Barcelona Cruise Port Info + Short Stay Tips and Hotels
In 2018 4.4 million passengers came to Barcelona by cruise ship, and judging by the questions I’ve got over the years about 2.6 million were docking in the dark (!).
So how the heck do you visit a world class city in no time at all?
The good news is the Barcelona cruise port is close to the action. It won’t take more than 30 minutes get central and start enjoying the sights and sounds: but you’ve gotta know how!
Allow me to get you on the right track.
Where is the Barcelona Cruise Port?
The Barcelona port has a total of 9 terminals with 7 of them used by cruise ships.
The main cruise docks are Moll Adossat (terminal A, B, C, and D), World Trade Center (North, South, East), and Port Vell Maremagnum.
The area around the port finds itself very close to the bottom of the city’s famous pedestrian boulevard La Rambla. The street links two of the city’s great neighbourhoods in El Raval and the Gothic Quarter.
Most cruise ship passengers arrive at the Christopher Columbus statue in Portal de la Pau Square. From here there are various transport options which I’ll get into later.
Barcelona Cruise Terminal Map
Here we see the main three cruise ports in Barcelona.
The blue line is the Autobus Azul shuttle and the pink line is the length of the La Rambla all the way up to Plaça Catalunya. Notice Drassanes metro station with the train decal.
Barcelona Cruise Port to City Centre
Moll Adossat (Terminal A, B, C, and D)
As you see from my terminal map don’t attempt to walk central from here. The walk is long and it’s not such a nice road, especially if you have bags to carry and it’s really hot.
Once you’re off the ship you’ll find a shuttle right outside all terminals.
This shuttle is called the Cruise Bus (or the T-3 Portbus) and will take you right to the bottom of Las Ramblas where you can start visiting Barcelona’s top attractions. It is adapted for disabled visitors.
The bus doesn’t run on a fixed schedule. They’re coordinated with cruise ship arrivals. The Moll Adossat – Colón line runs at maximum every 20-30 minutes. The 10 minute trip costs €4.50 one way.
Tickets for the cruise shuttle are bought directly aboard the bus (cash only) or online in advance (less hassle and no lining up and fighting for seats) via Tiqets.
For taxis expect to pay €6.00-€8.00 to get to the Columbus Statue (€15.00 to Plaça Catalunya).
World Trade Center Dock (N, S, E)
If you’re packing light you can reach the Rambla on foot from the cruise port in 10-15 minutes.
In all you’re just a few minutes from the Bus Turistic stop and about 10 minutes walking from La Rambla (and the Columbus Statue) and the Drassanes metro station (green line L3).
Maremagnum Dock (M)
This cruise terminal is dedicated to smaller ships mostly serving the Balearic Islands. It’s the closest one of them all and getting to La Rambla from here is about 10 minutes walking.
Maremagnum is also one of Barcelona’s top shopping malls, and the only one open on Sunday!
Barcelona Airport To Cruise Port
For the 58% of you starting your cruise in Barcelona you’ll have a few options from El Prat airport to the Barcelona cruise terminal and vice versa. Unfortunately the only direct service is via taxi.
This super-convenient bus departs every 5 minutes from both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. A one way ticket only costs €5.90. You’ll have WiFi aboard for last minute planning.
The bus takes you to Plaça Catalunya where you can take the metro two stops to Drassanes or you can hail a taxi and get to the port for about €10.00.
The fixed taxi fare from Barcelona Airport to the cruise port is €39.00.
If you’re traveling in a group this is by far the best option for price-quickness ratio. Standard black and yellow taxis run on meters so it’s impossible to be ripped off. Night time and large luggage surcharges are normal.
Best Hotels Near Barcelona Cruise Port
If you’ve read my list of best areas to stay you’ll know I’ve recommend avoiding La Rambla for noise purposes – here are a few hotels hand picked based on blog reader recommendations and shining Tripadvisor scores.
You also may want to consider Airbnb’s discount homestays, hostels, or holiday apartments.
