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Everything You Need to Know About Cruising From Barcelona (Location, Transport and More)

Many cruise lines sail from Barcelona, which is the biggest cruise port in the Mediterranean.

Where do Cruise Ships Dock in Barcelona?

NOW: Adossat Quay Terminals – Most Common

There are five main cruise terminals in Barcelona, these are the Adossat Quay Terminals, and they are numbered A to E.

All of the biggest, mainstream cruise lines dock here. It is about a twenty-minute walk from the bottom of Las Rambla, over a large bridge.

barcelona cruise port marella cruise ship docked at A

PAST: World Trade Centre Pier – Luxury Lines and Decreasing Numbers

There are 2 terminals at the World Trade Centre pier – which are called North and South terminals.

Smaller and more luxury cruise ships used to dock here.

I have only ever docked at the World Trade Centre pier once. This was when I a teenager and sailed on the Norwegian Jade. I have never been there since.

Barcelona has made moves to relocate cruise ships from this terminal to the further away terminal.

If you are cruising from Barcelona, it is safe to assume you will be sailing from the Adossat Quay Terminals.

Barcelona has an extremely busy cruise port and often has multiple cruise ships docked at the same time.

Can You Walk From Cruise Terminal To The City?

It is easy to walk from the cruise port into town, as long as you are relatively fit.

A lot of websites will tell you that it is not possible (but these are usually the ones trying to sell you a transfer!)

We managed to walk it in about 40 minutes, it wasn’t the most exciting walk – but was doable. About half that time was spent just walking up and over the big port bridge!

My Time Spent In Barcelona

I have been lucky enough to visit and sail from Barcelona on many occasions.

Now I work for myself and cruise most months, it is not unusual for me to visit four or five times a year.

Me on Barcelona beach in 2015, about to take a Christmas cruise on Norwegian Epic

Fun fact: There is a naked man right by my head as Barcelona has a nudist beach. You might be able to see him if you zoom in -or maybe you wouldn’t want to!

Not a very picturesque Barcelona Port – view from Celebrity Edge’s “Infinite Veranda” cabin.

Things To See in Barcelona:

Park Guell

Fans of architecture will love the number of buildings around Barcelona designed by Gaudi.

One of the most interesting, in my opinion, is the Park Guell.

The park is in the upper part of the city and has views across Barcelona, it was originally designed as an estate of residential homes, but the project was never finished.

It was eventually turned into a public park.


gaudi barcelona park guell what to do cruise spain

Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia is a church designed by Gaudi, construction originally started in 1882 but which to this day, remains unfinished.

It is not unusual for the building to be surrounded by cranes and other building materials as building work is continually progressing, expected to finish around 2032.

Sagrada Familia In Barcelona

There are several options available to guests visiting the building. Some tickets allow you to visit the top of one of the towers. I was lucky enough to take that tour in 2023.

There are also other options including many guided experiences, and I learnt a lot on my guided tour.

It is best to book a timed slot in advance if you can. This will avoid you from having to join long lines, in the hope of getting a ticket on the day you are there.

Inside Sagrada Familia is stunning, with many beautiful coloured windows.

La Pedrera

Another building by Gaudi is the “Casa Mila” – popularly known as “La Pedrera.” This translates roughly to “Little Quarry.”

It was built between 1905 and 1912. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1984 by UNESCO, and was restored and opened to the public in 1996.

barcelona la pedrera

I walked past this building on my way to the Sagrada Familia. It is definitely on my wishlist to visit, it looked very impressive from the outside.

La Rambla

No trip to Barcelona is complete without a walk up and down La Rambla.

La Rambla is derived from the old Arabic word Ramla, meaning sandy riverbed.

It is a boulevard which is over a kilometre long filled with shops, restaurants and street performers.

There are a lot of impressive human statues. Honestly, the human statues creep me out a little – but they are always fun to see. (I prefer to keep my distance though!)

La Rambla can be crowded during the tourist seasons and as a result, does have a problem with pickpockets, so please be sensible when visiting.

There is a McDonald’s on La Rambla if you are out and about and trying to find some free Wi-Fi

For more hints and tips about getting off your ship in port, read this article next:

Getting Off The Cruise Ship in Port – What To Expect, What To Take – And Other Useful Hints and Tips For A Successful Day Out!

Columbus Monument

At the bottom end of La Rambla is the Columbus Monument.

I have climbed the tower and you get amazing 360-degree views of Barcelona.

To go up the tower is relatively inexpensive, costing around €7.20.

There is a lift inside which will take you to the top of the column – no need to walk up this one!

You can get a good view of any cruise-docked ships from here.

Montjuïc Cable Car

I do love a cable car and there is one in Barcelona.

It goes from Montjuic down towards the beach. Each cable car seats 8 people and they run extremely frequently.

It was originally built in 1970, but completely refurbished between 2004 and 2007.

cable car barcelona

The Montjuïc Cable Car travels for 752 metres and climbs a vertical distance of 84.55 metres. Cars move at a speed of 10 meters per second.

The cars slow down as they pass through the station, allowing passengers to board or exit.

