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Barcelona Cruise Passengers - Planning a History Tour
The Romans formed the old city of Barcino on top of Mons Taber hill in the year 15BC, and remnants of this old city can still be seen in the city's Gothic Quarter. Fortunately for cruise passengers, this is a simple ten-minute walk from the cruise terminal. Head straight from the terminal, past the old dockyards which now house the fantastic Maritime Museum (free on the first Sunday of the month, if you happen to be there on that day!) and you'll reach the foot of the most famous street in Barcelona; Las Ramblas, with Christopher Columbus towering above you pointing to the Americas.

Las Ramblas itself used to be a dry river bed which separated the old roman walls, and any trip to Barcelona is incomplete without a stroll along this tree-lined boulevard. Marvel at the artists and sketches on offer as you wander deeper into history, and around a third of the way up, take a right into Carrer Ferran. This mainly pedestrian street leads to the old Roman Forum - nowadays Plaça Sant Jamue - which now houses the city's town hall and Catalan Government Palace. Continue past these more modern buildings, and you will find the City History Museum, which is the largest underground evacuation of a Roman Site in Europe, and immaculately kept. If you happen to be visiting in the summer, it is an amazing experience to take the elevator underground, literally back centuries to the air-conditioned streets below the bustling Gothic Quarter above you. This museum is also free on the first Saturday of the month.

Next on your history trip is the city's main cathedral, and is easily accessed from Placa Sant Jaume, so head back up the street two minutes, and take Carrer Bisbe for the picture postcard view of the bridge of sighs - Barcelona's own is just as photographed as it's namesake in Venice! This street will lead you to the front of the city's main Cathedral, where you can marvel at the Gothic architecture and perhaps stop for a spot of lunch around one of the many pavement cafes.

After your tapas lunch, enjoy getting lost though the winding streets of the Gothic Quarter and make your way back to Las Ramblas. Heading South, you'll find Carrer Nou de la Rambla to your right, and this will be your next brush with Barcelona's history, and one which has received accolades too. Just along the street, you'll find Antonin Gaudi's Palau Güell, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and a fantastic introduction to the Catalan Architect's works. If you're there early enough, and queues are not too long, you might want to pay a partial visit to the building for free, which includes the façade, entrance and the basement. If not, then take a few snaps and continue on your way, until you reach the crossroads of Carrer Sant Ologuer. Here, take a quick right towards the Rambla del Raval, and then a left onto Carrer Sant Pau.

Carrer Sant Pau is home to one of Barcelona's hidden gems - Sant Pau del Camp - the oldest church in Barcelona. This is a raw, stone construction which is exactly the same on the inside as the outside no gold, no icons, no statues, just the stone and the altar. If time permits, then pay a visit to the cloister and read up on the sketchy and turbulent history the church has had to endure.

After you've finished in the church, continue to the end of Carrer Sant Pau to Parallel, and head down into the metro station in the direction of the Funicular train. This is included in your metro ticket pas, and it is not necessary to pay again once you've entered the system. Ride the Funicular up to Montjüic mountain, and step outside and directly onto the fantastic cable car ride which will transport you up to the top of Montjüic and the castle. The castle used to house the military museum a reminder of the Franco years - but was recently given back to Barcelona and offers fantastic panoramic views of the city and the port (and likely your cruise ship!) while combining historical elements such as the cannons and magnificent gardens which play host to open air cinema during the summer.

Finally, to return to your destination, take the funicular down to Parallel again, and then wander south on Avenida Parallel towards the sea. You'll pass the old Roman Walls on your right, with the Portal de Santa Madrona, a magnificent reminder of the history you've been lucky enough to witness on your cruise day trip!
About the Author
David Brydon has been living in Barcelona for 10 years and writes about Apartments for rent in Barcelona and Barcelona apartments for groups.
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