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  • Writer's pictureTheresa Brandt

Make Your River Cruise Even Better with a Barcelona Stay

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

Sagrada Familia
The Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudí's renowned unfinished church.

Wouldn't it be great to hold on to that pleasant vacation feeling a little longer? Consider adding a land package to your Rhone River cruise. With a stay in Barcelona after your sailing you can explore this richly historical, artistic, and cultural city, enjoying exquisite cuisine and exploring its iconic architecture.

Here are 3 of my top suggestions!

Tour the Gothic Quarter

One of its many claims to fame, Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter features the Placa de Sant Jaume, the original location of the Roman forum. Today, take a tour of the Palau de la Generalitat (seat of the Catalan government) and the ornate Barcelona City Hall. From the ancient Temple of Augustus to today, this square is a place for the Spanish people to be heard.

Visit the Sagrada Familia

No visit to Barcelona is complete without admiring the most notable work by architect Antoni Gaudi. Seven of his buildings have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including this, the largest unfinished Catholic church in the world. You really can’t miss it, rising majestically over the city skyline, with a backdrop of the surrounding hillsides and mountains.

Marvel at the church’s intricate Gothic details, as well as its nature- and Christianity-inspired elements. It’s been being built since 1882 and is scheduled to be completed in 2026, which is the 100-year anniversary of Gaudi’s death. As Gaudi famously said, “My client [God] is in no hurry.” You’ll soon come to appreciate his patience as he made gradual, but consistent progress on this incredible church over the years.

Climb a Golden Stairway

Got your attention? At the top of said stairway, you’ll find the Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria de Montserrat, home of the famous art piece, the Virgin of Montserrat - also known as the Black Madonna.

Declared the patroness of Catalonia in 1844 by Pope Leo XIII, the statue, set on an altar of gold, depicts the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus. Most of the statue is behind a protective plate of glass, except for one of the Virgin’s hands, which holds a golden sphere said to represent the universe. Visitors will often touch the Virgin’s hand while holding their other hand to Jesus.

Most river-cruise extensions include two or three nights at a 5-star city hotel, breakfast each morning, convenient transfers between your ship and your hotel, guided tours highlighting the top sightseeing attractions, and in some instances, you'll even be accompanied by the cruise manager you've already come to know and love from your ship.

Barcelona is just one of many European gems that would be a fine add-on to your river cruise. Looking for more inspiration? Reach out by booking a consultation through my Services page. I'd love to chat!


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