacious and innovative architectural style that would make his house stand out among other houses in the avenue.

Casa Batlló is locally known as Casa dels Ossos (House of Bones) and Casa del Drac (House of the Dragon), due to its curving, skeletal shapes and design, and an astonishing façade resembling the bony jaws of a surreal, fantastic beast. Casa Batlló roof resembles a back of a dragon and features a turret with a cross, which symbolically represents St. George, patron saint of Catalonia, killing the dragon. Once again Gaudi’s religious inspiration came to life in one of his major works of art.

Casa Batlló exterior view
Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló has been declared a World Heritage Site and today belongs to different owners. A part of it is a museum open for visitors, while the majority of the rooms in the building have been rented out for multiple purposes, such as company offices and event places.

Casa Battlo, view from the bus
Casa Batlló roof resembles a back of a dragon and features a turret with a cross, which symbolically represents St. George killing the dragon

Unfortunately, due to the incident from October 28, 2020, Casa Batlló temporarily closed its doors to the visitors. For the updates and Casa Batlló tickets, check out Casa Batlló official website.

How to Get to Casa Batlló from Barcelona Cruise Port?

Casa Batlló is situated around 5,5 km (3,4 mi) from Barcelona cruise port (Quai Adossat cruise terminals). It takes a 1-hour walk, or a 20-minute driving distance to get there.

If your ship is docked at the World Trade Center cruise ship terminals, the distance is around 3 km (1.8 mi), and to get there you can either take a 40-minute walk or a 15-minute taxi ride.

Shore Excursion Tips

If you are planning to visit Casa Batlló, I recommend you to book a combo tour with La Sagrada Familia, as the distance between these two Gaudi’s masterpieces is around 2 km (a 20-minute walk). I suggest you walk because traffic can be dense and if you go by car, it can take up to 15 minutes.

Cruise ship shore excursions normally don’t include the Casa Batlló interior visit, but some tours include a stop in front of the building and a visit from the exterior.

I think the best way to properly visit Casa Batlló is to visit it on your own, or with an independent tour operator who can provide you with a customized, private guided tour, or a tour in a small group. However, if you go on your own, make sure you have a skip-the-line ticket as you don’t want to waste your time queuing in front of the museum.

Explore the best Casa Batlló tours

1.3. Casa Milà (La Pedrera)

Casa Milà is another Gaudi’s controversial artwork located only a stone’s throw from Casa Batlló – on the famous Passeig de Gràcia avenue, once the favorite residential spot for well-off people of Barcelona. It was built between 1906 and 1912 for Pere Milà and his wife but changed several owners throughout the 20th century. La Pedrera means “The stone quarry”, referring to the undulating quarry-like stone façade that consists of massive blocks of limestone and twisting wrought-iron balconies. There are different interpretations when it comes to the building: the official version says that Gaudi’s La Pedrera was inspired by a mountain, whereas there are theories that the façade symbolizes the waves of the Mediterranean Sea.

La Pedrera, Gaudi's masterpiece
La Pedrera, Gaudi’s masterpiece

Back in the period of construction, La Pedrera was the subject of harsh criticism because of its unconventional design and disrespect of construction rules. It caused administrative problems and there were many disagreements between Gaudi and the owners, as well as the City Council of Barcelona. Religious elements that Gaudi wanted to add were disapproved and the interior of La Pedrera was redesigned after the architect’s death.

In 1984, La Pedrera was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and two years later was bought by Caixa Catalunya, a Spanish Bank that restored the building and brought back some of the original decorations.

Nowadays, a total of 4.500 square meters spread over the five floors can be visited, including an apartment and a splendid rooftop offering spectacular views of the city.

How to Get to La Pedrera from Barcelona Cruise Port?

The driving distance between La Pedrera and Barcelona cruise port (Moll Adossat cruise terminals) is 6.5 km (4 mi), or a 15-20 minute drive. A walking distance is 6 km (3.7), or a 1-hour 20-minute walk.

If your cruise ship is docked at the World Trade Center cruise terminals, the driving distance is around 4 km (2.5 mi), or less than a 15-minute drive. The walking distance is 3.5 km (2.2 mi), or a 45-minute walk.

Shore Excursion Tips

When you are planning to visit La Pedrera, the best way to visit it is together with Casa Batlló, because the distance between the two buildings is only 500 m, or less than a 10-minute walk.

Cruise ship shore excursions normally don’t include La Pedrera’s interior visit, only the exterior.