Eurostars Grand Marina GL
☆☆☆☆☆ | Area: Poble Sec | Moll de Barcelona s/n | Metro: Drassanes
The great thing about this hotel is that it’s as convenient as it is luxurious.
This truly unique glass and marble building takes the form of a transatlantic liner and blends in with the surrounding cruise port. It was designed by the same architect who did the pyramid entrance to Paris’ famous Louvre Museum.
The many terraces overlooking the Mediterranean are a highlight.
Hotel Catalonia Port
☆☆☆☆ | Area: El Gotico | Carrer Ample 1 | Metro: Drassanes
This boutique gem is famous for its stylish rooms with hardwood floors.
A benefit is that’s it’s further up from the Barcelona cruise terminal so only a 15 minute walk to the beach. A highly recommended and extensive breakfast buffet. The seasonal rooftop terrace and swimming pool is pure relax. A fabulous 8.8 review on Tripadvisor doesn’t lie.
It’s also walking distance to a great deal of Barcelona’s best restaurants.
NH Barcelona Barri Gotic
☆☆☆ | Area: El Gotico | Carrer Ample 31 | Metro: Drassanes
At just 100 meters from the cruise port you can’t go wrong with this bright and modern hotel.
Even though you seem to be right in the chaos of the Gothic Quarter this quiet, no-nonsense hotel. Readers rated it very high in cleanliness and location: you’re walking distance to La Rambla, the port, and the city’s beaches.
There’s also an uncharacteristically charming service for Spanish standards.
Barcelona Cruise Ship Passenger Itinerary: 6 Hours
With my Barcelona cruise ship passenger tour all you need is the metro. So grab yourself a T-Familiar travel card: it’s multi-personal and gives you 8 rides for €10.00 anywhere on the Barcelona transport network.
These tickets can be bought at the ticket machines of any metro station.
Expect each person to use 3-4 trips.
Taking cruises from Barcelona with more time? Check out my full one day trip or 3 day Barcelona itinerary.
Stop #1: Gothic Quarter and the Born – 2.5 h
Let’s start at the Columbus Statue where the port shuttle has dropped us off.
We head up La Rambla on foot through the beginning of a little craft market and past legions of tourist trap bars: stay away! After about 10 minutes we take a right at Plaça Reial, one of the most beautiful squares in the city.
Soak up the sights and sounds here and check out the lanterns designed by none other than Antoni Gaudi.
From here we get lost in the labyrinthine streets and squares of the Gothic Quarter. It’s home to some of the city’s greatest sights like the Barcelona Cathedral.
Stop in to check out the impossibly peaceful Plaça Sant Felip Neri and its surprisingly violent history.
From here we hit the area’s widest street Via Laietana and head down into the Born area, the other face of the old city that’s become a lively neighbourhood full of great restaurants and independent clothing shops.
Here we need to see the Santa Maria del Mar, another of Barcelona’s most beloved churches. In and around this area you’ll want to stop for tapas: these small traditional Spanish dishes are a must.
I recommend Xampanyet (Carrer de Montcada 22), a delicious bodega to try a local cava sparkling wine with some salami, cheese, anchovies, sausages and more. Expect to spend about €25.00 for a decent meal.
Another great option for typical Catalan food here is Nou Celler. This is a spot for Catalan ‘market gastronomy’. Expect to pay about €30.00 a person.
For more ideas check out my list of best restaurants in Barcelona.
Stop #2: La Sagrada Familia – 1 h
Stomachs full, we restart the trip to admire one of the most incredible sights in the world: La Sagrada Familia.
To get there we head back to Via Laietana and jump on the metro at Jaume I (L4, towards Trinitat Nova) and get off at Verdaguer. From here we change to the blue line (L5) and get off at Sagrada Familia.
If you’ve bought your tickets online this is mandatory. If you haven’t you’re going to wait a long time, so make sure you’ve made the arrangements beforehand to truly appreciate this world class monument.
That said, even looking at it from the outside is an experience in itself.
Stop #3: Passeig de Gracia and Gaudi – 1.5 h
Let’s get back on the blue line (L5) and get off at Diagonal.
