13 NIGHT SUEZ CANAL & MEDITERRANEAN ADVENTURE STARTS HERE

Dubai , United Arab Emirates | Suez Canal (Passage) , Egypt | Suez Canal (Passage) , Egypt | Athens (Piraeus) , Greece | Valletta , Malta | Barcelona , Spain

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EXPLORER OF THE SEAS

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YOUR SHIP

EXPLORER OF THE SEAS

EXPLORER OF THE SEAS

A WILD WAY TO WANDER

If you're looking for a vacation that sizes up with Alaska in adventure, you've come to the right ship. Between glacier gazing and tundra trekking, hang ten on the FlowRider® surf simulator, flash back to the '80s in Fast Forward, and tease your taste buds with a Far East feast at Izumi.

DAY 1 - Departure Day

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

DEPARTS:
8:00 PM
CITY GLAM

DESERT SANDS

A taxi from the airport to the port or the center takes around 30 minutes. For an overview of this sprawling city, ascend the Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure in the world. Cruise from Dubai to step back in time in the Al Fahidi Historical District, and visit the Dubai Museum to learn about the fast evolution from fishing and pearling village to a global center of commerce, finance and tourism.

The Dubai Fountain on the Burj Khalifa Lake with skyscrapers in the background

A taxi from the airport to the port or the center takes around 30 minutes. For an overview of this sprawling city, ascend the Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure in the world. Cruise from Dubai to step back in time in the Al Fahidi Historical District, and visit the Dubai Museum to learn about the fast evolution from fishing and pearling village to a global center of commerce, finance and tourism.

The Dubai Fountain on the Burj Khalifa Lake with skyscrapers in the background
Things To Do

in Dubai

Woman in traditional muslim black dress in old arabic city district with mosque minaret in Al Fahidi Historical District of Dubai

Old Ways Still Alive

Stroll around the nicely restored Al Fahidi Historical District, where you can get an impression of life in this emirate before oil was discovered in the 1960s. Explore the narrow walking lanes with their sand-colored houses, cafes and galleries. Then visit Dubai Museum, built in 1787 and the oldest existing building in Dubai.

Aerial views of the city of Dubai from the top of the Burj Khalifa skyscraper

On Top of the World

Stand on the Burj Khalifa for breathtaking views of this extraordinary city. At 828 meters, this narrow tower is the world's tallest so far. It has an observation deck on the 124th and the 148th floor, and a restaurant-bar on the 122nd. Book tickets well in advance.

Classic historical buildings in Dubai before the oil boom in the 1960s

Maze of Modern Life

Head to Madinat Jumeirah, one of Dubai's most attractive developments. With your Dubai cruise, stroll along the desert-colored villas and hotels, alongside waterways with palms, banana trees and bougainvillea. Sit down in one of the trendy local cafes for a refreshing fruit juice. At the heart of this modern village lies Souq Madinat Jumeirah, a maze-like bazaar with shops lining wood-framed walkways.

Cooking grilled meat shawarma to make hot kebabs, a typical street food in Dubai

Local Cuisine

You'll be able to find food from anywhere around the globe here — but focus on the local fare for the most authentic experience with Dubai cruises. While you're out on the town, pick up a shawarma, shaved strips of spicy spit-roasted meat served in pita bread. Try manousheh, a flatbread topped with local Akkawi cheese and za'atar herbs. Slate your sweet tooth with luqaimat, fried dough balls spiced with saffron and cardamom.

Carpets found in the markets of Dubai

Shopping

Pick one of the large number of malls in this shopping Mecca. There's Dubai Mall, the world's largest shopping center, as well as the Mall of Emirates. For a more traditional experience, browse the colorful souqs in Bur Dubai and Deira for Persian carpets, Arabic coffee pots and other trinkets.

DAY 2 - AT SEA

CRUISING

CAN'T MISS FAVORITES

Young Woman Body Surfing Flowrider
Girl Climbing the Rock Wall while Parents Watch

Young Woman Body Surfing Flowrider
Girl Climbing the Rock Wall while Parents Watch

Things to Do

Girl Surfing Flowrider at Daytime with a Smile
FlowRider®

NOW BOARDING FOR ADVENTURE

Grab your board and get ready for 30,000 gallons of rushing awesome headed your way. The surf’s always up on the 40-foot-long FlowRider® surf simulator.

