Why go to Barcelona?
Step off your ship, and you're already in a foodie haven, where locals mingle seamlessly with tourists
After just a day there, you probably won't want to leave
Barcelona is vibrant, welcoming and easy to navigate, even on foot
Good to Know?
Barcelona is notorious for pickpockets. Leave valuables and passports in your hotel or cruise cabin safe, and carry credit cards and cash in a safe place. Carry only a copy of your passport, which should be sufficient for identification.
On Foot: Barcelona is an eminently walkable city, but it's easy to get turned around within its circular plazas, particularly in the older quarters such as Barri Gotic, which is also home to winding streets. Wear sturdy shoes for the cobblestones and bring a map, even if it feels touristy to do so.
By Public Transportation: There's an excellent (and fairly clean) subway system -- the TMB -- and buses operate to all the major attractions. If you're in town for more than a day, consider a T 10 pass, which offers metro or bus fare at a discounted price when you purchase 10 trips (a savings of about 11.50 euro).
Hop-on, Hop-off Bus: Forget blending in; the easiest way to see most of Barcelona's highlights in a single day is the city's Bus Turistic, or hop-on, hop-off bus. A single ticket valid for 24 hours is about 30 euro, but runs three lines (the green line is only available in the summer season) and offers language-specific commentary via headphone jacks along with free Wi-Fi onboard. Ride the entire line to familiarize yourself with the city's limits, or get off and spend time at the sites. Every ticket comes with a handy map and discount coupon booklet.
By Taxi: Renting a car for simple in-city touring is not recommended -- nor is it necessary. Taxis are plentiful, but be advised that many only take cash and not credit cards. Check to be sure your fare is metered before departing.
To Montserrat: Catch one of the many trains running daily at Espanya rail station, located underground. Your fare -- roughly 20 euro -- will include the hour-long train ride along with either a ticket for the rack railway (funicular) or cable car to the top, which is required to reach the monastery and town.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The currency is the euro, and ATMs are easy to find, with many on Las Ramblas, in the Gothic quarter and in other popular tourist areas. For current currency conversion figures, visit oanda.com or xe.com. The currency exchange offices on Las Ramblas are open for longer hours than the banks, but they generally offer poorer rates.
Although Catalan is the local language, many people from other parts of the country live in Barcelona, so Spanish is spoken throughout and is one of the two official languages. English is widely spoken at all the main tourist attractions and in hotels and restaurants.
Where You're Docked?
Large cruise ships dock at two main piers on the waterfront, which is a healthy walk to Las Ramblas. The Blue Bus shuttle runs to and from all of the cruise port terminals to the Christopher Columbus monument at the foot of Las Ramblas. Single tickets cost three euros for a ride and four euros for a round trip, and have to be paid for in cash on the bus. A taxi ride from the farthest terminal costs around eight euros. It's worth noting if you have an evening flight and you wish to explore the city without lugging your bags around with you, there is a port to airport luggage delivery service at the baggage claim area called Bags&Go that will deliver your suitcases for EUR10. You then pick them up at the airport, before you check in.
Smaller cruise ships may dock adjacent to the World Trade Center, which is an easier walk to Las Ramblas.