From here we exit at Passeig de Gracia and walk downhill in the direction of the sea. Here we see the origins of Catalan modernism and the two crown jewels of the city: La Pedrera and Casa Batllo.
Normally you’ll need about 90 minutes to visit either one of these buildings properly but you can get a very good sense of one of them using about an hour of your time. Just make sure you book online first.
If you haven’t eaten already there’s El Nacional (Passeig de Gracia 24), an elegant multi-restaurant dining space which covers all cuisines of the Iberian Peninsula.
Stop #4: Plaça de Catalunya and Back – 1 h
We finish off heading downhill until we reach the unmistakable Plaça Catalunya: the city’s unifying square.
If you’re not too tired you can walk back down La Rambla and after about 10 minutes find one of the world’s best food markets La Boqueria on your right.
Grab one of the delicious €1.50 fruit smoothies or try a sampling of classic Serrano ham.
From here you walk another 10 minutes downhill and you’re right back where you started at the Columbus Statue, where you’ll be able to take the shuttle back to the cruise port.
If you’re too tired for the last bit simply take the green line (L3) of the metro from Plaça Catalunya to Drassanes.
Cruise Ship Passenger Itinerary: 1 Day
For this itinerary I recommend doing the 6 hour tour above and adding one or more of the following:
Extra Stop #1: La Barceloneta – 1 h
Why not start the day off with a quick dip at Barcelona’s beaches?
Especially in summer a walk along the beach and a quick aperitif in Barcelona’s seaside barrio is a must. Take bus D20 from the Columbus Statue all the way to Platja de la Barceloneta (Barceloneta Beach).
Here we take a walk up and down the promenade for some refreshing sea air. If you want a quick suntan or swim I recommend heading towards the sail-shaped tower (the W Hotel) for cleaner waters, but be quick!
From here it’s back on the D20 to the foot of Via Laietana to start the our visit of the Born neighbourhood.
Extra Stop #2: Park Guell – 1.5 h
The fairytale-like, surreal Park Guell completes our visit of Gaudi’s masterpieces.
This walk through Barcelona nature takes us to the famous lizard fountain, a bizarre column temple, and a massive terrace overlooking the city with its emblematic mosaic benches made famous by movies like Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
The view from here is incredible.
In my article on Park Guell you find everything you need to know about visiting, the history, and even the design but please: buy your tickets online. You don’t want to be asked to come back for a later time slot.
Remember that there is a bit of an uphill walk from the bus/metro so those with limited mobility may want to consider a taxi for this portion of the route.
Since the park closes late (in summer at 9:30 pm) I suggest saving this stop on the tour for last, to really enjoy the sunset. You could add this stop after you’ve arrived back to Plaça Catalunya (mentioned in the 6 hour itinerary). From here take bus 24 or the metro green line (L3) to Vallcarca.
You’ll probably be hungry after all that walking, right?
The ideal place for dinner in the classic village neighbourhood of Gracia, with it’s lively squares and diverse offering of bars. To get to Gracia retake the metro from Vallcarca and get off at Fontana.
If you’re looking for traditional Catalan food head for Bilbaro (Carrer del Perill 33). Here you’ll find an old school elegance that’s all but lost in Barcelona. Local couples out on romantic Barcelona nights and waiters dressed to the nines. Try the beef filet! Expect to pay about €35.00 with wine.
If instead you’re in the mood for something a bit more casual I suggest tapas. One of my favourites in the area is Polleria Fontana (Carrer de Sant Lluis 9), a hole in the wall restaurant that used to be a chicken store.
Some great dishes to try (and share) here are the grilled octopus, Russian potato salad with grilled tuna, and the always recommended potato croquettes with ham. Average price here with wine is about €20.00-€25.00.
Essential Barcelona Cruise Passenger Information
Make sure you buy your attraction tickets in advance online because lines can cost you hours.
I recommend this for regular visitors as well. You can save up to 20% off ticket window prices and skip the lines like a VIP. For cruise ship passengers on short schedules it becomes essential.
