15 Best Cruise Ports in Spain

From major cosmopolitan cities like Barcelona to tiny towns along rugged coastlines, the cruise ports of Spain are among some of the most desirable destinations for Mediterranean cruise ship travelers. Spain has ports along the Mediterranean Sea and along its northern Atlantic coastline in regions like Galicia, known to savvy travelers for its lush, untouched landscapes. These are the best cruise ports to look for on a cruise itinerary to Spain.


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Barcelona is the busiest port city in Europe and one of the most desirable ports for travelers headed to the Mediterranean. The city’s cultural and culinary highlights are unending, ranging from the iconic Sagrada Familia to ultra-fresh paella in the neighborhood of Barceloneta. Smaller cruise ships dock just south of Las Ramblas and are walkable from town – we were in the heart of Barcelona after just a 5-minute walk from the berth of the luxury Windstar Star Legend though larger ships dock just slightly further away and allow passengers to access town via a quick shuttle.

Palma de Mallorca

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The largest city on the Spanish island of Mallorca, Palma de Mallorca has plenty of cultural and historical attractions to keep cruise ship passengers busy for a day, including the city’s stunning cathedral. However, many visitors prefer a day at port in Palma de Mallorca to head to the lovely beaches that have made the island such a summer hotspot with Europe’s elite.


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The Mediterranean city of Valencia is one of the most fascinating in the country. The city is home to age-old architecture and a beautiful old town and has modern wonders like the ultra-modern Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. Valencia is also home to paella, so stop by a restaurant or cafe near the port for some of the best examples of this most famous of Spanish dishes.


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Located in northern Spain in the Basque Country, Bilbao is an unforgettable stop that too few cruise travelers make it to. Ships dock at Getxo, but a short 15-minute drive into Bilbao reveals incredible destinations like the Guggenheim, one of the world’s most important arts institutions.


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You may have heard about Cartagena, Colombia, but what about Cartagena, Spain? This Mediterranean port city is known for its incredible Roman theater but has plenty more, including shops, cafes with delicious local food, and much more to keep travelers busy for a day at the port.


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Whether you’re looking to spend a day at a winery, explore historic landmarks, or hit the beach, the southern Spanish city of Málaga will be a favorite destination on your cruise itinerary. Málaga is also within day-trip distance of some of the most popular cities in Spain, like Granada and Ronda, meaning that you’ll have no lack of options when it comes to how to enjoy a day at port here.


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With cruise ships docking in the heart of historic Cadiz, it’s easy to explore one of southern Spain’s most beautiful and famous towns, even on Spain cruise itineraries that spend no more than a day in port. Cadiz is said to be the oldest city in Western Europe, so you know there will be incredible historic treasures to discover, including churches with Moorish domes, storied streets, and more.


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Ibiza might be most famous for its unending nightlife and party scene, but for cruise ship passengers arriving in Ibiza, there is just as much to see and do in a day at port. There is plenty of Mediterranean charm in Ibiza’s old town, though many travelers spend a day on the island to hit what are known as some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe.

La Coruña

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Nestled along the dramatic coastline of Galicia, La Coruña is a small but attractive northern Spanish port city. The main attraction is its Roman lighthouse, though the port also serves as a gateway to explore the rest of the stunning region, known for its own traditional cuisine and lush green landscapes.


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The southern Spanish city of Almería is a popular port for travelers on Mediterranean cruises, though it’s not as busy as you might expect. Many visitors use the day in Almería to visit Granada, located about an hour and a half northwest. Granada is one of the most beloved cities in Spain, known for its one-of-a-kind Moorish architecture at the Alhambra.


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Technically Gibraltar isn’t a Spanish cruise port – this historic port city on the southern coast of Spain is a British Overseas Territory – but it’s a highlight destination on many cruises to Spain. The unique British enclave is most famously home to the dramatic Rock of Gibraltar and offers plenty to see and do for cruise ship visitors.


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The small port of Palamos isn’t one you’ll find on many cruise itineraries, with only smaller luxury ships like Silversea, Seabourn Cruise Line, or Windstar Cruises stopping here. However, privileged travelers who make it to Palamos often consider it among the highlights of their experience in Spain. Palamos is located in the picturesque Costa Brava region of northern Spain, located between Barcelona and Spain’s border with France and has a charming old town, is easy accessibility to nearby beaches, and has plenty of different ways to enjoy a day at port.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife

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Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the main port on the island of Tenerife, among Spain’s sunkissed Canary Islands. For travelers who make it to this corner of Spain and dock at Santa Cruz de Tenerife there is plenty to love, including nearby beaches and plenty of historical and cultural attractions to visit in town.

Las Palmas

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Las Palmas is the main port city on the island of Gran Canaria in Spain’s Canary Islands. Hike the island’s volcano or head to beaches lined with dunes, which are both popular excursions for cruise ship passengers. Just a five-minute walk from the port are beaches and the town’s historic treasures.


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The tiny cruise port on the island of Lanzarote is one of the smaller ports in Spain’s Canary Islands, though travelers on small ships and expedition cruises to the islands will love it. The entire island was declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1993, and with its hot desert climates and unique landscapes, it’s a memorable stop.


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Located on the Mediterranean island of Menorca, the port of Mahón is often overlooked by travelers excited to visit buzzier spots like Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca, but it has plenty to impress. Travelers love Menorca’s stunning beaches, which tend to be less hectic and more relaxed than many of those on neighboring islands.

carley rojas avila

Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Carley is an expert on all things Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba, having lived and worked in four different countries in the region. Her writing has appeared on the Associated Press wires and in Travel + Leisure, Yahoo, MSN, Euronews, The Weather Channel, and more. When she's not writing about her travels, find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.