The Mediterranean is a popular cruising area, and a stop at one of the ports in Spain is on many itineraries. It can be difficult to determine what is worth your time when you only have a few hours in the city, so we’ve done the research for you and found the top things to do at ten of Spain’s more popular ports. No matter where you stop on your cruise holidays in Spain, this list will at least get you started. And remember, if all else fails, there’s always the beach!

beach line in Alicante


  1. Alicante – One of the fastest growing cities in Spain, most of the tourism is focused on the beaches, but Alicante also has a rich history that shouldn’t be overlooked. Check out Castillo de Santa Barbara, a castle that sits high atop Mt. Benacantil and overlooks the city and coast (in photo above).  Shop at Mercado Central, which was built in the 1900s on the remains of 17th century walls, or visit the contemporary art museum, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Alicante.
  2. Almeria – Founded in 955 AD, you will see a lot of Muslim influence in Almeria. The Moorish castle, Alcazaba of Almeria, is the second largest in the region of Andalusia. If you are trying to get away from the more touristy beaches, head to Cabo de Gata.
  3. BarcelonaBarcelona is the second largest city in Spain, and there is plenty to do here! Originally founded as a Roman city, it became one of the most important of the Crown of Aragon. Visit the beaches, head into town and check out the museums and historical buildings, or take the teleferic (cable car) to the castle at Montjuic.
  4. Cadiz – Visit the Plaza de España, which was the meeting place of Cortes in the early 1800s, the Cadiz Cathedral, and the Torre Tavira, the biggest watchtower in the city.
  5. CartagenaTake a walk from the port to visit the lighthouse and get a great view of the city and shoreline. If you want to hang out around town, visit the Roman theater, or Ayuntamiento, the palace-like city hall.
  6. Málaga – There are many historical buildings here that should not be missed – the Alcazaba (“citadel” in Arabic), Gibralfaro Castle, the Cathedral of Incarnation, and the Roman Theater. Málaga also has a museum dedicated to Picasso, who was born in the city.
  7. Motril – If you are feeling particularly adventurous, sunbathe at a clothing-optional beach in Motril.
  8. Palamós – Palamós is situated on a large bay, making it a popular spot for swimming, sailing, and windsurfing. Also, famous for locally caught prawns, this former fishing village has a one of a kind fishing museum.
  9. Tarragona – If you are visiting during the third week of September, there will be many festivities honoring the local saint, Santa Tecla. The main attractions here are the ancient Roman remains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and there are also several religious buildings worth visiting.
  10. Valencia – Buildings in Valencia date back to the Roman and Arabic times in the 13th to 15th centuries, and the Silk Exchange Market (La Llotja de la Seda) has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.  There are also eleven museums throughout the city, and some lovely gardens for a casual stroll.