Man Climbing Down the Rock Wall
Rock Climbing Wall

A BOLDER BOULDER

Rise to the occasion and take on the signature Rock Climbing Wall. From beginners to speed climbers, everyone can enjoy an unparalleled view from 40 feet above deck. Included in your fare, no reservation required.

DAY 3 - AT SEA

CRUISING

FOR FOODIES

QN, Quantum, AN, Anthem, Jamie''s Italian, dynamic dining, cuisine, culinary image, Spinach Ricotta Rotolo, cheese, pasta, restaurant, dish
Salmon Salad bowl with Watercress served at Izumi, a fine dining Japanese Restaurant. One of our best vacation cruise dining.

QN, Quantum, AN, Anthem, Jamie''s Italian, dynamic dining, cuisine, culinary image, Spinach Ricotta Rotolo, cheese, pasta, restaurant, dish
Salmon Salad bowl with Watercress served at Izumi, a fine dining Japanese Restaurant. One of our best vacation cruise dining.

Things to Do

QN, Quantum, AN, Anthem, Jamie''s Italian, dynamic dining, cuisine, culinary image, Chicken Porcini Bruschetta, food, poultry, restaurant, dish
Jamie's Italian by Jamie Oliver

FAMOUSLY FANTASTIC ITALIAN

At Jamie's Italian by Jamie Oliver, you’ll enjoy Tuscan-inspired dishes like the crowd-pleasing Famous Plank and pastas made in-house — all crafted by one of Britain’s most famous chefs.

Assorted Sushi Rolls Platter served at Izumi, Japanese Restaurant. One of the best fine dining cuisine on a cruise.
Izumi

A FAR EAST FEAST

Say “Konnichiwa” to a reimagined favorite. Sushi, sashimi and more, all made-to-order with intense flavors, the best ingredients and impeccable presentation. Now that’s fresh.

DAY 4 - AT SEA

CRUISING

SHOW STOPPERS

Dancers on stage during Invitation to Dance Cruise Show in Explorer of the Seas

Dancers on stage during Invitation to Dance Cruise Show in Explorer of the Seas

Things to Do

Performers on stage during the Invitation to Dance Cruise Show on Radiance of the Seas
Invitation to Dance

RSVP TO THE BEAT

Live out your primetime dreams of dancing with the stars as a select few guests are invited to learn ballroom and Latin dance for a high-energy final production.

The logo of the Fast Forward original production by Royal Caribbean
Fast Forward

80s GREATS

Settle in for a blast from the past as Fast Forward brings you the best movies and musicals of the 1980s.

DAY 5 - AT SEA

CRUISING

LIGHTS OUT NIGHTS OUT

GR, R Bar, , Grandeur of the Seas,Public Spaces, Revitalization, Lounge, Couple Having Drinks,
Friends Enjoying Tropical Dreams in the Solarium

GR, R Bar, , Grandeur of the Seas,Public Spaces, Revitalization, Lounge, Couple Having Drinks,
Friends Enjoying Tropical Dreams in the Solarium

Things to Do

LB, Liberty of the Seas, young couple, man, woman, smiling, laughing, at R-Bar, R Bar, bartender serving mixed drinks, enjoy, enjoyment, fun,
R Bar

SHAKING UP THE CLASSICS

Vintage glamor comes alive at R Bar — serving classic cocktails, like gin martinis and Old Fashioneds, in a distinctly sophisticated setting.

Solarium Bar and cafe on the OA, Oasis of the Seas
Solarium Bar

SUN, SERENITY & SIPS

Does sitting in the whirlpool make you thirsty? Grab a drink at the nearby Solarium Bar.

DAY 6 - AT SEA

CRUISING

CAN'T MISS FAVORITES

Young Woman Body Surfing Flowrider
Girl Climbing the Rock Wall while Parents Watch

Young Woman Body Surfing Flowrider
Girl Climbing the Rock Wall while Parents Watch

Things to Do

Girl Surfing Flowrider at Daytime with a Smile
FlowRider®

NOW BOARDING FOR ADVENTURE

Grab your board and get ready for 30,000 gallons of rushing awesome headed your way. The surf’s always up on the 40-foot-long FlowRider® surf simulator.

Man Climbing Down the Rock Wall
Rock Climbing Wall

A BOLDER BOULDER

Rise to the occasion and take on the signature Rock Climbing Wall. From beginners to speed climbers, everyone can enjoy an unparalleled view from 40 feet above deck. Included in your fare, no reservation required.