One thing to have handy to save time is a map of the city.
If you’re visiting with a European Union SIM card you’ll be happy to know you can fire up Google Maps any time. As of June 2017 there are no roaming charges for European visitors.
Visiting on a cruise from overseas instead?
There should be enough free WiFi around but cheap pocket WiFi is available if needed.
Credit/Debit Cards vs. Cash
All European credit and debit cards should work without issue. Other standard Visa and Mastercard credit/debit cards from overseas should also work.
American cruise ship visitors beware: PIN-less chip cards won’t work at automated kiosks. These cards requiring signature verification will only work with a clerk present.
I recommend you keep a little extra cash on hand in this case.
How to Get Around Barcelona
Barcelona cruise ship passengers tend to use the Drassanes metro station for quick access to Plaça Catalunya, Passeig de Gracia, Parc Guell and the area around Plaça Espanya.
If you prefer taking buses you’ll find various lines here. The D20 will take you to the beaches around Barceloneta, while the V13 will take you to Plaça Universidad, where in 5 minutes you’ll be able to get to Plaça Catalunya.
If you’re staying more than a few hours you should consider getting a discount travel pass.
Bus Turistic (Hop on Hop off Bus)
This hop on hop off bus is the best option for visiting the city on limited time.
Here you’ll be able to get a good taste of the city’s greatest attractions without worrying about getting lost and wasting time on the transport.
Remember that the Bus Turistic stop is right at the World Trade Center cruise terminal. If you prefer to continue ahead there is also one at Drassanes metro. Both are on the red line.
There are a ton of people wanting to get on so I suggest buying your tickets in advance to skip lining up for tickets. Buying online also gets you a 10% discount, who doesn’t want that?
Free Now is Spain’s new taxi-sharing app similar to Uber but using the city’s regulated taxis. It’ll allow you to get around the city with licensed drivers driving modern cars.
Yes, you could get the same service by hailing one randomly or going to the cruise port taxi stand but if you sign up using my instructions you’ll get €5.00 off your first ride.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to download an app.
EU visitors should be able to do this with ease as roaming charges are now a thing of the past. For my overseas readers you’ll be able to do this easily with the WiFi aboard the cruise ship and have the driver meet you at the dock.
The good thing about Free Now is all prices are known in advance. The driver literally can’t rip you off.
The flat rate for taxis from the cruise port to the airport (and vice versa) is €39.00.
Still Need Info on Travelling to the Barcelona Cruise Port?
It’s not easy being a tourist in a new place but it’s not easy trying to provide all the information to an old place either! 😉
If I’ve missed something and you’ve got any questions about the Barcelona cruise port or anything else regarding your upcoming holiday please get at me in the comments below ASAP.
September 16, 2018 at 5:05 pmHello Ash, Thank you for the lovely and helpful description of Barcelona and Vicinity.Me and my husband are going on a cruise on 23rd Sep till 30th Morning we have 2 days till we fly back home can you suggest good hotels and thing to cover in those 2 days. We are going on the western Mediterranean cruise which Includes PalmaDe Mallorca,Marseille,Florence,Rome,Naples.what are your suggestions about sight seeing in these places since the cruise is charging us an arm and a leg.Last but not the least how to transfer from airport to the Pier.help in this matter is greatly appreciated. Jyothi Varma
September 17, 2018 at 9:15 amHi Jyothi, First off if you haven't already I'd suggest taking a look at the hotels I've mentioned above which are perfect for people arriving or departing via the cruise terminal. Unfortunately since I haven't lived in all these other places I don't have much to suggest for them... in fact other than a few food things related to Italy (eating bistecca fiorentina in Florence and pasta cacio e pepe and pasta ammatriciana in Rome) I wouldn't want to give you a wrong suggestion. Also, again I'm going to have to refer you to the article as I have in depth explanations of how to get to the port from the airport. My top suggestion is always the Aerobus, but you're free to take a look at the text above and make a decision. For sightseeing I couldn't have said it any better than my list of the top 19 things to do in Barcelona. Ash
