Spain is becoming an ever more popular departure and stopover point for Mediterranean cruises. Year after year, more and more people opt to spend a few days at Mediterranean destinations in Spain at the beginning or end of their cruises, to discover cities such as Barcelona (Europe's number one cruise departure port), Palma de Mallorca, Valencia and Malaga. Take note - there is much to see.

Cruise holidays are a rapidly growing phenomenon in Spain. The number of passengers coming ashore from cruise liners at Spanish ports is on the increase year by year. Many tourists from all over the world choose a Mediterranean cruise for their holidays, and Spanish cities are becoming ever more important stops on these itineraries. They are destinations with loads to offer, with art, culture, entertainment, excellent beaches and delicious gastronomy. What more could you ask for?

Art and culture in Barcelona

Besides stopovers at places of interest en route, there are also many cruises that combine dry-land stays with the time at sea, either before embarking or at the end of the cruise. This means that if passengers are keen on a particular place, then they can take their time to discover it fully. In Spain, Barcelona and Majorca are two favourite places for tourists to spend a few days before or after their cruise.

Barcelona is modern and cosmopolitan, and you will love its contrasts. Here, design and the latest trends live side by side with tradition and history, creating a unique atmosphere. You will see for yourself if you take a stroll through the old part of the city, taking in the busy Rambla Avenue, the lively port area and the Gothic Quarter, with its medieval atmosphere. Not forgetting, of course, its stunning Modernist heritage, where the work of Gaudí stands out especially, with places such as the Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Casa Batlló House and Güell Park, which have the UNESCO World Heritage designation.

Mediterranean spirit

Majorca, in the Balearic Islands, is close behind. Here you will find some of the Mediterranean's most beautiful coves and beaches. There are many different options to enjoy this destination: for example, you can discover the beautiful monuments of the capital Palma, go on an excursion into the Sierra de Tramuntana Mountains or even play golf at one of the hole courses to be found on the island. Another place becoming more popular to board a cruise is Malaga. You will love this city on the Costa del Sol, in Andalusia, too. It has excellent golf courses, wonderful beaches and is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. A visit to its Picasso Museum will allow you to take a close look at the work of this artistic genius.

There are other places on Spain's Mediterranean coast that are frequent stops for cruise liners: Ibiza, Minorca and Valencia are three of them. The first, Ibiza, awaits you with its renowned nightlife, its street markets, the historic centre of Eivissa (Ibiza Town), which has the World Heritage designation, and the Sa Caleta and Puigs de Molins archaeological sites.

In Minorca you will find valuable prehistoric remains as well, such as those at Mahón and Ciutadella, along with a real natural oasis: the S’Albufera d’Es Grau Nature Reserve, one of southern Europe's most important ornithological areas. Valencia is another place not to be missed. The city is renowned internationally for its delicious paella, but it has much more to offer: from outstanding artistic heritage, with monuments such as the Cathedral and the Silk Exchange, to the avant-garde cultural complex - the Arts and Sciences Centre.

Get your holiday ready now, plan your itinerary and enjoy the Mediterranean Sea in Spain. You will be keen to return.

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