DAY 7 - CRUISING

Suez Canal (Passage), Egypt

ARRIVES:
11:00 PM
CANAL BETWEEN

CONTINENTS

Admire the views as you journey down the 193 kilometer Suez Canal, the remarkable achievement of Egypt's belle epoque. On one side of the shore, you'll see Africa and on the other side Asia. See the historic buildings of Port Said at the Mediterranean Sea. Admire the view of the Suez Canal House, with its white facade and striking green domes, built for the 1869 inauguration.

The landscape around the Suez Canal
The Suez Canal bridge
Coastal view of the Suez Canal

Admire the views as you journey down the 193 kilometer Suez Canal, the remarkable achievement of Egypt's belle epoque. On one side of the shore, you'll see Africa and on the other side Asia. See the historic buildings of Port Said at the Mediterranean Sea. Admire the view of the Suez Canal House, with its white facade and striking green domes, built for the 1869 inauguration.

The landscape around the Suez Canal
The Suez Canal bridge
Coastal view of the Suez Canal
Things To Do

in Suez Canal (Passage)

The Port Said lighthouse

Landmark Lighthouse

See Port Said waterfront's quarter with its 19th-century villas. Fascinating historical buildings include the Lighthouse, an octagonal-shaped, 56-meter-high tower that was completed one week before the inauguration of the canal. It's also the first building in the world created with reinforced concrete and the longest-standing construction in the city.

A coptic church along the Suez Canal

From Coptic to Colonial

As you pass by Ismailia, you'll see Lake Timsah — one of the main lakes of the historic Nile Delta, the cradle of ancient Egyptian civilization. Spot the Coptic Church of Ismailia with its cross-topped domes. Look for colonial-era buildings like De Lessep's House, the impeccably maintained former residence of the French consul to Egypt.

The Suez Canal bridge

Bridge Over Suez

Near the city of Suez, you'll pass by the Suez Canal Bridge with your Egypt cruise, also called the Mubarak Peace Bridge or simply El-Qantara ("The Bridge"). Note the bridge's two massive pylons on either side of the canal — one is in Asia, while the other is in Africa. Asia, while the other is in Africa.

INSIDER TIP

In places of worship of any denomination here, it's expected to cover your arms and legs.

DAY 8 - CRUISING

Suez Canal (Passage), Egypt

DEPARTS:
3:00 PM
CANAL BETWEEN

CONTINENTS

Admire the views as you journey down the 193 kilometer Suez Canal, the remarkable achievement of Egypt's belle epoque. On one side of the shore, you'll see Africa and on the other side Asia. See the historic buildings of Port Said at the Mediterranean Sea. Admire the view of the Suez Canal House, with its white facade and striking green domes, built for the 1869 inauguration.

The landscape around the Suez Canal
The Suez Canal bridge
Coastal view of the Suez Canal

Admire the views as you journey down the 193 kilometer Suez Canal, the remarkable achievement of Egypt's belle epoque. On one side of the shore, you'll see Africa and on the other side Asia. See the historic buildings of Port Said at the Mediterranean Sea. Admire the view of the Suez Canal House, with its white facade and striking green domes, built for the 1869 inauguration.

The landscape around the Suez Canal
The Suez Canal bridge
Coastal view of the Suez Canal
Things To Do

in Suez Canal (Passage)

The Port Said lighthouse

Landmark Lighthouse

See Port Said waterfront's quarter with its 19th-century villas. Fascinating historical buildings include the Lighthouse, an octagonal-shaped, 56-meter-high tower that was completed one week before the inauguration of the canal. It's also the first building in the world created with reinforced concrete and the longest-standing construction in the city.

A coptic church along the Suez Canal

From Coptic to Colonial

As you pass by Ismailia, you'll see Lake Timsah — one of the main lakes of the historic Nile Delta, the cradle of ancient Egyptian civilization. Spot the Coptic Church of Ismailia with its cross-topped domes. Look for colonial-era buildings like De Lessep's House, the impeccably maintained former residence of the French consul to Egypt.

The Suez Canal bridge

Bridge Over Suez

Near the city of Suez, you'll pass by the Suez Canal Bridge with your Egypt cruise, also called the Mubarak Peace Bridge or simply El-Qantara ("The Bridge"). Note the bridge's two massive pylons on either side of the canal — one is in Asia, while the other is in Africa. Asia, while the other is in Africa.

INSIDER TIP

In places of worship of any denomination here, it's expected to cover your arms and legs.