May 6, 2018 at 2:34 pmHi Ash, Your information is amazing! Big Thank you from me, arriving for the first time from India. Our time is in 2 slots in Barcelona : Slot 1: Arriving in Barcelona saturday 26th may and leaving for our cruise on 28th. We stay at hostal goya close to placa catalunya. Slot 2: We'll be back 4th june morning and leave early morning 5th june.We are then staying at eric vokel apts grassot. 2 questions : Will the Barcelona city card make financial sense for both legs of our visit? We are a group of 3 adults and 2 kids , aged 13. The aerobus will drop us off very conveniently we hope, for the hostal goya. Would appreciate your advice -How best can we plan our Barcelona visit : basically the saturday evening+one whole sunday and half a monday (a week later) we have in barcelona? Which day for which sight is where I'm getting stuck. Thanks so much. Sarika
May 7, 2018 at 9:09 amHi Sarika, Thanks so much for the compliments! I am glad I can help :) First off the Aerobus will be super convenient for you guys since it drops you off about 200 meters from your lodging. The great thing about the City Pass is the flexibility and I think since you can use it for both legs of the trip it's worth the investment, if not only just for the skip the line ability in high season. Just remember that you'll have to have all the 20% discounted tickets booked within 5 days of your first arrival. Not a big deal, but something to keep in mind. I would use chunks of my 3 day itinerary to make things work around your schedule. https://www.barcelonahacks.com/3-days-in-barcelona/ For example, for the full Sunday you could simply do the entire day 1 of my itinerary (essentially Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Casa Batllo + La Pedrera) since it includes the most wanted attractions. You could use the super informative Bus Turistic to get around (included in the pass, cool thing that kids like and learn from). For the 'half Monday' you could do the first half of day 2 of my itinerary (including Gothic Quarter, Las Ramblas, and Barceloneta). For the Saturday evening grab yourself a nice dinner and check out the Magic Fountain show. With any extra time you could also fit in a few more attractions depending on your tastes, but again I think this would be the best way to make use of your time and seeing the main attractions. Please let me know if you have any more questions! Always here to help :) Ash
March 13, 2018 at 3:19 pmAsh- I found your website when googling Barcelona for our upcoming trip. What a great resource of information, thanks so much! We are a family of five flying from the United States into Barcelona the morning of July 28 and will be leaving on a cruise on July 29. My thought is to take a taxi to our hotel and store our luggage there and get on the hop on/hop off bus tour. That day we would like to see Park Guell and Camp Nou and I know you suggest to prebook tickets, but what times do you think? Then I thought we could book tickets for Sagrada Familia on Sunday, July 29 for first thing in the morning and see that attraction before we board our cruise ship. Is that a decent plan or should we try to see that the day we arrive. I know we will be jet lagged. We will also be staying one night when we arrive back to Barcelona, August 5 before heading back to the United States August 6. That day we will see some of the other sites you suggest. Do you think a trip to Montserrat that Sunday is worth it or should we stay in Barcelona and visit other places? We have booked Ona Hotel Mosaic for one night pre cruise and one night post cruise. There are so many hotels it was difficult to choose, ha. We are hoping that is a central area for visiting the city. Thanks, Kate
March 14, 2018 at 12:22 amThanks so much Ash! I may be asking more questions as we get closer to July.
March 14, 2018 at 11:42 amThat's great Kate, and I'll be here with an answer :) Talk soon.