To avoid waiting in line, you can book skip the line La Pedrera tickets online, or as a combo tour that includes other Gaudi’s landmarks (I highly suggest this if you want to save money and get skip the line ticket for several Gaudi’s attractions – Click here to check out the offers). For opening hours, check La Pedrera’s official website here.

Check out the best La Pedrera tours

1.4. Park Güell

Sitting proudly on Carmel Hill and overlooking the city of Barcelona, Park Güell is one of Gaudi’s major works and a true gem among his masterpieces. The large park where architecture and nature come together was originally constructed between 1900 and 1914 for the Spanish entrepreneur Eusebi Güell as private property, but soon after that opened its doors to all visitors as a public park.

Park Guell in Barcelona cruise port
Park Guell. Source: Pixabay.com

Park Güell architecture and design reflect Gaudi’s individualized Catalan Modernism style, and the park features a multitude of organic forms and shapes inspired by his political and religious views, including a lot of mythological and natural elements. It is a stunning place featuring mosaic-covered buildings, sculptures, lush vegetation, breathtaking views over Barcelona, as well as Gaudi House Museum (Casa Museu Gaudi), a former residence of Gaudi, where you can get an amazing insight into the architect’s life and works. Park Güell was a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984.

How to Get to Park Güell from the Barcelona Cruise Ship Terminal?

The distance between Park Güell and Barcelona cruise port (Moll Adossat cruise ship terminals) is 9.7 km (6 mi), or a 30-minute driving distance.

If your cruise ship is docked at the World Trade Center, the distance between is around 7 km (4.3 mi), or a 25-minute drive.

Shore Excursion Tips

Cruise lines normally don’t offer shore excursions to Park Güell, so the best way to visit it is either on your own (make sure you book a skip the line ticket) or with an independent tour operator. If you plan to visit several of Gaudi’s attractions the same day, I highly suggest you book combo tickets, and if you want to have a customized, private experience, consider booking a guided tour.

Park Güell tickets are 10 € (general ticket), and you can check the opening hours on the Park Guell website.

See the list of the best Park Güell tours

2. La Rambla

The famous La Rambla street is a must-see place in Barcelona. For cruise passengers, it is easy to get around as La Rambla is located within a walking distance from the ship.

Enjoying beer at La Rambla with friends
Enjoying some lunch & beer time at La Rambla with friends

La Rambla is a tree-lined, 1.2 km (0.75 mi) long pedestrian promenade (although there are narrow parallel streets used for traffic) that connects Plaça de Catalunya square and the Columbus Monument, located at Port Vell – a waterfront harbor that is part of the port of Barcelona. It is a tourist-packed street full of shops, street restaurants, souvenir kiosks, street performers, and a great number of attractions.

You can find some important buildings here:

  • Palau Güell, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a beautiful palace that Gaudi designed for Eusebi Güell.
  • Palace of the Virreina, a baroque palace hosting museum exhibitions and cultural events.
  • The Liceu Theater, Barcelona’s 19th-century opera house.
  • The Teatre Principal, the oldest theater in Barcelona dating from the 16th century.
  • La Boqueria, one of the most visited and popular markets in Barcelona where you can find a large selection of goods, such as meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, cheese, and much more.
  • Plaça Reial – La Rambla hides beautiful side alleys and squares, among which Plaça Reial is the most famous one. It is a bustling 19th-century square featuring tall palm trees, a fountain, and street lamps designed by Gaudi, full of restaurants, nightclubs, and cocktail bars open until late at night.

To the east of La Rambla is the Gothic Quarter, the old town, another must-see landmark in Barcelona.

Plaça Reial
Plaça Reial

How to Get to La Rambla from Barcelona Port?

The distance between the Barcelona cruise terminal (Moll Adossat cruise terminals) and La Rambla is less than 3 km (1.8 mi). To get there, you need to take a shuttle bus or a cruise bus (“blue bus”) that will get you to the Christopher Columbus Monument, where La Rambla starts.

From the World Trade Center terminals, you can get to La Rambla on foot in less than 10 minutes (the distance is around 650 m).

Shore Excursion Tips

You don’t need a shore excursion to take you to La Rambla. The best way to explore it is at leisure, on your own. La Rambla is close to La Boqueria market, Gothic Quarter, and Plaça de Catalunya, so you can visit all three attractions on the same day.

See the list of tours going to La Rambla

Tip: When in La Rambla, keep your eyes open because there are many pickpockets.