DAY 9 - AT SEA

CRUISING

FOR FOODIES

QN, Quantum, AN, Anthem, Jamie''s Italian, dynamic dining, cuisine, culinary image, Spinach Ricotta Rotolo, cheese, pasta, restaurant, dish
Salmon Salad bowl with Watercress served at Izumi, a fine dining Japanese Restaurant. One of our best vacation cruise dining.

QN, Quantum, AN, Anthem, Jamie''s Italian, dynamic dining, cuisine, culinary image, Spinach Ricotta Rotolo, cheese, pasta, restaurant, dish
Salmon Salad bowl with Watercress served at Izumi, a fine dining Japanese Restaurant. One of our best vacation cruise dining.

Things to Do

QN, Quantum, AN, Anthem, Jamie''s Italian, dynamic dining, cuisine, culinary image, Chicken Porcini Bruschetta, food, poultry, restaurant, dish
Jamie's Italian by Jamie Oliver

FAMOUSLY FANTASTIC ITALIAN

At Jamie's Italian by Jamie Oliver, you’ll enjoy Tuscan-inspired dishes like the crowd-pleasing Famous Plank and pastas made in-house — all crafted by one of Britain’s most famous chefs.

Assorted Sushi Rolls Platter served at Izumi, Japanese Restaurant. One of the best fine dining cuisine on a cruise.
Izumi

A FAR EAST FEAST

Say “Konnichiwa” to a reimagined favorite. Sushi, sashimi and more, all made-to-order with intense flavors, the best ingredients and impeccable presentation. Now that’s fresh.

DAY 10 - DOCKED

Athens (Piraeus), Greece

ARRIVES:
6:00 AM
DEPARTS:
6:00 PM

ACROPOLIS NOW

Explore the harbors of Piraeus, which showcase the Golden Age of Greek history. Visit the Hellenic Maritime Museum and the ship sheds — here, you can see how ancient ships were crafted. In the charming Castella district, you'll find some small, quaint shops and cafes amid the elegant neoclassical buildings. Head to Sotiros Street to find brand name stores, alongside smaller local shops.

View of the Parthenon atop the Acropolis in Athens, Greece
View of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece
Herodes Theater in Athens, Greece

Explore the harbors of Piraeus, which showcase the Golden Age of Greek history. Visit the Hellenic Maritime Museum and the ship sheds — here, you can see how ancient ships were crafted. In the charming Castella district, you'll find some small, quaint shops and cafes amid the elegant neoclassical buildings. Head to Sotiros Street to find brand name stores, alongside smaller local shops.

View of the Parthenon atop the Acropolis in Athens, Greece
View of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece
Herodes Theater in Athens, Greece
Things To Do

in Athens (Piraeus)

The Agia Triada church in Greece

Take Me to Church

The Agia Triada is one of the finest examples of Byzantine-style churches in Greece. The Church of St. Nicholas, which overlooks the port, has a magnificent interior filled with orthodox icons, frescoes and sculptures.

Mikrolimano harbour in Greece

Mediterranean Romance

Part of the Castella district, Mikrolimano is the smallest and most picturesque port of Athens, making it perfect for a romantic afternoon. Take a leisurely stroll along the promenade to take in the amazing views, then settle in a cafe or taverna for some fresh seafood or a refreshing drink with your cruise to Athens.

Various decorative Greek vases

Boats and the Bronze Age

The Naval Museum has exhibits that present ship building from ancient times to the present day. You will be fascinated by the Neosoikoi, the archaeological remains of the ship sheds where local craftsmen maintained and repaired the boats. Art lovers will have plenty to see at the Piraeus Archaeological Museum, from Bronze Age sculptures to classical Hellenistic pottery.

Grilled octopus on a white plate with a lemon on the side

Local Cuisine

Try the local dishes prepared with sun-ripened tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers and fresh seafood like mussels and grilled octopus. Look for trovolia, a typical fresh cheese to savor with marinated olives. Ask for recommendations on local wines — the most common white is lively, floral and aromatic Moschofilero, while the red of choice is Xinomavro, an indigenous grape with a bold, complex flavor.

An assortment of Greek souvenirs such as helmets and sculptures

Shopping

You may want to bring back home some of the typical liquors such as the anise-flavored Ouzo or the strong Tsipouro. Greek olives, spices and capers can be vacuumed-packed, making for convenient souvenirs. Look for locally made leather sandals, pottery and hand-painted ceramics. You'll find most shops in the Psyri district, not far from the Acropolis during your Athens cruise.

