Cruises to Spain offer sparkling coastlines, stunning landscapes, intriguing history, lively culture, amazing architecture and mouth-watering food and wine. Here are a few of the beautiful port towns many cruise lines call on.
Considered one of the most dynamic cities in the Mediterranean, Barcelona showcases astounding art and architecture alongside inspiring coastal views. Only in this beautiful city can you discover the masterful art of Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso and the famous Modernisme works of Antoni Gaudí, gothic churches, ornate cathedrals, cutting-edge fashions and world-class dining.
Here, in the Catalonia region of Spain, the Catalans traditionally eat three-course meals with an emphasis on meat, seafood and olives. Spain’s rich soil gave birth to several wine regions, so you will find quality wines in abundance at extremely budget-friendly prices wherever you dine.
The city’s most popular attraction is Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Família, with good reason. This magnificent functioning basilica is perhaps the best example of the beautiful and interesting Modernisme style of architecture, with its bold tile-work and swirling configurations. Construction of this church began in 1882 and is forecasted to be completed by 2026, with the addition of six new towers. The intricate carving on the outside depicting Christian religious stories is as captivating as the colored glass windows reflecting an array of rainbow colors on the cavernous inside. For Gaudí’s more playful designs, stop at Park Güell to rest and enjoy the colorful mosaic benches and gardens.
Other worthwhile activities while in port include witnessing the masterful work on display at both the Museu Picasso in the Gothic Quarter and the Salvador Dalí Museum—Portlligat Museum-House—in Costa Brava, spending hours perusing the international stalls at La Boqueria market, and strolling past the trendy cafes and inventive, living statues of La Rambla.
The next most common and popular cruise port is Malaga, the ideal place to serve as your base for exploring Spain’s southern region of Andalusia and the Golden Triangle cities of Seville, Grenada and Cordoba. You’ll find plenty of sea, sand and sun in this area along the Costa del Sol.
Throughout Andalusia, you can dine on the southern Spain custom of small plates or tapas. The favorite is a salty but savory Iberian ham (jamón ibérico) made from pigs fed mostly acorns, olives and other natural food, served drenched in locally-made olive oil and seasoned with savory herbs. Southern Spain is also where the artful Flamenco dance was invented. Take in a show and feel the vibrations of the stomping on the wood floor resonate through your body and watch flowing red dresses swirl around beautiful raven-haired dancers as they perform intricate footwork to strumming guitars and wailing singers that tell stories from Spain’s past.
A few hours from the coast, explore the city of Granada with its fascinating fusion of Arab and European culture. Spain’s most visited monument, the magnificent medieval palace Alhambra perched high overlooking the city, was built in the 14th century and housed the sultans that lived on the Iberian Peninsula. Meander through room after room of exquisite, colorful tile work and hear ancient tales of concubines and the daily lives of the privileged ruling sultans during the Moorish dynasty. Get lost in acres of perfectly manicured hedges, bushes and flower gardens on the expansive palace grounds.
In Córdoba, wander through the charming, hilly cobblestone streets of the former Jewish quarter, with bright pink flowers adorning terraces and windows perfect for photo opportunities. Córdoba’s magnificent mosque Mezquita, built during the 9th century, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a dazzling geometric spectacle. Catch your breath as you take in row after row of double arches with alternating red and white stones, perched on top of marble pillars, for an astounding sight.
In Seville, you will see the Muslim influence in the town’s Moorish architecture. The Alcázar of Seville is the city’s top gem with a unique blend of Muslim and Christian influences. Weave your way past pillars and underneath archways adorned with intricate plaster designs to tranquil courtyards with fountains. Seville’s Cathedral is Europe’s second-largest cathedral and the world’s third-largest church. The gilded religious scenes and the entombed remains of the famous explorer, Christopher Columbus, make this truly a sight to behold.
Would you like to see the splendors of Spain in person? Our travel experts can plan a vacation crafted to match your personality and interests so that you get the most out of your experience. Contact us today to begin planning your getaway.