Suggested article: 25 Top Shore Excursion Packing List Items

3. Mercado de la Boqueria

La Boqueria market is located at La Rambla street. It is a large, indoor public market that due to its diverse food offer and a vibrant atmosphere represents one of the major Barcelona attractions.

You can find an amazing selection of foods, including fish, seafood, meat, vegetables, fruit, cheese, beverages, and a great number of shops and street stalls selling freshly squeezed juices, candy, nuts, quick bites and so much more. This place is absolutely awesome and a must-see Barcelona attraction!

La Boqueria market in Barcelona cruise port
La Boqueria
La Boqueria candy stall, Barcelona cruise port
La Boqueria candy stall – My favorite!

Shore Excursion Tips

Some cruise lines offer food tours that include a visit to several markets and food tasting. This is a good option if you feel more comfortable being with a cruise ship shore excursion, but if you are confident to go on your own, feel free to do so.

Cruise ship shore excursions normally take you to the pre-arranged places where tour guides usually get a commission on the products that cruise passengers buy. Tour operators normally have an agreement with local vendors and everything is pre-set, so the whole food tasting & market tour experience are not really authentic.

Recommended: Pros and Cons of Booking Cruise Ship Shore Excursions

If you want to have a truly local experience, either do it on your own, or book a customized tour, or a small group tour where you truly get to enjoy the full food tasting experience.

Explore La Boqueria tours

4. Plaça de Catalunya

Plaça Catalunya, or in English “Catalonia Square” (Plaza de Cataluña) is a large square and a central hub often considered as Barcelona city center. It is located at the northern end of La Rambla street, and a 10-minute walking distance from the Gothic Quarter, at the place where the 19th century, modern Eixample district, and a historic heart of the city meet.

The square covers a spacious area of 50.000 square meters and consists of a wide range of statues, fountains, sculptures, and decorative art. This is where important city streets and avenues meet, such as Passeig de Gràcia, a famous avenue where La Pedrera and Casa Batlló are situated. The square is surrounded by hotels, restaurants, shops, bars, designer boutiques, and its most popular and photographed attraction is the flocks of pigeons that you can spot swimming in the fountain.

Plaça de Catalunya in Barcelona cruise port
Plaça de Catalunya. Source: Pixabay.com

How to Get to Plaça de Catalunya from Barcelona cruise port?

The distance between Barcelona cruise port (Moll Adossat cruise terminals) is around 5.5 km (3.4 mi), or a 15-minute driving distance. If your cruise ship is docked at World Trade Center, the distance is 2.8 km (1.7 mi), or less than a 10-minute drive.

However, the best and shorter way to get there is by walk, because Plaça de Catalunya is located at the end of La Rambla avenue (1.2 km, or 0.75 mi long). That way, you can visit both La Rambla and Plaça de Catalunya, and time permitting, you can also visit Mercado de la Boqueria and the Gothic Quarter.

As for the shore excursions, most of the cruise line shore excursions pass by Plaça de Catalunya, but I don’t think that any of them gives you free time at the square. That’s why the best way to explore it is on your own, with a Hop on hop off sightseeing tour, or with a customized, private tour.

5. The Gothic Quarter

The Gothic Quarter, or Barri Gòtic in the Catalan language, is the historic heart of the old city of Barcelona, located near La Rambla avenue and Plaça de Catalunya. Although the name of the quarter refers to the Middle Ages, the whole quarter was completely restored in the late 19th and early 20th centuries which gave the old buildings a brand new, neo-Gothic look.

A large portion of the quarter is closed to regular traffic (open only to taxis and service vehicles) and consists of pedestrian streets, squares, and several remarkable historic landmarks.

The iconic landmark is Barcelona Cathedral (the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, an imposing Gothic cathedral that was originally constructed from the 13th to 15th centuries. It features an extraordinary, late 19th-century neo-Gothic facade, sumptuously decorated interior, and a beautiful, verdant, geese-filled cloister that you can see on your tour. The cathedral offers audio-tours and is well worth visiting inside. It dominates a large square – Placita de la Seu, surrounded by hotel, restaurants, shops, souvenir stores, and is connected with Plaça de Catalunya by a pedestrian promenade Avinguda del Portal de l’Angel. You can reach the square in a 10-15 minute easy walk.