INSIDER TIP

The yellow trolley bus (number 20) will take you from the port to Passalimani, going through Castella and ending at the Metro station.

DAY 11 - AT SEA

CRUISING

SHOW STOPPERS

Dancers on stage during Invitation to Dance Cruise Show in Explorer of the Seas

Dancers on stage during Invitation to Dance Cruise Show in Explorer of the Seas

Things to Do

Performers on stage during the Invitation to Dance Cruise Show on Radiance of the Seas
Invitation to Dance

RSVP TO THE BEAT

Live out your primetime dreams of dancing with the stars as a select few guests are invited to learn ballroom and Latin dance for a high-energy final production.

The logo of the Fast Forward original production by Royal Caribbean
Fast Forward

80s GREATS

Settle in for a blast from the past as Fast Forward brings you the best movies and musicals of the 1980s.

DAY 12 - DOCKED

Valletta, Malta

ARRIVES:
7:00 AM
DEPARTS:
4:00 PM

HISTORY MEETS MYSTERY

Begin your Malta adventure by wandering Valletta's Grand Harbor, with its 16th-century fortifications and sweeping ocean views. Then, learn more about this island nation at the Malta Experience Museum — here, an audio-visual show guides you through 7,000 years of the island's history. Savor Malta's eclectic mix of Mediterranean, Arabic and European flavors through dishes like aljotta, a hearty fish stew with tomatoes and garlic, thickened with rice.

St. Paul's Cathedral in Valletta, Malta
Lower Barrakka Public Garden and Alexader Ball monument in Valletta, Malta
Narrow street with traditional balconies in Valletta, Malta

Begin your Malta adventure by wandering Valletta's Grand Harbor, with its 16th-century fortifications and sweeping ocean views. Then, learn more about this island nation at the Malta Experience Museum — here, an audio-visual show guides you through 7,000 years of the island's history. Savor Malta's eclectic mix of Mediterranean, Arabic and European flavors through dishes like aljotta, a hearty fish stew with tomatoes and garlic, thickened with rice.

St. Paul's Cathedral in Valletta, Malta
Lower Barrakka Public Garden and Alexader Ball monument in Valletta, Malta
Narrow street with traditional balconies in Valletta, Malta
Things To Do

in Valletta

Three cannons on the coast of Valletta, Malta

Have the Malta Experience

Despite its small size, Malta's history is pretty epic. The audio-visual presentation at Valletta's Malta Experience Museum takes less than an hour of your time and explains everything from the country's early origins as a trade hub to its role in the World War II resistance movements. Or check out Neolithic pottery and prehistoric art at the National Museum of Archaeology.

St. John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta, Malta

Get Lost in Valletta's Streets

Valletta's streets tell a living history, from churches like St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral and St. John's Co-Cathedral, to military buildings such as Fort St. Elmo and the Lascaris War Rooms. Don't miss the Grand Master's Palace, with everything from 16th-century armor to 18th-century tapestries depicting the first expeditions to the New World.

Upper Barrakka Gardens terrace in Valletta, Malta

Circle the City Walls

If you still doubt whether Malta is the sparkling treasure it appears to be from afar, take a walk around Valletta's imposing city walls. Hike up to their highest point at Upper Baracca Gardens, where you'll be met with gorgeous views of the historic city and the sparkling blue Mediterranean.

A bowl of Stuffat tal-Fenek, the national dish of Malta

Local Cuisine

Malta's culinary heritage is as eclectic as the rest of its history, with a mix of North African and European influences. Head to Valletta's port area to dine at one of the many seafood-focused restaurants for dishes like pixxispad, swordfrish fried in olive oil with lemon. Or seek out heartier fare like stuffat tal-fenek, a rabbit stew, or bragioli — thin slices of beef stuffed with bacon, egg and breadcrumbs and slowly cooked in red wine sauce.

An assortment of souvenir necklaces

Shopping

If you're looking for postcards, keychains and other trinkets, check out the gift shop of the Malta Experience. For a more eclectic shopping experience, take a stroll down the city's Republic street, where vendors sell artisanal Maltese items like blown glass, filligree jewelry and pottery.

INSIDER TIP

In spite of Valletta's small size, it's rather hilly. Stairscases are built throughout the city so you don't have to walk up steep slopes.