March 13, 2018 at 5:44 pmHello Kate, Thanks for the compliments and I'm glad I can be a good resource for you :) Let's see, provided you get into town on time and aren't terribly jetlagged it's not too ambitious to grab the Bus Turistic and get off for visits at Park Guell and Camp Nou. Since the Bus Tour runs in only one way you'll be better off seeing Park Guell first... I'd get the tickets for just after you eat and get mobile (which honestly could be around noon or one, gotta plan for unforeseen stuff!)... I'd push it back a little just to be safe, so try to get your tickets for around 12:30/1 pm. You'll spend about 90 minutes there maximum then hop back on the bus. I'd again leave another hour in between the two just in case you wanna get off at another stop, have a snack etc. I'd schedule the Camp Nou Tour for either 3 pm or 4 pm, not late enough to interfere with any dinner plans or before you lose all hope in humanity when the jet lag sets in haha. The next morning for Sagrada is better in my opinion because that way you're not trying to be world-beaters after a long flight. It would be way too much otherwise. Get the early entrance at 9 am and you'll be done by 10:30. For the Sunday if you're really interested in getting out into nature, getting some fresh air, maybe even taking a hike or a religious excursion then Montserrat is a great choice. Especially in summer it's gorgeous up there and a great contrast to your cruise. I recommend it wholeheartedly, though if for some reason the other attractions in Barcelona tickle your fancy a bit more that is an equally good choice. Let's call this one a matter of preference. Also, I've taken a look and it looks like your hotel is quite central so don't worry about the location! OK, that's it for now. Remember the times I'm referring to are times offered through the links in my website! Other ticket options may offer different times so make sure you click through to book: http://visitenglish.barna.ticketbar.eu/en/attractions/fc-barcelona-stadium-tour-/ http://visitenglish.barna.ticketbar.eu/en/attractions/park-guell-skip-the-line-tickets-/ http://visitenglish.barna.ticketbar.eu/en/sagrada-familia/ Any more questions I am certainly here :) Cheers, Ash
February 20, 2018 at 4:26 pmWhat an amazing site!!!! My 71 year young husband and myself will be travelling to Barcelona arriving on the 27th June at 09.35 and joining a cruise on the 29th June. We are from South Africa and have never travelled to Spain, nor have we ever been on a cruise! We have a booking at the Medinaceli Hotel, Barcelona Catalunya for the nights of the 27th and 28th. Due a back problem, my husband is not capable of walking any far distances but we would like to experience as much as we can. We have arranged private transfers to and from the airport so that is covered. Any suggestions to make the most of our time would be greatly appreciated. We chose not to include breakfasts at the hotel as we would like to experience true local food. I am a lover of food and would like to experience the true flavours of Barcelona without the pretentions and high prices. Thanks in advance, Annette
February 20, 2018 at 7:58 pmHi Annette, Thanks for writing in with your very kind words, I am glad I can help :) The trip you've got planned seems very exiting! First off I'll say that in case you didn't catch it in this article, a great way to see the maximum amount of sites for people with limited mobility is the Bus Turistic (the hop on hop off bus). There's a discount for 65+ riders which can be found and bought online at the following link: https://www.barcelonahacks.com/hop-on-hop-off-barcelona/ The Medinaceli Hotel is really close to the famous Boqueria market and I really recommend getting there super early and trying one of the traditional Spanish breakfasts. Try and get in at Bar Pintoxo for the traditional garbanzo beans and blood sausage or their fantastic aubergine omlette. I've outlined how to do it in my article below: https://www.barcelonahacks.com/la-boqueria-market-barcelona/#restaurants Also nearby is the classic breakfast/coffee spot called Granja Viader: you'll need to try the churros con chocolate there (a type of fried donut with a heavy chocolate sauce)... it's number 2 on my list o traditional Spanish breakfast places which can be found here: https://www.barcelonahacks.com/breakfast-barcelona/ For a traditional Spanish place completely devoid of pretenses I suggest La Cova Fumada, you'll get amazing tapas there. I've got a list of the city's traditional dishes and where to try them here: https://www.barcelonahacks.com/what-to-eat-in-barcelona/ For a two day itinerary I'd say the can't miss attractions are the Sagrada Familia church, Park Guell, and both La Pedrera and Casa Batllo mansions on the ruta de modernisme. Keep in mind the city is quite accessible for taxis and you'll not end up paying more than about 8-12 per ride... with limited mobility this could be a great option and I've got cab taking tips here: https://www.barcelonahacks.com/barcelona-taxi-guide/ Anyway, if something is lacking please let me know but I think you're off to a good start with what I've suggested. Have a nice day :) Ash