Barcelona Cathedral
Barcelona Cathedral
The imposing interior of the neo-Gothic Barcelona Cathedral
The imposing interior of the neo-Gothic Barcelona Cathedral
Barcelona Cathedral cloister
Barcelona Cathedral cloister

At a stone’s throw from the Cathedral, you can find several other attractions and historical landmarks:

  • The ruins of the Roman and Medieval city walls.
  • Barcelona’s History Museum at Plaza del Rey.
  • Gaudi’s Exhibition Center, a modern museum housed in the medieval building.
  • The 14th-century Gothic Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi dominates a lively Plaça del Pi, a charming open-air market and area filled with tapas bars and cafes.
  • Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya, a beautiful palace with a Renaissance façade and a seat of the government.
  • Ajuntament de Barcelona, a 14th century Barcelona City Hall with a Gothic façade and an art gallery.
  • Picasso Museum, featuring a vast collection of Picasso’s masterpieces and artworks.
  • Jewish quarter, located within the Gothic Quarter, and Sinagoga Major, an ancient synagogue built in the 3rd and 4th centuries and one of the European oldest synagogues.

The Gothic Quarter is a beautiful area to explore and you need at least half a day to visit it. Besides the ones I mentioned, the area offers many other museums, churches, and palaces to be discovered, and the best way to do so is either on your own or with a shore excursion.

If you are staying in Barcelona for a few days, in the Gothic Quarter you can find affordable hotels & accommodation.


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How to Get to the Gothic Quarter from the Barcelona Cruise Port?

The distance between the Gothic Quarter and Barcelona cruise terminal (Moll Adossat cruise terminals) is 4.4 km (2.7 mi), or a 10-minute driving distance. To get there, the best way is to take a shuttle bus/cruise bus from your terminal to the Christopher Columbus monument and walk 10 minutes to the Barcelona Cathedral and the Gothic Quarter (800 m).

If your cruise ship is docked at World Trade Center terminals, you can simply walk 15 minutes to the Gothic Quarter.

Shore Excursion Tips

Some cruise ship shore excursions offer a visit to the Gothic Quarter, which is a good option if you want to take a glimpse of the historic old town (the tours usually don’t stay longer than 45 minutes in the Gothic Quarter, including the visit to the interior of the Cathedral). However, if you prefer being in a small group, not rushed, and explore more, you should do it either on your own, or book a tour in a small group, or a customized, private tour.

See the list of the best Gothic Quarter tours

6. Montjuïc Hill

Montjuïc hill is another must-see area of Barcelona offering the best and absolutely spectacular views of the entire Barcelona. The hill overlooks a harbor and covers a large area that consists of monuments, museums, a palace, a castle, a multitude of botanical gardens, and much more.

The view of Barcelona from the National Art Museum of Catalonia, Montjuïc Hill
The view of Barcelona from the National Art Museum of Catalonia, Montjuïc Hill

The best way to get there is by taxi, with a shore excursion, or by cable car. There are two cable cars in Barcelona: the Montjuïc Cable Car and the Port Cable Car.

  1. Port Cable CarTelefèric del Port, starts from San Sebastiàn Tower (Torre Sant Sebastià), located near Barceloneta Beach and a 20-30-minute walk from the World Trade Center, and ends at Miramar Gardens viewpoint on the Montjuïc hill, at an altitude of around 60 m. The Tower of Jaime I, located halfway, by the World Trade Center, is closed. The cable car ride lasts around 10 minutes and is 1.3 km (0.8 mi) long. From this viewpoint, you get to see the harbor and part of the city. The price: 11 € one-way, 16.50 € return ticket. For more information, check out the Telefèric del Port official website.
  2. Montjuïc Cable CarTelefèric de Montjuïc, connects the bottom and the summit of the Montjuïc hill. The ride starts at Parc de Montjuïc and the cable car goes directly to Castell de Montjuïc (Montjuïc Castle) without making any stops. On the return route, the cable car offers an optional stop at Mirador de l’Alcalde and ends at Parc de Montjuïc. The ride is short (750) but offers truly breathtaking views of the botanical gardens, the harbor, and the city. The price for adults is 8.90 € one-way, and the return ticket is 13.50 €. A child ticket (4-12 years old) is 7.10 € and a return is 9.70 €. For children under 4 is free.