DAY 13 - AT SEA

CRUISING

LIGHTS OUT NIGHTS OUT

GR, R Bar, , Grandeur of the Seas,Public Spaces, Revitalization, Lounge, Couple Having Drinks,
Friends Enjoying Tropical Dreams in the Solarium

GR, R Bar, , Grandeur of the Seas,Public Spaces, Revitalization, Lounge, Couple Having Drinks,
Friends Enjoying Tropical Dreams in the Solarium

Things to Do

LB, Liberty of the Seas, young couple, man, woman, smiling, laughing, at R-Bar, R Bar, bartender serving mixed drinks, enjoy, enjoyment, fun,
R Bar

SHAKING UP THE CLASSICS

Vintage glamor comes alive at R Bar — serving classic cocktails, like gin martinis and Old Fashioneds, in a distinctly sophisticated setting.

Solarium Bar and cafe on the OA, Oasis of the Seas
Solarium Bar

SUN, SERENITY & SIPS

Does sitting in the whirlpool make you thirsty? Grab a drink at the nearby Solarium Bar.

DAY 14 - Arrival Day

Barcelona, Spain

ARRIVES:
6:00 AM

CROWN OF CATALONIA

Afternoons in Barcelona are best spent eating Spanish tapas in a cozy bar. Then take a Gaudí-inspired architecture crawl to see modernist wonders like Casa Milà, Casa Batlló, Park Güell and the awe-inspiring La Sagrada Família. Explore medieval dockyards at the Maritime Museum— or throw on an apron and learn the centuries-old art of Catalan cuisine in a chef-led cooking class.

View of the city from Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain
The National Museum of Catalan (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya) on a Summer day in Barcelona, Spain
View of Castillo de Montjuic on mountain Montjuic in Barcelona, Spain

Afternoons in Barcelona are best spent eating Spanish tapas in a cozy bar. Then take a Gaudí-inspired architecture crawl to see modernist wonders like Casa Milà, Casa Batlló, Park Güell and the awe-inspiring La Sagrada Família. Explore medieval dockyards at the Maritime Museum— or throw on an apron and learn the centuries-old art of Catalan cuisine in a chef-led cooking class.

View of the city from Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain
The National Museum of Catalan (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya) on a Summer day in Barcelona, Spain
View of Castillo de Montjuic on mountain Montjuic in Barcelona, Spain
Things To Do

in Barcelona

Street view of La Rambla in Barcelona, Spain, with shops lining the street

IN THE MIX

Take a stroll along La Rambla’s pedestrian boulevard to experience the city’s pure essence. Souvenir shops, street artists, flower stalls, sidewalk cafes and Catalan folk sardana dancers set a lively scene. Its marvelous centerpiece, La Catedral, dates from the 1200s— and its tower delivers sweeping views of medieval Barcelona.

Sunbathers at the Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona, Spain, with the W Hotel, also known as Hotel Vela or Sail Hotel, in the background

SEAS THE DAY

With seven beaches spanning more than two miles of Mediterranean coastline, Barcelona’s harborfront is known for some of the world’s best sun-seeking and on-the-sea adventures. Lounge along the shore, kayak deep blue waters— or charter a fishing trip for the chance to reel in tuna, swordfish or Mediterranean spearfish.

Aerial view of Barcelona, Spain

SKY HIGH DELIGHTS

Get an up-close glimpse of La Sagrada Família, a cathedral masterwork designed by celebrated Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Marvel at its sky-piercing spires and then step inside to admire intricate mosaics, Montjuïc stone pillars and the Nativity façade. You can even climb to the tippy-top of the spires for panoramic city views.

Traditional Spanish rice-based gourmet dish Paella, in Barcelona, Spain

LOCAL CUISINE

Barcelona has mastered the art of eating. Many restaurants serve up creative nueva cocina española, while waterfront spots dish out seafood paella and multi-course lunch menus include a glass of sparkling cava wine. For a taste of Catalan cooking, try pa amb tomàquet (tomato-topped bread). Or nibble on Spanish tapas (bite-sized appetizers) around the bar like a local, with house-made vermouth in hand.

Piles of decorative ceramic plates in a souvenir shop in Barcelona, Spain

SHOPPING

You could spend hours checking out the markets of Barcelona for high-quality leatherwear, jewelry, old books and unique housewares. Passeig de Gràcia and Barcelona Shopping Line are two popular retail promenades— and the Gothic Quarter is home to dozens of family-owned shops that sell textiles, stationery, decorative ceramic tiles and earthenware kitchenware.

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