Two cars are equipped with the facility to carry wheelchairs.

A return journey costs around €16 which I think is well worth it. You get some incredible views of Barcelona.

How To See The Sights

The easiest way to get around Barcelona is on a Hop On – Hop Off bus.

I have taken this option in the past and have found it to be the best way to see a lot of the city in a relatively short amount of time.

hop off bus barcelona
hop off bus barcelona

We took the Barcelona City Tour bus – although there are a couple of companies that operate in Barcelona. All stop near the cruise ports, close to the World Trade Centre.

If you go out of season, you might have the whole bus to yourself, like me above!

Companies are similar in terms of price and ground cover, usually costing around €30 per person.

It is, of course, possible to take the Metro, Barcelona does have an extensive Metro which I have used on occasion. You don’t get to see much of the interesting city that way though.

Cruise Ship Shuttles

If you arrive in Barcelona, you are likely to be about a 40-minute walk from the bottom of Las Rambla.

Some cruise lines provide a shuttle service to the Trade Centre area – the more upmarket cruise lines do this free of charge, the more mainstream cruise lines will charge.

As I have said, it is perfectly possible to walk if you are fit and healthy, although dragging a wheeled suitcase over the bridge to the terminals isn’t such an easy option. I’ve done is many times though!

“Cruise Bus” Private Shuttle

If you are not up for the walk to the cruise port, you can get the “Blue Bus” also near where the Hop on Hop Off buses stop by the World Trade Centre.

The last time I took that, November 2023 it cost €4 each – but they didn’t accept card payments.

Lots of cruise ship crew were using that shuttle service.

It only takes around five minutes, stops at all terminals, and does away with the boring walk – from there to the Adossat Quay Terminals. (The walk is basically just concrete footpaths, roundabouts and march over a large bridge!)

msc cruises emma cruises world europa
MSC World Europa, sailing from the Adossat Quay Terminals in Barcelona.

Find out what I thought of MSC’s largest and newest ship here.

Choosing A Hotel:

When looking for a hotel in Barcelona, there are a number of things I look for:

  • Location
    • Barcelona is a big city. You don’t want to end up in a hotel a long way from the sights and the cruise terminals.
    • It will make it harder to visit the sights you want to see. You may have to get the Metro, bus or a Taxi to get to the cruise port.
  • Reviews
    • I always check out the hotel reviews. I don’t need lots of facilities, but I like the hotel to be quiet and clean.
  • Do they offer a Shuttle service?
    • Lots of hotels provide a shuttle service to the airport, or to the cruise terminals.

Taxis – Easy Peasy!

Taxis are readily available in Barcelona.

A taxi from the Airport to the cruise ship terminals – or from the airport to a central hotel usually costs in the region of 40. (Plus tip)

This is the option I usually tend to take. I don’t travel alone, and sharing the cost with my cruise mates means that it isn’t that much more expensive than taking public transport.

The taxi journey takes in the region of 25 minutes – traffic dependant.

Public Transport

There are various public transport options available – train, bus or Metro.

These are cheap and relatively regular and reliable – but may take far longer

To find out the most up-to-date information about public transport options from Barcelona Airport to the city, check out Barcelona’s Airport Website here:

Barcelona Airport Public Transport Guide

How to get to Barcelona By Air:

It’s easy to pick up a cheap flight if you are from the UK. Most of the budget airlines fly to Barcelona multiple times a week.

If you are flying from America there are also plenty of options, but they are not likely to be so cheap!

I would recommend using Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights.

  • The Flight time from London – Barcelona is around 2 hours.
  • Flight times from Miami is 8 hours 40 minutes
  • From Los Angeles, it will take eleven hours 45 minutes.

Barcelona is one of my favourite cities. I would definitely recommend adding a couple of nights in a hotel at the beginning or end of your cruise, if you are sailing from there. It would be such a shame to miss it!

Before You Go

Still not convinced? Find out why you should next cruise should be in the Mediterranean here:

7 Reasons Why Your Next Cruise Should be in The Mediterranean

I sailed around the Mediterranean on one of the biggest cruise ships at sea, Symphony of Seas. Find out what I thought of her here:

I Spent 7 Days Onboard Symphony of The Seas (Full Review, Ship, Food & More)

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Paul and Carole

Sunday 3rd of September 2017

Great destination guide for Barcelona, looks like you have it all covered apart from the naked man lol!

Emma Le Teace

Sunday 3rd of September 2017

Ha ha! Totally. I think its a nudist beach down there... or the man was lost. Not sure! He had his hands on his hips and was looking very proud the whole time.

Stuart Forster

Saturday 2nd of September 2017

You've supplied some handy tipsfor my next trip to Barcelona. Would I be interested in trying an ocean cruise, yes, absolutely!

Emma Le Teace

Sunday 3rd of September 2017

That is brilliant to hear! Thank you for commenting :)

Tania @ Larger Family Life

Thursday 31st of August 2017

A very brilliant post packed with info but what I really want to know is how many readers did zoom in for a better look at naked guy?!

Emma Le Teace

Friday 1st of September 2017

Ha ha! I wonder how many will admit it...