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Proud capital of Spain’s Catalonia province, Barcelona offers an unrivaled blend of historic treasures, cosmopolitan culture, and architectural showpieces, all underlined by a spectacular culinary scene. This is the city of Antoni Gaudí, the modernisme architect whose surreal style changed the cityscape with works like La Sagrada Família Cathedral. This is a famously gracious city where wide, tree-lined boulevards were made for strolling, intimate tapas and wine bars were made for lingering, and richly historic quarters and artistic institutions were made for deep exploring. Immerse yourself in Barcelona and find out what Catalonians are so passionate about.
Board an overnight flight to Barcelona, Spain
Today you’ll board an overnight flight to begin your pre-trip extension in Barcelona.
Welcome to Barcelona!
Arrive this morning in Barcelona, the vibrant capital of Spain’s Catalonia region. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport and assist with the transfer to your hotel. You arrive this evening in time for an orientation walk and dinner at the hotel with your fellow expeditioners.
Walking tour of Barcelona
This morning you'll embark on a panoramic city tour that spotlights highlights such as the port and Olympic Village, the beaches of Barceloneta, the Plaza de España, and the Gran Vía. You’ll also see the exterior of the surreal La Sagrada Família basilica, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the modernist masterpiece of Antoni Gaudí, the visionary architect responsible for much of Barcelona’s design profile. Individual tickets with audioguides will be provided to you, alongside ample time to explore all areas of this masterpiece. Lunch is at a local restaurant, followed by an afternoon at leisure.
You'll definitely want to explore more of Barcelona, and few cities match it for the sheer pleasure of its strolls. Las Ramblas is ideal for walking, a generous and lovely pedestrian zone of street performers and boutique shops stretching from Plaça de Catalunya to Port Vell. Dinner is on your own tonight, and you’ll want to stop at one of the city’s famed tapas bars. This small-plate experience typifies all that is Barcelona: relaxed, social, and eager to indulge in fine, fresh cuisine.
Exploring Barcelona on your own
Today is free for you to take in the sophisticated culture of Barcelona. You might spend time along the Passieg de Gràcia, the city’s most beautiful street, to explore some of its most notable modernisme structures, three of them located in the “Block of Discord,” so named for the ways in which these buildings shattered artistic conventions of their day. The Casa Batllo is Gaudí’s eerily fascinating “House of Bones.” Next door, the gabled Casa Amatller features Renaissance touches; it was designed for a local chocolatier. And the Casa Lleó Morera is one of the city’s best examples of modernisme architecture for its seamless natural and organic motifs. If you wish, you may join an optional tour to Figueres and its Salvador Dali Museum and Girona, a richly hued pastiche of Gothic churches, medieval walls and modernisme mansions.
Throughout the day, your fellow cruise tour travelers will be arriving. You’ll meet them this evening at a welcome briefing and dinner. Tomorrow, as they acclimate with a city tour, you still have one more included feature of your pre-trip extension to enjoy: your excursion to the magnificent abbey at Montserrat.
Ascension to a stunning mountain abbey
Leave the city behind today to visit the astonishing Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey. This Benedictine monastery was founded in the 11th century and is still overseen by some 70 monks. Its setting is as inspiring as its basilica, nestled among the crags of a mountain slope in an otherworldly landscape of dome-like rock formations. You will see the revered Black Virgin in the basilica and have ample time to admire the sweeping views of the Catalonian countryside. Back in Barcelona, you might spend your free afternoon among the greenery of Parc de Montjuic, accessible via an aerial tram from the port. Cultural Discovery: This evening, head out to enjoy a festive flamenco performance, a fiery performance of music and dance by a local troupe.
Tomorrow, you will rejoin your larger base tour group and proceed with Day 4 of your Barcelona-Lisbon cruise tour.
London's gems are as plentiful as those on the Crown Jewels. You'll discover many of them when you enhance your base tour with extra time in the United Kingdom’s capital. Your deluxe hotel is just steps away from some of the world’s best shopping, dining, and museums, and you’ll enjoy an included visit to the renowned British Museum and the chance to visit the celebrated city of Oxford and the birthplace of Winston Churchill on an optional tour. From classic pubs to world-renowned neighborhoods like Notting Hill, see why London has something spectacular for everyone!
Enjoy a day at leisure in London to explore on your own. Visit a coterie of museums, head to the famous Harrods or Marks & Spencer for some shopping. Lunch and dinner are on your own — ask your Concierge for suggestions or do as the locals do and head to the nearby pub! If you wish, join a full-day optional tour to Oxford, home of the revered university, and tour the UNESCO-listed Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill. Harry Potter fans will recognize many of Oxford’s landmarks from the films!
Leisure in London
Visit the British Museum, dedicated to much of human history, art, and culture. The first national public museum in the world houses an eye-opening 8 million artifacts spanning some six millennia. Enjoy a guided tour this morning, then take in more of London on your own before gathering for a Farewell Dinner this evening.
Transfer to London’s airport this morning for your return flight home.