- Air-conditioned and licensed round-trip transportation from your excursion meeting point!
- English-speaking certified guides!
- See two of Gaudi's UNESCO World Heritage Sites!
- Free time to explore the Spanish Village!
- Walking orientation of Barcelona's Gothic Quarter!
- View the scenic countryside of Catalonia!
- Visit the Royal Basilica of Montserrat!
- Ride the scenic cogwheel train up to the monastery!
- Free time to view La Moreneta, the black Virgin of Montserrat!
This is a full-day adventure to see the best of Barcelona's highlights and experience the incredible Montserrat Basilica and cogwheel train ride!
Your meeting point is a 20-minute taxi ride from your Barcelona cruise pier where you will be greeted by your guide staff then you'll board the air-conditioned transport to start the highlights portion. You will drive up Passeig de Gracia to see the exterior of Antoni Gaudi's La Pedrera (Casa Mila) and Casa Batllo, two of the seven Gaudi buildings on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Both structures are very unique in shape and design.
The route will continue with a 20-minute drive across town to the site of the Olympic Village and Olympic Port, built for the games in 1992. They are now living and entertainment venues for locals. You will continue along the harbor passing the Barceloneta, Port Vell, and the Plaza de Colon with its famous Columbus monument. This plaza anchors one end of the famous La Rambla pedestrian street.
Next, you will board a cable car for a ten-minute ride to Montjuic Mountain offering panoramic views of the city in all directions. The bus will pick you up at the last cable car station and continue the route up the mountain passing by the sports facilities for the Olympic Games, the Fundacio Joan Miro museum, and stops at the Spanish Village also known as Poble Espanyol. You will have approximately 45 minutes on your own to visit this charming collection of traditional buildings from all over Spain, and a demonstration of a selection of handcrafts made in this country. This excursion is full of photo opportunities!
Departing Montjuic, you will pass the Palau Nacional, from the 1929 International Exhibition, the Venetian Towers, Montjuic fountains and the Las Arenas mall, rebuilt from the ancient Plaza de Toros. Arriving at Plaza de Catalunya approximately 30 minutes later, you will set out on a guided walking excursion of some of the highlights of the Gothic quarter, including the exterior of the Gothic Cathedral. The walking portion of your Barcelona highlights excursion is approximately 40 minutes, ending back at the Plaza.
You will then have approximately 90 minutes to have lunch on your own. The Plaza offers everything from fast food and tapas to sit-down restaurants. Your guide will assist you with any suggestions you might need.
After lunch, your air-conditioned bus will head to the mountain of Montserrat and its Benedictine Monastery, located approximately 90 minutes northwest of Barcelona. The drive will take you through picturesque farmland passing occasional small villages in contrast to the jagged, serrated peaks of Montserrat. The peaks have been carved over the centuries by the wind and rain and can be seen long before you arrive. They stretch a massive 4,051 feet upwards.
Upon arrival, you will board a cogwheel railway to make the scenic 15-minute climb to the basilica. The rail follows the dramatic shape of the mountain, offering panoramic views of the valley and the mountain peaks.
When you reach the upper station, you will join your guide and climb several flights of steps up to reach the plaza of the Royal Basilica of Montserrat. The monastery was started in 1025 AD, built on earlier Roman ruins, and soon began to receive pilgrims and visitors who spread the stories of miracles and wonders performed by the Virgin. In the late 12th century, a Romanesque carving of La Moreneta (the Black Virgin) was acquired by the monastery and it has drawn pilgrims ever since where it is on display. For the past 1,000 years, the Royal Basilica has been one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Spain.
You will have a short 30-minute orientation then you will be given free time to explore on your own. You may explore inside and out. You will have the opportunity to view the Black Virgin from a passageway that circles behind the altar where she is located. You have the opportunity to taste some of the handmade liquors, Aromes del Montserrat, made by the monks. There are a museum, restaurants, and shops, as well. You will meet your guide at the given time and walk to your waiting coach for the drive back to Barcelona. The program ends at the Placa de Catalunya. From here, you may choose to return to the cruise ship directly, at your own expense, or explore and return at your leisure if time allows. Taxis are readily available.
PLEASE NOTE: The cable car does not operate from approximately January 25 to about Feb. 14 (dates may vary). Transportation to Montjuic will be by coach in both directions. During this period, the cable car ride will be replaced with a sampling of tapas.