Parc de Montjuïc stop – You get to see main Montjuïc Hill attractions, such as:

  • Fundació Joan Miró, a modern art museum with courtyards and terraces.
  • The National Art Museum of Catalonia – housed in an imposing National Palace building, the museum offers a vast collection of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and modern Catalan art.
  • The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc – Constructed for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition, this extraordinary fountain is situated below the Palau Nacional (The National Art Museum of Catalonia) and features music performances and light shows on weekends.
  • Poble Espanyol, a 20th-century open-air architectural museum that showcases replicas of over a hundred buildings, houses, and artworks from various Spanish regions. The whole area is a small town featuring shops, restaurants, artisan workshops, a theater, and a museum.
  • Barcelona Ethnological Museum
  • The Olympic Ring complex – built for Barcelona 1992 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the complex today hosts sporting and musical events.

Castell Stop

  • Botanical Gardens
  • Joan Brossa Gardens
  • The Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer Gardens.

Mirador Stop – Here you can admire some of the best panoramic views of Barcelona.

  • Mirador de l’Alcalde landscaped park with sea views.
  • Miramar Gardens
  • The Mossèn Costa I Llobera Gardens, famous for cacti trees from all over the world.

For more information, visit the Telefèric de Montjuïc official website.

How to Get to Montjuïc Hill from Barcelona Cruise Port?

The distance between Barcelona cruise port (Moll Adossat cruise terminals) and both Telefèric de Montjuïc and Telefèric del Port is around 5.5 km (3.4 mi), or a 10-minute drive.

If your cruise ship is docked at World Trade Center terminals, both Telefèric del Port and Telefèric de Montjuïc are around 3 km (1.8 mi) away, or less than a 10-minute drive.

If you decide to skip the cable car, you can simply catch a taxi at the cruise port and reach the major Montjuïc Hill attractions in less than 15 minutes, and then explore the area on foot. If you want to properly visit Montjuïc Hill, you need at least a half-day, but if you want to take a glimpse of it, you might consider booking one of the tours.

Shore Excursion Tips

The cruise lines offer shore excursions going to Montjuïc Hill but keep in mind that you will have a very limited time on the hill. There is a large bus parking at the National Art Museum of Catalonia, at that’s where the buses usually drop the passengers off. The free time given here is no longer than 20 minutes, which allows you to admire the stunning views of Barcelona, take some awesome pictures, but no more than that.

Suggested article: 25 Top Shore Excursion Packing List Items

National Art Museum of Catalonia and the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc below
National Art Museum of Catalonia and the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc below

If you stay several days in Barcelona, save one full or at least a half-day for Montjuïc Hill, as there are so many beautiful places and attractions to see. However, if you decide to visit more of Montjuïc Hill in one day, I highly suggest you take a Hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus ride (the buses stop at Montjuïc Hill) or book a tour in small group / customized tour.

Explore Montjuïc Hill tours

7. Barceloneta Beach

Playa de la Barceloneta, or Barceloneta Beach, is a long, busy public beach equipped with facilities such as chair and umbrella rentals, showers, water sports, wi-fi spots, cafes restaurants, bars, and much more. It is a bustling, urban area packed with both locals and tourists, offering beautiful views of the harbor and the lively surrounding area. It is a perfect way to spend a couple of hours if you want to soak up some Mediterranean sun.

Barceloneta Beach
Barceloneta Beach

How to Get to Barceloneta Beach from the Barcelona Cruise Port?

The distance between Barceloneta Beach and World Trade Center terminals is around 2.5 km (1.5 mi). If you go by taxi, the ride lasts less than 10 minutes, and if you decide to walk, you’ll need around 30 minutes to get from your cruise terminal to the beach.

The distance between the Barcelona cruise port (Moll Adossat cruise terminals) is around 5 km (3.1 mi). It takes 10-15 minutes to reach the beach by car, and if you walk, it takes 1 hour.

Insider Tip: It might be challenging to find taxis at Barceloneta Beach. When I was there, my friend and I almost missed the ship because we struggled to find an empty vehicle. You need to book a taxi via the app or pre-book the transfer to the port. For more information on taxis in Barcelona, click here.

Final Words

I hope you find this guide to Barcelona cruise port useful and information-packed. As someone who works in the Shore excursion department onboard a cruise ship, I do my best to understand the needs and wishes of fellow cruisers, and that’s what this article is all about. Also, if you want to check out Barcelona day trip options, have a look at Get Your Guide and Viator offers.

I hope you enjoyed reading my article, and if you want to read more about Spanish cruise ports, check out my article: 19 Cities in Spain to Visit on a Cruise

Check out today’s cruise deals from Cruise Critic!


This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see my disclaimer here.

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