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Guide of Port Vell Marina Area of Barcelona

8 things to do and see

Once a thriving trading port, today redeveloped tourist hot spot with boat tours, museums, sailing ships, old buildings & shopping complex

Views: 886

Updated: Jan 11, 2023

by: Barcelona Travel Hacks

Description of Port of Barcelona

Barcelona port can be found at the bottom of Las Ramblas starting from the Columbus monument and reaching to Barceloneta to form a modern marina called port vell and island shopping centre. Maritime tourist attractions such as sailing ships and coastal boat tours can be found here.

The maritime port of Barcelona dates from the 4AD. The port was active as a crucial frontier trading post throughout the Middle Ages because of its location on the border between Muslim southern Spain and North Africa and the Christian world of Europe. However, the region suffered powerful storms which damaged the ships while docked in the port.

Attempts were made throughout the centuries to create an artificial sheltered harbor which could shield boats from the storms. In the 15th century Barcelona began to build breakwaters on the spit of land today known as Barceloneta.

From the 18th to 20th century Barcelona port was very industrial with many brick dock warehouses, only one of which survives today and is now the History of Catalunya museum.

In the middle of Barcelona port is Port Vell and Maremagnum. Construction of this island shopping centre started in the 1980s and was finished for the 1992 Olympics. The whole port area was transformed from a derelict industrial port with railway lines into a public space with boulevards. Maremagnum is the only shopping complex in Barcelona that opens on Sundays due to it being exempt from the normal trading laws because of its location "in the sea"!

Another building of historical interest is the medieval boat sheds where large oared and sailing galleys were built and repaired. This building was on the sea front with a long ramp leading out into the sea to launch the boats. Today this building is the Maritime Museum of Barcelona and the sailboat Santa Eulalia.

Between the Columbus monument and Barceloneta neighbourhood Are several buildings of historical interest such as the Post office and telegraph building, today an active post office that can be visited. Also is the Our Lady Of Mercy Baroque style basilica which is an incredibly ornately decorated church that can be visited. Inside the Columbus monument is a lift which can be taken to a small viewing gallery at the top.

The Barcelona aquarium, next to the Maremagum shopping centre, is a child friendly museum that is full of tanks with many Mediterranean fish species and habitats.

The Port has many old historic buildings such as the Customs office "Aduana del Puerto" dating from 1902, the clock tower "Torre del Relotge" from the 18th century and Capitania General d'Espanya former military barracks. These buildings are not open as tourist attractions but can be viewed from outside.

Once you have finished exploring the Port Vell area, I recommend visiting El Bosc de les Fades for tapas and drinks. This is a theme bar decorated like an enchanted fairy tale forest with fairies and is child friendly having indoor fountains and caves to explore.

Nearest Metro stops that serve the port Vell area are Drassanes on the green line (L3) and Barceloneta on the yellow line (L4).

Happy Exploring!

Attractions in Port of Barcelona

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